Ah, Opening Day. When promise becomes reality, when conjecture becomes concrete, and when a perfectly healthy Justin Steele becomes something less than perfectly healthy. 

Of course we couldn't get through even one day of the new baseball season without a significant name suffering an injury, and Steele wasn't the only one. He came up limping after fielding a batted ball midway through his start against the Rangers Thursday, and then went down grabbing his left hamstring. He walked off the field and into the Cubs clubhouse, where the team announced his injury as "hamstring tightness." 

Hopefully it doesn't end up being a significant injury, but Steele is set for an MRI and Cubs manager Craig Counsell acknowledged after the game that an IL stint is likely. The same might be true for Royce Lewis, who gave us the whole Royce Lewis experience on Opening Day, crushing a homer in his first trip to the plate and a double in his second, before leaving with a quad injury. Add in a Max Kepler injury after he fouled a ball off his leg, and it wasn't a great day for the Twins despite their 4-1 win. 

Hopefully none of those injuries will prove to be long-term ones. But, we're one day in, and already your lineup might have some additional holes. That's unfortunate, but we're here to help you fill them. 

Scott White has some Opening Day reactions to read about here, and yes, a resurgent Shane Bieber features prominently. We'll talk more about that, plus the rest of the news and big performances from Thursday's action in the rest of the newsletter. But first, let's take a look at those waiver targets: 

Opening Day Waiver Targets

Garrett Crochet, SP, White Sox (50%) – [Extremely Shaq voice]: I owe you an apology. I wasn't really familiar with your game. Making his first start in a non-exhibition game since 2020, when he was in college, Crochet was simply stupendous as the White Sox Opening Day starter. We knew the former first-rounder was talented, but he was one of the bigger unknowns in the league given his lack of experience as a starter, and that made his performance arguably the most eye-opening of the day. He limited the Tigers to just one run over six innings, striking out eight with no walks and only five hits allowed. He averaged 97.6 mph with his fastball, up 1.3 mph from last year, when he was working as a reliever, and he showed off a four-pitch arsenal – albeit with the cutter and changeup mostly serving as show-me pitches as the start went on to keep hitters honest. Still, it might be a legitimate starter's repertoire, and the stuff looked pretty impressive. It's just one start, but it was a start that demands to be taken seriously; he should be rostered in all leagues just in case it was for real. 

Jason Foley, RP, Tigers (0%) – The biggest closer news of the day came out of Detroit's bullpen, as Foley got a save instead of presumed closer Alex Lange and looked unhittable. He came in for the final two outs of the ninth to replace Andrew Chafin and got two strikeouts while averaging 99.3 mph with his sinker, up 2.1 mph from last season. The fact that Chafin got the first out of the inning might explain why the Tigers went to Foley instead of Lange, but if you didn't get many closers in your draft, I think you probably have to speculate on Foley, just in case he's the guy here.    

Maikel Garcia, 3B, Royals (47%) – Garcia was the only player on the Royals to do any damage against Pablo Lopez, and he did it in a hurry, hitting a leadoff homer off the Cy Young contender. Yep, Garcia was hitting leadoff for the Royals, just like we hoped he might be, and that alone makes him worth adding. He showed strong hitting skills last season, ranking in the 87th percentile in average exit velocity with a roughly average strikeout rate, and if he elevates the ball more consistently this season, it's not unreasonable to think he could get to double-digit homers while stealing 30 bases. There's Andres Gimenez upside here, especially at the top of the lineup. 

Frankie Montas, SP, Reds (69%) – Montas was significantly less impressive than Crochet. In fact, despite the line – six shutout innings, four hits, no walks, four strikeouts – I'm not actually sure he was all that impressive. Montas' fastball velocity was up from last season, but down from his 2022 peak, and he picked up just eight swinging strikes on 81 pitches against a pretty underwhelming Nationals lineup. Still, it's a former a must-start pitcher who showed flashes of his former form, and that's enough to justify a speculative add in shallower leagues where available. 

Griffin Jax, RP, Twins (36%) – With Jhoan Duran on the IL with an oblique injury, we weren't quite sure what direction the Twins would opt to go in. But with a hold situation in the eighth, they turned to Brock Stewart, who then handed it off to Jax in the ninth inning. They may opt to flip-flop them the next time around, but Round 1 went to Jax, who should be added anywhere you are speculating on saves. 

Nick Martini, OF, Reds (3%) – It's probably nothing, but we have to talk about an Opening Day two-homer performance. Martini might not have even made the roster if not for the rash of bad luck the Reds suffered in the spring, but instead, he was started at DH in the opener and clubbed a couple of homers off Nationals starter Josiah Gray. Martini is 33 and has almost no MLB track record to speak of, and his decent Triple-A track record (.294/.398/.445) is tempered by the fact that he's been old for the level all along. So, again, it's probably nothing. But, Martini did have decent quality of contact numbers in a small sample size in the majors last season, and will play his home games in arguably the best park in baseball, so he's worth a look in NL-only leagues, at least. 

Mitch Haniger, OF, Mariners (25%) – Haniger had a terrific spring, hitting five homers in 43 trips to the plate, and he stayed hot in the opener, homering off Brayan Bello. He's back in Seattle, where he enjoyed his best seasons, and he's healthy for the first time in seemingly years. I'm willing to bet on a bounce-back campaign with a few bucks of FAB.