Although it is early in the year, it is important to go and grab those players who may have gone undrafted. Injuries are also creating some early opportunities to grab a player who can boost an area of weakness in your lineup. Whether you need runs, strikeouts, or saves, this is the NL rundown for the waiver wire.
Jason Grilli – Braves – RP – Y! 58% – ESPN 35%
Craig Kimbrel was dealt to San Diego the other day, creating an opening for the Atlanta closer role. Grilli will have the job, if he falters Jim Johnson would most likely slide in. Grilli is a great add for those who are in need of saves.
Chris Hatcher – Dodgers – RP – Y! 15% – ESPN 2%
If you are desperate for saves early, Hatcher is worth the chance of having a fair share of saves until Jansen gets back. It still looks like a closer by committee in L.A., but I am picking him to see if it sticks.
Brandon McCarthy – Dodgers – SP – Y! 76% – ESPN 19%
McCarthy is slotted as the Dodgers third guy in the rotation, he figured it out in New York over the second half of the season, after a rough start in Arizona. He is worth a roster spot to play based on matchup, he takes on the Padres and Giants three times over the next few weeks. McCarthy is in a good spot to give some quality innings and pick up a win or two.
Carlos Martinez – Cardinals – SP, RP – Y! 40% – ESPN – 15%
Martinez has tremendous upside, and he is the fifth starter in St. Louis for any confusion since he pitched an inning out of the pen Sunday night. He has a career 21% strikeout percentage and keeps the ball on the ground. He should be owned everywhere.
A.J. Burnett – Pirates – SP – Y! 43% – ESPN – 18%
Since Burnett moves back to Pittsburgh this season, he becomes relevant in fantasy again. In the two years with the Pirates, he won 26 games and carried a 3.41 ERA. He also had a 23.7% strikeout rate in that span as well. There could be the occasional matchup to skip him, but overall he should give plenty of fantasy value this year.
Angel Pagan – Giants – OF – Y! 17% – ESPN 12%
I was a little surprised looking at those percentages, but I understand how deep the outfield position is. The biggest problem has been him staying healthy, but he a valuable fantasy player when on the field. Until Hunter Pence returns, it looks like he will hit third. He can add stolen bases, high on-base percentage, runs, and RBI to your team. Once he returns to the leadoff spot, you can knock down RBI a bit.
Adam Lind – Brewers – 1B – Y! 38% – ESPN 11%
Lind sits right in the middle of a juicy lineup with protection behind him as well. He hits in a great ballpark and is not a low average first baseman. Twenty-plus home runs is the target for Lind this season, and he should reach that. With Khris Davis and Scooter Gennett behind him, that gives a slight boost in the runs department for Lind. He is great for leagues with those multiple infield and utility spots.
Marlon Byrd – Reds – OF – Y! 64% – ESPN 51%
Byrd hit 25 home runs and drove in 85 runs last season in Philadelphia. He moved to Cincinnati this season giving him a boost in park factors. He mashes left-handed pitching, and overall is going to be a great producer in this Reds’ lineup.
Dexter Fowler – Cubs – OF – Y! 36% – ESPN 6%
This guy will be the table setter for Chicago this season. Once things get clicking, he will be a great fantasy asset who went undrafted. He missed some time last season with Houston, but was productive hitting .276 with 61 runs. Once things heat up in Chicago, or Kris Bryant shows up, we should be an everyday starter for most fantasy teams.
Joe Panik – Giants – 2B – Y! 9% – ESPN 6%
This is for those in deeper leagues. The Giants often get overlooked offensively, but Panik is hitting second in a productive lineup. Yesterday was his first Opening Day, and he smoked three hits. He hit .327 in the second half last season, and is not a strikeout happy player. He will provide runs and keep an average at a respectable level.