Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 1
Baseball is back! Spring is here. Opening Day has graced us with her beautiful presence, and that means it is time to roll up our sleeves and take a peek at the waiver wire in our quest to find fantasy baseball glory in 2018.
Most fantasy drafts were done before today, but that doesn't mean you should be sleeping on your roster.
The four players below are all owned in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues, and could give your squad a shot in the arm as the season gets underway.
Yasmani Grandal - Los Angeles Dodgers (C)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 45.0%
Locked in a playing time battle with Austin Barnes at catcher, Yasmani Grandal has obliterated spring pitching for five jacks and an 1.132 OPS. Now, referencing spring stats should always be taken with a grain of salt, but it's certainly a positive sign. Meanwhile, Barnes has been dreadful this spring (4 hits in 36 at bats).
Grandal and Barnes are likely to split some catching duties in the future, but given the overall lack of quality at the catcher spot, this could be a nice boost to your squad. The 29-year-old Grandal has bopped double-digit homers in each of the last two seasons with the Dodgers.
Hanley Ramirez - Boston Red Sox (1B)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 43.8%
Last year was a rough one for Hanley Ramirez, as he posted the second-lowest wRC+ (93) and slugging percentage (.429) of his career. Could Father Time be catching up to the 34-year-old, or could he be due for a bounce-back campaign?
It seems more likely that Ramirez was simply hindered by injuries in 2017. Now, after undergoing offseason surgery, Ramirez could be slated for a middle-of-the-lineup slot between studs like Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. Despite those nagging injuries, Ramirez still popped 23 long balls this past season. If you are looking to add some pop to your lineup, check to see if he's on your league's wire.
Dominic Leone - St. Louis Cardinals (RP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 34.4%
Still relatively under-owned, offseason acquisition Dominic Leone is going to be thrust into the limelight of the closer's role immediately -- thanks to a recent injury to presumed closer Luke Gregerson. Gregerson's hamstring issue will give Leone some additional value for saves, but can he hold on to the role?
All signs point to yes. As a member of the Toronto Blue Jays last season, Leone posted an impressive 29.0% strikeout rate over 70 1/3 innings pitched, including a .199 batting average against. If you are looking for some relief help, and an arm that could take command of a closer's role, look no further than Leone.
Steven Matz - New York Mets (SP)
ESPN Percentage Owned: 15.5%
Thanks to elbow surgery and a variety of other injuries, Steven Matz was limited to 83 innings last year, and he struggled mightily. He pitched to the tune of a 6.08 ERA and a career-worst 16.1% strikeout rate. Spring Training didn't exactly get off to a booming start either, as Matz allowed 10 runs over his first 1 2/3 innings pitched.
But Matz seems to be rounding into form. Over the lefty's last four outings, he's posted a microscopic 1.96 ERA, and he's now got 21 strikeouts in 20 spring innings. Matz is certainly a risky option, but if he continues to pitch like he has in recent appearances, he could be well on his way to a bounce-back 2018.