Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Report (Week 1): C.J. Cron Should Crush at Coors
Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: C.J. Cron
Welcome to the Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Report! Each weekend, I will list relevant players to keep an eye on when making waiver decisions in your season-long league. Some are must-adds, some are worth keeping an eye on, while some might be popular names others are buying who I think you should avoid.
This piece is also specifically focused on position players. We’ll be back on Sunday with a starting pitcher planner to help you get ready for next week.
Have other questions regarding roster construction? Find me on Twitter @_jeff_hicks_.
Pick Them Up
C.J. Cron – 1B, Colorado Rockies
Ownership: Yahoo: 71%; ESPN: 74%
Spring Training statistics are difficult to take for more than their weight in salt, but C.J. Cron hit the ball harder than any player this spring and has the opportunity to mash baseballs in Colorado. He hit fifth in the Rockies’ lineup on Opening Day and should get pitches to hit with Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon ahead of him in the lineup. Cron will be by far the most-owned player you’ll see on this list, but if you’re lucky enough to play in a league where he hasn’t been snatched up already, go get him. He should mash in Coors.
Luis Arraez – IF/OF, Minnesota Twins
Ownership: Yahoo: 18%; ESPN: 7%
Injuries happen and certain players are lined up to take advantage of them. Luis Arraez started in left field for the Twins on Thursday and moved to third base when Josh Donaldson was pulled after his first at-bat. Donaldson’s hamstring injury is known to be a day-to-day injury at the time of this writing, but regardless, Arraez has a clear path to at-bats. A professional hitter who should hit atop the Twins’ batting order more often than not, Arraez offers little in power and RBI, but he will get on base, score runs, and boost your team’s batting average. He also walks enough to help in .OBP category leagues.
Nate Lowe – 1B, Texas Rangers
Ownership: Yahoo: 10%; ESPN: 6%
Thursday’s game between the Rangers and Royals may end up being the longest nine-inning game of the season. It also gave us a glimpse of Nate Lowe’s upside, as he had two hits, including a double, and drove in four. His acquisition by Texas in the offseason indicated an end to Ronald Guzman’s lock on first base, and Lowe made sure the fantasy world knew it on Opening Day. The Rangers may not win a lot of games, but they’ll be in plenty of slugfests and Lowe is primed to be front and center in many of them. I am bullish on him moving forward.
Tyler O’Neill – OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Ownership: Yahoo: 10%; ESPN: 14%
Another player who should see better opportunities based on who hits around him is O’Neill. Batting fifth for the Cardinals on Opening Day, O’Neill was behind Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Paul DeJong. He can hit the cover off the ball and should eclipse 20 home runs if he tops 400 at-bats, which he will do if he stays healthy.
Jake Cronenworth – IF, San Diego Padres
Ownership: Yahoo: 76%; ESPN: 55%
I believe every Padres full-time hitter should be rostered at 100%. Cronenworth is going to get a majority of the Padres’ playing time at second base, and yet you can see where his ownership percentages are at. Pick him up if you’re able.
Worth a Look
David Dahl – OF, Texas Rangers
Ownership: Yahoo: 12%; ESPN: 6%
The David Dahl Truther meetings are back! His hit tool is real, but so is his injury history. Prior to his ugly (and injury riddled) 2020 season, Dahl had slugged at least .500 in each season with the Rockies and has a chance to do that again hitting near the top of the Rangers’ lineup. He has also never played more than 100 games in a season. All his upside in a full-time role is dependent on his health.
Alex Dickerson – OF, San Francisco Giants
Ownership: Yahoo: 27%; ESPN: 34%
Late-bloomer stories crop up every year and Dickerson has shown he can hit as one of the latest in that lineage. His issue is he sits against left-handed pitching and did not start Opening Day because of that. He did get a pinch-hit home run and will see majority of at-bats against righties. He’s worth a look if you’re in a league with daily lineups where you can put him in or pull him out depending on the pitching matchup that day.
Kolten Wong – 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
Ownership: Yahoo: 26%; ESPN: 52%
Kolten Wong is known for his defense, but is in a excellent spot in Milwaukee’s lineup as the leadoff hitter. Milwaukee’s offense was bad in 2020 and should see positive regression from the players such as Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura, both of whom will hit behind Wong, and make him a valuable middle infield player.
Victor Caratini – C, San Diego Padres
Ownership: Yahoo: 3%; ESPN: 2%
When Austin Nola was injured, I knew Caratini would benefit. His run as the starting catcher will end as Nola is due back sooner than later, but until he is back, Caratini is an excellent catcher to plug and play, especially in two-catcher formats.
Chris Owings – 2B/3B/SS/OF, Colorado Rockies
Ownership: Yahoo: 5%; ESPN: 1%
When I am not conducting David Dahl truther meetings, I am in the room next door at the Chris Owings truther gatherings. Injuries and his super-utility role should keep Owings relevant more often than not, but when Brendan Rodgers returns from injury, Owings stands to lose playing time. However, in 18 games with the Rockies between last season and Opening Day, he’s played six different positions. His position flexibility is what will keep him around for now.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C/3B/SS, Texas Rangers
Ownership: Yahoo: 73%; ESPN: 13%
I really liked Isiah Kiner-Falefa in 2020 as a catcher who steals bases. He has lost that eligibility in most formats now that he is the starting shortstop, but is worth rostering in leagues where he can still slot there. He also retains value as the Rangers’ leadoff hitter, so ride with IKF as long as possible.
I Am Skeptical
Chris Taylor – IF/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ownership: Yahoo: 70%; ESPN: 84%
His position eligibility is his best quality, but the Dodgers are loaded. Chris Taylor also tends to be a streaky hitter and is fine as a defender. His played well Thursday with one hit and two walks but loses value in that he might not play every day given the Dodgers’ loaded roster.
Josh Rojas – IF/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Ownership: Yahoo: 24%; ESPN: 4%
Josh Rojas was rewarded for his excellent spring with a start at shortstop and the opportunity to lead off for Arizona on Opening Day. He promptly went 0-for-5 and missed out on the scoring parade against San Diego. When Nick Ahmed returns from injury, Rojas should get at-bats at second base and maybe in the outfield, but I do not know if he takes advantage of his opportunity enough to play in my lineups. Rojas might’ve been added this week given his leadoff appearance, but he has a better chance of being that team’s first player dropped than any meaningful contribution.
Raimel Tapia – OF, Colorado Rockies
Ownership: Yahoo: 32%; ESPN: 64%
Raimel Tapia broke out in 2020 and his upside as a player is not effected by Colorado’s home/road splits. He does not walk a lot and may have to establish more plate discipline before I believe his 2020 is closer to what we will see going forward. I do like Tapia in general but am skeptical he will be as big of a breakout star as many are expecting.
Donovan Solano – IF, San Francisco Giants
Ownership: Yahoo: 35%; ESPN: 3%
The picture next to “Boring” in the baseball dictionary is Solano. His best seasons have come in San Francisco, but with limited plate appearances. The last time Solano had 300-plus plate appearances was 2014. The Giants do little for me as a fantasy player and Solano does not have the upside that teammate Alex Dickerson has based on their smaller sample sizes of success by the Bay.
Victor Reyes – OF, Detroit Tigers
Ownership: Yahoo: 30%; ESPN: 19%
Victor Reyes is the fourth outfielder who will get at-bats when Miguel Cabrera is playing first base. Gross, right? I am concerned that Reyes did not beat out Nomar Mazara for full-time work, but if Mazara did not have multiple 20-home run seasons before his age 25 season, he would not be on a major-league roster. Reyes has 20-steal upside if he gets playing time.