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, even mid-rounders, 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!
Tyler O’Neill, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Tyler O’Neill is a young player part of a Cardinals organization that consistently develops some of the best prospects in the entire league. After a poor season in 2020, O’Neill has turned it around completely. He already has five homers after only hitting seven last season. In his last five games, O’Neill has hit .429 with two home runs and five RBIs. O’Neill is shaping up to be an everyday left fielder for the Cardinals. On top of still being 25 years old, these factors make O’Neill a priority pickup on the waiver wire.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 3B/SS, Texas Rangers
Isiah Kiner-Falefa was a golden glover in 2020 and looked to 2021 to continue to build up his young career. His impressive spring training carried into the new season where he’s already surpassed his homers and RBIs from last year. In his last five games, Kiner-Falefa hit .316 with three home runs, four RBIs, and a stolen base. He also leads the league in games played so his reliability is already extremely high. Kiner-Falefa is also a priority pickup on the waiver wire. He is flying off the shelves fast so pick him up now!
Nico Hoerner, 2B/SS, Chicago Cubs
Nico Hoerner was the top prospect for the Cubs back in 2019. His start through the majors has been a bit slow but 2021 may be looking the start for a breakout year for Hoerner. Through 32 plate appearances, Hoerner is hitting .375 with a .487 OBP. He’s also already hit six RBIs and has more walks than strikeouts. Hoerner is still 23 years old with plenty of upside to be a valuable young player in this league. Hoerner is worth keeping on the radar in most league formats but it also isn’t a bad idea to stash him in deeper formatted leagues in the meantime.
Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota Twins
Alex Kirilloff is playing his first season in the majors and his start was very shaky, he didn’t actually earn a hit until his sixth game. But that quickly changed when he hit two homers in the first game against Kansas City. He has now followed up with homers in each of his last three games. He has the opportunity to become an everyday left fielder with the position wide open. He is the number two prospect in the Twins system so he also has great potential. For now, it is worth adding and stashing Kirilloff in deeper league formats.
Dylan Cease, SP, Chicago White Sox
Dylan Cease has been one of the most underrated pitchers this season. He has maintained a sub-three ERA throughout the season and even pitched a complete game shutout against the Tigers with nine strikeouts. Still only 25, Cease has the real potential to round out a legitimate trio with Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn. It is also a good sign that Tony La Russa is finally starting to let him pitch past the fifth inning. Cease should be a pickup in all league formats.
Madison Bumgarner, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
After an extremely rough start to the 2021 season, Madison Bumgarner has locked in and produced some legitimate starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his last three starts, Bumgarner has allowed only a 1.06 ERA with a .107 hitting percentage in 17 innings of work. He also produced an 18:2 strikeout to walk ratio. Bumgarner has been in the Cy Young Award before when he was in his prime. While it’s unlikely that he returns to that form again, as long as he can keep it consistently good, Bumgarner will be a very productive pitcher for anyone who adds him.
Domingo German, SP, New York Yankees
Coming off of a suspension for a domestic abuse case, Domingo German was looking to turn it around in 2021. Unfortunately, that did not come in his first two starts. But after spending some time at the alternative site, German has turned it around. In his last two starts, German has maintained a 2-0 record and a 1.38 ERA over 13 total innings. German’s production will be critical for a Yankees team that is trying to rebound after a very poor start to the season. German is worth picking up in all league formats.
Adbert Alzolay, SP, Chicago Cubs
Adbert Alzolay is a former top prospect within the Cubs organization but has also had a bit of a slow start in the majors. He had an excellent 2020 in his four starts, maintaining a sub-three ERA. But in 2021, his start has been slow, up until his last two starts where he’s turned on the jets. In his last two starts, Alzobey has managed a 3.38 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 10 innings of work. He’s also only 26, so he will have the rest of this season to help the Cubs replace as much of Yu Darvish’s production as they can. Alzobey is worth keeping on radars in deeper leagues if he can show consistency in his next few starts.