The key to winning your fantasy baseball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent and call-ups could replace those late-round selections, even mid-rounders, that aren’t having the best season. Here at NFS, we provide the best picks for players you should grab off waivers now before it is too late. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players. All players listed are rostered below 40 percent on ESPN. Learn to think like a NERD!
Frank Schwindel, 1B, Chicago Cubs
Since his arrival to Chicago, Frank Schwindel has been unstoppable, hitting around .370 in all games played for the Cubs. But recently, he’s been handing the Cubs single-handedly with multi-RBI games almost every night. In his last 10 games, Schwindel has hit .386/.426/.795 with a 1.221 OPS. He’s also hit six homers, 14 RBIs, and 10 runs scored in those same games. He’s had nearly two hits per game. Schwindel is the number one target in all league formats while his bat continues to flame.
Lane Thomas, OF, Washington Nationals
As one of the players returned in the deal involving Jon Lester, Lane Thomas has slowly built up his production to prove himself as a quality outfielder for the future. In his last 10 games, Thomas has hit .279/.319/.558 with three homers and seven RBIs. He needs to make massive improvements on limiting his strikeouts and making more contact with the ball. He’ll have all the time to do that while the Nationals still continue their rebuilding process. He’s worth adding in deeper formatted fantasy leagues.
Freddy Galvis, SS/2B, Philadelphia Phillies
After spending six years with the Phillies, Freddy Galvis is back with his original squad hoping to fill a key role on the roster. He hasn’t appeared in a ton of games, but he’s recently been a small spark in the offense. In his last 10 games, Galvis has hit .242/.297/.455 with two homers and eight RBIs. He’s also done a great job at managing strikeouts, only having two during those same 10 games. He’s a solid pickup with his roster flexibility but he’ll have to pick up his hitting.
Kevin Pillar, OF, New York Mets
After a great 2020 shortened season, Kevin Pillar’s hitting regressed after signing with the Mets during the offseason. As of late, he’s picked up his bat production to keep the team afloat. During his last 10 games, Pillar hit .333/.419/.852 with a strong 1.271 OPS. He’s added four homers and 10 RBIs in that same stretch. While Pillar isn’t the most pretty pickup with little upside, he’s still a solid flier if none of the other options are currently available.
Bailey Ober, SP, Minnesota Twins
Standing 6’9″, Bailey Ober certainly brings more fun to the league, but he’s also made solid progressions in his overall pitching. In his last six starts, Ober has managed a 2.30 ERA with a 1-1 record. He’s also had a great 8:1 strikeout-to-walk and had 32 strikeouts over 31 innings pitched. On top of that, still being only 26 years old gives Ober a lot of time for improvement. With Jose Berrios and Kenta Maeda both out, Ober has a huge opportunity to become the future ace in the north.
Taylor Hearn, RP/SP, Texas Rangers
After first starting in relief, Taylor Hearn has worked his way into the starting rotation. Before the move, Hearn managed a 4.70 ERA with 50 K’s over 46 innings pitched. But after joining the rotation, Hearn has managed a 3.05 ERA with a 3-1 record and 31 strikeouts over 38 innings. He could make major improvements on giving up walks, only maintaining a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio. But Hearn has shown plenty of raw talent. And with multiple starts under his belt, he’s a quality pick-up.
A.J. Alexy, SP, Texas Rangers
A top 25 prospect in the Rangers organization, A.J. Alexy was recently called up for his MLB debut and did not disappoint. Against the Rockies, Alexy finished with a win and four strikeouts over five innings pitched. His second start was even better. Alexy gave up zero runs with seven strikeouts over six innings. Obviously, with only two starts, Alexy has shown little that he’s a consistent legitimate pitcher. But with an appealing name on the prospect and two good starts, he’s already being picked up in more leagues than expected. He’s worth taking a flier with his upside.
Michael Wacha, SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays
After one of the worst seasons in his entire career, Michael Wacha signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Tampa Bay Rays to arrange his career back on track. While not showing many signs of life from his STL days, recently he has improved. Over his last three starts, Wacha has managed a 3.52 ERA with 22 strikeouts over 17 innings pitched. While most of his upside is behind him, Wacha has still produced the numbers to win fantasy playoffs. For now, he’s worth taking a flier on the waiver wire.