Smart early season waiver wire pickups can win fantasy baseball leagues. Simple as that. Here are 12 guys worth picking up right now who have a good shot at becoming fixtures in your starting lineup the rest of the way. For those of you who play in our one-day leagues for money here at FanDuel (never played before? Use promocode INSIDERBONUS to get $5 free to use in any league of your choice – no strings attached), each player’s current price is listed below his name.
C – JP Arencibia & John Buck
$3,900 and $4,100 FanDuel prices
These two guys are given plenty of playing time with their respective teams, and can also give you nice pop at a relatively thin position and they come very cheap. Probably not available in 2 catcher leagues, but could be out there in other deep mixed leagues.
1B – Kendrys Morales
$3,700 FanDuel price
He isn’t the same player that he once was with the Angels before he broke his leg celebrating a walk-off, but he is still only 29 years old and is finally looking healthier than he has in the past. Although not a player you want to rely on as your primary 1B, he can still help you out as a stop-gap or Util option or CI. He has the potential to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs, even at Safeco and in that Seattle lineup. Remember that he is a career .290+ hitter at Safeco, so the cavernous confines of Safeco won’t necessarily hinder his production.
2B – Daniel Murphy
$4,100 FanDuel price
I really like Murph in his situation with the Metropolitans, and I like him even more playing 2B. His peripherals are solid, and he can give you 10 homers and 10 swipes over a year, with the possibility of more. He’s a glue guy that can really help any team and is extremely underrated.
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SS – Alexei Ramirez
$3,500 FanDuel price
Not owned in a majority of leagues, and with SS being so shallow, the Cuban Missile could take that step forward this year that many of us were expecting. He has the potential to be a 15/15 player, and that is plenty valuable at the SS position. He simply needs to take a few more walks, which means he needs to have better plate discipline.
3B – Mark Reynolds
$4,500 FanDuel price
I never really liked this guy because he strikes out much too often, and his playing time is limited with Lonnie Chisenall playing 3B, but he has tremendous power for very cheap. Use him as an option with the possibility of taking over at 3B if Chisenhall continues to struggle. He’s a player who goes on streaks, and he could potentially prolong this streak on a team with a manager who has more confidence in him than Showalter did in Baltimore.
OF – Dayan Viciedo
$3,700 FanDuel price
At 24 years old and with plenty of pop (and more power upside forthcoming), he is a great OF option that is probably available in many of your leagues. He simply needs to harness more plate discipline and draw more walks than he did last year. It’s the only way to stabilize his average. He doesn’t need to hit like Tony Gwynn, but he does need to exercise more patience at the plate as a power hitter to draw more walks. Pitch selection is key for him, and at 24 years old, he has the time to grow and learn from his mistakes.
OF – Adam Eaton
$3,500 FanDuel price
This kid was a super sleeper a month ago, but an injury derailed his 2013 season, which subsequently turned off many owners from drafting him. Well, that will give most of you an opportunity to grab him if he’s still available (and his ownership % is pretty low in many leagues), and you should giddy-up to grab him if you have an available DL spot. He’ll be healthy soon enough, and he has the talent not only to hit for good average and score some runs, but he can swipe a ton of bags very easily.
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SP – Paul Maholm
In his last two starts this season, Maholm was simply dominant. Many owners may shy away from him considering his mediocre performances with Pittsburgh and the Cubbies in his prior tenures with these teams, but Atlanta always seems to know how to foster confidence in their starters and cultivate the best from them. In his 11 starts last year for the Bravos, Maholm registered the lowest WHIP of his career, and improved his strikeout rate. He is in a positive situation pitching for a contending team, and I think he’ll take a nice step forward this year.
SP – Jose Fernandez
This phenom in waiting probably doesn’t need to wait for much longer to show he is capable of being a phenom. The Marlins threw the youngster into their rotation outright, and although he won’t win many games, I think he will give some solid peripherals with a healthy strikeout rate. His last start against the Mets was downright nasty, as he punched out 8 in only five innings, and only gave up one run on three hits. He relied mainly on his fastball, which reached the mid-90′s regularly, and his breaking pitches were nasty cheese. He has phenomenal control for a 20 year old in his first year in the Show, without only one year of experience in the minors…and that was High Single A. In my last piece I mentioned him as someone to watch. Well, stop gawking and just grab him.
RP – Jim Henderson & Kyuji Fujikawa
I’ve mentioned these two in my closers in waiting piece about a week ago, and so far I’ve been right with Fuji. Marmol is just plain terrible, and it was astounding to know that the Cubbies were ONCE AGAIN giving him another chance to close. This time around it didn’t last very long, and it’s to their benefit. Although not a stellar closer, Fuji is a better option than Marmol. As for Henderson, he is the best option in the Brewer bullpen, and it is only a matter of time before everyone in the Brew Crew loses their confidence in Axford as the closer. His velocity has been down since last the 2nd half of last year, and although an injury hasn’t been reported, it is nonetheless disconcerting. He’s just lost his mojo from a couple of years ago, and he should, at the very least, be given some playing time with less pressure…which means taking him out of the closer role for a bit.
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Check back for more of my waiver wire picks next week. Best of luck in the meantime.