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Here we are: The final Waiver Wire column of 2021.
With just over a week remaining, here are the pitchers who could propel your roto or head-to-head team to a fantasy championship. I’ll keep the names plentiful, the write-ups brief, and the groups organized to help you at all steps along the final leg of our six-month journey.
And for what it’s worth, I like the streaming options this weekend much more than those for the final week.
Pitchers to stream this weekend
Eric Lauer (61 percent rostered): Having posted a 3.03 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP this season, Lauer should already be rostered in most leagues. Wise managers will take advantage of the left-hander’s low roster rate by streaming him tomorrow for a matchup against a Mets lineup that ranks 25th in OPS vs. southpaws this year.
Jon Lester (16 percent): Lester has found new life with the Cardinals, who are without a doubt the hottest team in baseball right now. The veteran left-hander is well-positioned to keep things rolling tomorrow when he takes on a revamped Cubs lineup in a favorable matchup against Keegan Thompson, who will likely throw only a couple of innings before giving way to the bullpen.
Jose Suarez (23 percent): Suarez struggled with his command at times, having walked at least two batters in five of his past six starts. But the southpaw also limits long balls and owns a solid 3.67 ERA. He will work at home tonight against a Mariners lineup that is among the bottom-5 teams in OPS vs. lefties.
Logan Gilbert (44 percent): Gilbert is facing Suarez tonight and is perhaps an even better streamer candidate. The rookie owns an unimpressive 4.74 ERA, but a deeper look at his statistics reveals a 3.60 FIP, a 1.17 WHIP, and a terrific 120:23 K:BB ratio. Set to face an Angels lineup that ranks 29th in baseball in second-half OPS, Gilbert is in great position to succeed.
Tyler Anderson (20 percent): Adding in the DH has done nothing to phase Anderson, who has posted improved ratios (3.38 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) since relocating to the American League at the Trade Deadline. Managers who want to target the Angels' injury-riddled lineup with streaming options can go with Gilbert tonight before swapping him out for Anderson tomorrow.
Tony Gonsolin (48 percent): Gonsolin has made three appearances since returning from a long IL stint on September 9, posting two successful stat lines but allowing three runs across 2.1 innings last time out. The right-hander has excellent win potential tonight when he leads the formidable Dodgers into a lopsided matchup with the lowly D-backs. In general, it’s hard to find September streamers who can match Gonsolin’s career 2.71 ERA.
Pitchers to stream next week
Alex Cobb (25 percent): Cobb has been effective all season when healthy (3.46 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) and since returning from the IL on September 16 he has allowed just one run across 10.2 innings. He should be streamed in most leagues for a matchup next Thursday against a Rangers lineup that is arguably the worst in baseball at the moment.
Elieser Hernandez (42 percent): I loved Hernandez going into the season, but I have to admit that injuries ruined his campaign and he hasn’t shown his best form (4.72 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) since returning from a long IL stint on August 15. Still, I would give Hernandez one more shot for a manageable matchup against the Mets next Wednesday.
Tyler Anderson (20 percent): See the earlier paragraph on Anderson, who gets an identical matchup against the Angels (this time at home) next week.
Alex Wood (63 percent): Wood returned from a stint on the COVID-IL when he threw three scoreless innings against the Braves on September 18. The left-hander can’t be used at Coors Field tonight, but he is an excellent streaming candidate when he leads the division-leading Giants into a matchup at their pitcher-friendly home park against the D-backs.
Possible saves sources
Drew Steckenrider (25 percent): Steckenrider has taken the lead role in the Mariners' effective bullpen committee, converting all four save chances he has received in his past six outings. The right-hander lacks closer-worthy strikeout skills but has been very effective this season (2.17 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) and should be rostered in most roto leagues during the final 10 days.
Chris Stratton (30 percent): Stratton has picked up four September saves in the absence of David Bednar, who is on the IL with an oblique injury. Bednar is throwing bullpen sessions and could get into a game or two during the final week. But Stratton is the Pirates reliever you want on your roster as a save source in the final days.
Joe Barlow (27 percent): After collecting one strikeout across seven appearances, Barlow rediscovered his swing-and-miss skills in his most recent outings. The rookie is firmly in control of the Rangers' closer role and has been very effective in his debut season (1.75 ERA, 0.86 WHIP). He will get every remaining Texas save opportunity.
Mychal Givens (30 percent): The Reds have not settled on a full-time closer all season, and that situation is unlikely to change in the coming days. But Givens is the closest thing they have to a stopper at the moment, having collected four saves across his past seven outings. The reliever is on a run of seven straight scoreless outings and is likely to get more opportunities on a team that has no room for error in the Wild-Card race.