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!
Myles Straw, OF, Houston Astros
After typically being used as a pinch-runner for the first three years of his career, Myles Straw has worked his way up to the starting center field job for the Houston Astros. With that, has come improved hitting, especially as of late. Over his last 10 games, Straw has hit .361/.489/.417. What’s changed in Straw’s most dramatically is his ability to draw walks. Over those same 10 games, Straw has managed a 9:5 walk to strikeout ratio. He’s also had four stolen bases as well. Straw should be a must-add candidate in all leagues who he continues to improve his game.
Jace Peterson, OF/1B/2B, Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers have also been a major surprise to the entire MLB after an average 2020 season. With that, there have been a lot of red hot batters who didn’t produce nearly as much in seasons prior. The biggest name of them all has been Jace Peterson, who played for four previous franchises before moving up north. In his last 10 games, Peterson has hit .467/.564/.800 and an insane 1.364 OPS. He’s also hit a homer and 11 RBIs. Peterson is an immediate add in all formats while his bat stays extremely hot.
Enrique Hernandez, 2B/OF, Boston Red Sox
Enrique “Kike” Hernandez is a fan favorite, no matter what team you root for. But recently, he’s been hitting the ball at a career-high rate, which has helped the Red Sox maintain one of the best records in the entire league. Over the last 10 games, Hernandez has hit .278/.400/.639 with four homers, nine RBIs, and six runs scored. He’s also done a great job earning walks, managed a 1:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Hernandez should also be a must-add in most leagues while he and the Red Sox continue to stay hot.
Akil Baddoo, OF, Detroit Tigers
Akil Baddoo is a quality prospect from the Detroit farm system with some raw hitting and incredible speed. He had a hot start to the season but couldn’t keep the consistent hitting. That’s picked up as of late. Baddoo in his last ten games has hit .316/.381/.421 with six runs scored, three RBIs, and four stolen bases. He still struggles with strikeout numbers but that will come with time. Baddoo is worth keeping on watch lists, for the time being, his production could pick up at any point. At that point, he’ll be a quality pickup.
Cole Irvin, RP/SP, Oakland Athletics
Cole Irvin has consistently been an underrated starting pitcher for the Athletics since being traded from the Phillies. It is time to give him more credit especially with his recent starts. In his last three starts, Irvin has maintained a 2.25 ERA and a 2-0 record. He’s also struck out 17 batters over 20 innings pitched. He still needs to improve his walk numbers and his overall command throughout his starts. But Irvin is one of the most steady pitchers available right now. He should be picked up in all league formats as long as he maintains his regular outings.
Merrill Kelly, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Merrill Kelly had a quality 2020 shortened season, but like most prospects, failed to carry that over into the 2021 season. Recently, he’s been showing flashes from his productive 2020 season. In his last three starts, Kelly has earned a 3-0 record while managing a 1.80 ERA. Kelly has also done an excellent job of preventing walks, only allowing one compared to 17 strikeouts in those same starts. Kelly should also be an immediate pickup off the waivers while he continues to rebuild after a poor 2021 start.
Kyle Freeland, SP, Colorado Rockies
Kyle Freeland is one of the most inconsistent pitchers of recent years. He hasn’t been anywhere near form since 2017 when he finished with 17 wins and a 2.85 ERA. 2020 showed some good flashes, but that has to be taken with a grain of salt. Up until recently, his consistency has yet to come together. In his last three starts, Freeland has earned a 1-0 record with an amazing 0.53 ERA, accumulating to only one earned run. This also must be taken with a grain of salt, as Freeland has been known to blow away this consistency. But it’s a positive sign, making him worth a flier in deeper formatted leagues until he puts together more constant starts.
Ranger Suarez, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
The bullpen for the Philadelphia Phillies has been nothing but awful. At one point, the bullpen blew seven save opportunities in six games. There has only been one player who has managed above average numbers during these horrendous periods. That is Ranger Suarez, who surprisingly had a horrendous 2020 season. Suarez in 2021 has managed a 0.85 ERA with a 0.69 WHIP, both of which are great for a reliever. With Hector Neris struggling, Suarez could be in line to be the new closer in Philadelphia. While that hasn’t been made official yet, it could be coming soon. He’s already earned one save in yesterday’s game against the Padres.