With an abbreviated schedule, fantasy managers will need to get aggressive on the waiver wire this year. Whether needing power, speed, strikeouts, or saves, here is a wide array of options that are available in more than half of Yahoo leagues.
Randy Dobnak, MIN (SP, 23 percent rostered)
Dobnak is one of my favorite waiver-wire gems at the moment, as everything seems to be working in his favor. The righty has had nothing but success in his brief Major League career (1.25 ERA, 1.04 WHIP), showing an excellent ability to limit walks and homers. And with the Twins dealing with injuries to starters Rich Hill and Homer Bailey, Dobnak will be in the rotation for a while. The Twins high-powered lineup and solid bullpen give the 25-year-old outstanding win potential.
Spencer Howard, PHI (SP, 23 percent)
Alert fantasy managers have a chance to get ahead of their competition by adding Howard in advance of his expected Sunday debut. The youngster was absolutely dominant across four levels last year (2.03 ERA, 0.83 WHIP) and should be more than ready to help mixed-league teams right out of the gate. With so many injured starters at the moment, Howard can help virtually every fantasy roster.
Pablo Lopez, MIA (SP, 9%)
Lopez looked great in his initial 2020 start, striking out seven Orioles across five scoreless innings. The right-hander has consistently delivered a solid WHIP (1.22 career mark), and his 5.09 ERA last season was heavily influenced by an unfortunate 66.4% strand rate. Lopez has less win potential than others on this list but his skills are comparable.
Jairo Diaz, COL (RP, 48%)
With Wade Davis and Scott Oberg on the IL, Diaz has emerged as the closer for the red-hot Rockies. The right-hander has converted all three of his save chances since taking over on August 2, despite not striking out a batter in any of those outings. Coors Field closers are always a risky proposition, but Diaz has little competition for the role and his teammates are giving him plenty of chances. For now, he cannot be ignored in even the shallowest of leagues.
Cole Sulser, BAL (RP, 21%)
Although he has thrown just 13.1 Major League innings, Sulser has already grabbed the Orioles closer role. He has picked up all three of their saves this season, posting respectable numbers (4.50 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 4:1 K:BB ratio) in the process. This isn’t a player with a sky-high ceiling, but Sulser should be a useful saves source.
Travis d’Arnaud, ATL (C/1B, 39%)
d’Arnaud opened the season on the COVID IL before becoming an offensive presence (.368 average, 1.013 OPS) across 21 plate appearances. His hot start is getting him chances to hit near the heart of the lineup, which is a big benefit for someone who qualifies at baseball’s worst offensive position. Fantasy managers with the likes of Will Smith and Carson Kelly should make the switch to d’Arnaud.
Cesar Hernandez, CLE (2B, 45%)
Hernandez has been everything the Indians could want in a leadoff hitter, posting a .319 average and a .429 on-base percentage thus far. But his counting stats have been marginal (six RBIs, eight runs scored, no homers or steals) which has kept him on waivers in many leagues. The guess here is that the second baseman stays atop the order and his slumping teammates continue to get on track in the coming days.
Jonathan Schoop, DET (2B, 12%)
Second base is not a deep position, which should make Schoop an attractive option in 12-team leagues. The 28-year-old went deep 23 times last season, and he has already launched a trio of dingers in 10 games this year. Playing on a Tigers team that lacks depth should give Schoop the regular role he needs to rank among the homer leaders at his position.
J.P. Crawford, SEA (SS, 28 percent)
A top prospect many moons ago, Crawford is finally showing the offensive potential to match his defensive prowess. The 25-year-old has emerged as Seattle’s leadoff hitter by hitting for average (.280) and collecting more walks (10) than whiffs (7). He also has three steals and should continue to run on a team that has been among the most aggressive in the Majors.
Randal Grichuk, TOR (OF, 14 percent)
Grichuk is arguably the most under-rostered player in Yahoo leagues. The slugger went deep 31 times last season, and his homerless status for 2020 is primarily due to the combination of a short-term back injury and a canceled series last weekend. While his teammate Teoscar Hernandez (60 percent rostered) is garnering all the attention, Grichuk is equally likely to succeed the rest of the way.
Mitch Moreland, BOS (1B, 4 percent)
Moreland is hardly an exciting fantasy asset, but he deserves attention in deep-mixed leagues. The slugger has already gone deep three times this season, owns a 1.048 OPS, and has been regularly hitting in the heart of the lineup. Boston’s next off day comes on August 24, meaning that Moreland and his teammates will be excellent volume plays in the coming weeks.