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!
Bobby Dalbec, 1B, Boston Red Sox
After showing some solid production in the shortened season, Bobby Dalbec was a solid sleeper in the late rounds of fantasy drafts this year. That start, however, did not translate from last year. Dalbec was hitting below .200 before this stretch of hot games over the last week. In his last five games, Dalbec has hit .353 with two home runs and six RBIs. The Red Sox as a team have been quite a surprise to most around the league. Dalbec recently has played a big role in that and if he is able to keep that up over the next few games, he should be a quality pick-up on the waiver wire.
Josh Fuentes, 1B/3B, Colorado Rockies
Similar to Dalbec, Josh Fuentes had a fantastic shortened season where he hit over .300. That production hasn’t completely carried over to this year until recently. In his last five games, Fuentes has hit .364 with two homers and 11 RBIs. The Rockies are bout to enter a rebuilding process so it will be interesting whether Fuentes is part of that rebuild or traded to another team. He is only 28 years old so he still has time to elevate his game. The next couple of games will be big. For now, Fuentes is a solid pickup in deeper formatted leagues.
Jonathan India, 3B/2B, Cincinnati Reds
Jonathan India was a top-five pick in 2018 and has now been called up to play his first season in the majors. He had a hot start but quickly cooled off. Now, he’s started to show more signs of better consistency compared to the start of the season. In his last five games, India has hit .417 with two home runs and five RBIs. His value as a prospect and age give him major upside for the rest of the season but it is good to see that India is having a good start to his young career. India is worth taking a flyer on in all league formats.
Starlin Castro, 2B/3B, Washington Nationals
Starlin Castro might not be in his all-star form like he was in 2017 for the New York Yankees. But now with the Nationals, Castro has still been able to give significant production for a National’s team trying to regain their footing after winning the World Series in 2019. In his last five games, Castro has hit .318 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Castro’s next step is to have more of his hits become runs scored but that’s more due to a lackluster start for the National’s offense as a whole. Castro is worth watching in all leagues to see whether his high percentage hitting turns into more runs.
Rich Hill, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
The journeyman, Rich Hill, has now found himself down south with the Tampa Bay Rays. After giving up four runs in each of his first four, Hill has turned it up to play a significant role for the Rays. In his last four starts, Hill has maintained a 0.83 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 21 innings of work. Hill has only allowed two total runs and a batting averaging of .114 over those same four starts. Hill is a priority pickup on the waiver wire as he will continue to pitch productive games for the Rays who are trying to return to the World Series again.
Griffin Canning, SP, Los Angeles Angels
Griffin Canning’s success in 2021 was key coming into the season if the Angels would like to elevate their status after missing out on key free agents like Trevor Bauer in the offseason. Canning’s start was slow but quickly turned it around. IN his last three starts, Canning has held a 1.59 ERA with 20 strikeouts over 17 innings of pitching. Canning is a solid candidate off the waiver wire for someone with high production and still an opportunity to become a consistent productive pitcher at only 25 years old. Canning should be picked up in all league formats while he is still available.
Martin Perez, SP, Boston Red Sox
Martin Perez has also been a key member of the Red Sox who has been overlooked by his teammate Nick Pivetta who is having a breakout season. Over his last five starts, Martin has maintained a 2.08 ERA with 25 strikeouts over 25 innings. It would be nice to see Perez have more nightly strikeouts but I won’t complain for a guy who has a career ERA of 4.66. Perez just turned 30 and could still have some room for improvement. But for now, he is a solid pickup in all league formats while he continues this consistent production.
Luis Garcia, RP/SP, Houston Astros
Luis Garcia had a very productive 2020 season in only the 12 innings he pitched towards the end of the regular season. 2021 was going to be interesting in whether he can show out as an elite prospect or still need some kind to develop. After some long relief appearances, Garcia finally got some starting opportunities where he has capitalized. In his first three starts, Garcia has held a 3.60 ERA with 26 strikeouts over 20 innings of work. He finally earned his first win in his last start against the Rangers. Garcia is worth keeping watch to see if he can polish his game and become another key young prospect for the Astros.