It happens every year to at least half of the fantasy teams we draft ourselves: Slow starts mean bottom of the standings. Well, don’t panic just yet. The MLB season is just four days old, and most teams have played only three games. That sample size is not enough to justify wholesale roster changes if your team is in last place already.
Generally, you still want to troll the waiver wire, though, to look for those borderline players that went undrafted—but are now off to hot starts. Always snag the hot hand if you can, but don’t waive a star who is 0-for-10 right now on the season to get that hot hand. Ride it out.
The worst thing you can do right now is overreact. Give your roster two or three weeks to even out statistically, and then make the big adjustments. In the meantime, here are some minor moves to consider making before Monday morning.
Players to Get on Your Team Now
1. Chris Paddack, SP, San Diego Padres: We like all the San Diego pitchers, for a few reasons. Their home games are in a spacious ballpark, and they have all some sort of talent. Paddack is the Padres’ No. 2 starter right now, and don’t overreact to his first start at home against the hapless San Francisco Giants. But he should deliver some good stats for your team this year if you’re still looking for a decent starting pitcher.
2. Pete Alonso, 1B, New York Mets: Yes, he is young, but he has the potential to be very good if you’re looking for a strong bat to stash on your bench. Veteran players are more predictable for those backup spots, but they’re almost always available on the waiver wire at any given time during the year. Young bucks like Alonso won’t be on the waiver wire all season long. Grab him now.
3. Brandon Woodruff, SP, Milwaukee Brewers: Slotting in as the No. 2 starter for now in Milwaukee, Woodruff struck out five St. Louis batters in five innings during his first appearance of the year. The Brewers have tons of offense, but their rotation is weak right now. Woodruff can get you wins and Ks if you’re willing to swallow some middling ERA and WHIP numbers.
4. Fernando Tatis, Jr., SS, San Diego Padres: He should have been drafted in your league, since the news broke he would be on the Opening Day roster last week. If he’s available in your league, take a flier on him. He’s the No. 2 prospect in the game, behind Vlad Guerrero, Jr., who we recommended drafting in our initial column on March 14. See a pattern here with all these kids of former MLB players?!
Players to Drop to Waivers Now
1. Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland Athletics: We love this guy, but he broke a bone in his hand during the A’s opening set in Japan, and he’s out until at least mid June. The issue is that it is very hard for hitters to overcome this kind of hamate-bone injury and come back normal/strong. Olson will be fine for 2020, but he probably won’t deliver much this season even if/when he gets back into the Oakland lineup.
2. Corey Knebel, RP, Milwaukee Brewers: Hopefully you didn’t draft him anyway, since there were whispers, and loud ones, about his arm problems. Now it’s official as Knebel is going to undergo Tommy John surgery. Maybe he will be back to his 2017 form by the 2021 season. It is sad for him, but there is no need to have him on your roster at all.
3. Kyle Seager, 3B, Seattle Mariners: Here is another player we hope you did not draft, but like Olson, he underwent hand surgery and is out for three months or so. Same deal here, although Seager probably wasn’t on the same draft-radar level as the A’s slugger. Avoid him even when he comes back later in the summer.
4. Ian Happ, UTL, Chicago Cubs: Despite hitting 39 home runs over the last two seasons with the Cubs, he was sent down to the minors before Opening Day. Happ needs to cut down on his strikeouts, and maybe he will be back later in the season, but in the meantime, you can find better utility guys on the waiver wire—guys who actually will play in the majors and help your team right now if necessary.
A four-year archive (2014-2017) of these MLB fantasy columns previously published on CBS Local Sports can be found here.