By Sam McPherson
It happens every year in fantasy baseball drafts. Some players are deemed too risky to draft, because they missed the last season with an injury or they had a terrible year. No one wants to get burned two years in a row. Even if that player was really good before the ugly season in question, it doesn’t seem to matter during the draft.
With a month of the season behind us, now is the time to look through your league’s waiver wire for those kinds of players: They used to be good, but something went wrong. Now they’re back, and the other owners in the league are asleep at the wheel. Grab them to replace the guys on your roster heading into their own ugly years, and you can cruise to the top of the league standings while no one is looking.
Players to Get Onto Your Roster Now
1. Jason Heyward, OF, Chicago Cubs: One of the bigger mysteries of 2016, his bat literally disappeared while the Cubbies made their World Series run. However, Heyward is swinging some good lumber in 2017. With three home runs and 16 RBI so far, he’s on pace to top his career high in the latter category (82 in 2012). Playing for Chicago, Heyward will get a lot of scoring opportunities.
2. Bud Norris, RP, Los Angeles Angels: Everyone loves (and needs) cheap saves in fantasy baseball, and before this season, he’d never earned one. But Norris is perfect in save opportunities this year so far (5-for-5), and even when the team’s regular closer comes back from injury (see below), Norris still may get some chances. That’s what 19 strikeouts in 14 innings will do for the former starter turned closer.
3. David Peralta, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: A few years ago, he racked up 53 extra-base hits while posting a .312 batting average in 149 games. But last season, Peralta dropped off the map. He could be back this year, as he’s off to a good start (.333, 10 XBH). Peralta isn’t driving in a lot of runs (just seven RBI so far), but those should come around enough for him to finish around 75 total for the year.
4. Lance Lynn, SP, St. Louis Cardinals: After missing all of 2016, Lynn is back and looks good after a month of starts in the majors (2.45 ERA, 25 Ks in 29 1/3 innings). You never know what a pitcher will be like when he comes back from a long absence, but Lynn has answered those questions with a sterling April. He may tire later in the year, but for now, he looks good.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
1. Adam Eaton, OF, Washington Nationals: The Nats are scoring a lot of runs, but Eaton won’t get to be a part of this dynamic offense anymore. He’s out for the year with a torn ACL, and that hurts owners that drafted him for his run-scoring abilities. Eaton was scoring more than a run per game in 2017, but you have to drop him now.
2. Cam Bedrosian, RP, Los Angeles Angels: His groin issue is severe enough that Bedrosian has not yet begun throwing again after landing on the DL after a blown save on April 21. That’s an interesting warning sign. With Norris throwing well in his place, the Angels don’t need to rush Bedrosian back to the majors any time soon. Keep him stashed on your roster if you can, but he looks a lot more expendable than he did a week ago.
3. Sandy León, C, Boston Red Sox: It was quite random last season when he hit .310 in 78 games with the Red Sox after hitting just .187 in his first 75 games in the majors. Well, León has regressed a lot, and he only will get a few starts a week depending on the Boston starting pitcher. Either way, you don’t want a guy hitting .180 right now in your lineup. Let him go.THs
4. Félix Hernández, SP, Seattle Mariners: It is always really hard when an established star like King Félix starts to lose his game. But after giving up a whopping 39 hits already in only 26 2/3 innings, Hernández is on the disabled list with a shoulder problem on his throwing side. That’s never a good sign. Even if you love the guy like the rest of us, let him go and be someone else’s risk in fantasy baseball this summer.