Week 1 Waiver Wire: 25-50% Owned Pickups

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Wow, we're really here. After all this time, baseball is truly back. Happy Opening Day RotoBallers!

In light of this, let's give that free agent pool one last look over before the stats start flying. Today, we'll look at players who are owned in 25-50% of Yahoo leagues and see who stands out. You can see our deeper leagues list of 0-25% owned players as well.

These are your 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: Our friends at DraftEasy are giving you a FREE shot to win $50. Just pick four correct NFL player matchups and win! Try It Now!

 

25-50% Owned Waiver Wire Adds

Catcher

Matt Wieters - 49%

Wieters was sitting at 50% until he signed with Washington, which made Derek Norris promptly drop him from his team. In all seriousness, Wieters is still a sturdy asset at C even if the days of dreaming for him to hit some insane ceiling are likely behind us. He swings a 20-homer bat if given roughly 500 plate appearances, which may be a tad high for what Washington wants out of him but it's a rather fair estimation if his health holds up. Perhaps the ownership is simply suppressed here by those eager-beaver leagues that drafted before he was signed.

Stephen Vogt - 44%

Vogt has been working more on staying patient at the dish and trying to get away from the poor form that resulted from expanding the zone in 2016. This cut his 11% walk rate in 2015 to 6.6%. While Vogt’s strikeout rate actually fell from 19% to 15.6% last season, his swinging-strike rate went up from 6.8% to 7.3% and his O-Swing rate (swinging at pitches out of the zone) went from 29.6% to 32.5%. Look for him to be a solid bounceback candidate in 2017 that can be had for peanuts.

 

First Base

Tommy Joseph - 42%

The former catcher bashed 21 homrs in only 347 PAs last season, largely due to splitting time with the Ryan Howard Farewell Tour experience, but 2017 will be Tommy Time. His 18.9% HR/FB rate really isn’t a prime regression candidate considering he is a fly-ball heavy hitter with a loud 36.6% hard-hit rate. While his average may hover around the .240-.260 range, he is a legitimate 30-homer bat that gets to hit in the middle of an up-and-coming Philly offense.

C.J. Cron - 31%

Cron had a lot going for him heading into 2017 before the Luis Valbuena signing, which clogs up the 1B position for the Angels. Albert Pujols will be the everyday DH, meaning Cron and his rising bat will be forced into split duties. The good news here, for Cron at least, is that Valbuena will start the season on the DL and give CJ a chance to grab the lion’s share of the playing time moving forward. If he can maintain last season’s batted-ball growth (+4.9% hard-hit rate, -3.4% K rate) then he could help stave off those April showers.

 

Second Base

Neil Walker - 45%

Walker tied a career-high mark in homers in 2016, notching 23 blasts in only 458 PAs – a feat he required 571 PAs to do the first time (in 2014). While he doesn’t jump off the page as spectacular or offer the ceiling/potential that someone in their 20s can yield, this veteran can still provide healthy stats out of the keystone position. It’s not sexy, but this is the kind of bat that can provide solid production from your middle infield slot.

Ryan Schimpf - 30%

Schimpf has won the San Diego hot corner job, meaning he’ll get everyday at-bats to flex that ridiculous muscle of his. Okay, so there’s no way that he replicates his absurd 64.9% fly ball rate and that .315 ISO will probably come down. But this is a guy who has mashed in the Minors only to be left without a starting job in Toronto before a trade to the Padres gave way to opportunity in 2016. He will suck your average dry, but those in need of power should tap the Jumbo Schrimpf.

 

Third Base

Eugenio Suarez - 47%

Suarez offers five-category potential in the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ballpark, as his 9.8% swinging-strike rate really doesn’t mesh with a lofty 24.7% strikeout rate. He’s got the contact skills to be more of a .265-type hitter, with the upside of the .280 that he flashed in his 2015 debut. With a 20-homer bat and 10+ steal legs, don’t be afraid to see what Suarez can put together in his second full season.

Pablo Sandoval - 34%

Don’t look now, but Sandoval has actually been pretty monstrous this spring. His ST line came out to be .338/.348/.677 as he rode seven doubles and five homers en route to 20 RBIs. I realize he still needs to show that he can handle the true MLB-level stuff again, but this is a guy who knows he’s beginning his make-or-break campaign in the Majors. Given Boston’s power-friendly lineup and park, he could pay off nicely for owners in deeper formats.

 

Shortstop

Jose Reyes - 42%

It didn’t take long for a starting role to be cleared for Reyes, as it became pretty apparent that David Wright wouldn’t be able to take the field for the Metropolitans to open 2016. In the NL, that means you can’t play. While extrapolating Reyes’ eight homers from only 279 PAs last season would be unwise, he may be one of those veterans that starts to trade in some average for pop. With 25-steal wheels still on the car, he should be a nice contributor to open up the ’17 season.

Asdrubal Cabrera - 26%

And if Reyes doesn’t float your boat, then you can just move roughly 60 feet to his teammate Asdrubal Cabrera! While he’ll never be the same guy that he was before that gruesome leg injury in 2013, Cabrera finally tapped back into his power in ’16 – giving us a 23-homer season with a .280 average. His 14% HR/FB rate was only the second time in his career where he’d topped double digits (13.3% in 2011 – when he hit 25 homers). Don’t expect the exact same season, but 18-20 homers with a healthy average and a few steals is well within reason.

 

Outfield

Jarrod Dyson - 38%

Well, well. Look who played themselves into a real starting job. Not only that, but even a piece of the leadoff action! The speedy Dyson has long flashed his plus wheels in limited duty for Kansas City, but now finds himself in a chance to show off on a nightly basis as the everyday centerfielder for Seattle thanks to a hot spring (.289, 5-for-5 on stolen-base attempts). While Jean Segura will leadoff against righties, Dyson will get that honor against lefties, giving him even more opportunities to deliver a solid average while flirting with 40+ steals.

Corey Dickerson - 32%

Dickerson lost 25 pounds this offseason thanks to a workout regimen centered on flexibility and core training, which has looked pretty good for him thus far. His spring yielded a .379/.410/.603 triple slash with four homers, and with last season’s .245 average likely to rebound a bit alongside the 25-homer power, the Tampa slugger becomes a nice “not only a power guy” option.

 

Starting Pitcher

Robert Gsellman - 41%

Gsellman has been popping up everywhere, but it’d be disingenuous to skip over the guy considering he’s right in the wheelhouse of where we’re investigating with ownership levels. With the Mets’ rotation already ailing, work really should be a concern here. Many are simply wondering just how much of last season’s 2.42 ERA was an illusion. His 2.63 FIP says barely any, though his 3.38 xFIP and 3.76 SIERA say there’s some giveback here. View him as a 3.60 ERA guy and be pleasantly surprised instead, though it is nice that he’s posted a 2.31 spring ERA with 23 1/3 strong innings – though his modest 15 Ks in those frames do point to his limits in that department.

Hyun-Jin Ryu - 26%

Look, if you’re going to pick him up then you need to do it now – while he’s still healthy. After posting strong numbers in his first two state-side seasons in 2013-14, Ryu missed all of 2015 and practically all of ’16 as well with injuries. He’s won out a rotation slot in ’17 on the heels of a 2.57 spring ERA (14 innings) where he posted a lovely 12-to-1 K:BB ratio to back the ERA. Pitching for the Dodgers never hurts, as Yasmani Grandal is one of the best pitch-receivers in the game on top of that potent offense. Have a next move planned out in case he gets hurt, but for now Ryu could be a nice early-season add.

 

Relief Pitcher

Hector Neris - 44%

Neris burst onto the scene in 2016 to the tune of a 2.58 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 2.95 SIERA and 102 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings of work. While he had been solid in 2015 as well (3.79 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 3.18 SIERA, 41 Ks in 40 1/3 IP) this was a new level of good. Unfortunately, the Phils kept Jeanmar Gomez in the closer’s role all season long anyway – driving some to wonder if they just wanted to keep Neris’ arbitration cost down. If that the case again in 2017 then perhaps Joaquin Benoit would get first crack at the ninth should Gomez stumble, but Neris will still be plenty useful to all owners as a healthy source of Ks and ratio relief.

Matt Bush - 26%

This is a guy who throws absolute gas – something Texas’ current closer, Sam Dyson, does not do. While Dyson has the job for now, Bush profiles much more as the prototypical closer with his high-90s fastball and solid breaking pitches to complement it with. He isn’t wild either, as his 2.04 BB/9 allowed him to avoid scary situations and kept his WHIP below 1.00 (0.94). He’ll be useful even if he never gets a chance to close, but he’s worth snagging just in case.

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds


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