6 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 2
One of the most difficult things about baseball's offseason is predicting volume for the upcoming year. You don't know whether a certain guy is going to be facing only lefties, if he's going to bat ninth, or if he won't bat at all. That is no longer an issue.
The first week of the season might not provide us a whole lot as far as statistical analysis, but it can at least give us a glimpse at the projected usage of a player. Because of that, it's time to pounce on that waiver wire and snatch the hot buys before your annoying coworker who takes things way too seriously does.
Here are the guys I'd be looking to add right now. These aren't necessarily guys with crazy breakout potential, but they should be able to provide value simply because of the roles they are serving.
Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
I know I mentioned Dalton Pompey in my pre-season waiver column, but things have changed since then. First of all, he has hit second in the Jays' lineup each of the past three days. Second, his ownership has actually dropped to 10.0 percent in ESPN leagues from around 34.0 percent last week. Let's correct that.
My biggest hesitation with adding Pompey was volume because he was hitting at the bottom of the order. Now, that is not a concern. My only guess is that people are off the Pompey train because of his slow start to the season, which is no bueno.
This is a guy who posted a slugging percentage greater than .450 at each level he stopped last year (going from high-A to double-A to triple-A). He's not going to do that this year. But the value he'll provide from the two-hole of such a potent lineup is so much greater than 10 percent ownership. This is especially true in a league where you're hunting steals, as he had 54 of those babies last year.
Nori Aoki, OF, San Francisco Giants
He's a leadoff guy. His offense isn't totally incompetent once Hunter Pence gets back. He'll get you on base. I'm sold.
Nori Aoki isn't some crazy prospect prodigy who is likely to blast a bunch of bombs and light the world on fire. However, in his three seasons in the big leagues, his on-base percentage has never deviated from the .349 to .356 range. That's consistency out the yang.
He'll chip in the occasional stolen base, and any leadoff hitter in a lineup that includes Buster Posey is going to score runs. This is enough to justify adding Aoki if you're looking for a patch in the outfield.
Dexter Fowler, OF, Chicago Cubs
I honestly don't blame people for not owning Dexter Fowler right now. The Cubs have been held to two or fewer runs in three of their five games. Things are about to change on the North Side, though.
The eventual addition of Kris Bryant isn't going to turn the Cubs' offense into a juggernaut magically, but you know for sure that having him hit wherever he ends up will be better than having Mike Olt or Chris Coghlan batting fifth.
Fowler might not be the guy for you if you're looking for a one-week flier. His value is more beyond that. However, I think that once Bryant is called up, Fowler will start to jump off of waivers. If you want to add him for the value he'll provide in May, it would be prudent to get him now.
Mark Canha, 1B, Oakland Athletics
The Athletics are finding ways to get Mark Canha in the lineup. You should do the same with yours.
If things keep going as they are, Canha should have outfield eligibility in the near future. As long as he continues to get consistent at-bats near the top of the order, he's going to provide production. He hit .303/.384/.505 at triple-A with the Marlins last year to go with 20 home runs, and that's pop that not a lot of other people on Oakland's roster have.
The fear here is obviously that Canha's volume would decrease with the return of Coco Crisp. However, it seems that with him hitting near the top of the order recently, he's a guy the A's want at the dish. That would give me enough confidence to pull the trigger.
Drew Pomeranz, SP/RP, Oakland Athletics
It's hard to put a ton of stock into Drew Pomeranz's first start of the year because it was against the Mariners, who have the lowest on-base percentage of any team in the Majors at this point. It was more just a continuation of what has been an impressive past two seasons for the lefty.
Although it was only over 52.1 innings, Pomeranz had a 2.58 ERA and a 3.67 FIP until he got bumped out of the starting rotation last year. He's not going to get a huge number of strikeouts or have a sub-3.00 ERA for the season, but he can get you quality innings without blowing up your rate stats in roto leagues.
Another reason I like Pomeranz as a waiver-wire guy is that he has both starting and relief eligibility on both ESPN and Yahoo. I hate relievers with a fervent passion and would much rather just stream starters. Pomeranz isn't a two-start guy this week, but I feel that he's good enough to be a pick up worthy of a rest-of-season look until he proves otherwise.
Archie Bradley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Normally, I would never add a pitcher whose home park is as frustratingly hitter-friendly as Archie Bradley's. However, if I'm in a league with a deep bench where I can afford to snatch a guy and wait before fully deploying him, I'd probably give Bradley a look-see.
Bradley was the seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft and reached the Majors in his age-22 season. It's not a question of whether he has talent but whether he has fantasy value from the outset. Even after six shutout innings at Chase Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers, I'm not totally sold that he does. This is a situation where I want that high potential on my bench just in case.
There's a chance it ends up blowing up in your face and Bradley conforms to the mediocrity that is Diamondbacks pitching. But if he pitches like his top-prospect ranking would suggest, then you would get a serious bargain early off of waivers.