Fantasy Baseball Today: Waiver-wire hitters and pitchers, a new saves option, plus more from opening weekend

Happy Monday, dear fantasy baseball players! Opening day was fun, although some games were postponed, but opening weekend was even better. My Mets got off to a strong start, albeit against a team who aren’t expected to compete in 2022, but we’ll pick up the small wins if we can get them after the news from Jacob deGrom (sorry I haven’t yet once mentioned). Personally, I have to say I loved everything I saw of my NL Rookie of the Year, Seiya Suzuki, from his confidence against Corbin Burnes in the opener to his deep explosion over the weekend.

With Week 1 in the books it’s time to turn the page to Week 2 by looking back at which players are hot and cold, hitters and pitchers to target on your waiver wire, significant injuries, a potential new one Source for saves and more. We’ll get to all that and more below.

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My #1 Waiver Wire Pitcher Target

Kyle Wright, SP, Braves

Not many (including us) have touted Wright as a potential sleeper in anything other than the deepest leagues, but he certainly looked like an interesting option for 2022 on his debut. Wright put up six shutout innings on his debut, conceding just two hits and a walk while striking out six. He hit a healthy 12 swinging strikes on just 76 pitches and saw his speed increase on his sinker (1.2 MPH) and curveball (3 MPH).

Wright also changed his pitch mix. After only using the curveball 14% of the time in 2021, he used it 41% of the time on his debut. He’s only 27% in the squad and is pulling the Padres this week. So how much FAAB should you use to bid on him? Well, for reference, Frank bid $143 in the 12-team Tout Wars and $122 in the 15-team Main Event.

Other Waiver Wire Pitching Targets

  • Merrill Kelly, SP, Diamondbacks: I get it. No one rushes to win the Arizona starters, but Kelly looked great on his debut with four shutout innings and seven strikeouts (12 swinging strikes in just 75 pitches). The talk of spring was Kelly’s switch, and seven of those swinging hits were produced from that pitch – his attack and speed are greater with the switch. Kelly moves to the Mets this week and is currently 43% in the CBS leagues.
  • Kyle Gibson, SP, Phillies: Gibson was one of the opening weekend’s most dominant starters, surprisingly, after delivering a seven-inning shutout with 10 strikeouts, 16 swinging strikes on 82 pitches and only two combined hits and walks (no walks). His cutter usage has gone up, and so far so good. He’s 60% on the roster and is pulling the Marlins this week.
  • Zach Plesac, SP, Guardian: It would be like Plesac bouncing back when (almost) everyone has finally jumped off the train. But Plesace looked good on his debut, playing 5 2/3 of the shutout ball with just three hits allowed. He only registered three strikeouts and eight swinging strikes on 70 pitches — and his fastball speed was low — but the results were there. Plesac is 83% in the roster and gets the Giants this week.
  • Brad Keller, SP, Royals: Keller caused quite a stir in the spring, delivering a six-inning shutout on his debut with five strikeouts in 69 pitches. The switch usage had expired. He’s only 16% in the roster and more of a heavy sleeper for Week 2 despite having the Tigers on tap.
  • My choice of sleeper — MacKenzie Gore, SP, Padres: The steady drumbeat has been building for Gore this season after a dominant spring and a really nice minor season debut. That’s a bit of speculation on my part, but with Blake Snell likely heading for an IL stint, bringing Gore on now could pay off in the long run if he gets his opportunity. Always think backwards with these back-end bank slots.

my no 1 waiver wire hitter target

Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, White Sox

Was I a year early for Vaughn, who was among my top-capped players of 2021? This is how it looks at the beginning. Vaughn boasted Pete Alonso-like potential but never really got going as a rookie last season. So far in 2022, it’s been a very different story. Most importantly, Vaughn has already started three games (playing time was an issue last season) and hit two homers (one by a left-hander, one by a right-hander). He’s only 49% in the squad (six home games this week with two left-handers on the schedule) and offers a nice up-play at the start of the layoff period.

Other abandon wire hitting targets

  • Steven Kwan, OV, Guardian: Kwan joined an elite crew by going 5 for 5 on Sunday and he has now accumulated a hit on eight of his first 10 at bats to go with zero strikeouts. He’s only 21% on the roster, but that’s about to change.

  • Connor Joe, OF, Rockies: One of my favorite late-season goals is to play in Colorado and already be producing with a home run on Saturday followed by a stolen base on Sunday. A few more reasons to be happy about Joe – he played in all three games over the weekend and even led in Sunday’s matchup against Julio Urias. He’s 32% on the roster.

  • Astros, SS, Jeremy Pena: After an over-the-top spring, Pena entered the race with a 6-for-16 home run opening weekend. He’s 70% on duty.

A new source of savings?

Jake Diekman, RP, Red Sox

Matt Barnes (rear) was unavailable this opening weekend and an IL stint is possible for last year’s Red Sox saves leader and it’s possible Diekman is here to fill the gap. Diekman knocked out the Yankees for a save on Sunday and secured a one-run lead. What excites me most about his potential is how strong he looked while doing it. He got Aaron Judge to strike out on an 11 pitch at bat before pulling both Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo back on strikeouts.

who is still hot

Sean Manaea, SP, Padres: The obvious pitching target mid-to-late round after moving to a much better lineup in San Diego got things started on the right foot in his new home with 7 no-hit innings.

Logan Gilbert, SP, twins: I jumped right on the bandwagon after hearing that Gilbert was working with Jacob deGrom this offseason, and the top contender looked amazing in his debut. He hit seven in five innings with 14 swinging strikes. His slider was up 3 MPH and his curveball and changeup were both up 5 MPH from last season. Dizziness up!

Carlos Carrasco, SP, Mets: Scott White has been pushing hard that we don’t overlook Carrasco this offseason after an injury essentially didn’t allow him to fully extend his arm in his Mets debut last year, and the veteran was great against the Nationals on Sunday. He went 5 2/3 and allowed only one earned run, two hits and no walks.

Hunter Greene, SP, Red: The Reds’ frontrunner averaged 99.7 MPH with his fastball. That’s not a typo. He also held his own against the Braves with seven strikeouts and 14 swinging strikes. He’s 79% on the roster.79% on the roster; Starting at LAD this week?

Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros: Bounce Back season is here for those of you wise enough to buy the Recency Bias discount! Either that or we overreact early! Bregman had two home runs this weekend.

Wander Franco, 3B/SS, Rays: The phenomenon had two three-goal games this weekend and also stole a base on Sunday. Extra speed would be a welcome sight for his shot profile.

Luis Robert, OF, White Sox: If anyone is going to be this year’s Vlad, I said it’s going to be Robert. He hasn’t disappointed with five goals and two steals over the weekend.

Byron Buxton, OV, twins: Chris Tower’s darling Byron Buxton is healthy and picking up baseball again. He had a double dong on Sunday and now leads the league with three home runs.

More news and notes

  • White Sox SP Luke Giolito ended his start on Friday with a minor abdominal strain. He is expected to land on the IL and miss two launches.
  • Father SP Blake Snell was scratched with a left adductor strain from Sunday’s start and will likely be headed to the IL.
  • Rays SP Ryan Yarbrough is placed on the IL with a groin injury of its own
  • Met’s SS Francisco Lindor was hit in the face with a pitch on Friday. X-rays were negative and he appears to be fine. He hit a home run and stole a base on Sunday.
  • White Sox BY AJ Pollock suffered a thigh strain on Saturday and was not in the line-up on Sunday. Pollock said he thinks it’s just a short-term injury, but hamstrings are difficult.
  • Father SS CJ Abrams started two games against RHP and sat both games against LHP.
  • Red Sox RP Matt Barnes was not available this weekend due to back tension.
  • Rangers SP Jon Gray was placed on IL Saturday with a blister.
  • The Giants called Outfield Prospect of Heliot Ramos On Sunday. He batted sixth place and went 2-3 on one run and is only 12% in the roster.
  • boys from Jan Happ left the game on Saturday after being hit by a blow to his knee. He wasn’t in the lineup on Sunday.
  • Pirates 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes was back in the lineup on Saturday and Sunday after leaving opening day with a thumb injury. He had multiple hits on both days.
  • Red RP Luke Sims will start a rehab assignment this week. He could eventually establish himself as a top save option for the Reds and is worth hiding in lower leagues.
  • guardian of Myles Straw signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the Cleveland Guardians.
  • Pirate pitching prospect Roansy Contreras was called back on Friday. He is expected to fall out of the bullpen while stretching. He’s 14% on the roster.

Deployment Notes

  • Angel OF Yeah Adell has just started two of the Angels’ four games (once against a left-hander and once against a right-hander). He prevailed against Justin Verlander and Jake Odorizzi. Angels skipper Joe Maddon explained that prior to his injury, Taylor Ward was set to serve as the team’s right fielder with Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell in left field.
  • nationals of Lane Thomas has only started two of the four Nationals games. All were against RHP.
  • each of Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks once served for the Yankees.
  • Marlin 2B Jazz Chisholm He finished eighth and ninth in his two starts this weekend. He didn’t play against a tough left-hander with Carlos Rodon on Saturday. His career numbers against righties and lefties are nearly identical.

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