With an abbreviated schedule, fantasy managers will need to get aggressive on the waiver wire this year. Whether needing power, speed, strikeouts, or saves, here is a wide array of options who are available in more than half of Yahoo leagues.
Joey Bart, SF (C, 29 percent rostered)
A coveted prospect, Bart owns a lifetime .824 OPS in the Minors and produced 16 homers and five steals in 313 at-bats last season. He should play regularly the rest of the way, and his appeal in a weak catcher pool is obvious, as there are likely a few managers in each league who can use his help. That being said, the need for just one catcher on most rosters means that some will have no interest.
Asdrubal Cabrera, WSH (1B/2B/3B, 33 percent)
Expected to be a part-time player, Cabrera has played more often than expected on a Nationals team that needs his bat in the lineup. The veteran is regularly hitting in the heart of the order, which should give him plenty of RBI opportunities behind the likes of Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, and Juan Soto. At the very least, every fantasy team needs a multi-position player such as Cabrera on their bench.
After a slow start to the season, La Stella has been raking (.321/.362/.604 slash line) in 14 games since August 6. And fantasy managers with a long memory won’t be surprised, as the versatile fielder hit .295 with 16 home runs across 80 games last year before suffering a season-ending right tibia fracture. La Stella is currently hitting second in the lineup, in front of a pair of baseball’s best players, which should ensure plenty of counting stats in the coming weeks.
Slater sits in a seven-way tie for the Major League lead in steals and has the fewest plate appearances of the seven men in that group. He also is one of just three players with six swipes and more than a pair of home runs. Batting .347, the speedster has received most of his plate appearances from the leadoff spot and should be a fixture atop the Giants order in the coming weeks. He might be the most desirable position player in this article.
I can’t quite figure out Grossman, except to say that basically everything is working out for the A’s this season. But the outfielder deserves his spot on this list, having produced excellent marks in fly-ball rate and hard-contact rate while also tallying more walks (15) than whiffs (14). One of just 11 players with at least four homers and four steals, Grossman should be rostered in nearly every league.
Pillar was one of the most underrated fantasy players last year when his blend of power and speed enabled him to produce 21 homers and 14 steals. He fell off the radar due to an expected backup role in Boston, but with Andrew Benintendi on the IL for an extended period of time, the highlight-reel fielder now has a starting spot all to himself. And with most of his plate appearances coming from the top two spots in the lineup, Pillar should get plenty of chances to contribute to fantasy teams in a variety of ways.
Gonzales already had solid control skills (2.5 BB/9 rate in 2019) but has gone to another level this year (0.9 BB/9 rate). And living in the strike zone more often has not hurt him in other ways, as his hit rate, home run rate, and groundball rate all compare favorably to his career marks. Heading into a two-start week, Gonzales is especially appealing to those in weekly transaction leagues.
Brad Keller, KC (SP, 42 percent)
Keller did not give up a run in any of his three 2020 starts — that’s good, right?! The right-hander admittedly has not been awesome beyond his stinginess, posting a 15:8 K:BB ratio across 17.2 innings while enjoying a .190 BABIP. But Keller has always excelled at keeping the ball on the ground, and that skill is more important than ever now that fly balls so easily turn into home runs. With the state of starting pitching, groundball-heavy innings-eaters such as Keller deserve some of your attention.
Among full-time relievers, no one can match Karinchak’s 26 punchouts. And the setup man’s value doesn’t stop there, as he has also logged eye-popping ratios (0.66 ERA, 0.73 WHIP) and picked up a save. With effective starting pitchers in such short supply, fantasy managers need to be more open to having a couple pitchers in the mold of Karinchak on their staff.
Cole Sulser, BAL (RP, 38 percent)
Ignore the name on this blurb and just look at the numbers. Any closer who ranks among the top-13 in saves, has solid ratios (3.86 ERA, 1.03 WHIP), and shows no sign of having to share ninth-inning work has to be rostered in every league, right? Forget the fact that you didn’t know Sulser’s name a month ago and give him some run as one of your save sources. And it doesn’t hurt that Baltimore has played surprisingly well thus far.