Welcome back Razzballers! How are we all feeling about those teams after a few days of games? Eh, not so great? Well, no fear, I’ll be here all year to help you find the savvy pickups and move you up those fantasy standings.

First, let’s get a few tenets set for the season. These are some of my key modus operandi I follow that will affect this piece throughout the summer:

  1. Playing time is king. Early in the season, injuries and/or unexpected deviations from Spring Training lineups are driving most of your moves. We are going to prioritize players likely to play significant time and be higher up in batting orders. Same goes deeper into the season, finding players racking up plate appearances for production becomes a bigger priority. As the season progresses, I’ll start highlighting minor leaguers pushing towards the big leagues, but the bid suggestions will be relatively low.
  2. Be aggressive with spending early. There’s a lot more value to be had if you can grab a player now that could stick to your roster all season. I’m in favor of spending early and letting the chips fall where they may later. If you are in zero bid waiver league, then you have absolutely no worries about being able to make some moves. If you are more limited, consider throttling my suggested FAAB (free agent auction budget) amounts a touch. In addition, you want these players, right? I bet your league-mates do too, so we must bid accordingly.
  3. Look at those upcoming schedules. See some free agent bats targets visiting production havens like Colorado, Boston or Cincinnati soon? We will be prioritizing the hell out of them. See a starting pitcher with an upcoming appointment against the Athletics, Nationals, or White Sox? We are looking to stream the start and possibly move on. (By the way, my favorite schedule tracker comes from Hashtag Baseball, and they have added symbols for hitter/pitcher parks this year.)  The Next 7 Day Hittertron is also a valuable asset for weekly league streaming.
  4. Know your league. My suggested pickups are sorted by league size but focus on standard 5×5 rotisserie. Keep that in mind if you have categories like OBP or Save/Holds because you’ll need to tweak the analysis slightly. Need specific help for your highly customized league? Feel free to drop a comment, and I’ll be there to respond and help.

In addition, when you are reading my suggestions below, the player blurbs represent my favorite targets. The QUICK HITS are ranked in descending order by CBS ownership rates (I find CBS to be the best balance of casual and serious leagues to give a sense of availability) with my higher FAAB percentage suggestions showing my preferred players.

Whew, alright, with that out of the way, why don’t we get into our first round of pickups for 2024? You will notice that the number of suggestions is a bit thinner than the middle of last year. Post-draft season, most of the best players are owned while there have only been a couple of games to create opportunities via injury or poor performance. But we still have plenty of options across the player pools…

The stats and ownership percentages below are updated as of noon central time on 3/29.

As always, if you want advice on specific roster decisions you might have, feel free to leave a comment. You can also find me on twitter (X) (@mcouill7).


10/12 Team Adds

Alejandro Kirk (TOR, 40% CBS Ownership) With a surprisingly deep catcher pool for shallow leagues right now, there’s a decent chance you won’t need to be reading this portion. And out of the catchers with more ownership than Kirk, maybe the only one I wouldn’t want is Keibert Ruiz mostly because I’m concerned with his power output and the Nationals’ poor run production. (Update: Sean Murphy is hitting the IL for an oblique injury, here’s your easy replacement.) Kirk will be the go-to free agent catcher option so long as Danny Jansen remains on the IL. (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Austin Wells (NYY, 35% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Travis D’Arnaud (ATL, 30% CBS Ownership, 1-3%), Ryan Jeffers (MIN, 29% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Connor Wong (BOS, 10% CBS Ownership) – In Wong’s first go as a primary catcher in 2023, he posted a respectable (for a deep league catcher) .235/.288/.385 slashline. However, the largest nugget of value the Boston backstop provided was his eight steals, second for a catcher only behind JT “Speed Demon” Realmuto. If you are in a bind at the catcher position, you can certainly do worse than hoping Wong yields double-digit homers and steals from a spot usually bereft of speed.  (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Rene Pinto (TBR, 10% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Gary Sanchez (MIL, 9% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Patrick Bailey (SFG, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Maikel Garcia (3B, KCR, 49% CBS Ownership) – I was frankly shocked that Garcia had a low enough ownership rate for inclusion (I typically use 50% CBS ownership as my line, so he just snuck in) given that he accrued 23 stolen bases over only 515 plate appearances in 2023. Given that third base is brutally thin, Garcia’s scorching hot Spring Training .310/.432/.552 had him included on plenty of sleeper lists. It’s a fool’s errand to pencil Garcia in for more than eight to 10 homers, but 30 stolen bases feels like the floor. He can be a league winner if you were short on speed out of the draft and the light homer total won’t kill you at a corner considering someone in your league is definitely starting Alec Bohm already. (7% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Ryan Mountcastle (1B, BAL, 50% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Luis Rengifo (2B/3B/SS/OF, LAA, 39% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Josh Bell (1B, MIA, 39% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jordan Westburg (2B/3B, BAL, 34% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Tim Anderson (SS, MIA, 31% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brendan Rodgers (2B, COL, 28% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Willi Castro (3B/OF, MIN, 25% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Zach Neto (SS, LAA, 24% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Orlando Arcia (SS, ATL, 20% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS, NYY, 11% CBS Ownership) – Outside of the fiasco that is Fanatics Inc., the Yankees might be the best symbol of how behemoth companies realized they can keep delivering shittier and shittier products while squeezing more dollars out of consumer pockets. And no better example of that than Brian Cashman calling upon the Marlins for Jon Berti to cover his lack of backup plans for the oft-injured 35 year old DJ LeMahieu. Cashman’s struggle is our gain as fantasy players though because Berti should hold the third base job until LeMahieu’s return plus get plenty of run spelling other Yankees injuries throughout the season. Berti is a must own due to his eligibilities and stolen base abilities (41 SBs per 600 PAs over the past two years). (5% FAAB)

Tyler Wade (3B/SS, SDP, 3% CBS Ownership) – Despite owning a career 66 wRC+ entering this season, Wade has established himself as Mike Shildt’s strong-side platoon choice at third base until Manny Machado’s elbow heals up. Wade is a poor man’s version of Berti with a lower overall offensive profile but similar stolen base abilities (35.5 SBs per 600 PAs over his career) and should pick up more eligibility during the year as the Padres desperately need the outfield help. It’s a sound strategy to roll into this weekend’s waiver bidding with Berti being the number one target and Wade right behind him if hard up for speed. (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Brayan Rocchio (SS, CLE, 18% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jose Caballero (2B/SS, TBR, 15% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Geraldo Perdomo (2B/SS, ARI, 13% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Ezequiel Duran (3B/SS/OF, TEX, 13% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Carlos Santana (1B, MIN, 12% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Joey Ortiz (2B/3B/SS, MIL, 11% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Ryan O’Hearn (1B/OF, BAL, 10% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Amed Rosario (2B/SS, TBR, 9% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Enmanuel Valdez (2B, BOS, 9% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Elehuris Montero (1B, COL, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (3B/OF, TOR, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Trey Lipscomb (3B, WSN, 2% CBS Ownership) – Yeah, his last name is pronounced the way you think it is. But outside of the goofy name, Lipscomb should be called up to take Nick Senzel’s roster spot after the former Red broke his thumb warming up for Opening Day. However, Lipscomb probably should have won the third base job out of camp as he slashed .400/.455/.540 in 55 Spring Training plate appearances. There isn’t much to his game outside of batting average and a handful of steals, but that may be all it takes to lock down a spot on the Nationals’ infield for the long haul. (3-5% FAAB)

Jared Walsh (1B, TEX, 2% CBS Ownership) – With Nathaniel Lowe shelved for the foreseeable future with a strained oblique, non-roster invitee and former All-Star Walsh will see plenty of at-bats in a strong-side platoon at first base for the Rangers. In a league as deep as an AL-Only, there are worse fliers than hoping a currently healthy Walsh can rekindle some of the magic from his 2021 season in which he registered 29 homers and a 126 wRC+. (1-3% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Will Benson (CIN, 48% CBS Ownership) – Every year, there seems to be a power/speed combo outfielder we collectively overlook during draft season because the playing time was a bit murky and prospect fatigue wears us down. Last year, this guy was Josh Lowe. This year, it may be Benson as TJ Friedl’s broken wrist opened significant playing time in centerfield for the former 2016 first round pick. Benson already has flashed the tools to be a fantasy monster too, posting an 11 homer, 19 stolen base combo with a 10.3% barrel-rate in 2023. And he plays half of his games in Great American Bandbox too? Whoopsie daisy, we should have been drafting Benson to round out our fantasy outfields all spring – grab him while you can. (5-7% FAAB)

Victor Scott (STL, 46% CBS Ownership) – Scott becomes the first player to be devoured off our wires in our game’s endless pursuit for stolen bases. You likely already know the background here given Scott’s hype as he swiped 94 bags between High-A and Double-A last year. However, what sets Scott apart from the one-tool speedsters like Esteury Ruiz is that he has a much better handle on the bat. In 310 Double-A plate appearances last year, he posted a solid .323/.373/.450 (119 wRC+) slash line along with seven homers. Scott also held his own during Spring Training by batting .317 with a solid 10.6% BB-rate over 47 PAs. I’ll admit, this is one of the hardest FAAB spend projections ever because Scott’s playing time is limited to how Tommy Edman, Lars Nootbaar, and Dylan Carlson recover from their respective injuries. However, I’m penciling in Scott getting at least two-to-three weeks of solid playing time run with the chance the Cardinals keep him around all season after seeing his elite defensive chops. Plus on a team as stuffy as the Cards, there’s a possibility of Scott providing a much-needed vibes spark. Feel free to shoot well over my FAAB projection if you totally forgot to draft speed because Scott should be good for roughly a 60-stolen base pace while playing. However, know that he could be back in Triple-A by May 1 as well. (7-9% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Jake Fraley (CIN, 44% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), MJ Melendez (KCR, 36% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Michael Conforto (SFG, 27% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Austin Hays (BAL, 26% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Andrew Benintendi (CHW, 25% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Leody Taveras (TEX, 25% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jose Siri (TBR, 24% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Bryan De La Cruz (MIA, 24% CBS Ownership Rate, 1% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Alek Thomas (ARI, 13% CBS Ownership) – Another victim of prospect fatigue as Pepperidge Farm remembers when the 23-year-old Thomas was once the crown jewel of the Arizona system. The 2023 Postseason might have been his arrival announcement after popping four homers and stealing two bases over 59 plate appearances. Thomas kept the production rolling during Spring Training with a .326/.366/.553 slashline over 41 plate appearances. All the projections have him slated for roughly double-digit homers and steals with a .260-ish average; however, none have him penciled in for more than 546 plate appearances. A healthy season from Thomas should push him well beyond that as he’s locked into centerfield with the ability to move up a few spots in the lineup. (3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Brandon Marsh (PHI, 19% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Harrison Bader (NYM, 17% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Charlie Blackmon (COL, 17% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Joey Meneses (WSN, 16% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Luke Raley (1B/OF, SEA, 11% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brenton Doyle (COL, 10% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Seth Brown (OAK, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), LaMonte Wade (1B/OF, SFG, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jesus Sanchez (MIA, 6% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Ramon Laureano (CLE, 6% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jesse Winker (WSN, 2% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Nick Martini (CIN, 3% CBS Ownership) – Ah, the classic Opening Day darling as Martini swatted a pair of taters thanks in large part to Josiah Gray pitching at Great American Smallpark. He will be zealously picked up in plenty of shallow leagues by those that only pay attention for a week, but in NL-Only leagues, Martini has real value with his large-side-platoon share of the DH-role. Plus, the Reds have a fantastic schedule over the next few weeks with a road series against the White Sox mixed in with home sets against the Brewers, Angels and Phillies. (3% FAAB)

Tyler Freeman (3B/OF, CLE, 3% CBS Ownership) – Cleveland entered 2024 with an opening in centerfield and plenty of less-than-stellar options for the position… Myles Straw, Estevan Florial, Ramon Laureano, Will Brennan. Hell, even Chase DeLauter had an outside shot at the position after his hot Spring Training. So, who occupied center on Opening Day? Obviously, Tyler Freeman with his ZERO CAREER GAMES IN THE OUTFIELD. Although I still think Freeman is keeping this spot warm for DeLauter, the former top infield prospect could be a fantastic batting average boost in an AL-Only league as he consistently hovered around the .300 mark throughout his minor league stops. (3-5% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Garrett Crochet (CHW, 50% CBS Ownership) – Crochet just narrowly qualifies for consideration as he is at 50% ownership while writing this piece. If he is on your waiver wire, go acquire him right now. The fastball command and slider action in his Opening Day start against the Tigers looked good enough to push him well into fantasy No. 3 or 4 pitcher on any team. The wins will be near impossible for Crochet to obtain playing for the White Sox but that hardly matters considering the strikeout and ERA upside play here. Just be warned that it’s hard to see him pitching much beyond 100 total innings this year. (9-11% FAAB)

Jared Jones (PIT, 49% CBS Ownership) – The wins are also going to be hard to come by with Jones, but I’ll gladly buy a prospect-y starter with a 100-mph fastball pitching in PNC Park. It’s still relatively shocking the Pirates made the correct call in letting Jones break camp as the 22-year-old looks ready to seize the opportunity. I have a difficult time envisioning how he doesn’t top his projected strikeout rates (all of them are 8.3 K/9 or less) as he hasn’t posted a rate lower than 9.5 K/9 throughout the minors. This is probably your last time to buy at reasonable price before Jones hits a mound and produces a highlight reel for Pitching Ninja’s social feed. (5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Dean Kremer (BAL, 47% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Reynaldo Lopez (ATL, 45% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Reese Olson (DET, 45% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Clarke Schmidt (NYY, 44% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Luis Gil (NYY, 42% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jordan Wicks (CHC, 40% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Garrett Whitlock (BOS, 36% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Louie Varland (MIN, 34% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jordan Hicks (SFG, 33% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Max Meyer (MIA, 32% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Trevor Rogers (MIA, 29% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Andrew Heaney (TEX, 22% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Ryan Weathers (MIA, 14% CBS Ownership) – Weathers is kinda the pitching version of Victor Scott as it took injuries to Edward Cabrera, Braxton Garrett, and Eury Perez for him to solidify a spot in the Marlins rotation. But boy, did Weathers deserve it after pitching to the tune of a 3.00 ERA with 10.5 K/9 over 18 Spring Training innings in which his arsenal looked electric and revitalized. Miami has proven to be a pitching development powerhouse over the past few years, and I’m willing to trust the organization created another solid arm here. (3-5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Chase Silseth (LAA, 20% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Bowden Francis (TOR, 16% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Ross Stripling (OAK, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Matt Waldron (SDP, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Javier Assad (CHC, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Cole Irvin (BAL, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Zack Thompson (STL, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Jake Irvin (WSN, 3% CBS Ownership) – How’s that free agent pitcher pool looking in your NL-Only league? Especially after the Marlins injuries mentioned above drained that pool, pickings are beyond slim. Hopefully you play in a league that doesn’t require immediately starting a player after picking him up because I’m not recommending that you pitch Irvin with Eddie Rosario roaming centerfield behind him against the Phillies this week. However, Irvin dazzled in Spring Training with a new cutter that produced 9.2 K/9 and a 3.38 ERA over 18.2 innings. (3-5% FAAB)

Tyler Alexander (TBR, 3% CBS Ownership) – I’m a bit of a troglodyte, but this pick pretty much boils down to “Rays good at pitching.” The Rockies lineup is so poor, I’m even willing to roll the dice on Alexander pitching in Coors this week because there still might be a win and with a solid handful of strikeouts even if the ERA takes a slight hit. (1-3% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Kevin Ginkel (ARI, 45% CBS Ownership) – Paul Sewald is out with a Grade 2 oblique strain, which doesn’t seem encouraging, so it’s not a stretch to see him being out for a decent chunk of this season. Ginkel was absolutely nails for Arizona during their 2023 Postseason run and can be for your fantasy bullpen too. (7-9% FAAB)

Griffin Jax (MIN, 36% CBS Ownership) – Just like Sewald, Jhoan Duran is felled with an oblique strain, although a less significant one. Thankfully the Twins had a save situation on Opening Day and clearly showed that Jax is the #1 saves choice until Duran returns. (3-5% FAAB)

Yimi Garcia (TOR, 15% CBS Ownership) – Although the Blue Jays Manager John Schneider has stated the saves mix will include Garcia, Chad Green and Tim Mayza, I think the closer’s role is Garcia’s to lose until Jordan Romano returns. And that’s a big “if” on Romano’s return as his elbow injury scares me, which is all the more reason for Schneider to look for a steadying singular force in the back of his ‘pen. Garcia has a classic closer’s arsenal with a 96-mph fastball and above-average slider to go with closing experience from 2021, making him the best saves candidate in Toronto. (3-5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Joel Payamps (MIL, 44% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Abner Uribe (MIL, 39% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), A.J. Minter (ATL, 31% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Hector Neris (CHC, 25% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Bryan Abreu (HOU, 27% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brusdar Graterol (LAD, 25% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Adam Ottavino (NYM, 20% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Justin Lawrence (COL, 14% CBS Ownership) – In a vacuum, Lawrence is an elite reliever with a 96-mph sinker, wipeout slider, and rate stats that aren’t far off from Alexis Diaz. However, Lawrence doesn’t play in a vacuum, he plays for the Rockies. (3% FAAB)

Jason Foley (DET, 9% CBS Ownership) – Foley picked up the first save of the Tigers’ season after spelling Andrew Chafin (hands down the sexiest man in MLB right now) for the last two outs on Opening Day. However, I’m leery of Foley’s 6.8 career K/9 so think he’s not the full-on closer over Alex Lange yet. Now that I’ve put that into the universe, a Jason Foley 40-save season is definitely coming. (5% FAAB)

John Brebbia (CHW, 7% CBS Ownership) – Hello, weary traveler, I’m sorry for whatever life circumstances have led to you seeking saves in the bullpen for these 100-plus loss White Sox. Brebbia is my leader in the clubhouse through process of elimination… Michael Kopech is Michael Kopech. Jordan Leasure is an unproven rookie. Steven Wilson is probably the best pitcher of them all, but Pedro Grifol probably doesn’t even realize he’s on the roster. (3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: David Robertson (TEX, 16% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Tyler Kinley (COL, 13% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Trevor Megill (MIL, 12% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Brock Stewart (MIN, 11% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jeff Hoffman (PHI, 10% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), James McArthur (KCR, 9% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Matt Strahm (PHI, 8% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Chris Martin (BOS, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Chad Green (TOR, 3% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Tim Mayza (TOR, 2% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Steven Wilson (CHW, 2% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)