Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Victor Scott II leads priority early pickups ahead of Opening Day

Max Meyer #23 of the Miami Marlins
Max Meyer has major fantasy upside this season. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

It should go without saying that all of your drafts were nearly impeccable, reflecting an absolute mastery of modern fantasy baseball principles. Incredible work by you. Truly stunning. If any of your players disappoint, that’s on them. Your process was flawless.

Except, well … remember that one pick in the late rounds that didn’t feel quite right in the moment and has since filled you with crushing regret?

[Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for the 2024 MLB season]

Yeah, we should fix that. Let’s take care of it today, right now. It’s never too early in the season to tweak a fantasy roster requiring minor repairs.

For those who aren’t entirely satisfied with their recently drafted rosters, today we offer nine names to consider ahead of Opening Day …

It’s not every day that a 90-steal player with a starting role just pops up on the wire, but today is such a day. Go make this add, then return for the details.

Scott swiped 94 bags across two minor league levels last season — yes, ninety-four — while slashing .303/.369/.425. He then made the most emphatic case possible to break camp with the Cardinals, producing a .409 spring OBP with four steals, but was initially ticketed for the minors. And then this happened:

Scott is now the most obvious add in the game. He can have exactly the category-tilting impact that Esteury Ruiz had a year ago. He should be of interest to every fantasy manager, without respect to your steals situation. Add him as a trade chip, even if you think you drafted an abundance of speed.

Meadows has been unstoppable throughout the spring, earning his place atop Detroit’s lineup. As of this writing, the 24-year-old is slashing .373/.407/.706 with four homers, eight XBHs and three steals. He went 19/19 at Triple-A last season over 114 games, then added another three bombs and eight steals in the majors. Meadows doesn’t necessarily project as a high-average hitter, but he’s been a willing walker at every minor league stop, so we can expect power, speed and on-base ability. It’s a skill set that should absolutely play for fantasy purposes.

Rafaela essentially made it impossible for the Red Sox to leave him off the Opening Day roster by raking throughout the spring (9 XBH, 3 HR) while delivering daily highlights. He certainly doesn’t appear to be overmatched. Rafaela has been getting work at second base this spring, preparing to be part of the Vaughn Grissom (groin) short-term replacement plan. Last year, he hit 20 homers and stole 36 bags in the high minors while hitting .302/.349/.520, so his profile is exceedingly fantasy-friendly.

After hitting .319/.356/.491 with seven homers in 49 games for the Padres last season, Campusano entered 2024 as the team’s unrivaled starter at catcher. He went 3-for-10 with a pair of doubles to open the season against the Dodgers, getting his year off to a respectable start. Campusano was a .300/.369/.473 career hitter in the minors over six seasons, so last year’s MLB production wasn’t unusually fluky. He’s a good bet for a double-digit power total this season with an average north of .275. At catcher, those numbers will work in our game.

Frelick first hit the fantasy radar as a prospect back in 2022, when he slashed .331/.403/.480 with 24 steals across three minor league levels, improving with every stop. He’s had a big spring for Milwaukee, reaching base at a .383 clip and producing an OPS north of .900 while learning the basics of playing third base. It now appears he’s in line to start at third for the Brewers this season, at least against right-handed pitching. Frelick’s defensive versatility helps clear up the talent logjam in Milwaukee’s outfield. In the minors, Frelick has posted a lifetime .393 OBP and he’s walked nearly as often as he’s struck out, so he’s basically as MLB-ready as he’s gonna get.

Following a flawless spring (7.0 IP, 5 K, 4 H, 0 ER), Meyer will very likely open the season in Miami’s rotation and his fantasy upside is obvious. He’s averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors, relying largely on his filthy slider. Meyer is returning from Tommy John surgery, so his usage is likely to be limited to some extent this season, but his innings should be packed with K’s. He’s an excellent lottery ticket, deserving a spot in deeper mixed leagues.

Gavin Stone, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (43%)

If you bought last year’s hype on Stone, um … well, we’re sorry. It wasn’t everything we might have hoped to see. But the team determined he was tipping pitches last season, so various changes have been made. Stone is still the guy who struck out 168 batters over 121.2 minor league innings in 2022, posting stellar ratios (1.48 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) while spending most of his season at Double-A and Triple-A. The stuff is of the finest quality:

Stone was tremendous this spring, striking out nine batters and issuing just one walk and one run over 9.2 innings. Injuries in the Dodgers rotation cleared a path for him to open the year as a starter for a team likely to win 100-plus games, so he deserves a look in basically all formats.

Jones punched out 146 batters over 126.1 minor league innings last year, issuing too many walks along the way (50), but generally showcasing elite stuff. He has triple-digit heat and a nasty slider and was nearly unhittable in the spring (16.1 IP, 0 ER, 15 Ks), finding his way to the major league roster. If the command is acceptable and he continues to overwhelm hitters, he’s clearly gonna stick around. He’s another flier worth taking for anyone in search of K’s.

Arizona closer Paul Sewald will open the season on the IL with a grade-2 oblique strain (not the worst, definitely not the best), leaving Ginkel as the team’s presumptive closer. Ginkel was actually pretty solid in the role last year before the Diamondbacks added Sewald via trade, saving four games while delivering a 0.98 WHIP and 9.6 K/9. He offers the traditional closer’s arsenal (fastball, slider) along with a useful K-rate. Add wherever you happen to be light on saves.

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