As we inch closer to the first quarter mark in the 2017 Major League Baseball season, it’s high time to inspect your player watch list. It also may be a perfect time to make a move on a few players before some other astute team owner in your league does.
Here’s a list of intriguing players, most still sitting on the waiver wire. If you have any free space in your MLB lineup, or especially a need, snagging one of these waiver wire sleepers might give your team a nice boost in point production.
Two interesting outfielders sit on many waiver wires, after a month and a half of games. One is a lesser-known prospect, the other a departing member of last year’s World Champion Cubbies. Seattle saw enough in Ben Gamel to hand the Yankees a pair of minor league pitchers for him. Kansas City traded a top five dominant closer to the defending champions for Jorge Solar.
Gamel had nearly 100 stolen bases at the minor league level, but hasn’t even attempted one on the big stage, yet. After last year’s World Series, most are well aware of the potential power capabilities of Solar. If they are on the waivers and you have holes in your outfield, plug in either of these players.
In the infielder category, a pair of power-attractive second basemen are currently available in over three quarters of the fantasy leagues. Both Ryan Schimph of the Padres, and Jed Lowrie in Oakland are raising a few eyebrows with their early season pop.
The young Padre has hit over have his 17 hits out of the yard, and Lowrie has already surpassed last season’s home run total in 120 trips to the plate. Don’t forget, during a healthy stretch, Lowrie hit double-digit HRs in both 2012 and 2013. If you have a hole at the 2-bag spot in your lineup, these two may turn out to be ringers.
Even though first base is a loaded spot for fantasy owners, two young prospects are showing early potential. The Phillies Rhys Hopkins has destroyed minor league pitching, as well has Kenny Vargas for the Twins. Both are clear power producers, with Vargas needed to reduce the number of times he swings through pitches.
Hoskins sits behind Philadelphia prospect Thomas Joseph, but Joseph is struggling mightily to start 2017. Both are big hitting first baseman who can drive in runs, Vargas most notably with 58 RBIs in just 96 games at AAA Rochester last year. Hoskins has also seen a drop in strikeout rate to coincide with 38 doubles last year at AA. Keep an eye on both of these first basemen if you have a roster spot.
Some leagues, calculate pitching stats in a way they mirror their importance in the real game; others not so much. If your league puts a high value on pitching, your waiver wire may be sparsely populated with little more than questionable streaming options.
To navigate your way to league championship, you may need to be Johnny on the spot and swipe up a young pitching prospect before anyone beats you to them. Three intriguing arms are still available in close to 80 percent of standard leagues.
Eddie Butler managed to get out of the pitcher’s hell known as Mile High Colorado. While he is not a big strikeout machine, his 1.00 plus ERA and pitching for the defending World Series champions should equate to reliable fantasy pitching stats.
Butler was a first round draft pick, but Jose Urena may be the most appealing pitcher on your league’s waiver wire. In 27 innings for the Marlins thus far, Urena has a paltry 1.98 ERA, plus he throws his home games in pitcher-friendly Marlins Park.
The third potential waiver wire available arm is Luis Perdomo of the San Diego Padres. Perdomo hurled over 140 innings last season with over 100 K’s, so he isn’t an untested prospect.
Maybe the most interesting part of his game though, isn’t the decent strikeout numbers, but the whopping 70 percent ground ball rate he has posted so far in 2017. Petco Park may not be quite the pitcher-friendly venue it was before the fences were moved, but it’s still no launching pad.
Oddly enough, all of these players are available in most fantasy leagues. The percentages of ownership vary anywhere from about 25 percent, to as low as 5 percent. If you have any holes in your roster, these players are intriguing in the fact they all have major sleeper potential.