Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 2
Sometimes, a highly touted prospect bursts onto the scene, is called to the Majors, and makes an immediate impact. Sometimes these guys get to the big leagues at a very young age and open everyone's eyes by how quickly they adapt to being a Major League player.
Other players show they have the potential in the upper minors but are blocked from reaching the big leagues by an existing player. In that case, it requires an injury or a trade for that prospect to finally get his shot.
And sometimes a highly touted prospect gets a brief taste in the Majors and fizzles in his first opportunity to impress.
The last two items are ones that apply to Texas Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo, who has seemingly been a monster power prospect for years, and is now getting a chance to show off his prodigious power (and prodigious strikeout rate) in the absence of Adrian Beltre.
Gallo leads this week's waiver wire adds, even if his long-term future is up in the air with Beltre slated to return sometime in the next few weeks.
Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers
ESPN Percentage Owned: 8.2%
Look, Gallo is not going to be your batting average guy. He's going to be your power and homer guy. And in the season's first week, he's shown off quite a little bit of both.
There are not many humans who can put the baseball up that high and far. Yeah, he's a strikeout machine, whiffing in 39.1% of his plate appearances so far, but the hope is that will come down a bit as he gets more experience. Even in the minors he struck out 30 to 40% of the time.
Gallo has two bombs already, and the hope is his slugging and walks are enough to compensate for the low average and high whiff rate. He's a young prospect worth stashing on the bench and starting in deeper leagues.
Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres
ESPN Percentage Owned: 45.9%
The San Diego Padres are going to be really bad this year. We're talking 110-loss territory bad. But that doesn't mean there aren't some intriguing young players that could make San Diego fun to watch.
One of those players is outfielder Manuel Margot, the star prospect acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade. Last year in 124 games at AAA, he hit .304/.351/.426 with 30 stolen bases, 6 homers, and 98 runs scored. This year, he's off to a fast start with the Padres, showing surprising power in the early going.
Margot already has a multi-homer game to his credit and is hitting .286/.333/.607 in his first 37 plate appearances this season.
Don't expect the dingers to continue at this rate, but Margot is one of the more exciting young players in baseball and a great prospective fantasy option.
Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Washington Nationals
ESPN Percentage Owned: 13.2%
Ryan Zimmerman was an interesting fellow last season.
Injuries have been a major thorn in the side of the Washington Nationals' first baseman over the last few seasons. In 2016, he played in just 115 games and batted a meager .218/.272/.370 with 15 homers and a very weak weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of 67 (league average is 100). However, even though his numbers were bad, he was among the league leaders in exit velocity, averaging 93.7 miles per hour, 14th-best among all Major Leaguers.
The problem with Zimmerman was he was hitting most of those rockets on the ground, with 48.6% of his batted balls on the ground. This year, like many Major Leaguers, he's focused on elevating the ball, and it's working. He's lowered his ground ball percentage to 42.9%, and his line drive rate has jumped from 16.7% to 21.4%, giving him 3 home runs already this year and a slash line of .333/.364/.810.
If he can continue to keep the ball off the ground, those rockets that turned into outs last year will be extra base hits, making him a valuable free agent addition.
Hector Neris, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
ESPN Percentage Owned: 39.3%
The most likely candidate to replace him is probably Hector Neris, a fire-balling right-hander with a devastating split-finger pitch that helped him strike out 11.43 batters per nine innings last year, with a 2.58 ERA and a Skill Interactive ERA (SIERA) of 2.95.
Already this season, Neris has been rock solid, yet to give up a run in three appearances, with 4 strikeouts and 1 walk. If not Neris, Joaquin Benoit is the other relief pitcher most likely to get save opportunities for the Phillies. But Neris is the more likely choice.
Robert Gsellman, SP, New York Mets
ESPN Percentage Owned: 28.2%
New York Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman has been a fantasy riser over the last month after having a terrific spring and earning a spot in the Mets' rotation. Much of that is due to the continued injury issues of Steven Matz, but Gsellman has some pretty good stuff of his own about which to brag.
He has a pretty good fastball that averages about 93 miles per hour that can ramp up into the mid-90s, and he has a curveball and change up that he mixes in as well. He's had one start this year so far, a 6-inning effort in which he gave up 3 runs but struck out 8 and walked 2.
There are differing opinions of Gsellman's ability, but he's certainly worth a waiver wire add. He'll only get one start this week, against the Miami Marlins, which features a tough lineup. But it's possible the Mets have found themselves another plus-arm for their rotation, and if they have, you're going to want to get in on the ground floor now.