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9 Under-the-Radar Waiver Wire Pickups (Week 2)

Apr 9, 2021

While it’s natural to be hesitant to drop a player for a lower-ranked guy early at the start of the season, there can be plenty of cheap value had off the waiver wire. Week 1 is finally nearing an end and for those of you looking to shake up your starting roster for week two, we’re asking our friends from around the industry for their thoughts. See which hitters and pitchers are flying under-the-radar with low rosterership that are worth scooping up now.

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

Colin Moran (1B/DH – PIT): 7% Rostered
“Moran is boring. He’s on one of the worst offenses in Major League Baseball, but Moran should be owned in more leagues. Why? Well, in a Tweet yesterday I compared him to Eric Hosmer and the results per plate appearance are eerily similar. In his last 59 games dating back to 2020, he’s mashed 12 homers on an impressive 14.4% barrel rate. He’ll play every day and hit in one of the top four spots, so there’s very little downside to Moran in deeper formats.”
– Max Freeze (Freeze Stats)

Cedric Mullins (OF – BAL): 23% Rostered
“Mullins’ career appeared on the brink of ending when he hit just .094 (6-for-64) in 2019 and was demoted to the minors. But he retooled his swing, gave up switch-hitting and opened this season with nine hits in his first 13 at-bats. While he did hit his first home run of the year on Wednesday, Mullins’ greatest fantasy asset is his ability to steal bases. He had a pair of 30-steal seasons in the minors and should have ample opportunities if he continues to thrive as the Orioles’ leadoff hitter.”
– Steve Gardner (USA Today)

Alejandro Kirk (C – TB): 10% Rostered
“In standard 12-team redraft leagues, I’m always seeking upside at the catcher position, which Blue Jays rookie Alejandro Kirk certainly has. The 22-year-old went 9-for-24 in a cup of coffee last summer, and the hope entering ’21 was that he could out-hit Danny Jansen enough to become the primary backstop. While Jansen has struggled, so has Kirk, who remains hitless through two starts on the season. Still, I expect Kirk to be a better hitter over the course of the year, and he’s a name to monitor for fantasy players lacking a productive catcher at the moment.”
– Brendan Tuma (FantasyPros)

Myles Straw (SS/OF – HOU): 17% Rostered
“Straw isn’t batting leadoff and hasn’t exactly been piling up the stats, but he should be rostered in far more than 17% of leagues. Straw is batting just .217 with an identical slugging percentage, but he’s got five walks in just 28 plate appearances with just three strikeouts. A .357 OBP is going to be more than enough to keep him in the lineup and even batting in the lower third of the batting order should lead to plenty of production in steals with Straw’s speed. He stole his first base on Thursday – there are about 30 more coming if he stays healthy.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Travis Shaw (1B/3B – MIL): 3% Rostered
“Shaw looks healthy and is locked in at 3B for the Brewers. He’s also been hitting around the 4-5 spot in the batting order. Shaw is a cheap source of power for your CI spot. He’ll always strike out too much, but 25 HR potential still exists in that bat and Milwaukee is a favorable home ballpark for power. He’s worth the add in roto leagues.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Q2. What one starting pitcher should fantasy managers look into picking up that is owned in less than 25% of leagues?

Matt Shoemaker (MIN): 8% Rostered
“Shoemaker has struggled to stay healthy over the course of his career, but as of today, he’s healthy. Rostered in just eight percent of combined Yahoo!/ESPN leagues, he should be picked up in most 12-team formats. He has a decent splitter and slider which are used to induce swings outside the zone with regularity. He’s backed by a very good defense and the Twins offense should supply plenty of run support. He’s slated to face the Mariners, Pirates, and Athletics in three of his next four outings. Go get him!”
– Max Freeze (Freeze Stats)

“When looking for an under-the-radar pitcher, it’s not a bad idea to find one who’s already demonstrated some measure of success. Matt Shoemaker had a couple good seasons with the Angels and was fine (0.98 WHIP) the past two years with the Blue Jays. Now in Minnesota, he’s supported by an excellent offense and defense. He allowed one run and three hits over six innings in his first start, and could be worth a season-long roster spot pitching in the AL Central.”
– Steve Gardner (USA Today)

Casey Mize (DET): 18% Rostered
“Mize, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 amateur draft, was solid-if-unspectacular in his season debut this week. The young right-hander struggled both in 2020 and this spring, and he remains far from a finished product. However, he displayed a two-mph uptick in average fastball velocity during this start. Mize has never lacked talent and just needs to learn how to optimize his pitch mix. A lot of the community is beginning to give up on the former top prospect, but savvy fantasy managers should continue monitoring his development.”
– Brendan Tuma (FantasyPros)

Adbert Alzolay (CHC): 12% Rostered
“There aren’t a ton of great widely-available options, but I’ll continue to advocate for adding Alzolay after he won a rotation spot out of camp. Alzolay wasn’t great in his first start (5 IP, 4 ER, 4 strikeouts) but his slider was excellent and he threw it 42.5% of the time. There is a ton of upside for him if he continues to lean into the pitch, and although his innings will be capped, so, too, will the vast majority of young pitchers. He should be in line for a two-start week next week so, at the very least, he can offer some short-term production, with hopefully some long-term viability.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Taylor Widener (ARI): 6% Rostered
“Widener had a great spring for the D’Backs (19K/3 BB in 14 IP with a 1.02 WHIP) and the hot streak continued in his first start this season. In that contest he blanked the Padres for six innings and struck out five. Arizona is in a bad way right now losing Ketel Marte to the IL and Kole Calhoun starting the year there. However, if you are looking for some decent strikeout, WHIP and ERA numbers, Widener has the solid minor league numbers to suggest this version is not a fluke.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for naming their under-the-radar waiver wire pickups. Make sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice all season and check out our Leading Off Podcast every single day for quick-hitting takeaways and advice.

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