Happy Monday, everyone! It was certainly a wild weekend of baseball and that goes for the Fantasy Baseball sphere as well. We also got some surprising news -- and more good news -- on the Bryce Harper front. The star Phillies outfielder could be back in your Fantasy lineups sooner than anyone expected. Harper might be back and assuming the Phillies DH role in May, and we're not talking about the final weekend. He might be back in early May. That's right, Harper, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery he had as recently as last November, will see Dr. Neal ElAttrache "around the first of May" and could be cleared to return to action around then. Phillies manager Rob Thomson told reporters in recent days, "It shouldn't be too far after that." That would mean Harper would miss just about one total month of action in the 2023 season, which would clear a path for him to become the best value pick in any 2023 Fantasy Baseball draft.

Harper is working on learning a new position -- first base -- but he'll primarily be used as a DH this season. This could be a good thing for his bat. Harper hit .286/.364/.514 with 18 homers and 11 steals in just 99 games last season despite playing through injuries.

Now let's take a look into some waiver wire players to consider plus more from the weekend's action.

Intriguing waiver-wire pitchers

Scott dove into some pitchers who you should immediately have on your radar by looking at one debut and then another pitcher who has been around for some time now but has found a groove. You can find all of Scott's favorite waiver wire plays here.

First, Scott looked into the debut of Guardians SP Logan Taylor Allen. From Scott: "Allen doesn't throw hard, averaging just 92 mph on his fastball, but like many lefties, he has that deceptive, Alex Wood-like quality that allows his stuff to play up. It explains how he averaged 11.8 K/9 over his minor-league career and put together a 1.26 ERA in three starts prior to his call-up. The eight strikeouts Sunday were one thing. The 17 whiffs were another. The nine swings and misses on that not-so-fast fastball of his were most impressive of all. The single biggest factor in determining a pitcher's upside is whether he gets whiffs with his fastball, and at first look, Allen does. The Guardians are the premier organization for pitcher development, and their rotation has no shortage of needs right now. Allen may just take off from here."

He also probed a bit into the recent impressive pitching run by Cubs SP Drew Smyly: "Wait, Drew Smyly took a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Dodgers? It wasn't all a bunch of lucky bounces either. He struck out 10 over 7 2/3 innings, collecting 18 swinging strikes. Though this one was by far his longest, the 33-year-old left-hander has three strong starts in a row now, and it's worth pointing out he finished last year on a high note, too, recording a 2.28 ERA in his final nine starts. He seems to fare better when he leans more on his curveball, which he threw 53 percent of the time in this one. He's looked downright dominant before, striking out 42 in 26 1/3 innings during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Though he hasn't been the most durable or reliable, Smyly has shown us enough over the years to justify a flier now."

And finally, is ERod actually back? Here's how Scott would approach Tigers SP Eduardo Rodriguez: "Sunday's gem makes it two in a row for Eduardo Rodriguez, who shut down the Guardians over eight innings last time out. With zero walks and 30 swinging strikes between the two, he clearly has a good feel for his stuff right now. He's not a stranger to these kinds of results either. The left-hander had 19 wins and 213 strikeouts in 2019. The three years that followed were tumultuous, but at 30, he's not too old to regain that form. Clearly, the Tigers were betting on it when they signed him to a five-year deal prior to 2022. The biggest issue is, well, he pitches for the Tigers, who rank dead last in runs so far, but if he's going to be anywhere close to this efficient, he's well worth rostering anyway."

Waiver-wire hitters

Scott also has a few waiver wire hitters who have caught his attention and could still be available in your leagues now. These are the two hitters I'm looking to scoop up immediately.

Rays DH Harold Ramirez is one of the hottest hitters in baseball on the hottest hitting team: "If you play on CBS, anyway, you may not have had the opportunity to pick up Yandy Diaz, who's finally putting his premium exit velocities to good use with an improved launch angle this season. Fortunately, the Rays are pulling the same trick with Harold Ramirez, whose five home runs bring him within one of last year's total and nearly halfway to his career high. Like Diaz, Ramirez's high quality of contact (not as high, but high enough) had mostly translated to batting average in years past, but if he's figured out how to elevate better, he could be a real asset in Fantasy. It seems like he's shedding the platoon label, at least, having started seven of eight. Meanwhile, he's batting .457 (16 for 35) during a nine-game hit streak."

Bryan De La Cruz, Marlins, OF: "If you started prepping for your draft in, say, February, you may remember Bryan De La Cruz had some early sleeper buzz after a hot September that left him with a better xBA (.287) and xSLG (.498) than Rafael Devers. Well, now he has a .287 xBA and .438 xSLG, which are pretty close. Shoot, his actual marks are .314 and .471. It took a big weekend to get him there -- one in which he went 5 for 11 with a home run and four doubles -- but the point is that those high Statcast marks last year don't appear to have been a fluke. De La Cruz lost his sleeper status this spring because the Marlins raised questions about his playing time, but now that he's started 14 straight, it's time to give him another look."

 You can find the rest of Scott's favorite waiver wire hitters here.

News & notes

  • Sandy Alcantara was scratched Saturday due to biceps tendinitis but is expected to start this week against the Braves
  • Yu Darvish left Sunday's start with a right hamstring cramp but is expected to make his next start (SAT vs. SF).
  • Astros GM Dana Brown said Jose Altuve is ahead of schedule and will undergo X-rays in the next two weeks to see how he's healing.
  • Justin Verlander threw 43 pitches over three innings during a simulated game Sunday. He expects to pitch in a minor-league rehab start Friday.
  • Triston McKenzie began a throwing program Friday. He's missed the start of the season with a muscle strain in his right shoulder. He's eligible to return in late May.
  • Carlos Rodon played catch Sunday. Aaron Boone said the plan is for Rodon to continue with his throwing program this week.
  • Kris Bryant exited Saturday with an ankle injury and did not play Sunday. 
  • Michael Harris took part in batting practice Saturday. He's been out with a lower-back strain.
  • Raisel Iglesias will throw a live bullpen session Monday. He looks to be closing in on a rehab assignment.
  • Dodgers catcher Will Smith is not expected to return until Friday at the earliest. He's still in the concussion IL.
  • Tim Anderson fielded grounders and ran a handful of sprints Saturday. He could start a rehab assignment soon.
  • Tony Gonsolin will likely return and start Wednesday against the Pirates.
  • MJ Melendez was removed Sunday due to lower-back tightness.
  • It appears that Nick Martinez and Ryan Weathers have shifted back to the Padres bullpen now that Joe Musgrove is back.
  • Travis d'Arnaud hit in the batting cage Friday, his first baseball activities since landing on the concussion IL.
  • Kris Bubic will undergo Tommy John surgery. 
  • Jorge Polanco was activated Friday and, as a result, Edouard Julien was optioned back to Triple-A.
  • Harrison Bader will likely spend a couple of weeks on a rehab assignment before being activated. 
  • Kyle Hendricks is set to begin a rehab assignment. He's working his way back from a shoulder injury and, frankly, hasn't been useful in Fantasy for a while. He's 7% rostered
  • Josh Donaldson will likely be out for a couple of weeks with a grade 1+ strain in his right hamstring.
  • Dodgers pitching prospect Gavin Stone is being considered for a start this week with Michael Grove landing on the IL. Tony Gonsolin could also rejoin the rotation early.
  • Mitch Garver will be out at least another month.
  • Kenta Maeda is penciled in as the probable starter Wednesday against the Yankees.
  • Alex Kirilloff may be optioned to Triple-A after his 20-day rehab assignment ends this week. 
  • Adam Wainwright will make his next rehab start at Double-A Tuesday. He's 47% rostered.
  • Randal Grichuk is closing in on a return. He missed the start of the season with a sports hernia. He's 13% rostered.

Players who landed on the IL this weekend

  • Logan O'Hoppe with a torn labrum in his shoulder. He needs surgery and will miss 4-6 months.
  • Trevor Rogers with a left biceps strain, retroactive to April 20. Eury Perez threw five scoreless in his most recent start at Double-A.
  • Sal Frelick was placed on the Triple-A IL with a left thumb sprain, which is terrible timing because I feel he would have gotten the call.
  • Garrett Mitchell could need season-ending surgery after dislocating his left shoulder.
  • Another prospect, Endy Rodriguez, catcher for the Pirates, was placed on minor-league IL with a right arm injury.