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!
Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, Chicago White Sox
After being selected as the 3rd overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Andrew Vaughn has had a quick ascension through the minors. Because of injuries, he earned an opportunity to make the opening day roster and as of late, he’s been hitting extremely well. In his last 10 games, Vaughn has hit .324/.343/.676 and 1.019 OPS with three homers, seven RBIs, and six runs scored. With his incredible upside being a top-three pick, Vaughn still has the potential to become a star in this league. He is worth picking up now while available as he continues to add to his game.
Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
After some mediocre seasons, Harrison Bader was primed for improvement after years of development. He’s improved much more as a power hitter and has been on a great stretch of hitting recently. In his last 10 games, Bader has hit .429/.474/.600 and 1.074 OPS along with a homer and five RBIs. Injuries have also played a huge role in giving Bader the opportunity to consistently be in the lineup. Bader should be added in most league formats until he builds more of a consistent hitting resume.
Pavin Smith, 1B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
In his first full season in the majors, Pavin Smith has been given the opportunity to continue to grow and improve his game despite very little team success. In his last 10 games, Smith has hit .273/.415//.545 along with two homers, three RBIs, and five runs scored. What’s most impressive is that he’s earned eight walks in those 10 games. Smith has been in the conversation for an NL ROTY finalist. For now, he’s a quality pickup on the waiver wire with his upside.
Ronald Torreyes, SS/3B, Philadelphia Phillies
After having a solid season with the Yankees back in 2017, Ronald Torreyes has mainly filled the role as a pinch hitter with minimal game appearances. Now with the Philadelphia Phillies, he’s had a career resurgence. In his last 10 games, Torreyes has hit .357/.457/.500 with a homer, six RBIs, and seven runs scored. What’s extremely effective about this run is that Torreyes has only struck once in these 10 games. For now, Torreyes is worth keeping on the radars for now. Injuries and high production could help keep him in the lineup in the future, making him a quality pickup.
Patrick Sandoval, SP, Los Angeles Angels
Patrick Sandoval was mentioned on the waiver wire a few weeks ago as a potential riser in a weak Angels rotation. Now he’s shown off to become a quality pitcher for the Angels. He recently was one out away from a no-hitter that included 13 strikeouts in a performance against the Minnesota Twins. Before that, Sandoval had been a consistent pitcher, but nothing out of this world like we saw last night. Sandoval should be picked up in all leagues, as he is currently still available in about 60% of leagues.
Tylor Megill, RP/SP, New York Mets
As a major surprise, 2018 8th round pick, Tylor Megill, has pitched lights out since his call-up due to injuries. IN his six starts. Megill has managed a 2.60 ERA with 33 strikeouts to only 10 walks over 30 innings pitched. While he hasn’t earned many wins with only one, he has yet to be beaten. His upside has no limits as long as he continues to surprise and produce for the Mets. Megill is looking like a steal not only for the Mets but anyone who picks him up in fantasy right now.
Cal Quantrill, RP/SP, Cleveland Guardians
Cleveland’s new name has not only brought a surprise to the fans but also a surprise to fantasy owners. Cal Quantrill was one of the prospects in return for the Mike Clevinger trade last season. He showed a lot of promise when he finished the season with a 1.84 ERA in eight appearances for the Indians. Now making some appearances in the rotation, Quantrill has only improved his production. In his last two starts, Quantrill has managed 1.64 ERA with seven strikeouts over 11 innings pitched. Quantrill is worth adding now in deeper formatted leagues until he builds more consistency.
Tanner Houck, SP, Boston Red Sox
After a wonderful three appearances in 2020, Tanner Houck was bound for a breakout season in 2021. While that start has been a bit slow, there is still plenty of potential. In his last two starts, Houck has earned a 0.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts over 7.2 innings. While in-game appearnces are short in terms of innings, that will very likely expand over the next few weeks. Houck is worth keeping an eye out on radars for the time being. His next handful of starts will be key whether he can become an elite pitcher for a surprising Red Sox rotation.