Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Adds: Week 8
It's waiver time. One of the keys to any fantasy success is not only nailing your draft, but scouring that waiver wire for players who can give your team a boost. Even though fantasy baseball can be a really long season, it's key to scour those waivers and take it week-by-week to cement your fantasy status.
For waivers, this is a funky week -- it feels like nearly every team called up their top prospects, so this is going to be youngster call-up addition. Which are the big ones to look at? And are they worth burning significant Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) dollars or a top priority on the wavier wire? Let's try to break it down.
The four players below are all owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues and could give your team a lift as you start off the season. It's never too early to consider some adds and drops for your team.
Austin Riley - Atlanta Braves (3B/OF)
Yahoo Ownership: 61%
We are breaking the 50% rule for Austin Riley, one of baseball's biggest hitting prospects. Riley got called up following an injury to outfielder Ender Inciarte, and he wasn't up sooner because he seemingly had his path blocked by incumbent Josh Donaldson.
But this injury allowed Riley to get a cup of coffee, and he may be the buzziest of the prospects after starting out white-hot with eight hits, including two homers, in his first 15 at-bats. The power ain't no lie -- Riley jacked 15 dingers in Triple-A this season in only 162 plate appearances and posted a .382 isolated power (ISO).
There's only one question here: will Riley get enough playing time to be a big factor over the rest of 2019?
That remains to be seen. With playing time seemingly up in the air, I don't recommend blowing all of your FAAB on Riley, but he's a high-upside lottery ticket and won't be cheap in FAAB leagues.
Keston Hiura - Milwaukee Brewers (2B)
Yahoo Ownership: 45%
Like Riley, Keston Hiura got the call thanks to an injury -- this one to Travis Shaw -- and the Milwaukee Brewers quickly slid the stud hitter into the lineup and shifted Mike Moustakas back to his natural third base position.
Shaw was struggling prior to going on the shelf, posting .243 wOBA and 32.5% strikeout rate.
So Hiura could secure an starting gig if he hits the ground running. He had nothing more to prove at the minor league level. In 2018, Hiura did what he does best, showcasing his power-speed skills with 13 home runs and 15 steals. Prior to getting the call this year, he ripped 11 home runs in 147 plate appearances in Triple-A.
If Shaw's injury is a long-term issue, Hiura could be here to stay, and if he excels in the short term, Shaw may be out of a role.
Willie Calhoun - Texas Rangers (OF)
Yahoo Ownership: 23%
In 2017, the slugging outfielder destroyed minor league pitching for a combined 31 home runs, but after not breaking camp with the big league club in 2018, he slumped -- mightily. Calhoun hit only nine home runs over 470 plate appearances last season in Triple-A, recording a putrid .137 ISO.
Called up this spring thanks to a hamstring issue with Elvis Andrus, Calhoun is hotter than a pistol. He was shredding Triple-A before coming up, hitting eight home runs in 138 plate appearances, and he possesses perhaps the most interesting hit tool of the group of hot-shot prospects to be promoted recently. He walked (15.9%) more than he struck out (13.8%) at Triple-A this season, paired with a cool .252 ISO.
It's a small sample size, but he's gone absolutely nuts with the Rangers this week -- 20 plate appearances, nine hits, and two home runs. His park is awesome for offense and is about to get even better with the Texas summer.
His hitting ability is unquestioned, and if he gets regular at-bats, Calhoun is a guy you want to have. As is the case with everyone on this list, he doesn't have a clean path to playing time, but it's hard to imagine Texas sending him back to Triple-A barring a prolonged slump.
Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals (2B)
Yahoo Ownership: 15%
Lopez has no concerns about playing time whatsoever. Since his call-up, he's been firmly entrenched in the two-spot in the lineup, and they even moved stud Whit Merrifield to the outfield to accommodate Lopez in the lineup.
The Creighton short stop moderately contributes across the board -- last season, he wasn't a zero in the power department, recording nine home runs in Double and Triple-A. He's also not a pure burner like Mercado -- he recorded 15 steals across those two levels.
Bu the is going to play -- and he does have a keen batting eye. He's walked more than he's whiffed in all but two minor league stops, and he will have the green light to steal. The Royals ranked sixth in major league baseball in 2018 with 117 stolen bases, and they are lapping the field in 2019 with 47 steals (the Chicago White Sox are second with 34).
If you are looking for stolen bases (and who isn't?), peep Lopez and bid aggressively.