Week 1 Waiver Wire: 0-25% Owned Pickups

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Baseball is finally back. In light of this, let's give that free agent pool one last look over before the stats start flying.

Here are the best players who are owned in 0-25% of Yahoo leagues. You can see our column on 25-50% owned players as well.

These are your deeper Week 1 waiver wire pickups and adds - players that should be considered as additions to your teams, after your drafts have already been completed.

Editor's note: Get a free one-week MLB Premium Pass including our famous Lineup Optimizer/Generator, Premium Matchup Ratings, DFS Lineups, Cheat Sheets, and 10 other tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Deep League Waiver Wire Adds

Catcher: Cameron Rupp, Philadelphia Phillies (16% owned)

Rupp is mainly keeping the seat warm for prospect Jorge Alfaro, but he did flash some pop last season. He hit 16 homers with a passable .252 batting average and 80 R+RBI. Rupp likely isn't a long-term solution for owners in single-catcher leagues, but he's a viable second catcher in 2C formats.

First Base: Lucas Duda, New York Mets (10%)

Duda missed most of 2016 with injury, but over the prior two seasons, he was 7th among first basemen in home runs, and 12th in both runs and RBI. While he's never going to hit for a high average - his best single-season mark is .253 - the veteran also boasts a career .346 OBP. Assuming health, he's an excellent CI option in 12-team mixers and a viable starter at 1B in deeper and NL-only formats.

Second Base: Cesar Hernandez, Philadelphia Phillies (8%)

Hernandez looked like a utility man when he broke into the majors in 2014, but he’s developed into a player with relevance in many fantasy formats. His plate discipline, contact rate, and contact quality have steadily trended up in the last three years. He earned some criticism for mental lapses on the bases — note the ugly 17-for-30 success rate on stolen base attempts — but he also hit .294/.371/393 with quality defense to turn in a surprising four-win season. Hernandez was 19-for-24 in thefts in 2015, and has been working with coaches to improve that aspect of his game this winter. He will hit near the top of the order,

Third Base: Travis Shaw, Milwaukee Brewers (24%)

Shaw faded badly after a hot start with the Red Sox in 2016. Traded to Milwaukee over the winter, he'll be the starting first baseman and likely hit fifth in a sneaky-good Brewers lineup. While Fenway Park has a well-deserved reputation as a hitters' park, it's actually one of the most difficult parks in the game for lefties to hit a home run. Miller Park is among the best parks for lefty power, and it's not hard to imagine Shaw taking advantage.

Shortstop: Tyler Saladino, Chicago White Sox (14%)

Saladino has picked up some sleeper hype during a torrid spring, but he remains lightly owned. The versatile 27-year-old hit .282 with eight homers and 11 steals in just 319 plate appearances a year ago. Given his minor league track record and the White Sox rebuild, he's likely to run a bit more in 2017, and could see some time near the top of the batting order. Yoan Moncada is the future at second base, but Saladino has the job right now, and he could provide double-digit pop with 20+ stolen bases to go with his eligibility at three positions.

Corner Infield: Yangervis Solarte, San Diego Padres (14%)

If you've ever read my work before, you probably knew this was coming. I've been beating the Solarte drum since 2015, after all. The veteran doesn't have enough foot speed to take advantage of the Padres' aggressive basestealing philosophy, but hits well enough to land a spot in the middle of their lineup: .286/.341/.467 last season, with 15 homers and 126 R+RBI in just 109 games. Injury cost him some time, as did the tragic death of his wife. The latter is just another reason to root for the guy.

Middle Infield: Chris Owings, Arizona Diamondbacks (10%)

Owings will open the year as the starting shortstop in Arizona, and he's hitting second in their first game. There's not much pop here, but Owings swiped 21 bags in 23 attempts last year. With the current dearth of speed in the game, he's an intriguing sleeper at short and free to add in 90 percent of Yahoo league at the moment. If he can hit enough to stick in the 2-hole, he'll be sandwiched between A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt. That's a nice place to be. Like many of the guys we're discussing today, Owings offers flexibility as well, since he's eligibile in the outfield.

Outfield: Steve Pearce, Toronto Blue Jays (12%)

The release of Melvin Upton makes it clear that the Jays will give Pearce every opportunity to run with the starting job in left field. He also carries eligibility at first and second base, and given that Devon Travis can't stay healthy and Justin Smoak is terrible, he could easily see time at either position. Pearce has never logged 400 plate appearances in a season before, but has a great chance to do so in 2017. He's hit .267/.347/.493 with 49 homers in just 279 games over the last three seasons. If he can come close to that level over a full slate, he'll be a fantastic value.

Outfield: Travis Jankowski, San Diego Padres (8%)

If speed's what you need, consider Jankowski. He strikes out too much to hit for average despite his quickness and doesn't have much power, but Jankowski does the starting job in left field. He swiped 30 bags as a part-timer in 2016. Jankowski does get on base at a good clip thanks to a double-digit walk rate, so if the playing time holds up, 40-50 stolen bases are attainable.

Starting Pitcher: Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves (19%)

The former first-round pick hasn't quite lived up to the hype, but Foltynewicz has improved every season in the big leagues. He also seems to have developed his changeup into a viable third offering, which should allow him to stick in the rotation. His blazing fastball and slider have led some to conclude his future is in the bullpen. If the Braves were to make that move, Folty could be in line for some saves. For now, he's a solid back-end fantasy starter with upside for more.

Starting Pitcher: Daniel Norris, Detroit Tigers (12%)

Norris was one of just 19 starters who logged a strikeout per inning and walked fewer than three batters per nine. Most of the guys in that group are bona fide aces. Of course, Norris was the only player in the group who failed to log 100 innings, and he also had trouble with home runs and hard contact. But the former top prospect is just 23 and carries plenty of upside.

Relief Pitcher: Hector Rondon, Chicago Cubs (15%)

By virtually any measure, Rondon has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the last three seasons. He has served as the Cubs' closer for the bulk of that time, but the defending champs opted to bring in Wade Davis via trade to handle closing duties. Davis had some arm troubles last season, though, and is coming off an extremely shaky spring. Rondon could find himself back in the ninth if Davis stumbles, and can bolster your ratios even as a set-up man.

Relief Pitcher: Jason Grilli, Toronto Blue Jays (18%)

Grilli had command issues last season that led to inflated walk and home run rates, but he logged a 12.0 K/9 for the second straight year and fourth time in five seasons. With Roberto Osuna on the disabled list to begin the year, Grilli will take the closer baton in Toronto for at least a couple of weeks.

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds


Check out RotoBaller's entire 2017 fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!