Waiver Wire: Diamonds in the Rough


Jul 12, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher

Andrew Heaney

(28) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Targeting potential 2nd half breakouts are a key to any fantasy owner’s season. We see it every year as a player comes out of nowhere or is being largely ignored, to become a second half hero that every team needs.

Hopefully, these four unheralded SP can be one of the key waiver wire moves that can guide your team to a postseason run.

Andrew HeaneyHeany’s offseason was on one of the more entertaining ones, as he found himself traded to two different teams in a matter of minutes. The Marlins sent him out to the Dodgers in the deal that netted them Dee Gordon and Dan Haren.

Before he could even picture himself in a Dodger uniform, he was sent off to the Angels in the deal for Howie Kendrick. Pretty eventful right? Heaney did debut in 2014 for the Marlins, and let’s just say it was not pretty, 5.83 ERA and he even managed to give up a home run in every one of his starts.

The question with Heaney was never his raw stuff, as his mid-90’s fastball and changeup play well off each other at the MLB level. His problem was his command, and staying out of the nitro zones. In the minors Heaney showed his K potential with an average of 8.9 SO/9, but he also walked about 2.5 batters per game.

When the Angels called him up, the formula was simple, pound the zone with his plus stuff and limit the walks. In his 4 starts so far, he has done just that as he sits at the break with three Wins, a 1.32 ERA, and 23 K’s. What has my interest though, is that so far he has limited his walks to only one a game, yet has still has maintained a high per game K total with a 7.6 SO/9, pointing to his ability to effectively control his arsenal.

For me he has the best chance at being the a breakout SP on the waiver wire, as he is still only owned in about 40% of leagues across all formats. His 1.32 ERA is unsustainable I know, but with a 2.78 FIP, his success has not just been luck either. Snag him now.

Robbie RayFollowing the offseason trade theme, Ray was sent from the Tigers to the D’Backs in a three-way deal in the offseason that also involved Didi Gregorious and Shane Greene. Ray’s inclusion at the time seemed pretty inconspicuous as he had a brief and horrid cameo for the Tigers last season.

Like Heaney though, Ray has been a highly touted prospect finding himself on the tops of LHP prospect charts.  He has a good live fastball and the key to his success so far has been his choice to include his slider more as opposed to being just a fastball and changeup pitcher. Over his last three starts he has averaged 6 IP, a 2.00 ERA and 5 K’s.

What is promising about Ray is that he seems to be getting better after every start, he has limited his walks all year, and once again his 2.86 FIP leads me to think that he could be a solid addition.

One last positive note on Ray is that because he plays his home games at Chase Field, a hitter’s paradise, he has to limit the HR. So far this season he has done just that this giving up only 2 all year over 50 IP of work.

He will not wow you in the K department, but if he can offer a sub 3.50 ERA and average about 6 K’s a game over the second half, he could be an essential backend rotational piece you need to make a run.

Cody AndersonFor me Anderson has the potential to what Dallas Keuchel did over the second half of 2014. Keuchel manged three W’s, a 2.55 ERA and 59 K’s over that time. Stats I feel that Anderson can come to producing.

Let me state that by no means am I saying that Keuchel and Anderson are at the same level, Keuchel is far more advanced and has better stuff. I just feel that Anderson could be one of the guys that really come out of nowhere to solidify your team due to the fact that both employ the same pitching repertoire.

Like Keuchel, Anderson does not overpowering stuff, his fastball tops out at 92, but they both use excellent command. Keuchel utilizes his sinker in order to limit hard contact and to stay down in the zone. In 2014, Keuchel threw 64% of his pitches for strikes, limited his line drive rate to 25% and only two walks per game.

In 2015, keep in mind the limited sample size, Anderson has thrown 60% of his pitches for strikes, kept his line drive rate to only 19% and has walked less than a batter an inning. This stats stuck out to me, because I was not aware that Anderson was able to control the strike zone so well and limit hard contact at that. Keuchel has his sinker, while Anderson showcases his command of his fastball.

I am well aware that Anderson’s 0.89 ERA and 0.66 WHIP, is not sustainable. I also realize that he will be lucky to average five K’s a game. But, for a player to exhibit this Keuchel-lite control, and be this lockdown so far, he is certainly worth a gamble as the potential for a second half breakout is there.

Matt WislerWisler came over to the Braves in the Craig Kimbrel deal, and it seems as though he is living up to his Top 50 prospect billing. Wisler is a pretty polished prospect already, so it is good to see him have quality outings since his promotion, validating his status.

He has a mid-90’s fastball and a solid slider that seem to play at the big level, and he has also showed that both pitches can be put away options. Wisler has had some struggles in the minors, so there may be still some developmental pains still to come, especially in terms of his command. But, the upside is evident and it could very well parlay him into a solid second half.

What I like about Wisler is that he pounds the zone, 66% strikes thrown, and that can temper some of his command woes. Wisler also have averaged at least 6 K’s per game over last three starts, hopefully signaling more K consistency.

Wisler will have some growing pains as the walks can get him into trouble. But, there is legit upside here as at least a backend fantasy option that could offer help in the K department. Grab him now, or maybe even give him another start, but Wisler will become a hot commodity if he continues to build off his performance since being called up.