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!
Andrelton Simmons, SS, Minnesota Twins
Andrelton Simmons came to Minnesota as a free agent after spending the last five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. He is best known for his defense but is a very underrated hitter as well. His start to the new season has been fantastic. In 30 plate appearances, Simmons has hit .435 with three RBIs and six runs scored. His on-base percentage is also very efficient, sitting at .565. As the new everyday shortstop, it will be worth keeping an eye on for how long he keeps the hot streak going. For now, he is a must-add player in all leagues.
Omar Narvaez, C, Milwaukee Brewers
After struggling a ton last year, Omar Narvaez has been on a tear to start the season in hopes to turn around his career as an underrated catcher in the league. Whether it was the shortened season or a new team, that all seems to be behind Narvaez now. Through 25 plate appearances, Narvaez has hit .455 with two homers, five RBIs, and three runs scored. His on-base percentage has also been staggering, sitting at .520. Narvaez’s production will be key if the Brewers would like to reenter themselves into being a top team like they once were in 2018 when they made an NCLS appearance. For now, Narvaez is worth adding in all leagues, especially if you are still looking for a productive catcher.
Luis Arraez, 2B, Minnesota Twins
After being a top prospect in the minor league, Luis Arraez has had a lackluster start through his career in the majors. While he hits at a great rate, .330 for his career, that hasn’t turn into a lot of scoring to his name. Nonetheless, he is having another productive start in his third year in the majors. Through 30 plate appearances, Arreaz has hit .320 with a home run and five RBIs, and four runs scored. His services are being used more in the outfield but he should be an everyday starter. PLus with his upside, this makes Arreaz adding to rosters in deeper leagues but also worth keeping on the radar for all leagues.
Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals
The legend Yadier Molina refuses to let father time walk through the door as he continues to be a productive cacher despite being 38 years old. Through 31 plate appearances, Molina has hit .370 with a home run, seven RBIs, and six runs scored. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer will very likely be the everyday catcher for the Cardinals, bearing any injury. Similar to Narvaez, if you are in the need of a catcher, Molina is a great option off the waiver wire to fill that position.
Yusei Kikuchi, SP, Seattle Mariners
Yusei Kikuchi has been a gradually improved pitcher since coming to the MLB after nine dominant seasons in Japan. In his two starts this season, Kikuchi has maintained a 3.75 ERA while striking out 16 batters through 12 innings pitched. Kikuchi’s productive start against the Twins is a good sign that he could be in for an improving season. For now, Kikuchi is worth adding in most league formats. His next start against Houston will be a big test to what we might see from Kikuchi for the remainder of the season.
Jon Gray, SP, Colorado Rockies
Jon Gray has been very inconsistent throughout his entire career with the Rockies. Not to mention that Gray is coming off of a 2-4 record in 2020 that also featured a poor 6.69 ERA. However, with his first two starts to the year, we may be seeing a more improved season from Gray. In his first two starts, Gray is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA and 12 total strikeouts through 11.2 innings pitched. It is hard to predict what Gray’s rest of the season may look like. But with the start he is having now, that’s enough to make him a solid candidate to add off the waiver wire in deeper format leagues.
Bruce Zimmerman, SP, Baltimore Orioles
After struggling in the shortened 2020, Bruce Zimmerman put in the offseason and spring training work to earn himself the final start rotation pitcher for the Orioles. Not only that, but he has been very solid through his first two starts of the season. Through those two starts, he is 1-0 and has maintained a 4.50 ERA which striking out a total of nine batters through a total of 12 innings. While both of those starts have come against the Red Sox, who are an above-average hitting team this season, it will be interesting to see what happens in his next start against the Mariners. For now, Zimmerman is worth adding in 12+ team leagues while monitoring in all other league formats.
Emmanuel Clase, RP, Cleveland Indians
Emmanuel Clase was one of two prospects part of the trade that sent Corey Kluber to the Rangers. Clase’s 2020 season however was out of the question after he was suspended 80 games for PED. His 2021 outlook is interesting as he was named to be part of a closing committee that included James Karinchak and Nick Wittgren. Clase does have the highest upside of them and still has the potential to become a starting pitcher for the Indians. For now, Clase has earned a win and a save in three innings pitched and hasn’t allowed any hits. His upside is worth keeping watch in all league formats but especially in deeper leagues.