They're the two most-viewed players in CBS Sports leagues right now. Clearly, people are thinking about adding them even if they haven't pulled the trigger yet.
And look, I can't make you any promises about Julian Merryweather or Yermin Mercedes. Four days ago, few of us had even heard of them. However we're making this determination now, I can assure you it's not enough to go on. Technically, we don't even know what roles they'll be filling.
But one of the challenges of playing Fantasy baseball is that we don't get to have all the information before making a decision. For every worthwhile pickup, there's only so much of a window to act. You're not competing against yourself, after all, but however many other people are in your league. Once the momentum for a move begins to build, someone is going to act on it. Wait for all the answers, and you'll always be left out.
A successful waiver wire strategy, then, is less about being right or wrong than about maximizing your opportunities to be right. Players are worth picking up when they demand to be picked up, and we're just about there with both.
We play Believe It Or Not and analyze waiver wire adds on the Fantasy Baseball Today Podcast. You can follow us to make sure you get the latest episodes when they drop on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
TOR Toronto • #67 • Age: 29
Sure, you can explain away both of the saves -- one came in extra innings and the other against a lesser part of the Yankees lineup after presumed closer Jordan Romano had already handled the top of the order -- but there's no denying how good Merryweather looked in recording them, blowing away hitters with an impressive fastball/changeup combination. Managers like to stick with what works, and it's not like Romano is battle-tested anyway. I'd call it 60/40 Charlie Montoyo keeps rolling with Merryweather.
CHW Chi. White Sox • #73 • Age: 28
A DH-only player with playing-time concerns is a tough fit for any Fantasy team, and you wouldn't want to sacrifice anything of real value for such a low-percentage play. But if Yermin Mercedes ingratiated himself to manager Tony La Russa with his five-hit debut Friday, which would appear so given that he started the next two games, there's a chance it could work out. The 28-year-old always produced in the minors, most recently batting .317 with 23 homers and a .968 OPS in 2019, and may have simply gotten passed over because he was a poor fit defensively.
Gavin Lux 2B
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #9 • Age: 23
Going the shallower route on this one, Gavin Lux may finally be breaking through as the top-five prospect he was billed to be last year. Manager Dave Roberts is showing a newfound dedication to playing him, starting him in all four games of the Dodgers' opening series, including one against a left-hander and one in place of Corey Seager at shortstop. Given the upside, that 71 percent should go up to 100.
MIA Miami • #28 • Age: 23
Trevor Rogers hasn't made his 2021 debut yet, but you'll be glad you got the jump on him if he goes strikeout-crazy in his two starts this week, which seems possible given the way spring training played out. He already showed a knack for playing his fastball off his changeup last year, generating a high whiff rate on both, and looks stronger and more confident in his slider this year.
Hector Neris RP
PHI Philadelphia • #50 • Age: 31
Mark Melancon (69% rostered) would be the preferred pickup for saves if he's still available, and there might be some instances where I'd opt for Merryweather as well. But it's so refreshing for a manager to name a closer outright, as Joe Girardi did with Hector Neris before the start of the season. And while Neris has teetered with the role in the past, he's also good enough to hold on to it, compiling a 3.34 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 11.4 K/9 over his career.
SEA Seattle • #18 • Age: 29
Yusei Kikuchi was one of the more notable hard-luck cases during the pandemic-shortened season, compiling a 3.78 xFIP and 3.37 xERA despite his 5.17 ERA. He got off on the right foot in 2021, maintaining the improved velocity from a year ago while also keeping his walks down.
MIA Miami • #70 • Age: 23
It's going to come down to how much damage he does in between the strikeouts, but with a triple and two stolen bases already, Jazz Chisholm is making his case. The good outweighed the bad in spring training as well, when he homered three times and stole four bases. That power/speed combo is especially rare up the middle, so you gamble on the upside while you can still afford it.
KC Kansas City • #2 • Age: 30
Speaking of power/speed combos and gambling on upside, Michael Taylor was himself nearly a 20/20 man in 2017 but saw his career derailed by injuries and inconsistency. He's healthy now and off to a good start for the Royals after a spring training in which he looked more composed at the plate than ever, ditching a leg kick in the hope of reducing his strikeouts.