Welcome to the Week 1 Waiver Wire Watch List. Each week we’ll be updating this list full of players who may not be quite ready to be picked up (depending on your league size and format), but who need to be on your radar. We’ll look at eight players each week and keep tabs on players “graduating” into the waiver wire pickups category, as well as players demoted off the list entirely.
In the initial list, we have 54 players across all positions and available in a variety of leagues. There are four tiers, with Yahoo ownership providing a general guide for what players should be watched in what sized leagues.
This is a general guide more than an exact science, as there may well be a player in the “16-team league” tier who you want to watch even in your ten-team league. That being said, we will focus on two players from each tier, so as to hopefully cover you no matter what size of league you play.Editor's note: Get 50% off any MLB Premium Pass. Draft guide, cheat sheets, 200 days of DFS access, and over 20 premium tools. Dominate your leagues all year long! Sign Up Now!
You’ll notice there are more hitters than pitchers in the list, especially among the younger names on this list. The reason is two-fold. First, young hitters are much more reliable than young pitchers. They find success earlier, and if they truly implode, they hurt your team a lot less. Second, there are a lot of decent streaming options for pitchers in most leagues because of how popular this tactic has become among fantasy players. Those players are designated to the waiver wire or streaming articles on RotoBaller rather than this Watch List.
If there are any names who you’d like to see highlighted next week, or even just added to the list as a whole, feel free to at me on Twitter (@FantasyBaseTurv). Let’s get this show on the road.
Players to Watch in 10-team Leagues
Based on standard 10-team league rosters:
Shaw has had an excellent start to the 2017 season, hitting .417 in the extremely small three-game sample. Shaw has five hits, all five of which have been extra base hits (four doubles; one homer), as he is flashing some of that nice pop early this season. With the Brewers set to play in quite a few high-scoring games, Shaw is a nice option who can play either 1B or 3B. Shaw has five RBI and two R so far, and he fits nicely into the fifth spot in a surprisingly powerful Brewer lineup. Shaw isn’t the highest ceiling player out there on the waiver wire, but his floor is as high as any. He stays healthy, he’s guaranteed a spot in the lineup, and he’s not prone to slumps. He’s a nice safe player if you have a team full of lottery tickets.
Anderson made his 2017 debut on Tuesday and it didn’t quite go as he (and his fantasy owners) would have planned. Anderson gave up five runs to the Milwaukee Brewers over the course of 5.2 innings, and he did not factor in the decision. The news was a lot better just below the surface, though, as Anderson struck out eight, walked just one, and suffered some bad luck. One game sample caveat noted, the Brewers sported a .500 BABIP against Anderson, and he was only able to leave 52.6% of batters on base (league average in 2016 was 72.9%). Overall, don’t be worried about Anderson’s first start, he is still worth streaming when pitching on the road.
Players to Watch in 12-team Leagues
Based on standard 12-team league rosters:
Duda is one of a few players highlighted today in the “roster when healthy” category. Duda isn’t worth a draft pick in many fantasy leagues because of how questionable he is to even play 120 games. However, when he is healthy, Duda has plenty of value. A big bat in the Mets lineup, Duda already has three RBI this season. Duda has a career ISO of .203 - a very serviceable number for a power hitter of his ilk. Duda can draw walks and hit home runs for you, something not too many players with ownership as low as his can say.
With Ian Desmond out for the foreseeable future, Reynolds has a great opportunity in front of him. Tasked with first base and the number seven spot in the Rockies lineup for now, he has responded with six hits and two walks in 13 plate appearances. They have been productive at bats as well, with a home run, three doubles, two runs, and five RBI through just three games (he has started every game). Reynolds posted a surprisingly strong 25.8% line drive rate last season, and having his home games in Coors Field only adds to his allure. He may well be relegated to the bench when Desmond comes back, but he’s got the 1B job for now, so watch out.
Players to Watch in 14-team Leagues
Cesar Hernandez 9%
C.C. Sabathia 9%
Sabathia threw his season debut Tuesday and was impressive, nabbing his 224th career victory thanks to five shutout innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. Sabathia struck out just two, but he once again thrived at limiting hard contact. Sabathia was able to have a bounceback 2016 thanks in large part to limiting hard contact. Among qualified pitchers, only Kyle Hendricks induced more soft contact than C.C. (per FanGraphs), while only Tanner Roark allowed less hard contact. It’s hard to be a truly bad pitcher with those ranks. Sabathia isn’t going to win any more Cy Young awards or strikeout titles, but he can still have value in deeper leagues thanks to his newfound skill.
Sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words.
— #Statcast (@statcast) April 5, 2017
Gallo may lose his starting gig at third base (and possibly his spot on the big-league roster) when Adrian Beltre returns from the DL, but he’s certainly going to be fun to watch while he’s at the major league level. Gallo has the added bonus of likely being able to fill your N/A slot once Beltre returns, so you can stash him for a probable late-season call up.
Players to Watch in AL or NL-Only Leagues
Diaz is one of the few top prospects who has gotten the opportunity to start the 2017 season with the big-league ball club. He is currently 3-for-12 in the young season, and he deserves to have your attention due to his potential to do even more. He hit .325 in Triple-A last season, and maybe more impressively, the top Google suggestion when you type his name is “Yandy Diaz… jacked.” That’s worth at least a stash on your watch list.
Lowrie, similar to Duda, is a player who has a lot more value than many realize when he is healthy. This is a 2B with a career .143 ISO, who is prone to massive outbursts of production (before getting injured/going into a deep, deep slump). Right now Lowrie looks like he’s fresh with the new season, and before last night's game he was already slashing .625/.625/1.125 with a homer, three runs, and an RBI. He’ll demand to be cut by June at the latest, but when he’s hot, there aren’t a lot of middle infielders more dangerous than Lowrie.