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
Nate Lowe was mentioned on the Preseason Waiver Wire as a young prospect who finally got his opportunity in Texas to be a full-time starting first basemen. His start to the season has been too good to leave off this list even after being mentioned previously. In 10 plate appearances, he already has six runs batted in and has hit .300. While the hot start might not continue throughout the entire season, his upside will only continue to rise for the rest of the season. Lowe is the perfect early waiver wire add for the early season.
Manuel Margot, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Manuel Margot was also mentioned on the Preseason Waiver Wire as he was looking to continue his strong play after a great postseason outing. He has also gotten off to a hot start for the new season. In 10 plate appearances, Margot has hit .400 including a home run, two RBIs, and a triple. This is the kind of start Margott will need to continue if he wants to earn the everyday starting centerfielder. For now, he is worth adding in 10+ team leagues and worth keeping on the radar in leagues with a lesser amount of teams.
Joey Wendle, 3B/2B/SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Joey Wendle was key for the Rays last season by being able to play multiple positions. However, when it came to the postseason, he struggled greatly and was a key reason why the Rays couldn’t overtop the Dodgers. But one offseason later, he is off to a hot start for his sixth season in the majors. in eight plate appearances, Wendle has hit .375 including a home run and four RBIs. Wendle is a great utility option for deeper leagues with his flexibility at eligible positions, especially with how he is hitting to start the season.
Kyle Isbel, OF, Kansas City Royals
Kyle Isbel was not a major front-runner for AL rookie of the year in the slightest. However, he has now put his name on the longshot radar with the hot start he has had to his rookie season in the majors. In nine at-bats, Isbel has hit .556 including three runs scored, a triple, and three RBIs. Isbel’s upside for the rest of the season will only continue to rise now that he is getting his name out there. Isbel is worth keeping on the radar is very deep leagues to see how his rookie season progresses.
Trevor Rogers, SP, Miami Marlins
Trevor rogers struggled in his seven appearances he made in the shortened 2020 season. He finished with 1-2 record and a 6.11 ERA. However his spring training was enough for Don Mattingly to name him the fifth starter to start the season. He finished spring training with 3-0 record and 2.84 ERA. His first start won’t come until Monday. But the upside for Rogers is great as he is only 23 years old and being a first round selection in 2017. Rogers is worth keeping on the radar in deeper leagues until his first start of the new season on Monday against the Cardinals.
Hector Neris, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
Hector Neris was in battle with newcomer Archie Bradley for the closer position after having a rough 2020 where he finished with 4.57 ERA compared to his 2.93 ERA he finished with in 2019. His spring training outings were enough to convince Joe Giradi to name him the closer to start the season. He hasn’t converted on any of his three save opportunities but he hasn’t allowed any hits in those appearances either. Neris is worth adding now in leagues and his role will be key as the Phillies look to improve their bullpen after having one of the worst in history last year.
Caser Valdez, RP, Baltimore Orioles
The 36-year-old, Cesar Valdez had a great shortened 2020 and spring training that he was named the closer for the Orioles to start the season. He finished with a 1.26 ERA over 14 innings in 2020 and improved that into spring training, finishing with a 1.29 ERA. He converted on both of his save opportunities to start 2021. He should be kept on radars for deeper leagues but could quickly move up as long as he continues to finish games.
Jake Arrieta, SP, Chicago Cubs
This offseason, Jake Arrieta chose to return to Chicago where he won a Cy Young Award and threw a no-hitter. His three years in Philadelphia were definitely tough, but after his first start back in Chicago, things could definitely turn out brighter for the 11-year veteran. At his first start of the new season, he allowed only one run and six hits in six innings while striking out five batters. It is very likely that Arrieta will not return to his season form in 2015. However, any good production you can get from Arrieta is key for the Cubs who are trying to fill out the absence of Yu Darvish the best they can.