Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 3
We have two weeks under our belt, and just like some teams are starting to shape up in the standings, we are starting to get a feel for our season-long fantasy teams.
The waiver wire has plenty of gems available for the taking, so let's try to get a jump on our fellow league members and make some moves where needed.
The five players below are all owned in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues and could give your squad a shot in the arm as the season gets under way.
Ian Kennedy - Kansas City Royals (SP)
ESPN Ownership: 41.0%
Stop me if you've been an Ian Kennedy owner before. Since that likely encompasses a large population of the fantasy community, it's not hard to remember Kennedy's ratio-killing 5.38 ERA in 2017. But the veteran starting pitcher has been turning some heads in the early going, and he's worth a look for starter-needs squads.
Over three starts, Kennedy has fired 18 innings with a sparkling 1.00 ERA. And while a 96.6% strand rate is unsustainable, his 3.71 SIERA shows he could be for real. Kennedy has always possessed solid strikeout prowess, and he's kept that up in 2018 with a strikeout rate of 22.2%.
Perhaps more importantly, Kennedy's command has been improved early on. He's the owner of an 8.0% walk rate for his career, but he's dropped that down to a mark of 5.6% so far in 2018.
If Kennedy can continue on his current trajectory, he makes a very solid add and should be safe to deploy in good matchups.
Jed Lowrie - Oakland Athletics (2B)
ESPN Ownership: 40.8%
Jed Lowrie seems to be one of those picks who is pretty boring, but by the end of the year, you are glad you rostered him. Over 645 plate appearances in 2017, Lowrie racked up 86 runs scored, 14 home runs, and a solid .360 on-base percentage thanks to an 11.3% walk rate. He may not be bashing home runs left and right like teammates Matt Olson and Khris Davis, but he's still pretty productive.
So far this season, he hasn't been just good; Lowrie has been great. Over 72 plate appearances, he has racked up a 40.4% hard-hit rate and a .979 OPS. And he bats in a prime lineup spot -- in his 16 games, he's hit second twice and third 14 times.
Playing a second base position that's not exactly deep, Lowrie should be owned in a lot more than 40.8% of leagues.
Joey Lucchesi - San Diego Padres (SP)
ESPN Ownership: 30.3%
Still looking for some rotation help? A young arm for the San Diego Padres may do the trick for you.
With Dinelson Lamet injured and out for 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, Joey Lucchesi appears to have fallen into a rotation spot, and he doesn't look ready to give it back any time soon. It's still early, but his 1.66 ERA over 21 2/3 innings pitched has some legitimacy to it thanks to a 29.8% strikeout rate.
In 2017, Lucchesi put up great numbers in two levels in the minors. He posted a 30.5% strikeout rate, 6.1% walk rate and 15.2% swinging-strike rate in 78.2 frames in High-A, and then he recorded a 22.4% strikeout rate, 5.9% walk rate and 9.2% swinging-strike rate over 60.1 Double-A innings.
Making the jump from Double-A to the bigs, Lucchesi will likely have some bumps along the way this season, but he's off to a promising start and has a pitcher-friendly home park to help with the transition.
Keynan Middleton - Los Angeles Angels (RP)
ESPN Ownership: 26.4%
Over eight appearances and 9 2/3 innings pitched, Middleton has garnered 4 saves with a 0.93 ERA. Coming into the year, it appeared that Blake Parker would also be in the running for the closer role, but it looks like Middleton is the man now.
There are some warts here -- so far in 2018, Middleton has a mere 18.9% strikeout rate with a 10.8% walk rate and 9.6% swinging-strike rate -- but if you need saves, he is worth an add. It's also worth noting that Middleton did put up a 25.6% strikeout rate, 7.3% walk rate and 16.6% swinging-strike rate in 58.1 innings with the Halos a year ago, so his ratios could improve as the year goes on.
Derek Dietrich - Miami Marlins (1B/2B/3B/OF)
ESPN Ownership: 20.7%
While Dietrich played the majority of his games at third base a season ago, he played five or more at first base, second base, and the outfield, giving him great positional flexibility in fantasy. If your league has a bit higher positional qualifications, he played 10 or more at first and second, so he should be eligible there.
Over 464 plate appearances in 2017, Dietrich popped 13 homers, and he finished with a 34.5% hard-hit rate and 43.1% fly-ball rate against righties last season.
If you need a guy who can fill in across the diamond while offering a little pop, Dietrich is worth a look.