The Upside Down: MLB Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups
With the first few weeks of the baseball season underway, we have a big enough sample size to begin deciding what players having hot starts are worth targeting for your fantasy squad.
As the MLB has dealt with some covid related issues since the start of the season, it's difficult to manage your fantasy team when you don't know if any of your players will be affected by a positive covid diagnosis or postponement of games due to teams finding widespread positive tests among their organization. Because of the unique conditions pro sports are in now, this list is reflective of targets that are filling roles that should provide stable production long term.
From a fantasy perspective in this short season, if players can manage a few stretches of solid production, they can end up a top 75 player over the course of 60 games. Here are a few players that are currently enjoying one of those kinds of stretches to begin the season.
San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Getty Images
Donovan Solano 2B/SS SF Giants (40% owned Yahoo) - The 2020 season has seen Solano get off to a fast start by amassing 15 hits and 13 RBI in 9 games. Splitting time between second and third base thus far, it appears that Solano has established an everyday role with the Giants. He was impressive in his playing time last season hitting .330 in 215 plate appearances. It's obvious that he can hit for contact, but Solano does lack power. The good news for fantasy owners is that Solano's defensive flexibility makes him an everyday play, and hitting sixth in the lineup should provide him a lot of opportunity to continue to drive in runs with the heart of the Giants lineup table setting in front of him.
It appears as though Diaz will be taking over closer duty in ColoradoAndy Cross, The Denver Post
Jairo Diaz RP COL (22% owned Yahoo) - With Wade Davis going on the IL without a clear timeline to return, the opportunity for Diaz to take over the closer role in Colorado has opened up. He may be a new name in fantasy, but he had 63 strikeouts across 57 2/3 innings in 2019 for the Rockies and managed 6 wins and 5 saves. Manager Bud Black also saw Colorado lose reliever Scott Oberg over the weekend due to health problems (blood clots) and his return this season is highly doubtful. The hard throwing righty, Diaz, will likely enjoy a long leash as Colorado is short on options, and he has experience closing games for the team already. If he is still on the waiver wire in your league, grab him while you can.
Tyler Chatwood Strikes Out 8 Batters in Season Debutwww.youtube.com
Tyler Chatwood SP CHC (58% owned Yahoo) - In two starts this season, Tyler Chatwood has been nothing short of spectacular for the Cubs. Over 12 2/3 innings he has 19 strikeouts, 0.71 era, and 0.79 whip in 2 wins. While the chance of Chatwood sustaining this level of production would be unlikely to span an entire 162 game regular season, in this shortened season Chatwood has already made about 20% of the starts he will make for the entire 2020 regular season. He projects to have about 10 more starts this year and if he can manage to continue this run of play for a few more starts, then he could be in the running for NL Cy Young consideration and your fantasy team's MVP.
MLB: MAY 05 Athletics at Pirates Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire
Colin Moran 3B/2B PIT (51% owned Yahoo) - The Pittsburgh Pirates' Colin Moran had been leading the MLB in home runs up until Aaron Judge hit his sixth (league leading) homer over his last 5 games on Sunday. Moran won't get the attention his play has warranted due to the market he's in, but, as Josh Bell proved last season, that doesn't mean Moran cannot be a productive fantasy player for your team. It appears that the team feels confident putting Moran into the cleanup spot right behind Bell against both righties and lefties so far this season. If Moran maintains hitting for power, his second base eligibility could make him a steal as there are a shortage of second basemen that can hit for power the way Moran has shown early on this season.