Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Jacob Faria, Buck Farmer show staying power while Felipe Rivero, Pat Neshek enter saves discussion

That couldn't have gone much better, could it?

Heading into Wednesday night, our eyes were fixed on two pitchers in particular: Jacob Faria making his big-league debut and Buck Farmer making his first big-league start since his 11-strikeout gem May 27. Both gave us something to hope for, but both would have to earn their place in both Fantasy and real life.

They ended up having two of the best pitching performances of the night.

We're in a hitter-friendly era, right? Trustworthy starting pitching is among the scarcest and most precious of commodities, so at that particular position, even just a glimmer of ability is normally enough to send us racing to the waiver wire. Faria and Farmer have certainly shown us that much, and yet they're both still owned in just 12 percent of CBS Sports.

You still have your pick (a rare occasion on the the day after), and that's true for shallow- and deep-league owners alike.

So what's stopping you from committing? Well, the fact that there are two choices probably makes for some indecision, as does the uncertainty whether or not those choices even stick in the majors. But is it only two, or did we just have one of those rare days where a handful of highly available starting pitchers made headlines?

Paralysis by analysis is my diagnosis. You need a little help prioritizing these pitchers, so just for today's edition of Waiver Wire, I'm going to list them in the order I'd add them, beginning with the one who didn't actually pitch Wednesday.

2017 minors



2.97 ERA1.35 WHIP5.2 BB/911.5 K/9

I gave Sean Newcomb a more thorough introduction in this week's Prospects Report, but the reason I'd take him over the pitchers we saw yesterday is because he's the most talented of the bunch -- a fixture on top-100 lists from the day the Angels drafted him 15th overall and with a clearer path to a full-time role. He walked too many throughout his minor-league career and especially this year, but his fastball-curveball pairing has been compared to Jon Lester's. If he excels in his debut Saturday, you may not get another chance at him.

Wednesday vs. White Sox



6 1/3 IP3 H1 ER5 K

Clearly, you still have a chance at Faria even after he excelled in his debut Wednesday -- and I'm not using "excel" lightly. He got through his first six innings on fewer than 90 pitches, and while the strikeout total wasn't in line with his 12.9-per-nine-inning rate at Triple-A, he recorded 16 swinging strikes. And that was while throwing his changeup -- supposedly his best pitch for the impact it has on his middling fastball -- just 14 times. The Rays have yet to commit to the right-hander with Matt Andriese nearing a return from the DL, but even if Faria gets sent down, it won't be for long.

Wednesday vs. Angels



6 2/3 IP3 H0 ER5 K

The results couldn't have been much better for Farmer Wednesday, and coupled with that brilliant outing May 27 when he struck out 11 White Sox in 6 2/3 shutout innings, it looks like the start of a breakthrough. But Farmer had 22 swinging strikes in that game. He had six in this one. In other words, he was lucky to get even the five strikeouts he had. His velocity was closer to ordinary, and he struggled to command his pitches, throwing just 57 of 100 for strikes.

These measurements are more in line with his lackluster minor-league history, so adding him today is more about curiosity than confidence. Wednesday's outcome may have been different If he wasn't facing the Mike Trout-less Angels, but hey, at least we know Farmer will get another turn.

Wednesday at Tigers



6 IP0 ER4 BB9 K

Meyer isn't the shiny new toy. That's the biggest reason why he's behind these other three. He has had his chances to underwhelm us and "delivered" in most every case, so we're conditioned to believe we know better with him when a less familiar pitcher might get the benefit of the doubt. It's splitting hairs, probably, but that's what we're forced to do with this group.

Bottom line is you can afford to wait on Meyer, especially since he's still walking batters at a prohibitive rate. But even though he lost to Farmer, he was the better pitcher in Wednesday's Tigers-Angels battle, collecting 13 swinging strikes on his curveball alone, and his increased reliance on the pitch is turning him into a legitimate bat-misser.

And now for an abrupt change of pace ... closers!

2017 season



0.58 ERA0.74 WHIP1.7 BB/99.9 K/9

When Tony Watson blew his third straight save chance Tuesday, manager Clint Hurdle acknowledged that the Pirates view Felipe Rivero as their long-term closer but would prefer to keep the young left-hander in the setup role for now. Of course, then Watson turned around and blew his fourth straight save chance Wednesday, forcing Hurdle to admit that a change may indeed be necessary. And he has already indicated who would make the most sense. I'd be stunned if Watson got the next save opportunity for the Pirates and am scrambling to add Rivero in leagues where saves are scarce. 

2017 season



0.82 ERA0.77 WHIP1.6 BB/98.6 K/9

No mad scramble for Pat Neshek, though Phillies manager Pete Mackanin did say the 36-year-old who bailed out Hector Neris for his first save Tuesday would have gotten another chance Wednesday should one have presented itself. Neshek has been the team's most effective reliever this year and is locked into a three-year deal, so it's not crazy to think he could claim the role the foreseeable future. But rarely does a pitcher enter into it so late in his career.

The clarity of Neris' task -- regaining the break on his splitter -- leads me to think it's just a short-term switch, sort like the Mariners did with Edwin Diaz. Besides, this role has been up in the air all year primarily because the Phillies aren't providing their closers with regular save chances. Switching to Neshek won't change that.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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