HomeSportsFantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Young hitters headline priority pickups

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Young hitters headline priority pickups

If it feels like half your pitching staff is on the IL and several of your first-round hitters are underperforming, welcome to the club. We all deal with fantasy problems. Here are seven widely available players who can likely help…

After a two-homer on Thursday, Cowser is now 6-for-13 with 10 RBI over the past three days. We can assume he will play ahead of Austin Hays in the near future. Cowser is another name in Baltimore’s endless supply of top players, coming off a season in which he slashed .300/.417/.520 at Triple-A Norfolk. If guys like these catch fire, they should be automatically added in fantasy. Cowser’s power is legit, and he has a touch of speed. Grab it while it’s not on the list yet.

Busch was a long-time Dodgers prospect who needed a move in the worst way because he had no clear path to regular playing time in LA’s multimillion-dollar lineup. Let’s give Chicago credit for making a bold, smart move to acquire a gifted hitter in a position of need. Busch was a machine last season at Triple-A OKC, slashing .323/.431/.618 with 27 home runs and 90 RBI in just 98 games. After a productive spring, he has now firmly established himself as a heart-of-the-order hitter in a respectable lineup.

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Busch was moved up to fifth in the batting order on Wednesday and he responded positively: launching a bomb at Dylan Cease. He’s a good bet to produce another 20-25 home runs this year while averaging and driving in over 80 runs. If these numbers will play in your fantasy league (and they should), don’t hesitate to make the addition.

Velázquez seemed lucky to be on KC’s opening day roster after a rough spring, but he has been sensational in the first two weeks of the season. He has homered twice this year and delivered multiple hits in four of his last seven games. Velazquez has been a monster in terms of exit velocity and barrel speed since reaching the big leagues, so his upside is well known. Assuming regular at-bats, he’s a clear candidate to hit 30 or more home runs.

We make no promises about batting average, but this gentleman has pop that goes beyond the stands:

When you need a power boost, it’s hard to believe there’s a better option than Velázquez.

Many of us expected a breakout performance from Baty last season, but sometimes these young players don’t cooperate. As a 23-year-old rookie, Baty essentially struggled from start to finish en route to hitting an unlucky .212/.275/.323 with nine home runs over 389 plate appearances. Not good. It was a much different story in the early weeks of 2024, however, as he led off by reaching base safely in every game but one while playing stellar defense. He is currently hitting .311 with one home run and six RBI. Baty had some nice moments against LHP’sat.

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All told, it’s an encouraging start for a guy who rarely struggled in the minors (career .290/.390/.507). His developmental history suggests we can expect double-digit strength, along with a respectable batting average and on-base ability.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a big Jose Abreu-shaped hole in Houston’s lineup right now. After a disappointing 2023, Abreu has started this season with an 0-for-3 streak. He’s now hitting an awful .081 and we’re still waiting for his first extra-base hit.

Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Loperfido is shooting rockets at Triple-A, hitting .275 with five home runs and an OPS of 1.004. Soon, the Astros will have to seriously consider making the move. Loperfido hit 25 home runs and 27 bases last season, spending most of his year in Double-A and Triple-A. His career minor league OBP is .378, so there is a lot to like about his game. Loperfido may not have the same level of potential hype as guys like Jackson Holliday, but his fantasy impact could be just as big. If you have open NA spots on your roster, make it a priority.

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Dean Kremer, SP, Baltimore Orioles (25%)

We’re two starts into Kremer’s season and he has collected 11 Ks in 12.1 innings while producing a WHIP of 0.73. So that’s not too lame. It appears he has expanded an already solid arsenal with an effective splitter, which seems promising. Kremer had a career K/9 of 10.9 in his minor league days, so he offers plenty of strikeout potential.

We can assume that walking support won’t be much of an issue in Baltimore. Kremer will make a Saturday start against the Brewers and will face the Royals and Angels in the coming weeks. It looks like something more than a streaming option.

If you have a penchant for three-digit speed shutters and vicious sliders, Kopech should probably already be on your roster. The White Sox have only won two games so far, but Kopech saved them both. He struck out a dozen batters in 7.1 innings, which isn’t a huge surprise, and the fantasy ratios were fine.

Even the worst MLB clubs are fully capable of producing 30-save closers, so please don’t be a snob about team context. Kopech has a firm grip on the ninth and he has the stuff he needs to succeed. This guy has the team’s only All-Star rep written all over his face.

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