8 Under-the-Radar Waiver Wire Pickups (Fantasy Baseball)

Apr 20, 2017

Shelby Miller could offer unexpected value in Arizona

It wasn’t long ago that Cesar Hernandez was still widely available on the waiver wire (we mentioned him last week) and look at him now, 60% consensus ownership across Yahoo! and ESPN. The waiver well can dry up quickly if you’re not on top of things so we’re doing our best to help pinpoint low-owned players that should provide the help your team is needing.

Below are responses from 5 pundits we asked to name their favorite waiver adds that currently have under 25% ownership. We’ve been asking the same question each week and if you’ve missed out on some of the suggestions (e.g. Chris Devenski or Mitch Moreland), it’s not too late as we’ve got 8 more names for you to consider.

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Q1. What one hitter should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 25% of Leagues?

Josh Reddick (RF – HOU): 10% Owned
“Last week, I mentioned Jorge Soler who is still out there in most leagues, but this time I’ll go a different direction. Josh Reddick is playing great baseball and this isn’t the first time in his career. The 30-year-old Reddick is still young enough that he could return to the 32 HR performance we saw while he was in Oakland, especially considering the ballpark upgrade. What’s more, is that his runs and RBI should increase seeing that is in the best lineup in baseball.”
Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

“Narrowing down to one hitter to pick up this early in the season is tough. For me, I want Josh Reddick on my team. He is starting to heat up a bit, as he is 6 for his last 11 and his power hasn’t shown up quite yet. I want to grab him before he starts to really get comfortable in his new park and everyone starts throwing big FAAB $ at him.”
Dennis Esser (Coach Esser)

Trey Mancini (DH – BAL): 20% Owned
“Mancini is the waiver wire enigma that deserves serious consideration for a pickup. He may only be eligible in the utility slot, but his explosive power and hot start has forced his way into a premier position in the Orioles’ lineup – he even served as the team’s leadoff hitter recently. That’s right. Mancini is essentially a player without a position who hit his way onto a Major League roster. As fantasy owners, we may not always get guaranteed playing time, but we can trust in Baltimore’s commitment to this young power bat.”
Mario Mergola (Sporfolio)

Nick Markakis (RF – ATL): 23% Owned
“Markakis has never been a sexy fantasy player, but I believe he’s an excellent pickup in deeper leagues. He’s off to a solid start, as he’s sporting a .357 OBP and .806 OPS. He’s hitting fourth in the Braves’ lineup, which provides him plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. He’s a guy who will help your team in multiple categories.”
Nick Rodriguez (Fantasy Guru)

Jarrod Dyson (OF – SEA): 21% Owned
“Following a slow start at the dish, Jarrod Dyson’s ownership rate has slipped below the 25% ownership rate in most formats. He is still locked into an everyday role and has found himself hitting at the top of the lineup in five of his last eight starts. Dyson’s piled up four steals on the young season and can still bring plenty of speed to a needy fantasy roster. He’s worth an add for all teams looking for steals.”
Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

Q2. What pitcher should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 25% of Leagues?

Shelby Miller (SP – ARI): 9% Owned
“Miller was awful last season, but it looks out he’s figured it out. In 2016, Miller boasted a 15.6 K%, but in his first three starts of 2017, that number is at 21.6%. He’s been able to increase his K% while lowering his ERA from 6.10 to 3.50 and his Hard% from 35.6% to 25.5%. Granted, he’s only had three starts in 2017, but his peripherals look solid and it’s nice to see him no longer looking like a piñata out on the mound. He’s someone I’d look to add in deeper leagues.”
Nick Rodriguez (Fantasy Guru)

“Now that Arizona is using the humidor, we should expect to see HR-rates plummet at Chase Field. That makes Shelby Miller even more interesting than he already was. The 26-year-old has looked like his former self that carried a low 3’s ERA with a mid 1.2 WHIP and near a strikeout per inning. If we get the same Miller this season and he proves last year was a fluke, we are talking about a top 40 fantasy pitcher that you plucked off the waivers.”
Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Zack Wheeler (SP – NYM): 20% Owned
“The amount of pitches he throws and the short outings he gives will drive you insane, but adding Zack Wheeler for his per-inning production will be thoroughly rewarding. After missing the entire 2015 and 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, Wheeler appears to be back to his strikeout-happy ways. He now sports an average of 9.2 strikeouts-per-nine-innings in 2017 to go along with his 9.1 rate over 32 starts in 2014. His durability and innings limits are concerns, but he is downright filthy when on the mound.”
Mario Mergola (Sporfolio)

A.J. Griffin (SP/RP – TEX): 2% Owned
“Griffin has railed off two straight quality starts to bump his record to 2-0 through three turns in the rotation. He’s not a flashy arm, but Griffin has struck out 16 batters with just four walks over his first 15.1 innings and has a couple of productive fantasy seasons under his belt despite some mediocre results coming off of surgery in 2016. If he’s regained the form we saw in 2012-2013, Griffin will be a useful arm in all leagues and is widely available at just 2% ownership in Yahoo!/ESPN leagues.”
Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

Alex Wood (SP/RP – LAD): 4% owned
“There are soooo many streaming options this early in the season, but I just can’t quit Alex Wood. He’s going to get the 1st crack at starting for the injured (Always) Rich Hill and Wood has been lights out this year. The quality of the team and the fact that he doesn’t have to be an ace on the staff has me excited about what he can bring to my fantasy staff.”
Dennis Esser (Coach Esser)

Thank you to the experts for taking the time to name their under-the-radar pickups for owners out there. Got thoughts on the picks? Feel free to leave a comment below and be sure to listen to our latest episode below.

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