Mixed-league roto owners, are you in need of a waiver-wire pitcher before Thursday's slate of games?
Here's my free-agent choice (from the majority of 12-team leagues) for one day of fantasy stardom:
Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds (vs. Indians)
1. In four of his last five starts, Leake (2-5, 4.97 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 43/18 K-BB) has surrendered three runs or less; and for nine of his last 10 outings, he's allowed just three walks or less.
2. Since May 5 (spanning seven starts), Leake has only had one clunker outing; and in the last 30 days, Leake has a 2.84 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 27/7 K-BB ratio.
3. Cumulatively speaking, Leake is a significantly better pitcher in night games (14-8, 3.86 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 130/49 K-BB), compared to day tilts.
4. The slate of waiver-wire options is surprisingly thin today; so when in doubt, ride the veteran pitcher—working at home and at night—who has been on a roll lately. It also helps that he defeated Cleveland in his only career appearance against Cincy's Ohio rival.
The Next Five For Thursday
1. Scott Diamond (Twins) vs. Phillies—This Minnesota marvel (5-1, 1.69 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) is one more amazing start from converting all the non-believers in fantasy...starting with yours truly.
2. Erik Bedard (Pirates) @ Orioles—I long for the day when Bedard can recapture his pitching mojo of 2007...but I would settle for a repeat of his four-start run of fantasy goodness from April 16-May 3 (seven runs allowed, 30 strikeouts).
3. Luke Hochevar (Royals) vs. Brewers—Let's call it a gut feeling here that Hochevar is due for an eight-strikeout, one-run effort against Milwaukee.
4. Erasmo Ramirez (Mariners) vs. Padres—The 22-year-old prospect posted an absurd strikeout-to-walk ratio in the minors (388/74). That has to be worth something against a light-hitting club in a spacious ballpark. Right?
5. Jarrod Parker (Athletics) @ Rockies—If Parker was pitching in any other MLB venue today (Coors Field), he'd be a worthy candidate for the waiver-wire pitcher of the day. But alas, that's not the case.
A Look Back
Last week's selection: Mets pitcher Dillon Gee
Final tally: 7.0 innings, five hits, three runs allowed, five strikeouts and three walks.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.