The new baseball season is off and running, and so is fantasy baseball season. It's been a short week to start, but fantasy owners should still be looking to add off the waiver wire.
Here are my five fantasy baseball waiver wire additions for April 1, heading into the first full week of the 2018 season.
All stats are through action on March 31.
5. Jose Martinez, 1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals
After hitting .309 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI (.897 OPS) over 307 plate appearances for the Cardinals last year, Martinez is of to a nice start through two games this year (5 hits in seven at-bats, one home run and three RBI.
Martinez seems set to be St. Louis' every day first baseman, and he is fantasy-eligible in the outfield too (41 games in 2017).
Martinez' won't necessarily be a standout, but the opportunity to play a lot puts him in line for a fantasy-worthy stat line when it's all said and done this year. Now is the time to get on board.
Yahoo! Ownership: 64%
ESPN Ownership: 64.6%
4. Joe Panik, 2B, San Francisco Giants
Panik started the season with home run off Clayton Kershaw on Opening Day, then followed with one off Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen Friday night. After a 2-for-5 performance on Saturday, the Giants' second baseman is 5-for-12 (.417) with a 1.333 OPS on the young season.
Panik's power surge to start 2018 is not sustainable, but he has been a solid fantasy asset previously. He has hit at least .288 in two of the last three seasons, and in three of his four big league campaigns, while hitting 10 home runs and topping 50 RBI with at least 60 runs scored in the each of last two seasons.
The Giants' lineup should be improved this year, and Panik has a spot near the top with Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria behind him. Now looks like the time to add an under-the-radar across the board asset at a position that gets shallow quickly.
Yahoo! Ownership: 21%
ESPN Ownership: 34.1%
3. Keone Kela, RP, Texas Rangers
The late spring training trend toward Kela being the Rangers' closer looks sure to come fruition, since he got the ninth inning in a non-save situation Friday night.
Along with injury issues, walks have been a bit of a thing for Kela in his career (3.5 BB/9 rate from 2015-2017). But he also strikes out batters like a top closer would (11.1 career K/9 rate; 11.9 K/9 each of the last two seasons) and stands out as the most worthy candidate for saves in the Texas bullpen.
Kela should be owned far more than he is right now, particularly in ESPN leagues.
Yahoo! Ownership: 58%
ESPN Ownership: 25.9%
2. Hunter Strickland, RP, San Francisco Giants
Mark Melancon is on the disabled list with an arm issue, and Strickland stepped in with two saves in as many games to start the season.
Melancon's forearm injury dates back to last year, so his status beyond a current 10-day DL stint is unclear until further notice. So Strickland could stay in the closer role for a while, with Sam Dyson looking like a background option right now.
Saves are the most variable and unpredictable category in fantasy baseball, so anyone getting opportunities is automatically relevant. Strickland is one of those guys this week, with a better long-term outlook than most.
Yahoo! Ownership: 64%
ESPN Ownership: 34.2%
1. Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies
A great spring got Kingery a spot with the Phillies and a long-term contract, and he's followed up with four hits in nine at-bats while starting games at third base and shortstop. He also shifted to left field on Saturday, so multi-position eligibility stands to further enhance his fantasy value beyond giving him a spot in the lineup every day.
Kingery hit .284 over three minor league seasons, with 59 stolen bases in 69 attempts and 179 runs scored over the 2016 and 2017 seasons in the Phillies' system. Those three categories look like where he'll contribute best in fantasy, but 26 home runs in Double and Triple-A last year points to some power potential too.
If Kingery is available in your league, go get him now.
Yahoo! Ownership: 67%
ESPN Ownership: 58.5%