With Opening Day now in the rear view mirror, the 2023 fantasy baseball season is officially underway. For fantasy baseball players, Week 2 offers the first opportunity to find diamonds in the rough that might’ve sneaked by on draft day.
It’s still early in the season. Teams around the league are still trying to find the perfect winning combination. Still, some players have already made an early name for themselves. Others will gain a larger opportunity as the season progresses.
All four players on this list are owned in less than 15 percent of ESPN fantasy baseball leagues. They may not have the star power of a Shohei Ohtani or Aaron Judge, but all four are unheralded players who could make an impact on any fantasy baseball roster.
There’s a long way to go in both the MLB and fantasy baseball season. But heading into Week 2, these are our top four four fantasy baseball waiver wire pick ups.
Top 4 Waiver Wire Pick Ups for Week 2 in Fantasy Baseball
4. Trayce Thompson – Dodgers OF
On Opening Day, the Dodgers went with James Outman in center field. However, after Trayce Thompson’s breakout performance, there may be a new leader in the Dodgers’ starting center field race.
Los Angeles defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-1 on Saturday. In the win, Thompson had three home runs and eight RBI. That sole game gave Thompson the most RBI in the MLB and tied him for most home runs.
THE DODGERS ACQUIRED TRAYCE THOMPSON IN EXCHANGE FOR CASH CONSIDERATIONS
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHHarris) April 2, 2023
While it was just one game, Thompson made quite the 2023 debut. Los Angeles can’t afford to take him out of the lineup if he continues hitting. He won’t hit three home runs every night, but a boost of power from Thompson would be a major gain for the Dodgers.
It’s important to note that Thompson only made the start because Los Angeles was facing a left-hander in Madison Bumgarner. Outman started the first two games of the year versus right-handers.
But Thompson is sure to get more opportunities after his breakout performance. If he is going to continue hitting bombs, it’s best to strike while his ownership is low. Another three home run performance would put Thompson on everyone’s radar.
3. Kenta Maeda – Twins SP
Kenta Maeda has yet to make his 2023 debut. In fact, he hasn’t pitched since the 2021 season. But with Maeda set to make his return, fantasy baseball players should take notice.
Maeda missed all of last season with Tommy John Surgery. However, the right-hander is now fully healthy and expected to occupy a role in the Twins’ starting rotation. Pitching for a Minnesota team with playoff aspirations is a major asset for Maeda.
Furthermore, it wasn’t long ago that Maeda was one of the best pitchers in the American League. He finished second in Cy Young voting in 2020 after pitching to a 6-1 record with a 2.70 ERA and a 80/10 K/BB ratio. While he might not return to those numbers – he had a 4.66 ERA in 2021 – Maeda is still an intriguing dart throw.
As a back end starter, Maeda could provide some cheap value. He’ll be playing for a team looking to win every day. Now fully healthy, Maeda will be able to use his full arsenal. Minnesota is counting on him to return to form.
Maeda certainly won’t make or break a fantasy baseball pitching rotation. But a proactive waiver wire pickup could reap solid rewards.
2. Elehuris Montero – Rockies 3B
Of all the players on this list, Elehuris Montero might be the least well-known. However, after winning the Colorado Rockies starting third baseman role, Montero has a chance to offer the greatest long-term benefits.
Montero has started all three games for the Rockies this season. He has been impressive thus far, hitting .308 with four hits and two RBI. Montero showed off his power potential on Opening Day with a towering home run.
Elehuris Montero goes back to back with Cron! pic.twitter.com/EwSVBKqF7v
— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthewCFB) March 31, 2023
Montero came to the Rockies in the trade that sent Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals. He made his MLB debut in 2022, but to little fanfare. The third baseman hit .233 with six home runs and 20 RBI over 53 games. However, it looks like Colorado is serious about giving Montero an opportunity.
The Rockies went out and signed Mike Moustakas in free agency this offseason. However, Colorado has still decided to go with Montero at third base instead. As the Rockies try to climb up the NL West, perhaps they decide to ride Montero’s hot bat.
Montero is still very green when it comes to MLB experience. But it’s clear at least in the early going that he has a better understanding of major league pitching. If Montero maintains the starting third base role, especially playing at Coors Field, he’s a Week 2 waiver wire pickup that could still be paying off by Week 20.
1. David Peterson – Twins SP
With the New York Mets investing heavily into their pitching rotation, it didn’t seem like David Peterson would have a role. However, when he was called into action, Peterson proved he is ready for any opportunity.
The Mets were already without Jose Quintana after he suffered a rib injury at the World Baseball Classic. Then, Justin Verlander was placed on the injured list on Opening Day with a teres major strain. Now, Peterson occupies a major role in New York’s rotation.
He responded nicely in his first start of the season. While it came in a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins, Peterson pitched five innings of one-run baseball. He struck out five while allowing just one walk. While the Marlins mustered eight hits against him, Peterson was able to limit the damage.
Peterson’s value tries directly into his inclusion in New York’s starting rotation. When Verlander and/or Quintana return, that spot may be in jeopardy. If Peterson is moved to the bullpen, he won’t have much fantasy baseball value.
However, at least for now, Peterson is the most valuable Week 2 fantasy baseball pick. He plays on a Mets team with clear World Series hopes. Furthermore, he has shown at times that he can succeed in the MLB. While he wasn’t supposed to be in this position, Peterson is now poised to help the Mets and potentially fantasy baseball rosters.
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