It’s April 1, and the first full week of the 2019 MLB season is here. Each Monday, we’ll offer a set of five fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups to consider for the coming week. Except in rare cases, 50 percent ownership will be the cut-off point (with a bit of reasonable leeway).
With that, here are this week’s must-adds for fantasy baseball owners.
Note: All stats are through action on Sunday, March 31.
5. Tim Beckham, SS, Seattle Mariners
Through six games, Beckham is hitting .435 (10-for-23), with three home runs, six RBI and eight runs scored. That hot streak is not broadly sustainable, with his .230 batting average with the Orioles last year as evidence, but he did hit 12 home runs over 96 games in 2018 and he hit 22 home runs with the Rays and the Orioles in 2017.
Beckham is a prime add and sell-high candidate, but with 20-homer potential and third base eligibility (40 games in 2018) he could very well be a usable piece all season in AL-only and mixed leagues.
ESPN Ownership: 58.3%
Yahoo! Ownership: 61%
4. Chris Paddack, SP, San Diego Padres
Paddack was very good in his major league debut, with seven strikeouts and one walk over five shutout innings against the Giants on Sunday. The Padres’ No. 5 prospect according to MLB.com has barely pitched above High-A ball (seven starts in Double-A last year), but he carried a good spring right into meaningful games.
Paddack is likely to have an innings limit placed on him, and he’s sure to have some ups and downs. But overall he’s in line to be good more often than not, as at minimum a nice streaming option when he’s got a good matchup. More broadly he has to be owned in all mixed leagues right now, and the only thing keeping him from being higher on this list is fairly high ownership rates.
ESPN Ownership: 55.6%
Yahoo! Ownership: 77%
3. Adam Jones, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Jones signed with Arizona late in the spring, and with Steven Souza out for the year with a significant knee injury the veteran outfielder has become the team’s starting right fielder. He has a hit in each of the first four games this season, with two home runs.
Last year with the Orioles, Jones was still a fairly useful fantasy outfielder in deep mixed leagues (.281, 15 home runs, 63 RBI, 35 doubles). Prior to that he had hit at least 25 home runs in seven straight seasons, but at 33 years old with decline in power-related peripherals that level is probably not coming back.
Jones should supply a solid batting average, and there may still be 20-25 home runs with 80-85 RBI over the full season here with an every day role. He’s a top add in NL-only leagues this week, and owners in deep mixed leagues who are looking for an extra outfielder can do a lot worse.
ESPN Ownership: 45.2%
Yahoo! Ownership: 43%
2. Aaron Sanchez, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Sanchez pitched five shutout innings in his season debut against the Detroit Tigers, with six strikeouts, three walks and just three hits (all singles) allowed. He’s had a rough run over the last couple seasons, as injuries limited him to 28 combined starts with bad results when he was on the mound (4.72 ERA, 5.0 BB/9). But this was a little flash of his All-Star form in 2016 (3.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP), even with control as a lingering issue.
Sanchez’s next start will come Thursday against the Cleveland Indians, who are depleted by injuries early this season. They managed just five runs over a three-game season-opening series against the Twins, as Carlos Santana accounted for five of their 12 hits and drove in three.
If Sanchez can put his past blister issues behind him and push toward 30 starts, he will be a useful starter in mixed leagues. He’s a least a viable streamer for this week’s start against the Indians, and now might be the time to stash him if you’d like to see more before plugging him in.
ESPN Ownership: 10.9%
Yahoo! Ownership: 19%
1. Ryan McMahon, 2B, Colorado Rockies
McMahon won a spring training battle with Garrett Hampson to be Colorado’s Opening Day second baseman, and he has carried his hot hitting right into the season (.357, one RBI in four games). With Daniel Murphy now out with a fractured left index finger, McMahon is set to see some time at first base, where he already has fantasy eligibility after playing 31 games there for the Rockies last year.
McMahon has hit fifth in Colorado’s lineup in each of the last two games, which puts him in better position to drive in runs if it sticks. Any place in the Rockies’ lineup can be favorable though, in a hitter-friendly home park. McMahon should also have eligibility at third base (17 games in 2018) in a lot of leagues, which only adds to his fantasy utility.
ESPN Ownership: 18.3%
Yahoo! Ownership: 47%