Fantasy Baseball: Waiver Wire Wednesday – Add Locke, De La Rosa, and Gibson

Jeff Locke
Jeff Locke
Charles LeClaire USA TODAY Sports

There are just five days of baseball left until the All-Star break, and just three weeks until the trade deadline. In fantasy baseball, there will be a lot of changes over the next 21 days, simply because of moving pieces and prospects being called up to fill voids. Be sure to keep an eye on the waiver wire so you do not miss out on any players who could help you win a championship.

Whether it is a free agent pool, a budget-based system, or weekly waivers, playing the wire is a key element to winning your fantasy baseball leagues.

Each week, XN Sports will present an option at each position (if there is anyone worth picking up), and why you should add them.

Without further ado, let’s play the waiver wire:


Rather than looking at a few different players at a few different positions today, this waiver wire piece will be solely dedicated to pitchers. At this point in the fantasy baseball season, the good pitchers are already taken. But, there are a few gems who are hiding beneath the surface of regular numbers that do not tell the entire story. These pitchers are those who have ERA and WHIP higher than you would like, but they are poised to pitch better in the near future. For those familiar with BABIP (batting average on balls in play) you know that some pitchers are unlucky, or vice-versa. That applies to us in fantasy baseball, because after all we are trying to tell the future based on the past. The following are a few pitchers available on the waiver wire, and some advanced statistics that show why they should be added to your fantasy team, despite what their ERA and WHIP might be.

Most of the time when looking at pitchers on the waiver wire, you would look at ERA, WHIP, wins, and strikeouts as that seems to be the standard for most leagues. But you should start to look into line drive percentage, ground ball percentage, fly ball percentage, and BABIP among others. This can tell you more about pitchers and how they are throwing, rather than a simple earned run average.

Jeff Locke, Pittsburgh Pirates

Locke is available in around 90 percent of fantasy leagues, but with his recent success that could change quickly. Locke has only thrown 49.2 innings this year, and has a 3.08 ERA and a WHIP of 0.93. That alone is attractive, but why should you add him right away? He has allowed a line drive percentage of just 18.7, and a ground ball rate of 52 percent, which is dominant. Locke’s BABIP is very low at a .245, but considering his line drive rate is low and ground ball rate is high, that is a very good number to indicate future success.

Jorge De La Rosa, Colorado Rockies

You remember seeing this name if you frequent XN Sports, as I have touched on him before. His current ERA and WHIP will not attract you as 4.75 and 1.31 are not pleasing to the fantasy baseball eye, but his deeper statistics indicate progression. De La Rosa has an incredible ground ball rate of 52.7, and the second lowest line drive rate in baseball at 15.9. So why is his ERA high? De La Rosa has had issues with his control this season, walking around four batters per nine innings, but when his control is on, he is very good. In his last 19 innings, he only has five walks and he has turned in three good outings in a row. De La Rosa is available in nearly every league, so add him if you need help on the mound, and only start him at home if you are not sold. In Coors Field, De La Rosa is 5-2 with a 3.73 ERA in nine starts.

Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins

Gibson has been hot and cold lately, as he has allowed zero runs in four of his last eight starts, but in the other four he has allowed a total of 18 runs in 18 innings. Hit or miss seems like a good way to describe Gibson, so why should you add him to your fantasy team? He has the ninth-highest ground ball rate in baseball this year, and a very low line drive rate of 16.6 to go with it. But does he allow a lot of home runs? Not at all, only 6.7 percent of his fly balls result in home runs, and Gibson is also sixth in the league in pop up percentage, which indicates great stuff. All of these numbers are among the best in baseball this season, so how can his high ERA and poor outings be explained?

Gibson has 17 starts this season. In seven of these starts, he has allowed four runs or more. But, take a deeper look. In three of those starts, he has allowed six or seven earned runs, and in five of those starts he has allowed five or more earned runs. In the other 10 starts, Gibson has allowed five earned runs in 68.1 innings of work. For those without a calculator, that is an insane ERA of 0.66. Gibson has been dominant in 10 of his 17 starts, but how do we know when to start him, and when to sit him?

In his seven “bad” starts (four earned runs or more) he has faced the: Yankees, Angels, Giants, Brewers, Tigers, Dodgers, and Rays. The Angels, Brewers, Tigers and Dodgers all rank in the top 10 in runs per game, so you would sit Gibson against them anyway. For a guy that is available in almost every fantasy league, Gibson can be a valuable fantasy asset down the stretch, and help you win your league.

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Josh Collacchi
In addition to writing here at XNSports, my fantasy content can be seen at Pro Football Focus Fantasy, eDraft, and Project Roto. Member of the FSWA and the FWAA and can be reached on Twitter @JoshCollacchi