By the time you read this, three days of baseball will have been played. By that time, a gut-wrenching amount of injuries to YOUR team specifically have already occurred. Some are concerning injuries and some are just some guys missing a few games or a pitcher could miss a start. But, never fear, Mr. Grande is here with the best available options on the waiver-wire!
Kendall Graveman, OAK SP (25% ownership), FAAB Bid - $15-18 – Okay, so I understand you’re all automatically going to call me on recency bias, but the addition is a must in all formats. Graveman is fresh off an opening day victory in which he struck out seven over six innings, giving him a very nice 10.5 K/9 to start his campaign, which is nearly five more than his career average. He only struck out 5.2 opponents per nine innings in 2016, so we shouldn’t expect this one start to cloud our thought process. That being said there are a lot of things trending up for him this season. The strikeout total, like I previously mentioned, but also an uptick in velocity. According to Fangraphs, his sinker – primary pitch – is up nearly two miles per hour from 92.7 last season to 94.5 on opening day. Graveman isn’t going to be available for very long, so put in a claim/bid while you still can.
Mark Reynolds, COL 1B (5% ownership), FAAB Bid - $8-10 – Reynolds is by no stretch of the imagination a long-term solution, but until Ian Desmond comes back, he may be your best replacement option. Reynolds 2016 featured a different approach, one that allowed him to post a career .282 mark, but see him dip down to 14 homers in 441 at-bats. That being said, Reynolds peripheral stats were extremely note worthy. Reynolds line drive percentage was 25.4 for the year, which ranked 12 in all of baseball. He also mashed against any pitch that broke in the second half of the season, particularly versus RHP, notching a 1.030 OPS. Reynolds is still instant offense and last time I checked plays at Coors Field for half of his games. Scoop him up as soon as possible!
Dan Straily, MIA SP (19% ownership), FAAB Bid - $12 – Now that Straily has escaped a pitchers cesspoll, I fully expect him to take the next step forward. He's at the top of the Marlins rotation to start the year and is pitching in a far more pitching-friendly park. He dominates left-handed hitting, too. The final 40 lefties he faced in 2016 managed just four hits, which was good for a .100 AVG. His BABIP might be his most impressive number from ‘16, especially after pitching in the Great American (Hitters) Ballpark, posting a .247 mark, which ranked 4th out of all qualified SP in baseball.
Héctor Neris, PHI RP (40% ownership), FAAB Bid - $7-10 – A lot of Yahoo! owners have already caught on that it’s only a matter of time before Neris replaces Jeanmar Gomez as the Phillies closer. Neris was probably the best reliever the Phillies had last year, striking out 102 batters in just 80.1 innings while posting a 1.07 FIP. Gaudy numbers was seemingly Neris’ middle name last season, as the heart of the order struck out in 24-of-53 at-bats against him, which was the second best rate amongst all RP in baseball.
César Hernández, PHI 2B (9% ownership), FAAB Bid - $4-5 – When the Phillies moved Hernandez to the leadoff spot last season; things just seemed to click for the second basemen. He slashed .296/.405/.812 while posting a 124 wRC+ at the top of the lineup. What also plays to Hernandez’s favor was the fact that he was so good on the road last year, but simply mediocre at home. He hit .327 on the road, which was sixth best amongst all qualified players last year, yet just .260 at home in the bandbox that is Citizens Bank Park. If he picks up the pace at home and continues terrorizing pitching away from Philadelphia, he’ll be a lock in all fantasy formats. Also, let’s not forget Hernandez is a threat to steal 20-bases or more, giving him even more fantasy upside.
Sandy León, BOS C (14% ownership) FAAB Bid - $3-5 – Seeing how catcher is one of the weaker positions – if not the weakest – in all of fantasy baseball, Leon is worth the add. Leon’s .307 average from last season would have been tied for the best mark at the position had he been qualified. His .362 wOBA would have also been tied for the position lead with Jonathan Lucroy. He excelled against LHP in ’16 posting a .450 OBP while the league average was .327. Leon may be splitting time behind the dish, but carrying two catchers for when he’s out is worth it.
*ownership percentages courtesy of Yahoo
** FAAB bids based on $100 budget