With an abbreviated schedule, fantasy managers will need to get aggressive on the waiver wire this year. Whether needing power, speed, strikeouts or saves, here is a wide array of options that are available in more than half of Yahoo leagues.
Jesus Aguilar, MIA (1B, 20 percent rostered)
As recently as 2018, Aguilar was an absolute fantasy stud who hit .274 with 35 homers and 108 RBIs. The slugger struggled out of the gate last year, but he also dealt with poor batted-ball luck and was moved to a part-time role rather than afforded an extended opportunity to work his way out of a slump. Now set in stone as a primary piece of the Marlins lineup, Aguilar has thus far produced a .975 OPS and should be a solid source of counting stats.
Shin-Soo Choo, TEX (OF, 43 percent)
Choo is off to a slow start (.213 average, .747 OPS) and could become even more widely available in the coming days. I’m including him in this space in an effort to persuade fantasy managers to give him more time, as the 38-year-old has been consistently undervalued in recent years. Choo has averaged 22 homers and 11 steals across the previous three seasons, and he always scores plenty of runs from his perch atop the Rangers lineup.
Dylan Carlson, STL (OF, 27 percent)
Carlson is expected to make his Major League debut when the Cardinals return to action, which is great news for fantasy managers who could use a power-speed threat in the outfield. The youngster was dynamite across the two highest levels of the Minors last year, hitting .292 with 26 homers, 20 steals, and a .914 OPS. The Cardinals have holes in the outfield and plenty of games to make up, which will give Carlson many chances to showcase his skills.
Jesse Winker, CIN (OF, 17%)
The addition of the DH in the National League has removed an outfield logjam in Cincinnati and given Winker his opportunity to shine. And the 26-year-old has taken full advantage of late, going 9-for-13 with three homers across his past four games. The lefty slugger has also made some strides to shed his platoon-candidate label, having had great success in limited opportunities against southpaws this year.
Anthony Santander, BAL (OF, 38%)
Consistently hitting out of prime spots in a lineup that has been more productive than expected, Santander deserves far more fantasy attention. The 25-year-old is coming off a season in which he produced 20 homers and 59 RBIs in 380 at-bats, and he could rank among the American League leaders in RBIs this season after compiling 19 in his initial 18 games.
Nick Solak, TEX (2B/3B/OF, 24%)
After opening the season as a part-time player, Solak has been getting regular opportunities in recent days. And the 25-year-old has responded well to an increased role, going 8-for-18 since August 9. He has also shown a bit of speed (a precious commodity this year), with three steals so far. With injuries and COVID cases impacting fantasy squads, multi-position assets such as Solak are terrific bench assets.
Framber Valdez, HOU (SP/RP, 38%)
After having some success across 37 innings in 2018 (2.19 ERA, 1.24 WHIP), Valdez stumbled last year (5.86 ERA, 1.67 WHIP). But the southpaw seems to have figured things out in his third season, posting stellar ratios (2.04 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) across 17.2 innings. His peripheral numbers offer more reason to believe in a breakout, including a 19:3 K:BB ratio and a sustainable .313 BABIP allowed. Despite Houston’s stumbles of late, this remains a favorable situation for starting pitchers that includes a talented lineup, strong defense, and offense-suppressing home park.
MacKenzie Gore, SD (SP, 19%)
I’m not going out too far on a limb by predicting that Gore will make his Major League debut sooner rather than later. The Padres have been aggressive in promoting their prospects in recent years, and the club now has more incentive than ever while sitting high in the standings during a season with an expanded post-season field. Considered by some to be baseball’s best pitching prospect, Gore owns stellar career Minor League numbers (2.56 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 12.0 K/9 rate) and should hit the ground running. The time to stash him is now.
Garrett Richards, SD (SP, 38%)
Richards is off to a solid start this season (3.74 ERA, 1.25 WHIP), and his stats look much better when noticing that he struggled at Coors Field and in a tough matchup with the Dodgers. The right-hander has a solid upcoming schedule and will pitch in offense-suppressing parks for the foreseeable future. In fact, he is on pace to be the only member of San Diego’s rotation who will miss a four-game series in Colorado at the end of this month.
Chad Green, NYY (RP, 38%)
I’m using Green as a place holder to represent the many middle relievers who can help fantasy teams right now. Pitcher injuries are at an all-time high for this point in the season, and many teams are covering multiple rotation spots with hurlers who are expected to throw fewer than five frames. It’s no surprise that fantasy managers are struggling to fill out their pitching staff, and talented setup men such as Green should be desired assets. When you finish this article, look at your staff and ask yourself if you could use someone who has two wins, 15 whiffs, a 0.82 ERA and a 0.36 WHIP. Then go and pick up Green, or James Karinchak, or Joakim Soria or one of the other high-volume setup men.