There is one very notable name missing from the Waiver Wire this week. The Padres MacKenzie Gore made his debut on Friday against the Braves and tossed 5 1/3 innings of three-hit, one walk ball. He allowed two earned runs and struck out three. The reason for his omission is simple. He’s currently rostered to the tune of 74% in CBS-hosted Leagues. Despite his recent struggles, there were a lot of Fantasy Managers betting on a return-to-form and lofty placing as one of the best pitching prospects in the game. Thus far, they are winning that bet.
Santiago Espinal, 2B/3B, TOR (CBS: 8% rostered, ESPN: 2% rostered): Santiago Espinal has now taken over at second base in Toronto. He’ll bring some pop, a solid hit tool, and low double-digit stolen bases to your Fantasy squad. As an injury replacement, he should have your attention.
Andrew Heaney, SP, LAD (CBS: 50% rostered, ESPN: 65% rostered): It’s only one start, but it was solid. The potential has always been intriguing but coming off the 2021 season that saw Heaney post a 5.83 ERA and allow 29 gopher balls in 129 2/3 IP, the signing of Heaney by the Dodgers this off-season to a reported one-year $8.5 million deal got our attention. What does he do in his debut? He tosses 4 1/3 innings of three-hit ball with no walks, allows one unearned run, and strikes out five. It’s only one start, but one worthy of both our attention and a small bid.
Oscar Mercado, OF, CLE (CBS: 14% rostered, ESPN: 9% rostered): The good news is that Mercado now has three homers and nine RBI. The bad news is he’s currently sporting an 8/0 K/BB ratio. Pick him up, hold your breath, and pray.
Owen Miller, 2B, CLE (CBS: 45% rostered, ESPN: 43% rostered): Miller is off to a fantastic 14-for-25 start with a pair of home runs. It is also a very small sample size. There is no doubting he possesses excellent strike zone judgment, but the power and speed numbers could be disappointing. Spend your FAAB accordingly.
Jurickson Profar, SDP (CBS: 36% rostered, ESPN: 48% rostered): Profar is off to a great start, slugging two homers with eight RBI and a very impressive 4/5 K/BB ratio, which explains hat early .400 OBP. We’ve seen Profar hit as many as 20 homers (2018 and 2019) and steal 7-to-10 stolen bases over the past four seasons. As a fifth outfielder, one could do far worse.
Spencer Strider, SP/RP, ATL (CBS: 18% rostered, ESPN: 9% rostered): In two appearances totaling 5 1/3 innings, Strider has eight strikeouts. Whether in a starting or relief role, those strikeouts will hold value.
Kyle Wright, SP, ATL (CBS: 67% rostered, ESPN: 49% rostered): Last week, we had high hopes for Kyle Wright’s start against the Padres, and he delivered. He went five innings allowing five hits, no walks, a pair of earned runs, and struck out nine. Next up for Wright are the Marlins and Trevor Rogers, coming off a rough outing against the Phillies. He went from 15% rostered last week to 67% this week. This is your last opportunity to roster Kyle Wright.
Triston Casas, 1B, BOS (CBS: 28% rostered, ESPN: 2% rostered): Triston Casas is off to a good start at Triple-A Worcester, with three homers and 9 RBI in his first 35 at-bats. He’s also sporting a K/BB ratio of 8/8. Meanwhile, Bobby Dalbec is off to a slow start with a .174 BA and nine strikeouts in his first 23 at-bats. The clock is ticking, and if Dalbec doesn’t right the ship quickly, Casas will get the call.
Zack Gelof, 3B, OAK (CBS: 2% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Here’s an option for those playing in Dynasty Leagues. Virginia’s 2021 Second Round draft pick has proven that he understands a strike zone, and his Minor League numbers reflect that fact. At some point, and it’s not that far down the road, he’ll be plying his trade in the bigs.
James Kapreilian, SP, OAK (CBS: 17% rostered, ESPN: 4% rostered): Kapreilan started the season on the 10-day IL dealing with an Inflamed right shoulder AC joint. He tossed five strong innings with six strikeouts in his first rehab start. It looks like a late-April, early-May return to the A’s rotation.
Max Meyer, SP, MIA (CBS: 24% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): We’ve now seen two starts at Triple-A Jacksonville, and in those nine innings, Meyer has allowed two hits, one walk, and struck out 13. How far away is he from a regular spot in the Marlins rotation? Not very.
Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL (CBS: 41% rostered, ESPN: 3% rostered): Rodriguez is arguably the best young starter in the Minors. In two starts at Triple-A Norfolk, he owns a 2.00 ERA and has struck out 15 in 9 IP. He has allowed a scant four hits and one free pass in those nine-innings. It might not be tomorrow, it might not be next week, but a callup will occur in 2022. He’s going to be worth the wait.
Cheap Options….for Now
Jake Burger, 3B, CWS (CBS: 4% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Yoan Moncada is still likely at least a couple of weeks away from returning from the IL, possibly longer, and in the interim, Jake Burger is holding down the fort. Cheap power potential at third is worthy of a look in deeper formats.
Nick Gordon, OF, MIN (CBS: 2% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): Byron Buxton is day-to-day with knee soreness and likely misses the bulk of next week. Nick Gordon is taking over in centerfield and gives you an opportunity to pad those stolen base totals while Buxton is on the mend.
Daulton Jefferies (CBS: 11% rostered, ESPN: 2% rostered): He has more than held his own after two tough starts against Toronto and Philadelphia. An ERA of 1.93 and WHIP of 1.29 will attest to that fact. Now, a relatively inexpensive bid could save some of that precious FAAB for later.
Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN (CBS: 5% rostered): The recurrence of the wrist woes suffered last year by Alex Kirilloff has the Twins turning to Trevor Larnach to fill the void. The wrist injury and recovery could be a long and ongoing struggle for Kirilloff, providing plenty of opportunities for Larnach to flash that power potential.
Sheldon Neuse, 2B, OAK (CBS: 2% rostered, ESPN: not rostered): The hit tool has always been solid, and it’s not like we haven’t seen bursts of power down on the farm. He managed to slug 27 home runs back in 2019 at Triple-A. Neuse can also play all over the infield, with games at 1B, 2B, and 3B already on his 2022 resume. His stock is on the rise.
Jake Diekman, RP, BOS (CBS: 28% rostered, ESPN: 10% rostered): Striking out the side while protecting a one-run lead for his first save of the season will put Jake Diekman in a position of favor moving forward, even if he doesn’t wind up with sole possession of the closer gig.
Jhoan Duran, RP, MIN (CBS: 28% rostered, ESPN: 5% rostered): The stuff is filthy; there is no doubt. He still has some work to do as far as getting it where he wants to but will see plenty of late-inning work moving forward. It’s not surprising that Duran has accumulated eight strikeouts in his first five innings.
Hector Neris, RP, HOU (CBS: 13% rostered, ESPN: 6% rostered): The Astros placed Ryan Pressly on the 10-day IL Saturday with right knee inflammation. Until his return, the Astros are likely to go with a closer-by-committee with Hector Neris, Ryne Stanek, and possibly Rafael Montero, the favorites to earn saves. Neris should get the first opportunity, and a small bid could provide you with a handful of saves both now and down the road.
A.J. Puk, RP, OAK (CBS: 8% rostered, ESPN: 1% rostered): Puk has opened the season in the bullpen, and if the early returns are any indication, it could be a long and quite possibly rewarding stay. Meaningful late-inning work could be right around the corner for the 27-year-old southpaw.
Tanner Rainey, RP, WAS (CBS: 26% rostered, ESPN: 13% rostered): Two back-to-back outings with saves, and what was once a committee is now the Tanner Rainey show. Dave Martinez’s trust has been earned. Let’s hope it will be kept.