Sorting through waiver-wire fodder

Former All-Star closer Joakim Soria is Fantasy relevant once again. (USATSI)
Former All-Star closer Joakim Soria is Fantasy relevant once again. (USATSI)

It is easy for Fantasy owners to go over the top in response to preseason storylines. The temptation to blow your team up after an underwhelming draft is a strong one, especially when potentially useful options linger on the waiver wire waiting for one of your league mates to snatch them.

Of course, you are basing any roster moves at this point on imperfect information. The young flamethrower who earns an unexpected opening day nod might look like a must-add right now, even if he has no track record of success at the major-league level. At the start of every season, each player is a blank slate, and Fantasy owners can easily project any kind of future on to them that they want.

Taking a look at the most-added players list for Fantasy baseball leagues, not every player being scooped up is a tragedy waiting to happen. I'll try to separate the players who just might make themselves at home in your lineup for a while from those one-week wonders you will be tossing back next week.

1. Joakim Soria, RP, Rangers; 76 percent owned, +44 percent

Go ahead and add him!

Soria looked solid in 26 appearances for the Rangers a year ago, racking up typically high strikeout totals, albeit with an atypical lack of control. Early indications from the spring are good, as he made it through nine innings without a walk while earning the closer's job. Soria probably won't be the elite Fantasy closer he once was, but saves are always at a premium and he'll get plenty of chances. You can do a lot worse than betting on a former All Star's upside in your No. 2 reliever spot. 

2. Tanner Scheppers, RP, Rangers; 53 percent owned, +43 percent

This won't last

Given the rash of injuries to pitchers already, Scheppers makes sense as a fill-in option early in the season, especially since he will likely start twice in Week 1. The problem is, he hasn't started a game since 2011, when he made a single start for Triple-A Round Rock. He hasn't exactly blown hitters away in a relief role in the majors, so don't expect him to be a revelation.

3. Erasmo Ramirez, SP, Mariners; 53 percent owned, +24 percent

Could be useful

With Ramirez available in roughly the same number of leagues as Scheppers, he should make for a much better addition for owners looking for a long-term bump. His sterling spring numbers are a distraction, because Ramirez is by no means an ace. However, he put up decent peripherals with the exception of an exceptionally high home run rate a year ago, a number that should come back to earth in a pitcher-friendly park. A league-average ERA wouldn't be a surprise from Ramirez.

4. J.J. Hoover, RP, Reds; 44 percent owned, +15 percent

Should keep climbing

We're still waiting on official confirmation, but all signs point to Hoover taking on the closers role for at least the first few weeks of the season. Hoover has some real flaws in his game -- notably a sky-high flyball rate -- but his stuff should play well in the later innings overall. If he wins out a potential committee battle, Hoover will be a hot commodity in short order.

5. Drew Hutchison, SP, Blue Jays

Worth a flier

Hutchison has not pitched in the majors since requiring Tommy John surgery in 2012, but broke camp with the team as a starter. He didn't blow anyone away in his rookie season before the injury, but was dominant at times in the minors, striking out 9.6 batters per nine innings and posting a 2.80 ERA in 56 appearances. He put together a strong spring, but will likely still be eased back into a full-time role this season with some early pitch limits after finishing the spring with a high of 90. Hutchison is still just 23 and was reportedly working consistently in the mid-90's during the spring, so there is considerable upside here. Hutchison likely won't be a mixed-league option, but is worth taking a look at for AL-only leagues. 

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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