Fantasy baseball Connor Joe tops the waiver wire selections

As noted in our latest issue of ESPN's ForecasterFantasy baseball's Week 2 begins much earlier than usual. Minnesota Twinsat Boston Red SoxThe scheduled first pitch for the game is at 11:10 a.m. ET due to Patriots Day Boston. Set your lineups now!

Leagues that have daily transactions (as is our game's standard) allow managers more time to create the rest of their lineups. The second game of the day does not begin until 6:10 p.m. ET. ET.

Fantasy baseball Connor Joe tops the waiver wire selectionsConnor Joe, OF/1B, Colorado Rockies:This is my prime selection for the week. He is still available in 49.0% (which is still too many) of ESPN leagues as of this writing. His disciplined approach to the plate has made him the Rockies' regular leadoff player. He has played in nine of their nine games so far, including all but one, and has been the starting pitcher in seven of the last seven. This wasn't a lefty/righty thing either as four of those games were against righties, with two of their three last ones. Joe led off in all 23 of his last games last season before suffering a hamstring injury that ended his season prematurely at September's beginning.

To show his plate discipline, Joe's July 2021 recall by Rockies (and among all hitters with at minimum 191 plate appearances) showed that his 17.9% chaserate — which is the rate at a hitter's swings against pitches outside the rulebook strike area — was ninth highest among 213 players. His walk rate was 12.0% during that time, which is in line with his minor league rates. Joe, on the other hand, did a great job creating hard contact. His Statcast hard-contact rate was 42.9% and his 15 Barrels were both higher than average at 11.9%.

It's important to remember that Joe is also a player who does all this at Coors Field while leading his team's lineup. Joe has three games to start his week. This makes Joe a vital part of fantasy lineups.

Fantasy baseball Connor Joe tops the waiver wire selectionsSeth Brown, OF, Oakland Athletics:The Athletics have one of the most favorable hitters' lines of Week 2. They first face the back end of a thin team. Baltimore OriolesA rotation that just lost its Ace John MeansAfter sustaining a forearm injury, he was then able to host a Texas RangersStaff with a weak bullpen. After the first fantasy scoring period, they have a 5.66 ERA and 11 home runs allowed. SomeoneFrom this lineup, is going to step-up with “better then you think” figures and, so far, it seems that manager Mark Kotsay prefers to get Tony Kemp, Sean Murphy, Brown, Chad Pinder Jed LowrieHis top half of the lineups, likely in that order of preference. Brown receives my endorsement today because he is both left-handed, and the most powerful bat in that group, in a week when his Athletics will face five or six right-handed starters.

Brown has a 13.4% career major-league Statcast Barrel ratio — this is the percentage a hitter's batted ball with an optimal launch angle or exit velocity that turns into extra bases hits or home runs. It's about the same rate as what Matt OlsonLast season, he had 9-of-19 batted ball hits this season that were considered “hard hit” (95 mph exit velocity). He is a hitter available in 91.3% ESPN leagues, and he can be used to fill in lineup gaps this week.

Fantasy baseball Connor Joe tops the waiver wire selectionsAlex Cobb, SP, San Francisco Giants:This is a last-call endorsement. These are the last days to get this right-hander on the cheap via trade, or as a free agent in 47.0% ESPN leagues. Cobb's best stuff is when his hybrid splitter/changeup, “The Thing”, has been at its most effective. He's a high floor pitcher with a potential 9.0 K/9 as well as a 24-25% strikeout rate. He struck out 10. San Diego PadresIn his April 12th 2022 start, he threw the pitch 43.4% of all times, which resulted in five whiffs and 8-of-14 swinging strike total. That qualifies as “back.”

Cobb is the latest in a line of Giants that have been one of the best at finding hidden value in pitchers of other teams. His injury history is more important than any statistical regression. Between the restoration of his strikeout rates and the pitching-friendly park he now calls home, Cobb probably has a ceiling that puts him in the top 25 fantasy starters.

Quick hits

  • One of the pitchers I profile in my column last Wednesday, Garrett WhitlockYou might be asked to fill in for the Boston rotation in 10 days. This is especially important considering that the Red Sox have been playing 17 consecutive days without a day off. Tanner HouckIt is unlikely that Whitlock will be eligible to pitch in the team's April 25-28 series in Toronto. Whitlock, with his 1.04 number, is just one short of qualifying for the ERA-title.

  • MacKenzie GoreThe starter for the upcoming game has been named to be. He pitched 5 1/3 innings of three-run, two-run baseball in his major league debut Friday. San Diego PadresWednesday's game against The Cincinnati Reds. This is a better matchup than the one he had in the past, since the Reds lineup has more striking outs — the Forecaster rates it almost 2% higher in terms of strikeout rates raw — but it could be without. Jonathan IndiaThe victim is suffering from a hamstring injury.

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