In deeper fantasy baseball leagues, finding useful pitchers on the waiver wire can be a very difficult task. With most popular free agent choices already owned, owners in deeper or AL/NL-only leagues often have to dig at even less popular pitchers for fantasy production. Here's a look at five pitchers owned in less than 10% of Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball leagues* who are worth adding for Week 20.
SP/RP Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners (8% owned*)
Statistics*: 78.1 IP, 4 W, 2 SV, 64 K, 3.79 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
After holding many different roles this season for the Mariners, Iwakuma now appears to have finally found a spot in the rotation. Just days after teammate Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game, he retired the first 12 Minnesota Twins batters and has now recorded a 3-1 record, 2.37 ERA, and 1.16 WHIP in his last six outings. With a Week 20 start against a beatable Cleveland Indians team, he is a very good choice for an upcoming spot-start.
SP Jeremy Guthrie, Kansas City Royals (7% owned)
Statistics: 122.0 IP, 5 W, 0 SV, 71 K, 5.75 ERA, 1.55 WHIP
Guthrie has pitched much better since being traded from the Colorado Rockies. From better control of his pitches to higher strikeout numbers, he has also been excellent in his last two starts against the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics, throwing 15 scoreless innings and allowing only eight hits in the two starts. With a Week 20 start against the Boston Red Sox, a team he had success against last season (2-1, 2.82 ERA, and 17 strikeouts), Guthrie may have very well found a home in Kansas City.
RP Jon Rauch, New York Mets (4% owned)
Statistics: 44.0 IP, 3 W, 3 SV, 29 K, 3.07 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
After closer Frank Francisco faltered not just once but twice in the past week, Rauch was called upon to come in and clean up the mess for saves. In his last 21 appearances, Rauch has only allowed five hits and one earned run, perhaps a sign indicating that he has the consistency the Mets need. While Francisco will likely retain his role for the rest of the season, Rauch could become a late-season reliever to add.
SP/RP Adam Ottavino, Colorado Rockies (1% owned)
Statistics: 53.1 IP, 4 W, 0 SV, 56 K, 4.05 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
As a piggy-back reliever for the Rockies, Ottavino's value comes in his ability to throw a decent number of scoreless innings in his several appearances each week. In his role, he has been effective, particularly in August, with a 1.32 ERA, 0.59 WHIP, and 13 strikeouts in five games. In deeper leagues where productive innings are needed, Ottavino could fill a role in fantasy pitching staffs.
SP/RP Clay Hensley, San Francisco Giants (1% owned)
Statistics: 44.0 IP, 4 W, 3 SV, 37 K, 3.27 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
Although not originally considered an option for saves in the Giants' closer-by-committee system, Hensley recently picked up his third save of the season on August 18 after bailing out Jeremy Affeldt in the ninth inning. With a little bit of closing experience at the end of the 2010 season, Hensley has been a decent closer in the past could find a way into the conversation, which could greatly increase his value in deeper leagues.
*Percentage owned numbers for Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball leagues and player statistics accurate as of August 18, 2012. IP: Innings Pitched, W: Wins, SV: Saves, K: Strikeouts, ERA: Earned Run Average, WHIP: Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched.
Hisashi Iwakuma Game Log, Yahoo! Sports
Jeremy Guthrie Game Log, Yahoo! Sports
Jeremy Guthrie 2011 Split Stats, Yahoo! Sports
Jon Rauch Game Log, Yahoo! Sports
Adam Ottavino 2012 Split Stats, Yahoo! Sports
Clay Hensley News & Notes, Yahoo! Sports
Who's Hot, Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball
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Austin Chang is a lifelong baseball fan, San Francisco Giants supporter, and fantasy baseball player since 2005 who has been a Top 3 finisher in 70% of the leagues he has played in. Follow this contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.
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