Waiver Wire Guidelines: Who Should We Be Targeting Prior To Opening Day?

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Isiah Kiner-Falefa – Texas Rangers

There’s a lot going on with Kiner-Falefa, from an opportunity to claim everyday AB to reworking his swing.  During the original Spring Training Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News (click here for the article) talked about the changes, including this quote from hitting instructor Luis Ortiz:

“He didn’t have to crush baseballs. He just had to hit them. He came to understand that his power came from the ground up and that by simply being able to keep his feet on the ground more, he was able to let his natural talent take over. Pretty quickly, he looked more relaxed and natural.”

Even then it didn’t appear like there was a job available, but now comes talk that the Rangers will move Todd Frazier to 1B (where they had no clear answer).  That would clear 3B for Kiner-Falefa, where he could be a C eligible player getting everyday AB. 

We were seeing positive results prior to the shutdown, as he was hitting .378 with 4 HR and 11 RBI over 37 AB.  He hasn’t shown that type of potential before (.253 with 5 HR over 558 AB over the past two seasons), but with the change in his swing it’s worth seeing if he’s unlocked some potential.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Monitor Only
  • 12 Team League – Worth Considering
  • 14+ Team League – Must Add
  • AL-Only League – Must Add
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Must Add

Austin Voth – Washington Nationals

Voth appears to have the inside track for the Nationals fifth starter spot, and tossing 4.0 shutout innings on Saturday against Philadelphia could cement it.  However, is he really worth the buy?  He did show strikeouts and control at both Triple-A and the Majors last season:

  • Triple-A (61.1 IP) – 68 K vs. 15 BB
  • Majors (43.2 IP) – 44 K vs. 13 BB

A 12.6% SwStr% in the Majors is going to make you believe, but the lack of groundballs should bring a sense of caution.  With a 39.9% groundball rate at Triple-A and 34.5% in the Majors, there’s no question that home runs are going to be an issue.  If he sees any decline in his strikeout rate or control his margin of error diminishes even further, and he could quickly lose his grip on a spot in the rotation.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Don’t Add
  • 12 Team League – Worth Monitoring (Streaming Option)
  • 14+ Team League – Addable
  • NL-Only League – Must Add
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Addable

Kwang-Hyun Kim – St. Louis Cardinals

It’s an interesting development, with Kim lacking significant closing experience.  That doesn’t mean he can’t succeed in the role, but he’s also hardly a guarantee.  Is he worth the gamble?  Absolutely, as the unfamiliarity of opposing hitters could really work in his favor over a shortened season.  There are still alternatives, and it’s no guarantee that Martinez sticks in the rotation, so be prepared to move on to the next option if the stumbles start.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Worth Gamble (SV-only formats)
  • 12 Team League – Addable
  • 14+ Team League – Must Add
  • NL-Only League – Must Add
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Format Dependent

Other Potential Waiver Wire Targets:

  • Kyle Crick/Nick Burdi (PIT) – With Keone Kela opening the year on the IL these are the two most likely candidates to step in and fill the void at the back of the bullpen.
  • Matt Magill (SEA) – Yoshihisa Hirano is on the IL, so Magill is expected to fill the closers role.  Considering his 4.52 ERA over 139.1 IP in the Majors, I’m not sure how excited he should make you however.
  • Corbin Burnes (MIL) – He’s been getting a lot of hype after an impressive spring (13 K vs. 3 BB over 10.0 IP).  With Brett Anderson heading to the IL, Burnes also appears to have an inside track at a rotation spot.  He was once a considered a top prospect, but he also proved to be extremely home run prone coming out of the bullpen in ’19 (17 HR over 49.0 IP).  He’s probably more of a streaming option than anything (those in deeper formats may want to stash him to get ahead of the curve), though there is upside.
  • Kyle Lewis (SEA) – Here’s another player whose been getting a lot of hype, but when he’s facing advanced pitching can he make regular contact?  Let’s not ignore that he had a 14.8% SwStr% at Triple-A and watched it balloon to 17.7% in the Majors.  There’s more risk than reward, so only those in keeper/AL-Only formats should really consider.

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com

Make sure to check out all of our Updated 2020 preseason rankings:

PositionLast Updated
Catchers07/06/20
First Basemen07/20/20
Second Basemen07/07/20
Third Basemen07/08/20
Shortstops07/10/20
Outfielders07/13/20
Starting Pitchers07/14/20
Relief Pitchers07/12/20

17 COMMENTS

  1. What are your thoughts on Gavin Lux situation? Considering the hype he gets he seems to be stuck behind two really average players.

  2. Good morning Prof!
    Thanks for the draft guide update. Looks like we might have at least a brief season this year! So I’m in a 12 team (30 player per team) two-catcher keeper league and the waiver wire’s well picked over (Yaz is at the “top” of the leftovers and then every other player is owned by less than 30% of leagues). Any recommendations for someone who might be in that range (below 30% owned) who might be worth picking up? Thank you as always!

      • I’d love to find a relief pitcher and just picked up Kim with Hirano on the DL. Catcher would be great, but it’s pretty picked over. Starting pitching would be nice, but again pretty picked over. There are multiple “utility” positions also so there’s a lot of room for creativity 🙂

          • Question, it’s a keeper league and I have a few “NA” slots that are currently filled with Rutschman, Kelenic, and Pache. With Aquino bumped down I’d like to move him to one of those NA slots to make room for Peraza. My order (to drop to make room) would be Kelenic then Pache. Your thoughts? Is Aquino a better “NA” option than one of those two? I know Rutschman isn’t likely to help me until next year, but in a two catcher league it’s likely he’ll be valuable down the road.

  3. Would you prioritize adding Burnes or Bundy? I know Bundy has been disappointing in the past but with the change of scenery maybe it’s what he needs.

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