I’m excited to put my two cents into the Waiver Wire article this week, as there are plenty of players who interest me and are sitting on waivers in the majority of Yahoo leagues. On the hitting side, the lack of offense across Major League Baseball has put pressure on fantasy managers to hitch their wagon to any players who are performing well right now. And on the pitching side, after grabbing many hot starters at the outset of the season, this is the time to start focusing attention on relievers who are producing impactful numbers. Let’s get down to business:
Elias Diaz (C, Colorado Rockies, 26 percent rostered)
Sometimes “Mr. Right Now” is better than “Mr. Right”. Unsurprisingly, Diaz thrives at Coors Field, where he has produced a lifetime .815 OPS OPS (.689 OPS overall). The Rockies open a six-game homestand on Friday, making Diaz a great streaming option in most leagues.
Jorge Mateo (2B/SS/OF, Baltimore Orioles, 27 percent)
Mateo is not a great hitter, and I won’t try to make a case to the contrary. But the speedster currently ranks second in the Majors with seven steals, which should be enough to make him rostered in most roto leagues. The Orioles are giving Mateo a full-time role, and his triple-position eligibility makes him easy to fit into a lineup.
Santiago Espinal (2B/3B, Toronto Blue Jays, 15 percent)
Those in deep leagues should take a long look at Espinal, who has taken over the second base job in Toronto. The smooth fielder put on 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason and has impressed the coaching staff with his work ethic. On the field, he is hitting the ball harder and farther than ever before, while also collecting three steals. He should reach double digits in homers and swipes this season.
Ramon Laureano (OF, Oakland A’s, 27 percent)
This is the time to stash Laureano in roto leagues. The outfielder has a great power-speed mix, having produced 14 homers and 12 steals in 88 games last season. He is scheduled for return from suspension on May 8 and will instantly go into the active lineup in five-outfielder leagues.
Taylor Ward (OF, Los Angeles Angels, 63 percent)
I have repeatedly pushed fantasy managers to consider Ward, and I am so high on him that I am including him in this article even though his roster rate is already climbing fast and over the usual 50% threshold. Halos manager Joe Maddon has been using Ward in the leadoff spot, which makes plenty of sense when noticing the outfielder’s gaudy .381/.509/.762 slash line. He will be rostered in more than 80 percent of leagues by the middle of May.
Tommy Pham (OF, Cincinnati Reds, 28 percent)
Pham is a great short-term addition, as he is heading to baseball’s best park for hitters to face a Rockies staff that has been among the worst in baseball this season. The 34-year-old has a long history of flashing both power and speed, including having compiled 15 homers and 14 steals last year. He should be in most lineups this weekend.
Raimel Tapia (OF, Toronto Blue Jays, 15 percent)
Tapia is a good short-term option for those who need steals in roto leagues. The speedster is starting against all right-handed pitchers in the absence of Teoscar Hernandez, who should miss another week. Tapia has already swiped a couple bags in the time that Hernandez has been on the IL and could pick up another steal when the Blue Jays face a steady stream of righties this weekend.
Drew Rasmussen (SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays, 21 percent)
Rasmussen is the next in a long line of Tampa success stories on the mound, having produced an 18:4 K:BB ratio across his initial four starts this year. He is among the best two-start options for next week, when he toes the rubber for road outings against two manageable lineups (A’s, Mariners).
Tyler Anderson (SP/RP, Los Angeles Dodgers, 20 percent)
Taking a chance on Dodgers pitchers is almost always a good idea, and Anderson perfectly fits the bill right now. The left-hander started the season by piggybacking on those who made short starts, which put him in position to win plenty of games. And with Andrew Heaney on the IL, Anderson is now part of baseball’s most successful rotation. It’s early, but the 32-year-old has career-best marks in many metrics right now. He should be rostered in at least twice as many Yahoo leagues.
Michael King (RP, New York Yankees, 31 percent)
King could make a major fantasy impact as a multi-inning reliever on a winning team. The right-hander has already picked up a save and two wins, while posting outstanding statistics (20:3 K:BB ratio, 0.69 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) across 13 innings. King won’t win you your league, but adding him now is a move that is unlikely to backfire.
Wil Crowe (RP, Pittsburgh Pirates, 13 percent)
To understand Crowe, take everything I said about King and make the slight tweak of pitching for a losing team. The multi-inning reliever has given up just one run in 14.1 innings while collecting a win, a save and 17 strikeouts.