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Pitching in the American League is thin this year, and with Eduardo Rodriguez and Chi Chi Gonzalez already called up to the majors, who knows how much help the waiver wire will be the rest of the way? Andrew Heaney is still biding his time in Triple-A waiting for the call and there are some injury cases worth stashing away for later, but here I’ll look at two AL East arms that almost nobody expected to be this important before the season.

Erasmo RamirezTampa Bay Rays

Ramirez had his worst two appearances of the season to begin the campaign in April. He allowed seven earned runs in two innings in a relief appearance on April 10th and eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in a start five days later, which actually brought his ERA down from 31.50 to 25.31. Since then, Ramirez, who walked three batters in each of those first two appearances, has had better control and better results as he walked just one batter with 10 strikeouts and a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings over his next seven games (one of which was a start). The Rays basically had to give Ramirez another shot in the rotation given the success he was having out of the bullpen and he hasn’t let them down so far. In his last four starts, Ramirez has a 3.13 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 23 innings with a K:BB ratio of 20-to-10. That’s solid production, but it seems like Ramirez’ struggles in the past might be clouding the judgement of prospective owners. Have no fear, Erasmo is at least worth a whirl this time around.

Adam WarrenNew York Yankees

To the surprise of no one, the Yankees chose to keep Warren in the rotation over veteran Chris Capuano. I touched on Warren last week in the Free Agent Watch, recommending him for 15-team mixed leagues, but now that he’s locked up a rotation spot it might be time to go get him in 12-team mixers. Warren has started to heat up in the month of May as he completed seven innings for the second time this year in his last start. He’s pitched into the seventh inning in each of his last four starts and over his last five starts he has a 2.87 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 31 1/3 innings with a 22-to-9 K:BB. The Yankees west coast trip concludes Wednesday with Masahiro Tanaka making his return, so Warren will face the Angels in the Bronx over the weekend. The Angels offense has woken up lately as Albert Pujols has caught fire at the plate, but it would be unwise to be deterred from using Warren simply because of the ballpark he pitches in at home. Despite Yankees Stadium’s dimensions, Warren has a 2.05 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in four home starts this year and has allowed just one home run in 22 innings. It’s been a steady progression for Warren in his professional career going from minor-league starter to major-league reliever for two years and now finally having a major-league rotation spot. He’s come an awfully long way since his 2012 debut, when I could never have imagined recommending him to be used as a fantasy starter just years later.

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