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. All players listed are rostered below 40 percent on ESPN. Learn to think like a NERD!
Garrett Cooper, 1B/DH/OF, Miami Marlins
After a decent season in 2020, Garrett Cooper was looking to build off of some success in order to fill out a decent role for a rising Marlins team. His start to 2021 wasn’t pretty but recently the bat has been heating up. In Cooper’s last 10 games, he’s been hitting .364 with three home runs, nine RBIs, and seven runs scored. His OPS has also been through the roof, earning a rate of 1.205, way above the league average. Cooper’s versatility should keep him in the lineup as long as he hits well, despite depth at the positions he plays at. Cooper is worth adding in all league formats while he has the hot bat.
Ji-Man Choi, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
Ji-Man Choi is another player who also has been heating up over the last two weeks. After finally coming off the injuries list last week, Choi could finally get his season underway. He has had an insane start thus far. Through only six games, Choi has hit .429 with two homers and eight RBIs already. He also has an on-base percentage of .520 and an OPS of 1.330, both are monstrous numbers. It’s obvious that these numbers won’t keep up for the rest of the season. But it is good that Tampa Bay will be getting some power back into their lineup. Choi is worth adding in all league formats while he has the hot hitting.
Jurickson Profar, OF/2B, San Diego Padres
Jurickson Profar has been an above-average utility man for multiple seasons now. He now fills that same role for the Padres who have high expectations for this season after some major offseason moves. Profar has been picking up his production as of late, hitting .360 over his last six games along with seven runs scored, two stolen bases, and two RBIs. With a high-scoring and consistent offense, Profar’s numbers should stay constant throughout the season. They will also be high enough that it is deserving of adding Profar in most league formats while he continues to produce runs for the Padres.
Freddy Galvis, SS/2B, Baltimore Orioles
Freddy Galvis has been a player hopping around from franchise to franchise. Nonetheless, his quality production stays the same wherever he goes. He is now part of the Orioles organization, hoping to help them continue their rebuild. His production as of late has helped them a ton. Galvis is hitting .236 with two homers, four RBIs, and four runs scored. His flexibility when assigning him to positions also makes him an everyday player. Galvis is worth picking up in deeper formatted leagues. The production of his teammates will be critical since he’s not the kind of player to carry the load.
Spencer Turnbull, SP, Detroit Pistons
After once earning the season title for most losses in the American League in 2017, Spencer Turnbull has shown he’s starting to turn it around after some solid starts. He recently threw a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals. In his last three starts, Turnbull has maintained 1.47 ERA with a 2-0 record and 2-0 record. He has also held opponents hitting down to only .191. With Casey Mize also making major improvements, it looks like Mize and Turnbull are looking like a solid one-two punch for the Tigers who desperately need some quality pitching. Turnbull is worth adding immediately while he flying off of the shelves quickly.
James Kaprielian, SP, Oakland Athletics
After a rough 2020 in the shortened season, James Kaprielian needed a major turnaround if he wanted any chance of staying in the A’s organization. Injuries paved way for his opportunity to enter the rotation and he’s been solid since. In his two starts on the season, Kaprielian is 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA. He’s done an excellent job at high-volume strikeouts, 15 K’s over with four walks over 10 innings. Kaprielian is worth taking a risk on but one more quality start should make him a popular pickup on the waiver wire. It will be interesting whether he stays in the rotation once players like Jesus Luzardo return from injury.
Shane McClanahan, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Shane McClanahan is one of a plethora of prospects that the Rays have over the years. His excellent spring training earned him a spot on the big league roster and in the rotation this season. Through his first five starts, McClanahan has maintained a 4.03 ERA with 26 strikeouts over 22 innings of pitching. While those numbers aren’t the most glamorous, McClanahan still has a full season to work on his production and command. McClanahan is worth adding in deeper formatted leagues and potentially taking a risk in all other league formats. He will have some big shoes to fill after Blake Snell and Charlie Morton both left to play for different franchises in the offseason.
Austin Gomber, RP/SP, Colorado Rockies
After having an excellent 2020 season starting and finishing games with the St. Louis Cardinals, Austin Gomber was moved to the Rockies as part of the Nolan Arenado trade. Gomber’s start to this season has been a bit shaky. But he’s put together two solid starts that make a quality flier on the waiver wire. In those two starts, Gomber has maintained a 0.73 ERA with 13 strikeouts over 11 innings of work. Gomber will have the challenge of trying to earn wins with a declining Rockies team but that shouldn’t be much of a worry as long he’s pitching quality outings. Gomber is worth keeping on the watch lists for the time being until Gomber can become more consistent with his pitching.