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Fantasy Baseball: Week One Waiver Wire Outfield and Pitchers

John breaks down the top waiver wire Outfielders and Pitchers for this week!

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 30: Jared Jones #37 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in his MLB debut in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on March 30, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)


OF Ceddanne Rafaela, Boston Red Sox (72%)

Rafaela had a loud Spring and has a hit in each of his first two games so far to start the season. He has exciting power and speed and is currently locked in as an everyday player for the Red Sox. He will need to improve his plate discipline to last, but his power and speed are real and he will likely be one of the most sought-after waiver adds if he isn’t already owned.

OF Austin Hays, Baltimore Orioles (70%)

Hays is hitting in the heart of the order for the Orioles currently and is coming off three consecutive seasons of hitting .250 or better with at least 15 home runs and good counting stats. He is a solid option as long as he continues to get the high number of at-bats that he has been receiving. 

OF Victor Scott, St. Louis Cardinals (63%)

Scott has been called up due to the injuries that the Cardinals are dealing with, which has led to a lot of excitement in the fantasy community. He had an insane 94 stolen bases last year between advanced A and AA ball with great ratio stats to boot. He looked great this Spring, showing good plate discipline and stealing four bases, but he has looked a bit outmatched so far over his first two games for St. Louis. This is likely due to the nerves and excitement he is almost certainly experiencing after making the big leap he’s been asked to take. My guess is that it might be a better idea to wait on Scott, as I could see him getting sent down at some point in the not-too-distant future to reorient himself and that the time to bid on him will be for his next call-up. He has already stolen a base though so I definitely understand anyone who wants to try and grab him now.

OF Will Benson, Cincinnati Reds (59%)

Benson showed awesome power and speed last year. However, many are doubting him because of the 31% strikeout rate and the sky-high.391 BABIP that accompanied his production last year, as well as the fact that almost all of that production came against right-handed pitching. He showed encouraging plate discipline this Spring, however, and is reportedly a very good student of the game who is always trying to improve. The power and speed are real and while the splits are a problem I’m ultimately a Benson believer. With Friedl out with a broken wrist Benson is currently batting second in the lineup, so even though he still sits against lefties he should have plenty of chances to produce at least to start the season.

OF Jake Fraley, Cincinnati Reds (55%)

Much like his teammate Benson, Fraley can’t hit left-handed pitching. However, also like Benson, Fraley offers great pop and speed and he is hitting in the heart of the order for Cincinnati most days. He had two hits and a stolen base in his first game.

OF Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners (59%) 

I had a feeling before Spring Training that a return to his old ballpark and team could mean a bounceback season for Haniger. Then he hit five home runs with awesome ratios in his Spring games and a homer in his first game back with Seattle. Now I’m convinced. He’ll be playing every day and is only a couple of seasons removed from hitting 39 home runs with 110 runs and 100 RBI. He won’t have to do nearly that well to provide great value, but it’s a good reminder that he has some real upside.

OF Michael Conforto, San Francisco Giants (48%)

Conforto is another hitter who is looking for a bounceback this year. He has an everyday role in left field for San Francisco and is currently hitting seventh in their lineup. His peripheral stats have been better than his actual production for the past couple of years and he already has a home run and four hits through his first two games, so I could see him conceivably bouncing back to hitting 25-30 home runs if he is fully healthy and gets a bit more lucky this year. He gets a huge bump in OBP leagues. On Saturday, Conforto added two more hits and a HR.

OF Alek Thomas, Arizona Diamondbacks (47%)

Thomas worked hard in the offseason on his swing mechanics and is reportedly hitting the ball much harder now. Though he will likely need a bit of time to get used to the changes, this bodes well for him long term. He also looked good this Spring and just homered in his second game of the regular season. He is currently hitting near the bottom of the lineup for the Diamondbacks, but that lineup is explosive and Thomas is at least playing every day.

OF Mark Canha, Detroit Tigers (41%)

Canha is hitting every day in the heart of the Tigers batting order this year. Although it isn’t the best lineup by any means, it’s slowly improving with a lot of youth-upside guys like Parker Meadows, Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and Colt Keith. Canha could be in store for a very good season here, as he will be looked to as a veteran hitter and leader for that lineup. That is an excellent place for him to be mentally since he will now have extra incentive to perform and set a good example for his teammates. He will also have the satisfaction and security of being a full-time player. He should put up double-digit home runs and steals this year with good ratios and counting stats. He gets a bump in OBP leagues. He had three hits, a HR, and a SB on Saturday.

OF Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies (35%)

Blackmon is the designated hitter for the Rockies this year, which should hopefully help him to stay healthy. He had an impressive Spring and remains an exceptional hitter, though he has about half the power that he used to have in his prime and with little speed now. You can expect about 15 home runs with great counting stats and ratios. He gets a bit of a bump in batting average leagues.

Honorable Mentions:

Joc Pederson (31%)

Oswaldo Cabrera (30%)

Jesus Sanchez (30%)

Eddie Rosario (24%)

Alec Burleson (18%)



SP Garrett Crochet, Chicago White Sox (73%) 

Although it was against the lowly Detroit batting lineup, Garret Crochet had a very impressive first start. He allowed only one run on five hits while striking out eight hitters and issuing no walks over six dominant innings. Notably, his fastball was a full tick up from last year- now a blazing 97.4mph. This is really just a continuation of his dominant Spring, and all the arrows are pointing directly up for him. This seems like a very real potential breakout, and I think it would be easier to forgive yourself for bidding too much than too little on him in any leagues where he is unowned.

SP Garrett Whitlock, Boston Red Sox (68%) 

Under new leader Craig Breslow, the Red Sox pitching looks to hopefully be improving. Whitlock had an excellent spring and appears locked into the rotation. Through his three seasons so far in the majors, Whitlock has never had a K/9 under about 9 or a BB/9 over about 2. Although he had a high ERA of 5.15 last year, and although his numbers were legitimately down, almost all indications pointed to bad luck (and likely the miserable state of the team) accounting for most of his woes. He is a great upside play with minimal downside, as it is rare to have this stable of an arm available, especially when things are looking up for him and his team.

SP Jared Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates (68%) 

Jared Jones throws gas and has good secondary pitches to go along with it. He has been a top target for dynasty owners in the know, as he is only 22 years old, and he will now get a chance to show everyone what he’s got. He had an exceptional Spring and struck out 15 hitters over 16 innings without allowing a run, though he did walk 8 batters. He will of course need to keep the walks down to have success in the majors, but his upside is tantalizing. Jones made history Saturday with 10 K’s and the most recorded swings and misses in a pitcher’s debut ever. Get him while you still can!

SP Zach Littell, Tampa Bay Rays (54%)

Littell pitched well for Tampa last year and is expected to be a full-time starter now for most if not all of the year. He doesn’t have great peripheral stats and won’t strike out many hitters, but he also does not walk many guys, which helps him limit any damage against him. Tampa has been so successful with their pitchers that Littell figures to be quite useful for fantasy owners this year, as he is now slated to pitch even more innings. He impressed on Saturday, throwing 6 innings of no-run ball!

SP Bowden Francis, Toronto Blue Jays (32%)

Francis pitched well for Toronto in a short sample as a reliever in 2023 but is now stretched out to be a starter and has made the rotation. He had a good spring and his fastball seems like it might be a tick-up from last year as well, so that could equate to good things for Francis. He could stay in the rotation if he pitches well and makes for a nice dart throw.

SP Ronel Blanco, Houston Astros (13%)

Blanco’s Spring was so impressive that he won himself an opportunity to pitch in the Astros starting rotation. He will likely get sent back down to the minors once Houston’s usual starters are back from the IL, but until then he’ll have a chance to show everyone that he can do it on the big stage. He has shown a lot of swing-and-miss upside with some nasty breaking balls to mix in with his 94 mph heater. Last year, he walked too many guys but this Spring he only walked 4 batters in almost 16 innings pitched. He makes for another good dart throw.

Honorable Mentions:

SP Luis Gil, New York Yankees (49%)

SP Ryne Nelson, Arizona Diamondbacks (37%)

SP Alec Marsh, Kansas City Royals (12%)



RP Kyle Finnegan, Philadelphia Phillies (71%)

Finnegan reportedly made some improvements to his game this offseason and already has a save under his belt. He had an awesome Spring and may have a better year as the Phillies closer in 2024 than most expect.

RP Kevin Ginkel, Arizona Diamondbacks (57%)

Ginkel was excellent for the DBacks last season and looks to be the guy while Sewald is out, which could be for a couple of weeks at least. 

RP Griffin Jax, Minnesota Twins (56%) 

As anticipated by many, Jax got the first save for Minnesota. Duran is seemingly out for at least the first month of the season and Jax is the guy to own in the meantime. He is a good reliever so you can pick him up with confidence where needed.

RPs Michael Kopech/Jordan Leasure, Chicago White Sox (54%/24%)

Kopech is the favorite to close here but really it’s anyone’s guess. Both have a lot of strikeout upside and it will likely just come down to whoever is less wild.

RP Abner Uribe, Milwaukee Brewers (53%) 

Uribe throws absolute gas and got the first save for Milwaukee. He is a good bet to close till Williams is back, which won’t be till the second half at the earliest. The worst-case scenario is likely that Uribe shares save opportunities with Payamps and/or Megill. Uribe also picked up the save on Saturday, so for now, he looks like the guy!

RP Jason Foley, Detroit Tigers (50%) 

Although Alex Lange is still the favorite to close as far as anybody knows, it was Jason Foley who got the first save for Detroit. It could just be a matchups thing, or maybe they plan to have more of a committee, but either way those in need of saves in deeper leagues may want to snag Foley in case there is something going on with Lange that we are not yet aware of.

RP David Robertson, Texas Rangers (42%)

I included Robertson in my “Late Saves Targets” article this offseason and I stand by him. I think he is far better suited to close games for Texas than Leclerc because of his superior mental game and his far greater amount of prior experience in the role. Leclerc walked two batters and coughed up a run in his first game this year and I’m guessing that it’ll just be a matter of time before Robertson walks away with the job.

Honorable Mentions:

RPs Yimi Garcia/Chad Green, Toronto Blue Jays (29%/14%) 

RP Giovanni Gallegos, St. Louis Cardinals (28%)