Another Major League Baseball season is well underway, and our weekly look at fantasy baseball waivers is, as well. With just over a week in the books, there have been plenty of surprises and disappointments to begin the season. However, this is no time to panic. Each year, plenty of players get off to scorching hot or maddeningly slow starts. The stats thus far must be taken with a grain of salt. You do not want to be that owner who hits the ‘eject’ button on a player, only to see him picked up by a competitor who has more patience.
With that said, there are a few players who appear to have season-long value that may be available to you. Generally speaking, this column will feature at least six names to add as well as some prospects and deep-bench stashes. It’s early in the season, so there is no room for rash knee-jerk reactions. Keep your cards close to the vest as we wait to see if the tides turn and trends prove sustainable. There is no reason to make a move just to make a move. With that said, if you’ve got holes to fill, read on. Let’s get to a few key names, and remember, the players listed may or may not be available depending on how deep your league is.
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All availability percentages are from Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues.
Connor Joe (1B, OF – COL) 62% owned
Joe is likely taken in deep leagues, but he is a can’t miss add at this point in the season. Position availability at first base runs rampant this season, so you probably already have a starter there. Joe could fill in at first, settle on your bench as an occasional play, or be a permanent fixture in a utility spot. The leadoff job for the Rockies seems to be his for good. All he’s done is parlay that into a 13-for-35 (.371) start, adding four RBI, six walks, a stolen base, and eight runs scored. If he is somehow still available in your league, go get him.
Jesus Sanchez (OF – MIA) 41% owned
In 2021, Sanchez launched 14 longballs in just 64 games. His power is off the charts, and he could be in for a monster season for the Marlins. The 22-year-old Dominican slugger has five multi-hit games in his last six outings, including going 3-for-6 on Sunday. He also has multiple extra-base hits during that time period. Sanchez is batting .343 with six runs, two moonshots with the boomstick, and eight RBI. He is consistently batting third in the Miami order with an occasional appearance at No. 2. Regardless, he has only had one day off so far this season, and will continue to rake in opportunities to drive in runs. Sanchez is currently slashing .310/.333/.690, a ridiculous 1.023 OPS.
Jurickson Profar (1B, 2B, OF – SD) 37% owned
Although Profar has struggled to live up to his potential thus far in his career, the 29-year-old has started the season well. While he would likely remain a bench piece for a fantasy team, his position flexibility makes him more attractive. Yahoo! currently lists him at first base, second base, and outfield. Although he has strictly been an outfielder in 2022 for the San Diego Padres, he also has experience at shortstop and third base. It is a long season and Fernando Tatis Jr. is out until at least June, meaning Profar will continue to get everyday playing time somewhere in the field. By the end of the season, he is likely to add another position to his availability. Profar is 7-for-26 to kick off the season (.269) with three dingers and nine runs batted in. Having him on your bench invites great plug-and-play opportunities in case of injury or days off.
Joey Bart (C – SF) 36% owned
In a league where everyone struggles to find a dependable everyday catcher to plug in, it’s a wonder that Bart’s ownership in leagues remains so low. Bart is never going to be a .320 hitter putting 50 balls over the fence. However, if I told you he could be a .270 hitter with 30 dingers, wouldn’t you put down your sandwich and add him immediately? Bart has started 2022 with a .273/.385/.591 (that’s a .976 OPS for those of you without a calculator) triple-slash. He has knocked two balls out of the park, scored four runs, driven in four, and added a stolen base for good measure.
Tanner Rainey (RP – WAS) 45% owned
Maybe Rainey is flying a little under-the-radar this season thanks to lack of opportunities for the Nationals. Everyone needs saves, though, and closers can be extremely valuable trade chips both in the MLB and for your team in fantasy baseball. Rainey has made just three appearances this season, but two were in save situations where he converted both. He clearly is the go-to guy when Washington is protecting a lead in the ninth, and there is really no downside to adding another closer, regardless of how many opportunities he gets.
Lucas Sims (RP – CIN) 25% owned
Where Rainey seems to have a stranglehold on the closer job in Washington, Sims is more of a speculative add. After beginning the year on the IL, Sims is looking at two more rehab stints before joining the club. That day should be Friday, and it does nothing but help the young Reds bullpen. Cincinnati has been running with a closer-by-committee approach out of necessity. While no Reds closer is going to lead the league in saves (they are not a good team), Sims is the most viable option for the late-inning situations. He reeled in seven saves a season ago while compiling a 14.6 K/9. His career average in that category climbed to 10.8, which is nothing to sneeze at. Plainly speaking, Sims has better stuff than nearly any other reliever in the Queen City. He is worth snagging before one of your leaguemates.
Roster Immediately if Available
Gavin Lux (2B, SS, OF – LAD) 73% owned
Unlikely to be available, but Lux provides positional flexibility along with contact in a monster lineup.
Jo Adell (OF – LAA) 45% owned
Someone probably panic-dumped Adell. Make them pay for the mistake and stick with him.
Nestor Cortes (SP -NYY) 51% owned
Cortes has become a reliable starter in MLB, even at Yankee Stadium. He should be rostered in most leagues for the same reason.
Tyler Naquin (OF – CIN)
Aaron Ashby (SP – MIL)
Hector Neris (RP -HOU)
Good luck with all of your moves, and may everyone you want fall into your lap. We’ll do it all again next Sunday, perhaps with some more clarity on who continues to rise or fall.