Fantasy Baseball 2021: Waiver-Wire Advice for Injured MLB Players for Week 3

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 16, 2021

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Wood (57) throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Thursday, Mar 4, 2021, in Scottsdale, Arizona. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

A handful of changes to the statuses of starting pitchers make the fantasy baseball waiver wire an interesting place to navigate over the next few days. 

Atlanta's Max Fried was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain, while Lance McCullers Jr. and Patrick Corbin did not look great in their latest starts. 

Enter Cincinnati's Sonny Gray and Alex Wood from San Francisco as two potential saviors to your fantasy baseball stat lines. 

Gray and Wood are both scheduled to make their first starts of the season this weekend, and they could be long-term solutions to any pitching depth concerns that have popped up over the last week or so. 

If your lineup is set with starting pitching, outfield could be the position of need to target. Nomar Mazara, Lorenzo Cain and Cristian Pache were recently placed on the 10-day injured list, Cody Bellinger is already there and Christian Yelich and Byron Buxton missed time in the past week with minor knocks. 

You may not find a widely available power hitter on the waiver wire, but there are some options who can bolster your runs, hits and batting average totals to complete the week.


Waiver-Wire Advice

Alex Wood, SP, San Francisco

Eric Gay/Associated Press

We understand if there is some hesitancy to pick up Wood immediately off the waiver wire. 

In the last two seasons, the southpaw appeared in 16 games and made nine starts for the Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers. 

But now could be the perfect time to pick up the 30-year-old in case he shines in his first few starts for the Giants. 

Wood is scheduled to start on Sunday against the Miami Marlins. He will take Logan Webb's spot in the rotation. 

In fact, Wood could make his first two appearances of 2021 against Miami since the Marlins visit Oracle Park next weekend. 

When he is at his best, Wood can be a solid mid-rotation piece. He has four 100-strikeout seasons to his name, but the lack of games in the last two years have brought about concerns about whether he can return to that form.

The good news for Wood is his first two outings come inside spacious ballparks at Marlins Park and at home at Oracle Park. That could help with his early totals and may make him a viable streaming option if you need an advantage in ERA, WHIP and wins. 

If anything, Wood is a more available option compared to Gray, who should be rostered in a majority of fantasy baseball leagues. 


Austin Gomber, SP, Colorado

Eric Risberg/Associated Press

The alternative to Gray or Wood could be the pitcher who performed well at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night.

Austin Gomber fanned seven batters and conceded three earned runs over six innings in a loss to the Dodgers in which his bullpen gave the game away. 

It is worth noting that Gomber did not face Mookie Betts or Corey Seager, but the Dodgers lineup still carries plenty of pop without them.

Gomber's lone major mistake was the concession of a three-run home run to the red-hot Justin Turner, but other than that, he managed the game well. 

With Fried on the IL and other notable starters struggling, Gomber could be the perfect waiver-wire addition now before he becomes a popular name. 

The left-handed hurler cut down on his walks and improved his strikeout total in each of his three starts, and he only allowed eight hits in 15.1 innings. 

Even though he will pitch about half of his games at Coors Field, Gomber is worth the pickup now as a buy-low, sell-high option.


Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Brandon Nimmo does not have the power bat you need to make up for any outfield absences, but he is still a valuable fantasy piece. 

Nimmo has a .583 on-base percentage, 1.155 OPS and 13 hits through eight games. Of course, the sample size is still a bit small since the Mets had their opening series with the Washington Nationals postponed and dealt with weather issues this week versus the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Nimmo's ability to reach base at the top of that order should intrigue fantasy players since Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith and others should drive him in on a consistent basis. 

In 2020, Nimmo totaled 52 hits, 33 runs and career bests in all four offensive splits. If those numbers translate to a 162-game season, he could be viewed as an early-season waiver-wire steal. 

With a handful of outfielders already on the IL and some struggling with minor knocks, Nimmo could be the perfect addition to ensure you do not lose production in a handful of categories. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from MLB.com.