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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Brice Turang leads first batch of early-season pickups

In Sports
April 05, 2024
Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Brice Turang (2)

One thing we may have neglected to mention in our preseason fantasy baseball content is that the team you drafted in March was, in fact, just the first version of your 2024 roster. Winning a league requires you to constantly add and enhance to your squad throughout the season. The pickups we make in the opening weeks are actually the ones that offer the greatest benefit over the full season, so this is no time for hesitancy.

Here are eight widely available players approved for use in all leagues …

With six steals in five games, Turang is pretty much an auto-add. He swiped 26 bags for Milwaukee last season (while barely hitting his weight) and 34 in the minors the prior year, so we know the speed is real. Turang isn’t likely to boost your team’s average over the course of a full season, but he raked throughout opening week (.438/.444/.563).

If steals are a priority, give him a look. With a half-dozen steals already in the bag, he has a shot at reaching 40.

Jose Siri, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (38% rostered)

Entering spring training, Siri made it abundantly clear that he intended to steal 30 or more bags in the season ahead. So far, so good. He stole three bases in his first two games and he’s settled in as Tampa Bay’s everyday centerfielder. The man hit 25 home runs last season, so he has to be regarded as a clear threat to go 20/20 or better this year.

There’s plenty of swing-and-miss to Siri’s game, which means he’s not going to be a batting average asset. But he’s still an obvious multi-category contributor with a well-established role. Good luck finding anyone else on the wire with his power/speed upside.

As one of the very few catchers in the player pool with legit base-stealing ability, Naylor should have been on everyone’s list of priority sleepers. He hasn’t stolen a base just yet, but he has gone deep and he’s off to a respectable start. Last year, splitting his time between Triple-A and the majors, he hit a combined 24 homers and swiped seven bases. The season before, he went 21/20 in the high minors while getting on base at an elite rate (.392). Naylor has an extremely fantasy-friendly profile, with rare traits for his position. He belongs on someone’s roster in nearly all mixed leagues.

If you are seeking immediate middle infield help, keep scrolling. Grissom is currently dealing with groin and hamstring malfunctions, and thus isn’t expected to make his Red Sox debut until later in the month. A rehab assignment is only a week away, however, which makes him a decent stash for those of you with open IL spots.

Grissom was acquired by Boston in the Chris Sale deal and, at 23, he was pretty clearly an excellent addition, under team control for the next six seasons. He’s hit for average with power and speed at every minor league stop. Last year, Grissom slashed .330/.419/.501 over 102 games at Triple-A, delivering 48 XBHs and 13 steals. He should be a useful fantasy piece upon arrival, so here’s a chance to beat the rush.

Let’s not ignore the guy who was actually blocking Grissom’s path in Atlanta. Arcia opened his season with a pair of three-hit games and he’s only cooled off slightly in the days that followed. If you’re looking for a cheap way to invest in a stellar lineup, here you go. Last season, Arcia delivered 17 homers among his 42 XBHs while maintaining an average that didn’t hurt your fantasy squad (.264). He generally does his hitting in the bottom third of the order, which isn’t necessarily ideal. But in Atlanta, it just means he’s often standing in scoring position while Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies are at bat.

It’s possible Arcia’s base-stealing days are behind him, but he did swipe 14 bags for the Brewers back in 2017. If you’re unsatisfied with your middle infield situation in a deep-ish league, Arcia certainly deserves your attention.

If Donovan’s positional versatility isn’t enough for you, perhaps you can appreciate his early-season production. He’s gone 8-for-19 over his last five games with five runs scored and six RBI. Donovan has serious on-base ability (.383 career OBP) and he’s leading off for the Cardinals, so he’s a sneaky-good bet to reach 100 runs scored this season. He also hit 11 home runs in 95 games last year, making real gains in exit velocity and barrel rate.

Donovan gave us a scare on Wednesday when he was plunked on the elbow, but it seems like he’s avoided any sort of significant issue. His multi-position eligibility makes him the perfect bench bat, particularly in leagues that allow daily lineup changes.

As a team, the White Sox have recorded exactly one save this season, and it belongs to Kopech — it wasn’t particularly clean (1.2 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, K), but it counts just the same. He has extreme velocity and a traditional closer’s arsenal, so this arrangement might just work. If your fantasy squad is light on saves in a competitive league, Kopech is a necessary pickup. The fact that he carries SP-eligibility is a nice benefit, too. We shouldn’t need to remind you that even a dreadful team — which the Sox might very well be — is fully capable of producing a 30-save closer. It’s a lesson we relearn each season.

There’s really a curious lack of enthusiasm for Olson, a 24-year-old right-hander who struck out 103 batters in 103.2 big league innings last season while producing useful fantasy ratios (3.99 ERA, 1.12 WHIP). He had an excellent spring, earning his spot in Detroit’s starting rotation, then delivered 5.2 scoreless innings in his 2024 regular season debut. I have no idea what you guys don’t like about Olson, but he has a solid five-pitch arsenal with bat-missing ability. He’s lined up for a favorable turn against Pittsburgh in a potential two-start week, so it’s a great time to test-drive a quality young pitcher.

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