With MLB's Opening Day kicking off on Thursday and many 2022 fantasy baseball drafts already in the books, it is never too early to check out who is available on your league's fantasy baseball waiver wire. With news that many MLB top prospects such as Julio Rodríguez and Spencer Torkelson finding themselves making the opening day roster there is potential for them to be available in your league's player pool to add. While those are two of the more popular players, let's check out some other top waiver wire pickups that should be on your radar heading into Opening Day.
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Must Adds
Top Waiver Wire Hitters
CJ Abrams, SS (SD)
FAAB Bid: 10%
I was tempted to go higher here, but at this point, all we have is speculation that CJ Abrams will be heading north with the Padres. As of Monday afternoon, Abrams is only owned in 22% of Yahoo leagues, and the only place for that number to go is up. Entering action on Monday, the young shortstop was hitting .355 in 32 plate appearances this March with two home runs and two stolen bases. We are asking a lot of a player who only has 76 minor league games under his belt, but he did hit .343 in those games with eight home runs and 28 stolen bases, so the argument could be made that Abrams doesn’t have anything left to show us. San Diego won’t be asking a lot of Abrams to start and everything suggests that he will be able to live up to the task. If we throw everything else out the window and just focus on the stolen bases alone, Abrams is worth a look. There is no real insight here and in this situation, it is preferable to be a week earlier rather than a week too late as we are hoping for a discount.
FAAB Bid: 2%
When the Yankees initially acquired Isiah Kiner-Falefa there was some doubt regarding his final role, but after no other upgrades were made, he opens the season in the starting lineup for New York. While he will be batting towards the bottom of the lineup, it is a strong one that could ultimately benefit Kiner-Falefa when it comes to RBI and runs scored while he won’t hurt you in batting average. You do have a lot of choices at shortstop, but if you are looking to plug a hole in your middle infield, Kiner-Falefa won’t hurt you. In fact, after stealing 20 bases last season, he could prove to be an asset after he was forgotten about through a large portion of the draft season. We should also take note of some swing adjustments he made in the off-season that could lead to a continuation of the increased power we are seeing this spring.
FAAB Bid: 4%
After this, we are done with shortstops, but I couldn’t leave Jeremy Peña out as the presumptive starter for Houston. During Spring Training, the Astros did experiment with Pena batting atop the order, but seventh or eighth is going to be his more likely landing spot at least to begin the season. Pena hit well in winter ball (.291 with two home runs and 15 RBI while stealing seven bases) in 30 games and he followed that up by hitting .389 with two home runs and eight RBI in 19 plate appearances prior to Monday this spring. Based on defense alone, Pena will stay in the lineup. The career .291 minor league hitter has made some strides at the plate as well and there won’t be much if any, pressure on the rookie to produce. But after seeing the two home runs Pena hit on Sunday, it is easy to let the mind wander with the potential.
FAAB Bid: 1-2%
The focus, rightfully so, is on the veterans that Cincinnati sent packing, but that also means plenty of playing time and at-bats for those who remain. One of those players is Mike Moustakas, who will be batting in the middle of the order for the Reds as he looks to bounce back from a 2021 season that left a lot to be desired. In fairness to Moustakas, he battled injuries and only played 62 games, but even when he was on the field, the results weren’t great. All signs do point towards Moustakas being healthy entering this season, and based on what we have seen from him in the past, there’s no reason why we can’t get 25 home runs and 80 RBI out of him.
FAAB Bid: 1-2%
You can certainly file this in the “boring veteran” category, but as you scramble to fill holes on your team to start the season, there is some value in Lorenzo Cain that shouldn’t be overlooked. The introduction of the DH to the National League will help to keep Cain fresh after playing just 78 games last season, but it’s what he did in those games that caught my attention. For as much as we scramble to secure stolen bases, Cain stole 13 of them in 2021 while batting .257 and scoring 40 runs. I’m not sure we can plan on much more than 130 games from Cain, and that might be highly optimistic, but if he is healthy and, in the lineup, he’ll likely be running and a useful player overall. While his days of 20 stolen bases are likely behind him, take whatever you can get out of Cain while he is healthy. The fact that he slots into the second spot in Milwaukee’s batting order also helps here.
Top Waiver Wire Pitchers
FAAB Bid: 1-2%
If this were a few years ago, Carlos Carrasco’s ownership would be a lot higher than the 29% it is in Yahoo leagues as of Monday afternoon, but the last few seasons haven’t been kind to the right-hander. With all of that behind him, including adjusting to his new team and getting past the elbow and other injury issues he dealt with last season, I’m expecting a return to relevance for Carrasco. At age 35 we can’t expect him to make it all of the way back. However, after making two starts this spring and expressing optimism about his health, there’s no reason not to expect him to be a viable option. Carrasco finished out the spring on Monday by allowing two runs on four hits and a walk in 4.1 innings against the Astros while striking out five. There is the caveat that he likely will be limited from an innings perspective for his first few starts of the season, but I expect that to be common across the board.
FAAB Bid: 3%
Welcome to the post-hype sleeper portion of our presentation as not too long ago, Jesús Luzardo had a significant prospect pedigree. Health also eluded him recently, but the talent and youth (he’s still just 24) are there for Luzardo and it appears he has won a spot in Miami’s rotation. Anyone that previously followed the southpaw, after all, he was traded for Starling Marte last summer, shouldn’t be surprised and Luzardo’s strong effort in three Spring Training starts also helps here. In three starts, totaling 11.2 innings, Luzardo allowed just one earned run while walking three and allowing nine hits to go along with 10 strikeouts. This is a situation where I’d prefer to be a week too early as one solid start from Luzardo will boost his price.
Nick Lodolo, SP (CIN)
FAAB Bid – 5%
After ending the season with a cup of coffee in Triple-A last season, Nick Lodolo continued his progression this spring. In 11.2 innings, Lodolo struck out 12 batters while allowing three runs on nine hits and two walks. That came after the former first-round pick finished last year with a 2.31 ERA in 50.2 innings while striking out 78 batters and posting a WHIP of just 0.97. Following the news that Lodolo will be heading north with the Reds, he immediately warrants a spot on your roster. It also doesn’t hurt that Lodolo’s ownership on Yahoo as of Monday (15%) is currently a lot lower than his new rotation mate; Hunter Greene at 41%.
FAAB Bid – 2%
And here we go with the closer carousel. Not like the Orioles were going to win many games this season, but Cole Sulser was projected the have the ninth-inning role and that gave him some potential value heading into 2022. Sulser was then traded to Miami, and with Dylan Floro not healthy to begin the year, he is in line for some early-season saves. After eight saves last season, Sulser does have experience in the role and with a 2.70 ERA and 1.12 along with 73 strikeouts in 63.1 innings he had success as well. While I’m not banking on exactly the same performance, there is the chance Sulser takes the closer job and runs with it. And if not, there are still some early season saves on the table. Check out our complete Closer Grid to find out who is saving games for all 30 MLB teams this season.
FAAB Bid – 1%
The Reds’ bullpen is a mess. Quite simply, there is no other way to put it as Lucas Sims isn’t fully healthy to start the season, and there is a myriad of closer options. Without any clarity aside from the fact that Art Warren is in the mix for saves, the thought process here is to make a small investment despite the fact that his next save at the major league level will be his first. Warren did have success last year though with a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings while striking out 34 batters.
Fantasy Baseball 2022
- The Ultimate Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet
- MLB Consensus Rankings
- MLB Player Outlooks
- Front Office Insights with GM Jim Bowden and Howard Bender
- 2022 MLB Free Agent Tracker