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Week 1 Waiver Wire Targets: Post-Opening Day Reality

Even though we are only a few days into the season, there are still moves to be made — and we have some waiver wire targets for you. Plenty of players should be picked up that were not drafted in leagues, as well as players that are off to a hot start.

Opening Day felt like a holiday given how excited I was. Not only was I excited to have baseball back, but I was excited to see how my Fantasy team fared, as I’m sure you were too.

Now, even though there are plenty of players on the waiver wire, you should not panic one bit this early into the season if your players are not performing as hoped.

The players I will mention should only be picked up for those late-round picks that you did not have much stock in, or even better, players that have landed on the disabled list. There are enough of them already — and I’m sure you own one.

I’m going to be going through a few waiver wire targets each week throughout the season and tell you why they should be picked up in your league.

Waiver Wire Targets

All players I am suggesting are owned in 30% or less of ESPN leagues.

Micah Johnson, 2B, Chicago White Sox

Micah Johnson won the starting second base job this spring over Carlos Sanchez. Johnson had a strong spring after batting .339 and stealing three bases. He will be batting at the bottom of the White Sox order to start the season, limiting his value somewhat. However, his speed alone (128 stolen bases in 308 minor-league games) makes him worth a pickup in leagues.

C.J. Cron, 1B, Los Angeles Angels

I absolutely love C.J. Cron. He mashed 11 home runs last season in just 79 games, while batting a respectable .259. I owned him at times last season, only to drop him because he was not in the lineup on a regular basis. Now with Josh Hamilton on the DL, Cron will be the everyday DH and should be owned in every league for his power potential.

Jake Lamb, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks

Jake Lamb was ignored in most drafts because it was widely expected that Yasmany Tomas was going to get the starting gig at third base. Tomas struggled much of the spring, especially defensively, and was optioned to the minors.

Lamb has started off the season like a lion by plating seven runs along with a home run in the first two games. Clearly, that pace won’t continue, but he has above average power and has fared well in his short run through the minors. I mean come on, Nick Castellanos is owned in 86% of leagues, so take a chance on Lamb

Michael Saunders, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

He is on the DL for a few weeks, but if you can stash him, he will be worth it. Saunders is a 20/20 candidate if he can stay healthy, which has clearly been an issue for him in his young career. However, he almost got to 20/20 in 2012 hitting 19 home runs and stealing 21 bases in just 139 games. That kind of value found off the waiver wire is what wins you championships.

James Paxton, P, Seattle Mariners

Paxton was my 66th ranked pitcher coming into the season and would have been higher if it were not for injury risk. He has forearm issues in the spring, so the risk is real. However, he seems to be healthy right now and should be closer to a Top 40 pitcher.

His start Tuesday against the Angles was good; allowing two runs and striking out five over six innings, but he was credited with the loss. The Mariners lineup is good enough to secure him many wins if he continues to pitch that well.

Henderson Alvarez, SP, Miami Marlins

Photo Credit: Globovisión

Henderson Alvarez, Miami Marlins
Photo Credit: Globovisión

Alvarez gets ignored in leagues because of his low career strikeout rate (4.75 K/9).

That should not deter you, though, because his ratios are good enough to make him worth owning.

Alvarez had a 2.65 ERA and 1.12 WHIP last season and had a solid outing in his first start of the season (2.57 ERA and 0.86 WHIP).

He will be a nice No. 4 or No. 5 starter as a complementary piece to higher strikeout pitchers.

Drew Pomeranz, SP, Oakland Athletics

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He was fantastic last season in his short time with the Athletics posting a 2.35 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 8.35 K/9 over 69 IP. However, a DL stint, followed by the A’s trading for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel pushed him out of the rotation.

Even when he returned, he only got two starts during the last month of the season. He is now back in the rotation and had a very good spring, finishing with a 2.38 ERA and a 28/10 K/BB ratio. Wins might not come at the rate they did last year for the A’s, but a good pitcher is a good pitcher.

Remember to come back each Thursday for more waiver wire targets for the coming week. Our goal is to get you thinking about these players ahead of time, before the weekend gets here.

C.J. Cron Photo Credit: Keith Allison

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