Weekly Waiver Wire Report
In my weekly waiver wire report, you get updates & targets for every position. If you need relievers, click here for the weekly closer report & depth chart at FullTime Fantasy where you can use promo code TD30 for 30% off your first two months!
Joey Bart, SF
With Buster Posey opting out this year, Joey Bart is expected to be activated shortly. He only has 79 career at-bats at AA (.316 with four home runs and 11 RBI) while showing plenty of power over his first two seasons in the minors (.285 with 85 runs, 30 home runs, and 89 RBI over 522 at-bats). Bart should have spent the first half of the year at AAA. His upside in power is the attraction, and San Fran doesn’t have anyone blocking him behind the plate. The Giants also want him to play some first base to increase his playing time at the major league level.
Mike Zunino, TB
In 12-team leagues or smaller, Mike Zunino should be in the free-agent pool. Typically, he brings batting average risk with plenty of power for his expected playing time. In the offseason, Zunino worked on improving his swing path to improve his contact rate. I view him as an edge in power while waiting to see if he can lower his strikeout rate.
Rowdy Tellez, TOR
Based on the Blue Jays’ starting batters, Tellez looks poised to get plenty of at-bats in 2020. He flashed in 2019 (21 home runs and 54 RBI over 370 at-bats), but his high strikeout rate (28.4 percent) led to weakness in batting average (.227). Tellez hit .275 over 2,147 career at-bats in the minors. His left-handed bat was his better half in 2019 (.270 with six home runs and 23 RBI over 125 at-bats). He is a sneaky power out in all formats if he can lock up everyday at-bats. Tellez may even surprise in steals (26 in his minor league career).
Miguel Cabrera, DET
Cabrera should have been undrafted in shallow leagues while having an ADP while over 300 in the 15-team high-stakes market in July. Over his first 22 at-bats (two hits with one HR and two RBI), his bat didn’t show starting upside while whiffing seven times. Cabrera banged out a pair of home runs last night, which may be a sign of a bounce-back season. He came to spring training in much better shape while having a Hall of Fame resume in his career.
Jurickson Profar, SD
In one of my high-stakes leagues, I got beat at second base during the draft leaving me with Profar as my only out at second base. Over the last two seasons, he delivered a winning combination of power and speed (20/10 and 20/9) over 1,112 combined at-bats. In his career, Profar has underachieved in batting average (.233) with a peak of .254 in 2018 despite not having a high strikeout rate (16.5). Over six games of action, he has one home run, three RBI, and two steals while showcasing a better approach (five walks and two strikeouts). The Padres are going to run this year, and they are willing to bat Profar in a favorable part of the batting order. I’m excited about his direction, and his batting average is going to be a career-best in 2020.
Shed Long, SEA
The Mariners rolled out Long at the top of the batting order this season, which points to plenty of runs. Over his first seven games, he already has five runs, one home run, four RBI, and two steals. His minor league resume paints him as a batting average drag with a potential 20/20 skill set. Long is a “ride him while he is hot” player in shallow leagues.
Willy Adames, TB
On draft day, Adames had the feel of a boring middle infielder while expecting to hit lower in the batting order. Last year he finished with a career-high in home runs (20) over 531 at-bats. The key for him to gain fantasy value is an improved approach while adding some of his minor league speed (43 steals over 2,087 at-bats) to his major league resume. Adames has talent, and he looks poised to make a push forward this year. His opportunity in the batting order can only improve if he takes more walks, and his bat gets hot. Keep an open mind here.
Orlando Arcia, MIL
I boxed myself out of shortstop and first base in most of my drafts this year, which will leave me on the sideline of Arcia in 2020. The Brewers will hit him at the bottom of the batting order, but his bat may have something to say about it. By the March 9th in spring training, he already had five home runs after adjusting his swing in the offseason. Player to watch early in the year.
Maikel Franco, KC
After three seasons with over 20 home runs and a reasonable strikeout rate (15.3 percent), Franco was phased out in the Phillies plans in 2019. Over the first week of the season, he already hit himself (.286 with two home runs over 28 at-bats) into the middle of the batting order for the Royals. Franco is going to play every day, even when Hunter Dozier returns from his battle with COVID-19. His next step is hitting for a higher batting average when putting the ball in play.
Colin Moran, PIT
Last year Moran played well as a platoon bat while falling short in power development (13 home runs over 20 at-bats). Last year he hit .273 against lefties over 78 at-bats with two home runs and 11 RBI. The Pirates have had him in the lineup every day, and his power looks to be on the uptick out of the gate (three home runs and four RBI over 20 at-bats). More of an injury cover or a COVID-19 fill in unless he has follow-through in his power.
Alex Dickerson, SF
Dickerson will bat in a favorable part of the batting order for the Giants as long as he’s healthy this year. Injuries have been a problem in his career. Dickerson has only been steady out of the gate (.278 with one home run and two RBI over 18 at-bats), and he has sat twice already against lefties. For now, Dickerson only has matchup value vs. righties. He has 20-plus home run power with the approach to be an asset in batting average.
Sam Hilliard, COL
If Hilliard was overlooked in shallow leagues, I would quickly pick him up off the waiver wire. He has an excellent combination of power and speed (.277 with 89 HRs and 124 steals over 2,154 at-bats in the minors) while making the jump from AA to the majors last year. His bat should be exciting in Colorado, but Hilliard has to make better contact (nine strikeouts already over 13 at-bats) if he wants to stay in the lineup. For now, a “buy and hold” type that may not get a chance against lefties early in the year.
Framber Valdez, HOU
The Astros are already down two expected starters in 2020, and the season is only a week long. Valdez pitched well for Houston in 2018 in a limited role (2.19 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 34 strikeouts over 37 innings), but he did walk a ton of batters (24). His lack of command (44 walks over 70.2 innings) killed him in the majors in 2019 (5.86 ERA) despite showing growth at AAA (3.25 ERA and 69 Ks over 44.1 innings). Valdez draws raves about his spin rate on his breaking pitch, but it is worthless if he can’t get ahead in the count. More of a flier than a target while understanding wins could be plentiful if his arm makes a step forward this year.
Cristian Javier, HOU
The pitcher with the best chance of being rewarded after the Justin Verlander injury is Javier. He made a big impression in his major league debut (one run over 6.2 innings and nine strikeouts) against the Dodgers. His arm was electric in 2019 (1.74 ERA and 170 strikeouts over 113.2 innings) while making the move from High A to AAA. His fastball came in at about 93 mph while relying on a curveball and changeup as his secondary pitches in his first start. His stuff doesn’t project to be elite, but Javier knows how to pitch and execute, which points to success.
Daniel Ponce de Leon, STL
The injury to Miles Mikolas allowed Ponce de Leon to move into the starting rotation this week. While on a pitch count, he picked up eight strikeouts over four innings with three runs and five baserunners. His arm played well in his minor league career (2.70 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 482 strikeouts over 524 innings). The Cardinals gave him experience over the last two seasons as spot starter and reliever, leading to a 3.31 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 83 strikeouts over 81.2 innings. His growth as a starter will hinge on improvement in his walk rate (4.4 in the majors). Ponce de Leon offers four pitches of value (four-seam fastball, cutter, changeup, and curveball).