Key Waiver Tips from insideinjuries.com
John Hicks 1B/C, DET
Owned in 39% of CBS Sports Leagues
With Miguel Cabrera going down for the rest of the year due to a torn biceps, Hicks will get the opportunity to play first base everyday. Given Hicks’ catcher eligibility in fantasy, this makes him an intriguing waiver wire option. With how low the bar is for catchers these days, Hicks could easily be a top-12 player at the position for the rest of the year if he continues with the same level of production at the plate that he’s had since the start of the 2017 season. Since then, Hicks has slashed .275/.327/.438 with an 18 homer pace. Hicks may be playing 1st most days, but his ability to slot into the catcher spot of your fantasy lineup makes him worthy of an immediate pickup.
Jake Bauers 1B/OF, TB
Owned in 30% of CBS Sports Leagues
If you lost Cabrera and just need a replacement at first base, then Jake Bauers is a high upside option that is still available in most leagues. He’s been up for a week, posting 8 hits in 26 at-bats, 4 of which have gone for extra bases (1 home run). Bauers minor league numbers show a disciplined hitter that walks a ton and is hard to strike out. If his pop can translate to homers instead of doubles at the major league level, he could become a top end player at one of the more stacked positions in the sport. His outfield eligibility and sneaky base stealing abilities are just more reasons to like Bauers. His upside is worth the pickup.
Seth Lugo SP, NYM
Owned in 32% of CBS Sports Leagues
Lugo had been dominant out of the Mets’ bullpen before returning to the rotation Sunday night against the Yankees. The move paid off for the Mets, as Lugo continued to pitch brilliantly, striking out 8 over 6 scoreless innings against the Bronx Bombers. Lugo will get another chance to start Friday, and should he continue to show well in the starting rotation, there’s no reason to think he will be pulled out of it, especially with the injuries the New York is dealing with in that department.
Jacob deGrom has returned, but Noah Syndergaard is still out as he deals with a strained ligament in his right index finger, which has him listed as a high injury risk according to Inside Injuries, and should keep him out until late June at the very least. Even if Syndergaard returns quickly, Lugo is worth a short term pickup, and he’ll almost certainly get his chances in the rotation throughout the season.
Jaime Barria SP, LAA
Owned in 42% of CBS Sports Leagues
Barria was featured here last week, and now it seems that his place in the Angels rotation is even more set in stone with Shohei Ohtani on the disabled list with a Grade 2 sprain of his UCL. Ohtani is a high injury risk according to Inside Injuries, and many have speculated that he could be headed for Tommy John surgery. According to the Angels, he will rest for 3-4 weeks before any further decision is made. He could potentially rejoin the club as just a hitter for the rest of the season, but it remains to be seen if they would make such a move.
Expect Barria to continue making the best out of his opportunity to pitch at the big league level. He’s been going back and forth to the majors and minors a lot, but that was out of necessity for the Angels as they looked to add some flexibility to the 25 man roster. Barria should be up for good now, and he continued to pitch well in his last outing. It wasn’t as sparkling as the one before, when he fired 6 shutout innings, but Barria did give up just 2 earned runs over 5 against a solid Seattle offense Tuesday night. He may not eat as many innings as you want, but the upside is still there for him to be a solid contributor the rest of the way.
Justin Miller RP, WAS
Owned in 5% of CBS Sports Leagues
Washington is currently dealing with injuries up and down their pitching staff, but luckily they have found Miller, who has been an absolute monster in his brief stint so far with the Nationals as a setup man. A career journeyman, Miller has found something that has allowed him to blow hitters away, as he’s struck out 21 hitters in 10 and 2/3 innings so far. He’s been getting tons of swinging strikes and has been a welcome presence to a Nationals bullpen that has struggled with injuries to Brandon Kintzler and Ryan Madson. Miller will continue to pitch late in games with Kintzler on the DL, making him an asset in hold leagues. He could also provide some value in deep non-hold leagues with how good his ratios have been. Pick him up now before the hype train really gets going.