Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Weekly Fantasy Baseball FAAP Report for the 2023 season! This early in the season the waiver wire will be ripe with high-upside players worth a portion of your year-long budget.
It’s a long year and we don’t want to blow up our budgets early but we’ll begin the season with some names that are worth considering at various budget percentages for the upcoming week of fantasy baseball and beyond.
Keep in mind we’ll be using Yahoo for player percentages and we’ll keep our suggestion to players rostered in no more than 60% of leagues.
Let’s get to it!
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Suggested bid: 3-5%
Despite Jose Siri being rostered in such a small portion of Yahoo leagues he should require an increased amount of your budget in what could be a big year for the 27-year-old.
Siri got his season started on the right note with a solo home run on Opening Day after displaying some pop in his minor-league tenure. Sure, Siri hit just seven gomers with a below-average .126 isolated power in 104 games last season, but he also popped four homers and a .304 ISO across his 21-game big-league debut in the 2021 campaign.
Of course, Siri brings plenty of stolen-base upside to the table. He’s swiped 17 bases across 126 MLB games and had 16 total across 120 games played between Triple-A and the big leagues last season. The guy swiped as many as 46 bags across 126 games at the A-Ball level in 2017. All he did was rank in the 100th percentile in spring speed in 2022 after sitting in the 99th percentile in 2021.
Siri’s power/speed combination is certainly enough to warrant at least a small portion of your budget.
Suggested Bid: 1%
Ramon Urias flexed increased power with the Orioles last season despite Camden Yards transforming into a pitcher-friendly venue.
Nonetheless, Urias managed 16 home runs and a .166 ISO, a big leap from seven homers and a .134 ISO in 2021, albeit in 33 more games. It was encouraging for Urias to rank in the league’s 83rd percentile in terms of hard-hit rate while his 59th percentile in barrel rate is solid as well.
Like Siri, Urias hit an Opening Day home run against the Boston Red Sox while his defensive versatility should be able to keep him in the lineup on a regular basis. Playing time is crucial and Urias should at least match his 445 plate appearance form last season again this time around.
Suggested Bid: 2-4%
It appeared the center field job for the Dodgers was Trayce Thompson‘s to lose after he exploded with the club down the stretch last season. However, the Dodgers opted to give rookie James Outman an opportunity and he has taken advantage early.
Like the two men before him on this list, Outman homered on Opening Day while adding a single, a walk, and three runs scored. It was a sensational season debut for the 25-year-old who simply mashed all-around last season. Outman made just 16 appearances at the big-league level last season but homered and doubled twice with a .462 average in that time. He also hit .292 with 15 home runs, six steals, and a 1.017 OPS across 57 games at Triple-A. Unfortunately for Thompson, it was Outman’s time to see what he could do at the highest level.
He should produce solid counting stats on a loaded Dodgers offense and is worth a solid chunk of your budget ahead of next week’s action.
Suggested Bid: 1-2%
Yusei Kikuchi delivered a fantastic spring training in Grapefruit League action and while the club is optimistic he’s found something, his big-league track record should temper expectations and lessen your need for a sizeable bid.
The left-hander turned in a stout 0.87 ERA while punching out 31 hitters across 20 2/3 innings pitched this spring. He did walk 10 in that time — and walks were a big problem last season — but he showed some fantastic stuff in the spring.
The problem is a career 5.02 ERA and lukewarm 22.1% K-rate. He did punch out 27.3% of the hitters he faced last season, but just 24.5% as a starter compared to 39.8% as a reliever. If he can’t carry his strong spring into the regular season, he could be bullpen bound as he was a season ago.
Nonetheless, he is certainly an early-season flier on a World Series contender.
Suggested Bid: 3-4%
The Yankees rotation is battered and bruised which will provide Clarke Schmidt the opportunity to become a big part of the starting rotation early in the season.
Carlos Rodon began the season on the injured list, Luis Severino is set to hit the IL, and Frankie Montas might be lucky to pitch at all this season. Nestor Cortes Jr. was also limited this spring due to a hamstring issue.
As a result, the 2017 1st-round pick should get a long look to begin the season. After all, Schmidt turned in a 3.12 ERA across 29 outings (three starts) and 57 2/3 innings pitched with the Yankees last season. He turned in a 3.27 ERA and a monstrous 33.1% K-rate in eight Triple-A starts a season ago.
It appears Schmidt is worth a notable bid as he could certainly work himself into a full-time spot in the Yankees rotation this season.
Suggested Bid: 4-5%
Zach Eflin is seeing lower ownership than I anticipated as he enters his first season with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Look at it this way: whose front office is better at identifying underrated talent than the rays? Well, the usually-frugal Rays went out and spent $40 million across three seasons to bring Eflin to Tropicana Field. This is a guy with a career of 4.49 ERA in 127 appearances.
Eflin has never really been a huge strikeout pitcher with a career 19.7% K-rate. However, did post a 28.6% mark in the shortened 2020 season so perhaps there’s something to unlock there. If there is, Tampa will find it and we want to be there for that.
Eflin is worth a notable portion of your budget as a key rotation contributor this season.
Suggested Bid: 4-5%
A.J. Puk got the nod for the club’s first save opportunity on Opening Day and he converted despite giving up a run. He also recorded two strikeouts in the outing.
Like Eflin, the Marlins acquired Puk in a trade with the A’s this offseason likely with a plan in mind. It appears — at least early — that the plan is to use him in high-leverage situations with save opportunities on the horizon.
The southpaw worked to a quality 3.12 ERA with a 27% K-rate along with four saves in 62 appearances with the A’s a season ago. He’ll be a solid source of punchouts with a 27% career K-rate and has managed an 18.4% K-BB% in his career as well.
Considering last year’s closer Tanner Scott posted an ugly 15.9% walk rate last season, Puk should be the No. 1 option for saves in Miami barring performance this season.
Suggested Bid: 2-3%
Like Puk, Andrew Chafin received his team’s first save opportunity of the season as he locked down a 2-1 win over the Dodgers on Friday. His save was of the perfect one-two-three variety.
One of the more underrated and best left-handed relievers in baseball over the last couple of seasons, Chafin most recently turned in a 2.83 ERA and 27.6% K-rate across 64 appearances with the Tigers last season. He might have just 12 saves across 477 career appearances but with Marc Melancon sidelined it should be Chafin getting the bulk of the save opportunities.
The suggested bid is a little lower than Puk’s as Chafin doesn’t have the same track record for strikeouts, but the D-backs could sneak up on some teams this season which, in turn, should help Chafin rack up a healthy number of saves this season.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy baseball, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Lineup Assistant - which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections - to our Waiver Wire Assistant - which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much - we've got you covered this fantasy baseball season.
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