The key to winning your fantasy baseball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent and call-ups could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. Here at NFS, we provide the best picks for players you should grab off waivers now before it is too late. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players, and also all players listed are rostered below 40 percent on ESPN. Learn to think like a NERD!
Nate Lowe, 1B, Texas Rangers
After failing to separate himself from an extremely stacked Tampa Bay Rays young core, Nate Lowe was shipped off to the Texas Rangers for three minor leaguers. In Texas, he is expected to be the everyday first baseman for the crew. His hitting numbers have still yet to reach the league average, hitting for a poor .224 average in 2020. However, now with a franchise not actively competing to win the division, Lowe should have every opportunity to make improvements and become a key young player for the slowly rising Texas Rangers.
Nick Senzel, OF, Cincinnati Reds
After being a former top prospect, Nick Senzel had a horrendous 2020 season that was highlighted by his poor .186 batting average. But only being 25 years old, Senzel has plenty of room to grow now that he is expected to be the everyday center fielder for the Cincinnati Reds. His production this season will be extremely important for whether Cincinnati can make a push for the postseason or having another lost season.
Manuel Margot, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
After posting some strong outings in the playoffs against the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers. Manuel Margot has boosted himself to becoming an everyday player in the Rays lineup. His postseason also included three home runs in the series against the Houston Astros. Still, at 26 years old, Margot has great upside and could even force a Kevin Kiermaier trade if his 2021 season is off to a great start. He will be a key contributor to help the Rays get back to the postseason.
Jeimer Candelario, 1B/3B, Detroit Tigers
Jeimer Candelario had a breakout year in last year’s shortened season and is now expected to be batting second in Detroit. He had a career year in batting average and achieved a .503 slugging percentage. His spring training numbers have been great, batting .336 in 17 games. He will be a primary player as Detroit continues to build a roster that can compete for postseason hopes, something they haven’t seen since 2014.
Nate Pearson, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Nate Pearson was a former top prospect last year for the Toronto Blue Jays and had a great debut, which included a two-hit gem against the Washington Nationals. However, he dealt with injury and his numbers tanked to a six ERA to the point where he was pitching out of relief toward the end of the season. His second season should be much better with time off. But it is worth noting he has dealt with spring training injuries and has only appeared in one game.
Elieser Hernandez, SP, Miami Marlins
Elieser Hernandez played a key role in the Marlins’ push for the playoffs and will attempt to ride that momentum into this season. He achieved a 3.16 ERA and a 1.013 WHIP. Hernandez is also only 25 years old and that could be key for an improving season. While Miami plays in one of the hardest divisions in the entire MLB, his backend rotation impact will be important for another playoff appearance.
Griffin Canning, SP, Los Angeles Angels
Griffin Canning has held the backend rotation for the Angels pretty decently for only being 25 years old and entering his third season. He cracked just below a four ERA in the shortened season last year. His spring training numbers have struggled, where he’s averaged a seven ERA and a 1.816 WHIP. However, his regular-season upside still makes him worthy enough on the waiver wire radar.
Michael Kopech, SP, Chicago White Sox
Michael Kopech hasn’t played in a major league game since 2018 after Tommy John Surgery and opting out of the 2020 season. But he is still a top prospect for the rising Chicago White Sox and has the opportunity to be a huge x-factor. His 2018 numbers were below average for a top prospect with a 5.02 ERA. However, at 24 years old, he still has time to make improvements and show that the Tommy John Surgery is behind him.