April is just two days from being over already. What a first month of fantasy baseball it has been, but this means the dog days of summer are just around the corner, and fantasy baseball is no exception. Be sure to keep one eye on the waiver wire at all times as the next big thing could be just a click away.
Whether it is a free agent pool, a budget-based system, or weekly waivers, playing the wire is a key element to winning your fantasy baseball leagues.
Each week, XN Sports will present an option at each position, and why you should add them.
Without further ado, let’s play the waiver wire:
Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals
Here it is, the first player coming back from injury. Every year there are players who get hurt and are immediately dropped from most leagues. Then some forget about the player, but be sure to be the savvy owner and pick him up right away. Ramos looks to return in a week or less, so be sure to add him. The catching pool is always weak so adding an All-Star caliber hitter at the catching position is like making a blockbuster trade — for free. Ramos hit .272 with 16 home runs and 59 runs batted in last year in just 287 at-bats. He is a must add at catcher, unless you have one of the top guys at the position.
Juan Francisco, Toronto Blue Jays
With Adam Lind bitten by the injury bug, Francisco will assume his spot in the batting order. So far this year, Francisco is hitting .286 with two home runs in just 28 at-bats. He is a nice option for those who need to replace a first baseman.
Second Base/Third Base
Marcus Semien, Chicago White Sox
It’s not often the best available option at two positions is the same player, but this week is one of those rare occurrences. Semien has struggled in the batting average department so far as he is hitting just .227 but he does add value at every other category. Semien is available in well over 90 percent of leagues, so if you need help at second or third, he is your guy. Why? Depsite his batting average, Semien has scored 16 runs and driven in 14. Add that to three home runs and two stolen bases and you have a very solid four-category player in the infield. Semien is ranked in the top five in runs scored for each position (second and third base), the top ten in runs batted in at each position, and is on pace for a 15 home run/15 stolen base season. Semien can do a bit of everything, which makes him a great value in fantasy baseball.
Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals
Speaking of players who have struggled so far in the average department, Peralta may be leading that bandwagon. But as most of you know, Peralta has been a good hitter for a long time. He has five hits in the last three games and is a career .266 hitter so his average is sure to rise from the under the Mendoza line. In addition, Peralta leads all shortstops in home runs with six, and is fifth in runs batted in. Add him if you need help at shortstop, as he can give you some cheap pop. Being in the thick of that Cardinals lineup, Peralta will score some runs and drive some in as well.
Dayan Viciedo, Chicago White Sox
Two weeks ago, Viciedo was an advised pick-up in the outfield. Luckily for you, he is still available on the waiver wire in over half of fantasy baseball leagues. Be sure to pick him up right away before your league mates notice he is hitting .367 on the season. In just 79 at-bats, Viciedo has 43 total bases for a whopping slugging percentage of .544. Now, is that because of a unsustainable amount of home runs? No, Viciedo only has one four-bagger on the season, and seeing as his slugging percentage is so high, the home runs will come. Just two seasons ago, he hit 25 home runs and drove in 78 runners.
Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals
Sometimes there are players you have to take a second look at on the waiver wire because you cannot believe he is there. Roark is available in nearly every single league across the industry, but that will change very soon. In his last start, Roark tossed a three-hit complete game shutout, and in the start before he was able to hold the Los Angeles Angels’ powerful lineup to zero runs in six and two-thirds innings. Roark looks to be yet another gem for the Nationals’ pitching staff and he should join your staff as well. So far this season Roark is 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He has also struck out 28 batters in just under 33 innings. Add him if you need help in the pitching department.
Joe Smith, Los Angeles Angels
Each week, you read about a new guy getting the opportunity to close. Who is it this week? Joe Smith of the Angels was named the closer for the foreseeable future and will be given every chance to prove his worth. Now, can he do the job? So far this season, Smith has a 3.6o ERA and a 1.10 WHIP, and has struck out 11 hitters in just 10 innings. Smith has the talent to close games for the Angels, but as we all know it takes a certain kind of guy to finish games. For those who have Ernesto Frieri, Smith is a must-add.