Sorting through the waiver-wire fodder

By Chris Towers | Fantasy Writer

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, combined 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 probably do worse for your No. 2 reliever in a 12-team league.

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 take the mound 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, so he probably won't be going particularly deep every time out. 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

Though Ramirez is available in roughly the same number of leagues as Scheppers, he should make for a much better long-term addition. His sterling spring numbers are a potential distraction, because Ramirez is by no means an ace. However, he put up decent peripherals a year ago, with the exception of a likely unsustainably 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

My take: 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

My take: Worth a flier

Hutchison has not pitched in the majors since undergoing 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, and made it to 90 pitches in his final start, so he probably won't be limited too much. 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.