Fantasy teams are starting to shape up after the first two matchups of the season. Heading into matchup number three, you probably have a grasp of your team needs, whether it is a positional or statistical need.
If you have been reluctant to hit the waiver wire because you have been in “wait and see” mode, now is the time to start making some moves. This is especially important now, as injuries are starting to pile up and the amount of talent on waivers is beginning to thin.
Here are some players to target on waivers ahead of matchup three. These are players rostered in 60% of leagues or fewer according to ESPN roster percentage.
Elias Díaz (C – COL) 18.3% Rostered
Elias Díaz is two years removed from an 18/52/44/.246 campaign. He is already showing signs of potentially being able to replicate that performance. I am not buying the .357 AVG, but I am buying the improvements he has made from last season, many of which reflect what he did in 2021. His walk (8.5%) and strikeout (19.1%) rates have both improved from last season, as has his barrel rate (6.1%). His 15.4% HR/FB rate is higher than his career average, but just shy of his 2021 output.
Diaz has been pulling the ball nearly half of the time and as some of his ground balls start turning into line drives, he should continue to produce. He does not have much competition at the position in Colorado and is an excellent waiver add if you are thin at catcher.
Honorable Mention: Shea Langeliers (2.1%), Jonah Heim (5.7%)
Isaac Paredes (1B/2B/3B – TB) 46.3% Rostered
Isaac Paredes is not a hard hitter, but he has been making it work by pulling the ball over 60% of the time and hitting fly balls over 50% of the time. That combination has helped lead to his three homers, eight runs, and 10 RBI. His 25% K rate and lack of hard contact should spell regression to his AVG, but he is getting a ton of playing time on a very good team. Paredes has slotted in at second, third, and fifth in the order in half of his games, and carries multiple position eligibility, which all adds to his value.
While he has been more aggressive at the plate than in the past, and that has led to more swing and miss, it has also led to more contact. Paredes has improved his contact in and out of the zone and overall, has improved his CSW%, and has a single-digit swinging strike rate. Those needing an infield depth piece should look for Paredes on the waiver wire.
Honorable Mention: J.D. Davis (1.8%), Josh Rojas (24.7%), Garrett Cooper (14.1%), Spencer Steer (5.7%)
Nolan Gorman (2B – STL) 33.6% Rostered
Nolan Gorman is absolutely crushing the baseball. He is one of seven qualified second basemen that is top 10 at the position in both barrel rate (4th) and HardHit rate (3rd).
Gorman has exploded on the scene early this season, launching four homers and scoring five runs and 12 RBI. He has nearly doubled his walk rate, walking 17% of the time this season, while dropping his K-rate by nearly 10% from last season.
While it appears his BABIP is a bit high, he is driving the ball nearly a third of the time, and that combined with his hard contact could actually support a high BABIP, and a high AVG in turn. Go snag Gorman now if he is available on waivers in your league!
Honorable Mention: Jorge Mateo (49.6%), Thairo Estrada 52.2%, Bryson Stott (28.7%)
Austin Hays (OF – BAL) 39.9% Rostered
Austin Hays has three home runs, 13 runs, six RBI, one steal, and a .333 AVG to start the season. He is another player who has benefitted from a sky-high BABIP, but his stat profile still looks great otherwise.
Hays has barreled eight balls in 54 plate appearances. His current 43.2% HH rate would be a career-best. The Baltimore outfielder has made improvements elsewhere too. He has a career-best 35.1% GB rate and is driving the ball more than ever. His chase rate is also a career-best at the moment. This is prime time to get a solid outfielder off waivers that is available in 60% of leagues.
Honorable Mention: Chas McCormick (11.2%), Jarred Kelenick (33.3%), Brent Rooker (3.4%), Josh Lowe (5.6%), Brandon Marsh (19.5%), Jake Fraley (4.5%)
Kris Bubic (SP – KC) 9.8% Rostered
Kris Bubic is a hot name in the fantasy baseball world right now, so if he is still available in your leagues, go and claim him now before your leaguemates do.
Why the hype? Prior to his start against Atlanta, where he allowed five earned runs, he made some changes that led to a 1.64 ERA after his first 11 innings this season. His ERA now sits at 3.94, but do not be dismayed, and do not allow one bad start to decide whether you add him or not.
Even after the blow-up against Atlanta, Bubic has a 1.13 BB/9 rate, has stranded runners at a 72.8% rate, and has a 52.1% GB rate. He has a career-best 9 K/9 and has allowed just one home run.
Bubic has added a slider, which he is throwing just 9.8% of the time, and batters are having a tough time trying to hit it. In fact, his slider has yet to be hit and has a 55.6% whiff rate and a 40% putaway rate. Adding that pitch and reworking the rest of his pitch mix has given him a new way to get lefty hitters out, and the results speak for themselves.
Kris Bubic's 7th and 8th Ks.
Thru 5 pic.twitter.com/krl9yoAMM8
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 9, 2023
I will have a more in-depth article coming out in early May on Kris Bubic and his improvements, but for now, he is a must-add from the waiver wire in all leagues. And now you can probably get him at a discounted price.
Honorable Mention: Justin Steele (48.1%), Anthony DeSclafani (58.9%), Mitch Keller (17.1%), Graham Ashcraft (32.1%), Brad Keller (7.6%),
Andrew Chafin (RP – ARI) 15.9% Rostered
Andrew Chafin has taken the reigns as the closer in Arizona with Joe Mantiply and Mark Melancon on the IL and pitchers like Kevin Ginkel and Scott McGough underperforming. Chafin has a 100% LOB rate right now, which is exactly what you want to see out of a closer. He has an 11.8 K/9 rate thanks in large part to a wipeout slider that is inducing a 70.6% whiff rate.
He has allowed just one hit so far this season, a single he allowed on a fastball, in 72 total pitches thrown. Nobody in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen seems to be a real challenge for saves and with the reliever market so thin and Chafin widely available on waivers, he is a great add if you need some saves.
Honorable Mention: Paul Sewald (47.1%), Jhoan Duran (46.8%), A.J. Minter (38.8%), Pete Fairbanks (30.8%)
Of course, Kris Bubic was placed on the IL the day after I wrote this…
But one day before it was published, which is what really matters to readers.