Baseball is BACK, I know because MLB blacked me out of watching games. Half joking aside, damn does it feel great. We’ve only seen most teams play one, maybe two games to this point so let’s keep that in mind when reacting to our teams. My advice for FAAB or waiver process is to set lineups first, identify true areas of need and write that down before you go scrolling through the player pool (can be positional or category needs). Bid with purpose, if a player you want, is not going to be in your starting lineup, then lower your bid, and then probably lower it again. Nothing worse than bidding big on a stash and then getting sent down or injured before you get to play them.
David Robertson (CHC/RP) – Well removed from his Tommy John surgery in 2019 and looked vintage on Thursday. He notched the first save of year and his job looks safe (as safe as can be after only playing one game) with Rowan Wick failing to get out of the 8th inning. (10-12% of FAAB)
Tony Santillan (CIN/RP)- Just as well suspected it was Tony Santillan who got the first save opportunity for the Reds. He posted a very nice 29.5% K-rate in 2021 but a not-so-nice 11.1% BB-rate lead many to believe they’d go in a different direction for the closers role. Unless he runs away with the job, I suspect the Reds will go back to Lucas Sims when healthy. (5-6% of FAAB)
Tyler Duffey (MIN/RP)– Taylor Rogers was dealt to the Padres early Thursday morning, leaving the Twins with an open closers role. Duffey was touted to get save chances during the spring of 2021 but it never materialized. Jorge Alcala was immediately presumed by most to get the first crack at the job. However, he pitched the 7th on Friday while they were trailing. Let’s not forget that Rocco Baldelli came from the Rays coaching tree, and its somewhat likely they go forward with a committee approach. Caleb Theilbar is the dark horse here, but he’s the only high leverage LHP in their bullpen so it seems unlikely. My point, bid on Duffey but temper expectations (and bids). (4-5% of FAAB)
Carlos Hernandez (KCR/SP) – Touted by many as their pre-season sleeper, Hernandez posted a whiff rate of at least 21.6% on all five of his pitches in 2021. Although it has not translated in the strikeout department, it’s clear he has underlying talent. He will start is 2022 campaign with a two-start week, both at home against the Guardians and Tigers. The Tigers are much improved on offense this year but not good enough to fade pitchers against them. The Guardians, by my estimate will have one of the worst offenses in MLB this year. (3-4% FAAB)
Nick Lodolo (CIN/P) – Lodolo has thrown 69.1 innings (nice) in his profession career and yet, finds himself in the Reds rotations. He will get his MLB debut at home against the Guardians on Tuesday. The former first round pick’s lowest K-BB rate at any level was 28.6%. It’s highly unlikely that will translate 1:1 in the majors but this will likely be the last time you can get him for cheap if he performs well. He does line up the following week for two starts, albeit not the greatest match-ups with the Padres and Cardinals. (1-2% FAAB)
Julio Rodriguez (SEA/OF) – Arguably the top prospect in baseball, hit 13 homers to go along with 21 steals across 2 levels in 2021. Mind you, that was only in 74 games. He broke camp with the big-league club and offers upside in all 5 categories. (18-22% FAAB)
Jeremy Pena (HOU/SS) – The Astros have decided to go with a rookie to replace Carlos Correa. Pena was the 71st ranked prospect according to Baseball America coming into the spring. During the spring he put together a 1.081 OPS along with 2 home runs and one swipe enroute to earning the starting job. He is an interesting power/speed combo and hit his first career HR on Friday night. In 690 MiLB ABs he hit .291/.371/.814 with 18 HRs and 29 SBs. (8-10% of FAAB)
Spencer Torkelson (DET/1B) – The 2020 #1 overall pick shot up through the minors last season playing at three different levels. In 431 ABs he hit .267/.383/.935 with 30 HRs, 91 RBI, and 5 steals, in his first professional season.
Rafael Ortega (CHC/OF) – Ortega ended 2021 very strong, and seems to have earned a roll as the Cubs leadoff hitter, this spring. He has two games against the Pirates and then four games in Coors Field this weekend. (Most useful as a streamer in shallow leagues, 1-2% FAAB)
15 Team adds
Jake Burger (CWS/3B) – Yoan Moncada has an oblique strain and will be out at least three weeks. Burger has legitimate power but comes with some average risk as he had 35.7% K-rate in the majors last season, albeit in only 42 PAs. That number should come back down some as his high in the minors was 26.8%. (2-3% FAAB)
Chad Pinder (OAK/OF) –He has a career barrel % of 11.1% and a 45% hard hit rate. The downside is, his lowest GB % since 2019 is 48.4%. The team context is as bad as it gets, but Pinder hit clean-up on opening day and it worth a roster spot in deeper formats. (2-3% FAAB)
Brad Miller (TEX/1B/OF) – A strong side platoon player but he’s a productive hitter when in the lineup. His lowest wRC+ since 2019 is 105, along with posting a 30 HR season in 2016. (2-3% FAAB)
AL/NL only adds
CJ Abrams (SD/2B) – Abrams was a surprise to make the opening day roster. His role is unclear at this point, but at 20 years old, he should find plenty of PAs. He’s a speed first player at this point in his career.
Hunter Greene (CIN/SP) – Greene is another Reds rookie to break camp with the team. His fastball will reach triple digits but his control has question marks. However, he is in the rotation and should offer strikeout upset albeit with plenty of risk.