The New York Islanders are Overachieving in 2018-2019
The New York Islanders are overachieving in the 2018-2019 season. Why's this the case?
Here are my five fantasy baseball waiver wire adds heading into a new week.
All stats are through games on April 7.
5. Hanley Ramirez, 1B/DH, Boston Red Sox
After a less than stellar 2017 campaign, Ramirez is off to a good start this year (.303, six RBI, two stolen bases) with a six-game hitting streak going and all six of his RBI coming over the last four games.
Perhaps best of all, Ramirez has been healthy enough to play first base (six starts) while also hitting well. He should be eligible at first base in most fantasy leagues (18 games-17 starts in 2017), but if he's not yet (in ESPN leagues, for example).
Ramirez stands be a useful utility option in deeper mixed leagues, provided he stays healthy. At minimum, AL-only league owners should be adding him.
ESPN Ownership: 51.3%
Yahoo! Ownership: 67%
4. Jed Lowrie, 2B, Oakland Athletics
Over his last four games, Lowrie is 9-for-16 with two home runs ( back-to-back games), two doubles and five RBI. He's off to a nice start this season, hitting .341 (14-for-41) with five extra base hits and seven RBI.
The question with Lowrie is always durability, but he played 153 games (567 at-bats) in 2017 and delivered solid numbers (.277, 14 home runs, 69 RBI, 86 runs scored).
Lowrie's traditional multi-position eligibility has gone away right now, after he mostly played second base for Oakland last year (136 games). But he made on appearance at third base so far this year, so eligibility there may eventually come. In any case, Lowrie's hot streak is worth tapping into in fantasy right now.
ESPN Ownership: 9%
Yahoo! Ownership: 7%
3. Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians
Brantley came off the disabled list on Friday, and went 1-for-4 with two RBI against the Royals.
He only played 101 games total in 2016 and 2017, so it's easy to forget how productive Brantley was in 2014 (.327, 20 home runs, 97 RBI, 23 stolen bases, 94 runs scored, 45 doubles) 2015 (.310, 15 home runs, 84 RBI, 15 stolen bases, 45 doubles). Even last season, over 90 games, his slash-line (.299/.357/.444) was in line with his career mark (.292/.349/.423).
Brantley can't be relied on to stay healthy all season. But he's worth adding as long as he is in the lineup, with solid across the board production.
ESPN Ownership: 30%
Yahoo! Ownership: 43%
2. Matt Albers, RP, Milwaukee Brewers
Corey Knebel (left hamstring) is out, and he's leaving behind a closer by committee for the Brewers. Jacob Barnes got the first save opportunity in Knebel's stead against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, and gave up four runs (two earned) over two-thirds of an inning as the defense behind him did him no favors.
Jeremy Jeffress surrendered a lead in a setup role on Friday night, so his chance for save opportunities with Knebel out may not be coming. Assuming Barnes doesn't get an immediate mulligan, Albers appears likely to be the next man up to close for Craig Counsell.
Albers has never been a closer (two career saves). But he found a whole new level of strikeout prowess with the Nationals last year (9.3 K/9, 6.5 career K/9), on his way to a 1.62 ERA over 63 appearances.
ESPN Ownership: 3.2%
Yahoo! Ownership: 11%
1. Marco Estrada, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Over his first two starts this season, Estrada has a 2.77 ERA with nine strikeouts and four walks over 13 innings. He has gone at least six innings in both outings.
Estrada had an ERA near 5.00 (4.98) last season, as his BB/9 rate rose and batted ball luck turned the other way. But a 10-start stretch from June 1-July 26 (8.87 ERA, 33 walks over 45.2 innings) obscures a nice start (3.15 ERA over April and May-11 starts) and a good finish (3.68 ERA over 5 September starts).
Estrada was an All-Star in 2016 (3.48 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 1.12 WHIP). Somewhere between that and 2017, over a typical 30 starts, may be in offing for him this year. So now is the time to add him.
ESPN Ownership: 31.1%
Yahoo! Ownership: 34%