Top Fantasy Players on the Waiver Wire in MLB's Week One
Young Starting Pitching
The Toronto Blue Jays had one of their best young starting pitchers go down with an ACL injury for this season, in spring training. Their misfortune may work to be good fortune for fantasy baseball owners who are in need of pitching depth early in the season. Toronto decided to have two different top prospects on their 25 man roster to break camp this spring. Both of these rookies are starting pitchers who have the fastball velocity to generate plenty of strikeouts this season. Beyond the starting pitchers from Toronto, there are several hitters who are on the waiver wire in most leagues as well. The availability of these hitters should provide fantasy owners with an extra boost in power and stolen bases throughout this season. Just when you thought all the best closers were taken in the draft, the trade that Atlanta and San Diego pulled off right before opening night, changed the ninth inning situation in Atlanta. All of this turnover following most fantasy drafts, gives fantasy owners the chance to add much needed depth to their rosters. Since this information is not well known to everybody, whoever gets the chance to read these findings first, could gain an advantage.
This top prospect for the Blue Jays is still available in most leagues after making the Toronto opening day roster as a rookie. A two seam fastball with good movement, allows Sanchez to generate plenty of ground balls while playing most of his games in hitter friendly ballparks this season. Sanchez also mixes a good changeup and curveball to put away batters after getting ahead with the fastball. His significant fastball velocity allows his off-speed pitches to play well for this talented young starting pitcher. His size and talent level make him a good candidate to add to a fantasy roster in need of boosting their quality start totals and strikeouts.
The other Blue Jays' top prospect to make their opening day roster, may be the more talented of the two. As a power left handed pitcher, Norris has the opportunity to earn a job at the top of the Toronto rotation this season with a strong showing in his rookie campaign. Norris has a mid 90s fastball that he likes to establish early in ballgames in order to set up his off-speed pitches. With a changeup, slider and curveball, Norris has the depth in his repertoire necessary to put together a solid rookie campaign. With James Paxton of the Mariners already claimed in most leagues, fantasy players will soon realize that Norris brings most of the same positive qualities. Norris should be able to help in the same areas that teammate Aaron Sanchez will contribute in for the Jays this season.
This 22 year old rookie was able to make the Mariners' opening day roster, and to this point he has not been claimed off the waiver wire in many leagues. Like the other young pitchers on this list, Walker has a great fastball that allows him to establish himself as a force on the mound. He is not without any MLB experience, after making some strong starts for the Mariners over the past two seasons. Walker features a great curveball and slider to complement his mid to upper 90s fastball. As an efficient strike thrower, Walker should be able to log the innings needed to rack up the quality starts. He also should help out plenty in the area of strikeouts. As a starter who is opening the season on the back end of the Mariners' bullpen, he should draw some favorable matchups that allow him to collect plenty of wins as a rookie.
Hitters on the waiver wire
Great hitting catchers are tough to find in fantasy baseball, and Mike Zunino is a potential breakout candidate this season. Zunino did not collect many hits last season with the Mariners, but when he did get a hit, chances are it was an extra base hit. After a year of experience, Zunino should display the hitting ability in order to hit for average this season. With power being a big part of his game, Zunino should provide fantasy owners with help in the on base percentage, total bases, homeruns, RBI and OPS categories this season.
Fowler is a great fit for teams in need of outfield help. He should steal plenty of bases at the top of the Cubs' order this season, and he has the power to produce a significant extra base hit total while playing half his games at hitter friendly Wrigley Field. Fowler is not going to be a star in fantasy baseball this season, but he should be a capable contributor on whichever team decides to pick him up. He should contribute in the areas of batting average, stolen bases, on base percentage and total bases.
Closers on the waiver wire
Grilli takes over the closer's role in Atlanta after they traded away Craig Kimbrel before the start of the season. Grilli is not the dominant closer that Kimbrel is, but he already has multiple saves early on this season despite not being owned in many fantasy leagues all over the internet. Grilli is a power pitcher with plenty of strikeout ability, and he appears to be in position to get plenty of save opportunities with the Braves this season. Grilli now being healthy is the key for him, as he has put last season's struggles behind him to return to all star form.
With Joe Nathan going on the disabled list, a huge opportunity has opened for fantasy teams to add a great closer. The Tigers appear to be in position to hand their closer a ninth inning lead on a regular basis, so a quality relief pitcher like Joakim Soria should be able to take advantage. With power pitching ability and ninth inning experience, Soria should collect plenty of saves while racking up the strikeouts in each inning he pitches.
How much will these players contribute?
The best contributors of this group of seven players, will probably be the young power arms that made their teams as rookies out of spring training. Mike Zunino could definitely be a starting catcher this season on a fantasy team that did not focus on getting a catcher early in their league draft. Both closers are likely to be quality contributors this season, with both having the chance to emerge as number one options for whichever team picks them up this season. All seven of these players should be positive contributors in one way or another for fantasy teams this season, with a couple of them having a chance to be the difference between a high playoff seed or not making the fantasy playoffs at all.