Waiver Wire: Your guide to finding pitching help

Continuing with our twice-weekly series on waiver wire pickups down the stretch, here are some pitchers who can help you move up the standings in the coming days. Some of these players are strictly streamers, while others have the potential to stay on your team the rest of the way. Let’s dive in:

Cortes has been one of the biggest sports stories in the Big Apple of late, posting great ratios (2.56 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) in a multi-purpose role that includes three runs and 14 strikeouts across 13 innings in his past two starts. Length won’t be a problem for someone who has tossed 202 pitches in those two outings, and he should be well-supported by a surging Yankees squad. I’m happy to use Cortes in a big matchup against the A’s this weekend and keep him on my roster beyond that outing.

Ranger Suarez (SP/RP, 43 percent)

Suarez bounced back from a rare subpar outing when he struck out seven across 6.2 innings of one-run ball on Tuesday. The southpaw has been very effective this year (1.46 ERA, 1.02 WHIP), using a heavy groundball lean to make up for mediocre strikeout skills. With his next two scheduled starts coming against the D-backs and Marlins, Suarez might be my favorite player to add on this list.

Carlos Hernandez (SP/RP, 20 percent)

Hernandez has had some good moments since moving to the rotation, especially across his past five starts, when he has gone 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Improved control skills have been the right-hander’s calling card of late, which makes me excited to stream him against an average Mariners lineup this weekend. If that start goes well, Hernandez can be retained for multiple outings.

I’ll be the first to admit that Odorizzi hasn’t been effective this year (4.52 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) and likely won’t soon pick things up in a big way. But he is a great one-start streamer on Friday, when he faces a Rangers offense that is the worst in the American League. Backed by a stellar lineup and effective bullpen, Odorizzi has massive win potential as a one-day streamer.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - AUGUST 16:  Jake Odorizzi #17 of the Houston Astros throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 16, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Jake Odorizzi is worth having in your fantasy lineup for a great matchup against the Rangers. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

J.A. Happ (SP, 29 percent)

Similar to my stance on Odorizzi, I’ll be the first to admit that Happ is no longer a good pitcher. But the southpaw has done one thing well this year — dominate the hapless Pirates offense. In three previous meetings with Pittsburgh, Happ has gone 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA. The 39-year-old gets another start against the Bucs on Friday, making him a solid one-day streamer.

Luis Patino (SP/RP, 17 percent)

Patino has been inconsistent as a member of the Rays rotation, but he is coming off six innings of two-run ball against a good White Sox lineup in his most recent start. The youngster has also shown solid length as a starter, working into the sixth inning in five of his past seven outings. I don’t have high hopes for Patino as a long-term option, but I will happily stream him Saturday against a Baltimore squad that is struggling at a historic rate in August.

Bailey Ober (SP, 4 percent)

Ober is the best widely-available two-start pitcher for next week. The rookie possesses outstanding control skills (2.2 BB/9 rate) and has allowed a total of two earned runs in his past three starts. Facing the Tigers and Rays next week, Ober should post respectable ratios and accumulate at 10 strikeouts.

Edward Cabrera (RP, 28 percent)

Cabrera made his Major League debut on Wednesday, allowing three runs across 6.1 innings against the Nats. The 23-year-old didn’t do anything in this outing to suggest greatness (2 HR, 3 BB, 2 SO), but his 2021 Minor League stats (2.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 13.5 K/9 rate) are very impressive. In leagues of 12 teams or more, I’m interested in stashing Cabrera while we wait to find out if the Marlins will give him additional opportunities.

Scott Barlow (RP, 34 percent)

The Royals best reliever, Barlow owns a solid 2.45 ERA while having collected five wins and nine saves this season. I have recently been promoting the addition of Mariners reliever Paul Sewald, who pitches so well in a versatile late-inning role that he has fantasy value even if not employed as a full-time closer. The same can be said for Barlow, who is rostered in far fewer leagues.

David Bednar (RP, 17 percent)

Bednar is the best reliever in the Pirates bullpen (2.39 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) and can safely be expected to receive their future save chances after picking up two saves and closing out a four-run win in the past week. The problem for Bednar is that the Pirates rarely string together victories and went all the way from July 23 to August 21 without having a save to their credit. Still, even bad teams sometimes have stretches when they win some close games.