Raise your hand if you need some assistance, because it’s that time again! Time to place some bids and make some claims. I don’t pretend to be a fantasy baseball genius, but I’m here to help. Here are some of my favorite players to pick up this week across multiple leagues.
Priority Waiver Adds
SS – Willi Castro – Tigers
Castro popped during spring training and had many people (including myself) interested in drafting him. Then the season started. Since then, it’s been an uphill battle as he’s gotten off to a rough start, hitting .213 without a homer. That said, Castro ranks eighth in max exit velocity at 115.4 mph. Every hitter listed above him in max exit velocity are 100 percent rostered in fantasy leagues. Maybe it’s time to strike while the iron is cold. Castro has the potential. Make the move if he’s been given up on and dropped.
3B – Evan Longoria – Giants
Turn back the clock! Jed Lowrie and Yadier Molina come to mind. Add Longoria to the 2021 ageless wonder list. Longo should provide a solid batting average to your lineup, as he’s off to a .304 start with four homers and nine runs driven in. What’s even more impressive is his statcast page. Outside of his sprint speed, his entire page is filled with red (that’s a good thing). His 67.6 percent hard-hit rate is good enough to put him in the top one percent of the league. Add him wherever he’s available if you need a corner infielder.
OF – Willie Calhoun – Rangers
Calhoun returned to major league action on Saturday and has gone 3-for-5 thus far. The 26-year-old started the season on the injured list because of a left groin injury. He was hurt often last season as well, including a broken jaw, strained oblique, and left hamstring injuries. If he’s truly healthy, this is a young player who hit .269 with 21 bombs in only 337 PAs in 2019. Add him in deeper five-outfielder leagues.
OF –Avisail Garcia – Brewers
Lorenzo Cain is out with a quadriceps strain. Christian Yelich has been dealing with a lower back strain. Both have been placed on the injured list. Garcia stands to get steady playing time for a little while and his 2021 metrics look good so far. On the young season, he ranks inside the top-10 in barrels per plate appearance (12.5 percent) and just outside the top-10 in hard-hit rate (54.8 percent). More importantly, it’s translated into a four-game hitting streak with hits in eight of his last nine games, and a .269 average with three homers after hitting another on Sunday. If he’s available, scoop him up and feel good about it.
SP – Dane Dunning – Rangers
Dunning is a must-add at this point. After motoring through six scoreless frames against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, Dunning owns a 0.60 ERA and has a 16/2 K/BB rate. The Texas Rangers might want to limit the young righties innings due to his past injury history, but if he’s going to continue pitching this efficiently, you’ll take it every time. He’s highly owned in many leagues, but is still less than 30 percent owned on ESPN.
SP – Michael Fulmer – Tigers
Fulmer has made a few relief appearances but made his first start of the season on April 14 against the Houston Astros. He was able to limit them to two earned runs over five innings tossed while striking out two batters and only walking one. He gets two solid matchups this week against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals. The Pirates sit dead last in hard-hit percentage (32.8 percent), and the Royals have the fifth-worst rate (36.1 percent). Fulmer could be someone that winds up sticking on your fantasy roster, but he’s a solid two-start pitcher this week.
SP – Brad Keller – Royals
On paper, Keller’s numbers are hideous. In 10.1 innings pitched, he’s allowed 19 hits and has a 9.58 ERA. However, after giving up 10 earned runs through two starts, he pitched 5.2 innings and allowed only one earned with five strikeouts his last time out against the Los Angeles Angels. This week, Keller will toe the rubber against the Tampa Bay Rays who sit second-to-last in whiff rate and expected batting average. He’s not a must add, but a decent option.
RP – Rafael Dolis – Blue Jays
The closer carousel continues. Julian Merryweather was getting most of the save opportunities before suffering an oblique strain. For those that took a chance on Jordan Romano to be Toronto’s closer, there was hope once again that he would be the closer following the injury. Then, of course, Romano got hurt. Now, it seems like it’s Dolis’ opportunity to be the main guy. In the first game of a doubleheader today, Dolis pitched a scoreless 7th inning in a 5-1 Blue Jays victory. Pick him up if you need saves.
Deep Sleeper Add
P – J.B. Bukauskas – Diamondbacks
J.B. was called up. The Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen has sent fantasy owners for a whirlwind, and that likely won’t be changing anytime soon. Stefan Crichton is the current frontrunner for save chances and picked one up on Sunday. But Joakim Soria could also figure into the mix upon his return to action. However, J.B. is a hard-throwing right-hander with a good slider. If given the opportunity, he could run away with the job. Stash him in deeper leagues if you have the roster space.
Another Option: SP/RP – Ryan Weathers – Padres