Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 1
It's waiver time. One of the keys to any fantasy success is not only nailing your draft, but scouring that waiver wire for players that you can add to give your team a boost.
The four players below are all owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues and could give your squad a lift as you start off the season. It's never too early to consider some adds and drops for your team.
Eric Lauer - San Diego Padres (SP)
Yahoo Ownership: 36%
It's not often that you can add a team's ace to your roster off the waiver wire, but Eric Lauer is just that coming out of the opening half-week of fantasy baseball. Leading the San Diego Padres rotation, Lauer spun six scoreless innings in his 2019 debut in a season-opening win over the San Francisco Giants.
Lauer's resume from last season may not jump off the page. In his cup of coffee, the southpaw recorded a 4.34 ERA and mediocre 19.8% strikeout rate over 112 innings pitched. But Lauer has shown plenty of swing-and-miss ability with a strikeout rate exceeding 25.0% in six of his seven minor league stops, and he pitches for a revamped offense in a fantastic pitcher's ballpark.
If your rotation needs a boost, peep Lauer.
Ryan McMahon - Colorado Rockies (1B/2B)
Yahoo Ownership: 47%
After fracturing his index finger on his left hand, Daniel Murphy will head to the Injured List for the Colorado Rockies. That opens some playing time for slugger Ryan McMahon, who had appeared to be in a platoon for the second base job with Garrett Hampson (more on him later).
Make no bones about it -- McMahon was buzzy this spring but with trepidation. In 202 plate appearances in 2018, he was downright awful -- whiffing 31.7% of the time with a .296 wOBA -- and didn't seem to be sticking in a major league role.
But after smashing the cover off the ball in the spring, McMahon has had a solid start out of the gate, recording a .386 wOBA in his first 16 plate appearances. What really gets your juices flowing, though, are the 20 homers and .239 isolated power (ISO) a year ago, along with the advantage of hitting in a ballpark ranked second in park factor in 2018.
Garrett Hampson - Colorado Rockies (SS/2B)
Yahoo Ownership: 42%
Many of the reasons to be bullish on Ryan McMahon are the same reasons to be bullish on Garrett Hampson. Hampson, however, has a bit of a different profile, which is important to note as you consider your waiver adds.
If you're looking for speed, Hampson is a burner. The Long Beach State product swiped 36 bags in only 68 games in 2016, and added 51 bags in 127 games in 2017. The speed is legit.
What makes Hampson even more interesting is that he isn't just a one-trick pony -- he adds a modicum of pop to his resume, hitting 10 home runs over two stops in the minor. He's also walked over 9.0% of the time in every stop, making him a valuable on-base, run-scoring machine.
Now is the time for Hampson to showcase his stuff, and if you need some middle infield help, he could be a great add.
Brad Keller - Kansas City Royals (SP)
Yahoo Ownership: 45%
After working his way through the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization, Brad Keller was sniped by the Kansas City Royals in the Rule V draft. In 140 1/3 innings pitched, Keller acquitted himself pretty well, recording a 3.08 ERA with a 54.4% ground-ball rate in 2018.
While Keller doesn't strike out a ton of hitters (a 16.5% mark last year), this back-end starter pitches in one of the most offensively-challenged divisions in baseball, as the Detroit Tigers (whom he faces this week) and Cleveland Indians currently rank as the two worst offenses in terms of wOBA, albeit in a very small sample size.
Without a pile of starting pitching options at the Royals' disposal, and garnering this year's Opening Day start, Keller should be in line for a heavy workload. He is likely worth a flier for most starting rotations.