So it begins.
We knew it was going to happen. Like death and taxes, injuries in baseball are one of the few things you can guarantee in this world, and unfortunately, the latter isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. We’ve seen big name guys such as Chris Davis, Bryce Harper and Anibal Sanchez all head to the disabled list over the last few days, putting massive holes in fantasy lineups everywhere. What’s a guy (or gal) to do? I mean, if only there were some place where you could grab players whenever you wanted.
I present, to you, the waiver wire.
Note: Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo! leagues.
Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox (41%) - The pop is real, as Middlebrooks has already homered twice in his first 24 at-bats of the season. The Red Sox are happy to have his services back in the lineup, and Middlebrooks is off to a good start, recording a hit in four of his first seven games since returning from injury. Currently batting .250, fantasy owners may be lucky to get that the rest of the way, seeing how Middlebrooks was inside the top-five in strikeout rate a season ago (26.2), while his contact rate of 75 percent wasn’t anything to write home about either. However, in a strong Boston lineup, Middlebrooks has nice RBI potential, and has legitimate 20-home run pop. He needs to be owned in at least half of leagues, possessing a nice corner infielder for fantasy owners.
Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners (66%) - After an incredibly slow start to the season, Seager has caught serious fire as of late, hitting all five of his home runs for the year over the course of the last four days. He now has 13 RBI on the season and is swinging a hot bat and should continue to improve on his batting average a bit (.228). Seager is swinging at 23.9 percent of pitches landing outside of the strike zone this season, which is a career-best for the third baseman. That shows signs of growth in the plate discipline department for the 26-year old about to enter his prime. This could very well be the start of that breakout season, and you won’t want to miss out if it is.
Alfredo Simon, Cincinnati Reds (52%) - Two-start pitchers are at a premium this week, so Simon should likely see his ownership percentage absolutely skyrocket in the coming days. Simon, who also has relief pitcher eligibility, will start two games for the Reds this week. One against the lowly Cubs offense and a second outing against a more difficult Brewers lineup, but currently has Ryan Braun and Jean Segura slightly banged up. Simon has started off the season well, sporting a 3-1 record, a 1.30 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. You should feel comfortable with him during the Cubs matchup, as opposing pitchers are averaging the 4th-lowest ERA, while coughing up the third-most strikeouts per nine innings (9.20). Keep in mind, however, there is some regression coming. Simon is sporting an insane strand rate of 90.9%, the 8th-highest in baseball. However, considering the pitching landscape for Week 5, he’s a strong add for now.
Khris Davis, Milwaukee Brewers (44%) - Maybe one day, just maybe, Davis will become just Khris, without calling him “Khris with a ‘K’”. Davis is swinging the bat well as of late, recording a hit in five of his last seven games, while riding a four-game hitting streak during that span. Last year, Davis hit 11 home runs in 136 at-bats, so he has clear 20-home run power. The Brewers lineup is absolutely stacked, so I like his chances of contributing in the runs and RBI categories, too. He can also steal a handful of bases, and at season’s end, could easily be a double-double guy, as long as he keeps that left field role with Logan Schafer on the disabled list.
Joe Smith, Los Angeles Angels (49%) - Put another quarter into the closer carousel and watch it turn. Another team is changing closers, as Angels manager Mike Scioscia stated that Smith will take over for Ernesto Frieri as the Halo’s 9th-inning man. I think Frieri is going to get it back together sooner than later, but for now, Smith is the saves man, which makes him one of the most popular players in all of fantasy. The Angels haven’t been seeing a ton of save opportunities, but Smith needs to be universally owned.