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Please Sir, I Want Some Morel

Christopher Morel

Christopher Morel

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Rotoworld’s brand-new Pickups of the Day column is designed to help fantasy managers uncover a handful of widely-available targets over the course of the season. It could be a breakout candidate, a prospect stash, an injury replacement, a pitcher with a favorable matchup or week, a player who is due some better luck, or any other number of scenarios. If there’s value to be found on the waiver wire, we will find it and bring it your way. Today’s edition features a returning Cub who plays all over the diamond, a power-hitting second baseman in Boston and a reliever racking up holds in Seattle.

Pickups of the Day

Christopher Morel, INF/OF, Cubs

Available in 85 percent of Yahoo leagues

After losing seven of their last 10 games, the Chicago Cubs recalled INF/OF Christopher Morel from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs have felt the need to inject some youthful energy into the team as Morel’s call-up comes on the heels of Matt Mervis’ debut last Friday. Morel is no stranger to the majors as the 23-year-old played in 113 games for the Cubs last year, hitting .235/.308/.433 with 16 homers and ten stolen bases. Ever since he signed with Chicago as an international free agent in 2015, he has possessed an intriguing power and speed combination. During his time with the big league club last year, Morel played second base, shortstop, third base, center field, and left field. (Maybe his walk-up song should be I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash?) During his time in Triple-A, he played primarily center field but don’t be surprised if he plays multiple positions again this go around. Other than shaking things up, Morel made a case to be promoted on his production alone. He crushed 11 homers while hitting .330/.425/.730 with four stolen bases in 29 games. He is striking out at a 30 percent clip, which is way too much, but his blend of power and speed with multi-positional eligibility out the wazoo Morel’s profile is worth taking a gamble on.

Enmanuel Valdez, 2B, Red Sox

Available in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues

With Christian Arroyo landing on the injured list with a hamstring strain, Valdez is poised to take over as the starting second baseman for the Boston Red Sox. The 24-year-old, originally in the Houston Astros organization, made his way to Boston last summer as part of the return for half of a season of Christian Vazquez‘s services. He was a slow riser through the Astros farm system but hit above league average at pretty much every stop along the way. Valdez wasn’t lighting the world on fire in Triple-A to start the year, but has played like his hair was on fire since being recalled. Valdez is hitting .324/.342/.486 with a homer and three stolen bases across 57 plate appearances. While their starting pitching isn’t great, the Red Sox are the fourth-best offense in the league according to wRC+ and if you can grab a full-time player on their team, you jump at the chance!

Justin Topa, RP, Mariners

Available in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues

The Mariners bullpen is in a three-way tie for first place in fWAR with the Baltimore Orioles and (much to my surprise) Los Angeles Angels. However, let’s take a look at their opening day bullpen.

Paul Sewald

Matt Brash

Chris Flexen

Trevor Gott

Andrés Muñoz -- On IL (deltoid strain), April 9

Penn Murfee -- On IL (elbow), May 6

Diego Castillo -- Outrighted to Tacoma, May 1

Matt Festa -- Optioned to Tacoma, April 9

So I bet you are wondering who has stepped up with all of those absences. Justin Topa leads the team with seven holds and has positioned himself as the eighth-inning guy while Andrés Muñoz is on the injured list. The 32-year-old right-hander was acquired by the Mariners this winter from the Brewers and has a 1.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and a 14/5 K/BB ratio across 15 appearances this season. He picked up his first save on Sunday, a day that Paul Sewald was unavailable, and is an excellent pickup for fantasy managers who play in save + hold leagues.