Waiver Wire Targets: Preseason

Note: If you read this on Saturday evening, I’m likely to add a few names as I do some more research and more news rolls in.

Projecting this season’s FAAB is going to be a nightmare. In past seasons, the process seemed fruitless at times but it’s going to be even more of a mess this season. Most leagues are giving teams the same amount of FAAB to cover a third of the season that will lead to some high dollar desperate bidding. Additionally, when a league was drafted matters. For instance, I have two leagues running FAAB tomorrow. The one from early March I need to clean up (e.g. one had Trey Mancini) and the other I drafted last so I may gamble on some different bullpen arms.

In this article, I’m going to at least cover the players in demand using CBS’s (40% or less ownership) and Yahoo’s ADD/DROP rates. Both hosting sites have the option for daily and weekly waiver wire adds. CBS used a weekly change while Yahoo looks at the last 24 hours. Yahoo is a great snapshot of right now while CBS ensures hot targets from early in the week aren’t missed.

Additionally, I’m going to add anyone else I fill is appropriate.

Hitters (CBS Ownership%)

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (8%): If Kiner-Falefa moves to third and sticks there with full-time at-bats, he needs to be added in every league based on the increased playing time and reworked swing. He should at least be in demand with the Buster Posey owner.
  2. Eric Thames 테임즈 (12%): Thames is the safe bet for an owner needing to fill an empty roster spot. He’s going get most of the first base at-bats in a decent lineup.
  3. Justin Smoak (31%): Smoak and Thames are close in value and if someone prioritized Smoak, I could understand. The difference for me is that Thames was great one season and Smoak has never come close. Smoak is in a good lineup and should get most of the first base reps.
  4. Aaron Hicks (21%): Hicks could end up a bargain or a frustrating player to own. The Yankees outfield is loaded, and the often injured Hicks could be splitting time with Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman. Or injuries could continue for the Yankees and Hicks could be a full-time option.
  5. Yoenis Céspedes (23%): I’m not 100% bought into his health and the ability to provide full-time at-bats. Where available, I’d not be surprised if someone goes all-in to roster him, but they need to limit the expectations with the huge outcome range.
  6. Austin Riley (27%): Riley’s and Cespedes’s profiles match up as power-only bats who may not play every day.
  7. Franchy Cordero (4%): He’s tough to evaluate with the trade to Kansas City. I have him as the 200th or so ranked hitter. A decent option based on just playing time.
  8. Dylan Carlson (31%): Depending on a team’s need, I could see Carlson move ahead of Hicks. For an owner to add Carlson, they need to hold him for a couple of weeks until the Cardinals get done manipulating his service time.
  9. Howie Kendrick (25%): I’m not a believer in the Kendrick magic. He’s never paired together full-season of playing time and a productive season at the plate. Why should anyone expect him to break out in his age-36 season?
  10. Ryan McBroom (1%): In really deep leagues, he worth an add since he’s now got full-time job.
  11. Yasiel Puig (39%): Unsigned means unrosterable.


  1. Rich Hill (35%): A no brainer to add for all teams. I expect his average bid to be the week’s highest.
  2. Ross Stripling (28%): He’s starting the second game of the season as Walker Beuhler continues to build up his strength. I’d have Stripling as this week’s #1 target if he wasn’t on the Dodgers. I’m afraid they’ll move him back to the bullpen at some point.
  3. Matt Shoemaker (30%): When healthy, Shoemaker has been a productive pitcher (career 3.81 ERA). Roster him for his 20 to 30 productive innings and then move on.
  4. Austin Voth (20%): Voth should have been owned as a last round flier. Now owners will have to pony up a decent dime to get the week-two, two-starter pitcher.
  5. Nate Pearson (35%): I think he’s a special talent and worth the one week wait to see if the Jays immediately promote him.
  6. Adam Wainwright (23%): A Week 1 start against the Pirates is worth streaming.
  7. Nathan Eovaldi (35%): For this week’s matchup versus Baltimore, I believe he’s worth a shot. Owners can evaluate that start and then decide if they want to keep rostering him.
  8. Spencer Howard (20%): I’m not a fan of rookie pitchers but many experts are raving about Howard’s skills. There is a chance he’s good. The pitchers ranked above have shown glimpses and those ranked after haven’t. The date he’s going to be promoted is also in question.
  9. Johnny Cueto (32%): There seems to be some interest in streaming his Opening Day start against the Dodgers but I’m not that person.
  10. Marco Gonzales (37%): Boring innings eater. The owner who doesn’t pay up for the pitchers listed above will be stuck with him.
  11. Martín Pérez (16%): He’s starting for the Red Sox but that doesn’t make him a good option. If rolling the dice on a week one start, draft Eovaldi instead.
  12. Framber Valdez (5%): I’m interested in him in a 15-teamer. He’s going to slot into the 5th rotation slot with Jose Uriquidy on the IL. It’s going to be tough to swallow a walk rate over 5.5 BB/9 (MLB average) the Astros just need to work their magic.
  13. Yonny Chirinos (31%): He’s a safe, boring pick … if he was in camp. Maybe a team needs this stability and he could go a few spots earlier. Or a team needs to take a few chances and he’s not worth the cost.


  1. Matt Magill (10%): With Yoshihisa Hirano on the IL, Magill is Seattle’s closer for whatever that’s worth.
  2. Zack Britton (22%): Britton is a must-roster for the manager who drafts Aroldis Chapman. Also, he can be a fine arm to use when a team doesn’t want to start a suspect starter.
  3. Ryan Helsley (12%): Giovanny Gallegos is likely going to be the Cardinals closer once he gets up to speed. Helsley is in line to be the closer until then.
  4. Kyle Crick (3%): Keone Kela is on the IL so someone has to close in Pittsburg.
  5. Nick Burdi (2%): See Kyle Crick.
  6. Tony Watson (20%): In the mix for the Giants closer mix with …
  7. Tyler Rogers (8%): The Giants closer situation is not pretty.
  8. Corbin Burnes (12%): I don’t get the recent hype around his. His Summer Training results and velocity are in-line with his 2018 and 2019 numbers. There is just too much possible variation in his production for me to count on him.

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Thanks for this Jeff. Does your note about Yonny factor in the fact that he hasn’t appeared at camp yet?