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9 Early Waiver Wire Stashes (Fantasy Baseball)

Jul 22, 2020

Corbin Burnes may be ready to break out in 2020

With the season finally set to begin tomorrow, fantasy managers are now doing what they can to sure up their roster in what figures to be the most unique MLB season we’ve ever seen. With only 60 games on tap, the onus is on you to make sure your squad is ready to hit the ground running from day one. In what could be the most crucial first week of waiver pickups in fantasy baseball history, do not delay in securing (or at least looking into) the players our featured analysts recommend below as early-season stashes.

It goes without saying that if Yoenis Cespedes, Ross Stripling, and Rich Hill are available, you need to drop what you’re doing and get them immediately! Those guys are owned in roughly half of all leagues already so we won’t be covering them here as we have chosen to focus on players who are more readily available.

Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>

Q1. What one starting pitcher should fantasy owners look into stashing who is owned in less than 30% of leagues?

Corbin Burnes (SP/RP – MIL): 12% Owned
“I was all in on the Burnes breakout last year, and … I’m kind of moving all-in on the Burnes breakout this year. With Brett Anderson battling a blister, Burnes’ strong spring has earned him a spot in the Brewers’ rotation, which he may never relinquish. Despite outstanding stuff (35.2 SwStr% on his slider, fastball at 95+ MPH), he was pounded last year, particularly with homers (3.12/9 innings). However, he saw a sports psychologist this offseason and his stuff has looked dynamite in the spring and summer. The raw stuff and the opportunity are there, so Burnes should be snapped up now in case he puts it all together.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

“When you hope to catch ‘lightning in a bottle’ with a pitcher, the strikeout rate per nine always jumps off the page for me. In 2019, Corbin Burnes got lit up in his first four starts giving up 11 long balls and his time helping the Brew Crew fizzled. He has earned another chance to stick in the rotation and worked hard to develop movement to his mid 90s heater. His slider is a whiff maker and if he can establish control early, he might battle with Brandon Woodruff for team leader in strikeouts.”
– Todd D Clark (The Fantasy Fix)

Dylan Cease (SP – CWS): 20% Owned
“I pride myself on being able to find quality arms late. Like the hitters, there are plenty of names in this territory that I love. However, I seem to have a share of Cease on all of my personal teams and that is because I am a big fan of the young hurler. There was a huge outlier in Cease’s mixed result rookie season. In 354 minor league innings, he gave up an average of 0.40 HR/9. That skyrockets to a ridiculous 1.85 in his first trip to the majors. Over 354 minor league innings, he allowed a total of 16 home runs. In just 73 last year, it was 15. This number is going to be cut in half at the very least, he will flirt with 10 K/9 and be given plenty of run support. The upside is that of a top-30 starting pitcher.”
– Andy Singleton (Expand The Boxscore)

Griffin Canning (SP – LAA): 26% Owned
“Allow me to be the official conductor of the Griffin Canning post-hype train. Others may be enticed by the talent of up-and-coming prospects, but Spencer Howard doesn’t have a spot in the Phillies’ rotation as of yet and Casey Mize might start his MLB career in long relief. Give me the guy who already has pro experience and a balanced four-pitch mix that led to a 13.8% swinging-strike rate as a rookie. His ratios are inflated due to a pair of disastrous outings, but he held his own and should be even better this year. Preseason elbow issues made him a deep draft discount, but he looks fine now, having tossed six scoreless innings in his final exhibition tuneup.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Elieser Hernandez (SP/RP – MIA): 26% Owned
“Elieser Hernandez was one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues last season before his debut with the Marlins. His on-paper numbers may have looked rough but the underlying metrics suggest Hernandez was the single most unlucky pitcher in all of baseball, considering he posted the same expected wOBA as Clayton Kershaw and James Paxton while actually being ahead of Shane Bieber. Now that we know he has a spot in Miami’s rotation, rostering him makes plenty of sense.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Q2. What one hitter should fantasy owners look into stashing who is owned in less than 30% of leagues?

Austin Riley (3B/OF – ATL): 21% Owned
“I didn’t expect to want any part of Riley this season, but with the addition of the universal DH, he’s got a good chance to see everyday playing time. He got off to an enormous start in the majors last year before he eventually started striking out at a ridiculous rate (36.4%). However, he’s got light-tower power and is the type of hitter that is prone to go on streaks. In a short season, streaky hitters could legitimately win you your league if they get hot, and if Riley can put the bat on the ball enough (44% hard-hit rate, 13.7% barrel rate), he could make a huge impact. He will need to get off to a hot start to ensure playing time so stash him now and simply cut him if he doesn’t make the grade early.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Danny Jansen (C – TOR): 14% Owned
“Completely surprised to see so many guys I like available for this exercise. Could easily have gone several different routes here, but one does stick out a little more than the rest. Jansen was supposed to be the big breakout candidate of 2019 and his second chance in 2020 is starting to look really good. The Jays have young bats for days. Thus far throughout all of the exhibition games, Jansen is batting a robust .500 with four homers and 13 RBIs, and get this, has three walks against only one strikeout! If all of this wasn’t enough, just think of the fact the catcher position has no locks regarding who will be the best of the bunch. Jansen can win you leagues off of this disparity alone.”
– Andy Singleton (Expand The Boxscore)

Eric Thames (1B/OF – WSH): 11% Owned
“Thames might have been a platoon bat in a normal season, but Ryan Zimmerman has opted out of 2020 and the National League now has a DH, which results in a full-time gig for the slugger. He has a nice spot in the middle of the Nats’ lineup sandwiched between Juan Soto and Victor Robles, with uber-utility man Howie Kendrick also in the mix. Thames launched 25 home runs in 396 at-bats last season due to a hard-hit rate in the 82nd percentile. He should easily exceed his projection of nine home runs at a first-base position that doesn’t run too deep.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Chris Taylor (2B/SS/OF – LAD): 15% Owned
“The hyped-up youngster, Gavin Lux, was optioned by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, which opens up a position battle between Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez at second base. The piece of this platoon I want is Taylor. He is a Swiss Army Knife in terms of positions played and has been crushing the ball in summer camp. The players on this roster have a knack for missing games and his versatility will become handy. To sweeten things, he could hit ninth with the universal DH in effect and Mookie Betts batting behind him.”
– Todd D Clark (The Fantasy Fix)

Jarred Kelenic (OF – SEA): 6% Owned
“Kelenic is only owned in 6% of leagues, but makes plenty of sense to add if you have enough roster spots to warrant a stash. While he won’t be up until after the Super Two deadline, it seems likely that Seattle will call him up afterward, as his bat is Major League ready. Kelenic is of the Christian Yelich mold where he should hit for a high average with speed and some power from the get-go before eventually growing into excellent power as his speed fades.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for giving us their early-season stashes. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.

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