It’s a tough time of year to start making waiver wire suggestions as these first few days of the season are all about managers tweaking their lineups to see what works best while fantasy owners are adding and dropping at a fairly rapid rate as they jockey for position within their leagues. Still, we like to try and steer you in the right direction as many of us who do these waiver articles are thinking more about the long-term. The deep-league waiver wire pieces are covering the players who ownership percentages are usually under 10-percent while the regular waiver pieces cover many of the rest. Figure the regular waiver articles are geared more towards leagues with 14 teams or fewer. So with that, here’s who I think is worth grabbing and holding onto for the year.
Avisail Garcia, CHW |OF| Ownership: ESPN – 16.3% Yahoo – 38.0%
In the long run, Garcia has the ability to one day blossom into a perennial 20-20 player. That time may not be right now, but if you’ve watched him out on the field you can tell that he’ll get there much sooner than later. The skill set is already there and he’s flashed both developing power and speed at times during his tour through the minors. It’s the plate discipline that needs fixing the most. Garcia has never been one to show much patience at the plate, as evidenced by his minimal walk rates at every level, and during his stints up in the majors, he been caught flailing away at the plate a lot more than he should be. Not only are his swing rates high, but he’s posted swing rates outside the zone that sometimes border on the ridiculous. That should change with maturity and consistent playing time. He seems to have earned the right field job all to himself this year and the White Sox should be batting him sixth or seventh to begin the season. Should he manage to rein in his free-swinging ways even just a little, he’s going to start producing at a rapid rate. If you have bench space right now, he could be worthy of a stash even this early. Once he gets locked in, he’s going to be in high demand.
Dee Gordon, LAD |2B | Ownership: ESPN – 28.4% Yahoo – 39.0%
Yes, yes, we’ve been touting Gordon for some time now and we understand that he needs to learn how to hit big-league pitching if he’s ever going to stick. But his opportunity now, even in a platoon with Justin Turner, is better than it’s ever been and therefore warrants your attention. Though he did strike out 10 times in 48 at-bats this spring, Gordon seemed to show enough growth that Don Mattingly felt he could now be trusted in the lineup, at least against right-handed pitching. With those 10 whiffs came 13 hits, five of which were triples. He also swiped nine bases during Cactus League play. Now obviously we don’t want to put too much stock into spring numbers, but we also cannot simply dismiss them as meaningless stats. Last year Gordon worked on his plate discipline and improved his walk rate, even if the sample-size wasn’t all that big, so perhaps his spring is a continuation off that growth. We already know that he has tremendous speed, so even in a part-time role, he should be able to post stolen base totals worthy in most leagues. If Rajai Davis can swipe 40 bags in a part-time outfield role, then Gordon can easily do the same.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org