The second full week of the 2019 MLB season is here, so let’s get right into this week’s must-adds from your fantasy baseball waiver wire.
Note: All stats through action on Sunday, April 7.
5. Ramon Laureano, OF, Oakland Athletics
Laureano has gotten attention for his outfield assists, nabbing multiple Red Sox runners over the course of a recent series. But he also has a hit in four of his last five games, going 8-for-19 (.421) with four RBI and four runs scored over that span.
Laureano has betting hitting eighth in Oakland’s lineup, but if he continues to hit well it’s a matter of time before that changes. He may not stand out in any one category, but across the board contribution will play in AL-only and deeper mixed leagues.
Yahoo! Ownership: 39%
ESPN Ownership: 29.9%
4. Randal Grichuk, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Grichuk is on a bit of a cold streak right now, striking out in half of his at-bats over the last four games. But after hitting 25 home runs for the Blue Jays last year, and with three straight seasons with at least 22 home runs, he’s well on his way with three dingers so far this year.
Grichuk toes the line of being a batting average detriment (.245 last year), and five stolen bases looks like the high-water mark over a full season. But he is a legit power source, and even in this homer-happy era that gives him mixed league value.
Yahoo! Ownership: 44%
ESPN Ownership: 39.6%
3. Willians Astudillo, C, Minnesota Twins
“La Tortuga” hit his first home run of the season on Saturday, and he is now 7-for-14 on the season with six runs scored and four RBI. He doesn’t wait to swing, with just one walk taken this season and two walks in 97 plate appearances with the Twins last year, but he also doesn’t strike out much.
Astudillo has already seen time at first base, third base and in the outfield this season, including a start at the hot corner. So multi-position fantasy eligibility may come, and he’s already third base eligible in Yahoo! leagues.
If nothing else, having Astudillo on a fantasy roster is sure to be good fun and a reason to watch the Twins. But he’s also a good, high contact hitter, and being a catcher bolsters his appeal in mixed leagues.
Yahoo! Ownership: 48%
ESPN Ownership: 26.3%
2. Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves
After a fairly rough 2018 season (.238, 14 home runs, 59 RBI, 10 stolen bases), Swanson is hitting .346 with three home runs and nine RBI so far this season. It’s a small sample, but he has walked as many times as he has struck out thus far (six), after striking out almost three times as much as he walked last season.
Swanson just turned 25, and Baseball Savant has his among the fastest players in baseball based on sprint speed. So double-digit steals seem likely to come, and if he moves up in the Braves’ batting order his overall numbers will benefit.
His batting average is sure to correct a bit, even with a better approach at the plate. But now looks like the time to add Swanson, and reap the benefits over the rest of the season.
Yahoo! Ownership: 42%
ESPN Ownership: 28.3%
1. Christian Walker, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
A failed prospect in the Orioles’ organization, Walker seems to have found something in his late 20s. He hit .309 (.980 OPS) with 32 home runs, 114 RBI and 34 doubles for Arizona’s Triple-A team in 2017, then followed by hitting .299 with 18 home runs for Reno last year before getting 53 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks.
Walker opened the season splitting time with Jake Lamb at first base. But Lamb is now expected to miss around six weeks with a quad strain, so Walker (8-for-29, three home runs, three doubles, six RBI) as the job to himself.
Walker has cooled off a bit, with just one hit in his last 14 at-bats to drop his batting average nearly 100 points in the early going. But he’s got a spot in the Diamondbacks’ regular lineup, and a path to fantasy viability even after Lamb returns.
Yahoo! Ownership: 21%
ESPN Ownership: 29%