The first two weeks of the MLB season has already brought about a great number of surprises. Aside from the injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian Wilson and Michael Pineda we’ve been disappointed by superstars such as Jose Bautista, Tim Lincecum and even Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t have a HR yet. So, let’s take a look at some players who are likely available on your leagues waiver wire and see who would be the best fit to help your struggling players.
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Catch A Rising Star
AJ Pierzynski – C – White Sox (Owned in 44% of leagues) – If he is still available in your league you must grab him immediately. This hot streak of his surely won’t last but when a hitter is locked in as Pierzynski is right now you do what you can to get him and milk it for as long as it lasts.
Chris Iannetta – C – Angels (Owned in 32% of leagues) – It appears as though Angels manager Mike Scioscia has settled on a full time catcher who happens to be solid at the plate as well. Iannetta isn’t exactly knocking the cover off the ball right now but his 6 runs and 8 RBI are trends that should continue in this potent L.A. lineup.
Who’s On First?
Chris Davis – 1B/3B – Orioles (Owned in 15% of leagues) – I’ve been banging the drum for Davis all offseason and thus am thrilled with his hot start. There is no way he hits for as high an average as he’s shown so far (.341) but as long as he is getting steady playing time the power and run production will be there. Davis has the potential for 30 HR’s this season and the only thing standing in his way is 500+ AB’s.
Bryan LaHair – 1B/OF – Cubs (Owned in 18% of leagues) – Anthony Rizzo is destroying AAA once again and rightfully should be in Chicago right now. But it is the Cubs front office opinion that Rizzo stay down and develop and therefore allowing LaHair to play everyday. The guy has great power and should knock in plenty of runs for the Cubbies this year. I would ride him out until at least June when he will undoubtedly be shopped in trades.
Second To None
Jose Altuve – 2B – Astros (Owned in 25% of leagues) – I’ll fully admit that I was not a fan of Altuve heading into drafts this year. While I’m very skeptical that he can continue to hit for such a good average (.348) he has very good speed and the ability to steal 20-30 bases and score a solid amount of runs. With the ridiculous depletion of production at 2B so far, Altuve is a wonderful diamond in the rough.
Eduardo Nunez – 2B/SS/3B – Yankees (Owned in 3% of leagues) – Why should you target Nunez right now you ask? Well for starters he has shown in the past to be a stolen base and run scoring machine when given regular playing time. Secondly, the Yankees placed Brett Gardner on the DL on Thursday due to an elbow injury. This will cause a chain reaction in which Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez will take over in LF thereby freeing up the DH spot for the triumvirate of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano to get a breather. Thus, Nunez will wiggle his way into the starting lineup quite a bit in the next two and a half weeks. It’s a sneaky play for sure but one that the better fantasy owners recognize.
Never Come Up Short
Mike Aviles – SS/2B/3B – Red Sox (Owned in 48% of leagues) – Only half of you will have Aviles available in your leagues but all of you should grab him while you can. Aviles will hit leadoff for the Red Sox while Ellsbury is out and that means a huge amount of runs scored for the flexible middle infielder.
Jed Lowrie – SS/3B – Astros (Owned in 7% of leagues) – I know we all would like to avoid the Astros as much as possible but the truth is there are numbers to be had in Houston this year. Lowrie is a solid hitter who has flashed some pop in his Red Sox days. He is also a very streaky hitter who is capable of carrying in several categories for a couple weeks at a time. The major drawback here is his health but as long as he’s able he will be in the lineup everyday for the Astros.
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Playing For Third
Mat Gamel – 3B/1B – Brewers (Owned in 13% of leagues) – I’m amazed at how many people leave Gamel out on the waiver wire while picking up turds like Chris Johnson and Brent Morel. Gamel is an outstanding hitter with plus power and who delivers in the clutch. He is currently hitting .273/.319/.409 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 9 runs scored. Better days are ahead for the Brewers new 1B and his dual position eligibility definitely gives him the edge on other corner infielders who might still be available at this point in the season.
Kyle Seager – 3B – Mariners (Owned in 12% of leagues) – All this kid does is hit. He isn’t flashy and doesn’t demonstrate prolific power but he hits everywhere he goes. Seager has a nice compact LH swing that stays in the zone a long time. He has great ability to hit the other way and thus profiles as someone who will continue to hit for a high batting average. Runs will be hard to come by in Seattle this year but as long as the Mariners have young talent like Seager, Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak there is a lot of hope for the future.
(That witty caption by the way has to do with this great 80’s song in case you didn’t make the connection)
Cody Ross – OF – Red Sox (Owned in 14% of leagues) – This just pisses me off. I drafted Ross in 7 of the 8 fantasy leagues I am in this year and yet here he sits on the waiver wire free to anyone who stumbles upon him. Ross is currently the cleanup hitter for one of the best offenses in baseball and if that ain’t enough to entice you then maybe fantasy baseball isn’t your thing. He will hit 20+ HR’s and drive in 80+ runs this year guaranteed.
Denard Span – OF – Twins (Owned in 15% of leagues) – I can’t believe Span is so readily available in so many leagues. What outfielders are you guys trotting out there? Span could have and probably should have been the top overall pick in the 2002 draft but wouldn’t negotiate a deal with the Rockies who passed on him. I mention this because people forget just how skilled Span really is. He is a great leadoff hitter and with his on base abilities should score plenty of runs despite the Twins anemic offense.
Jake Westbrook – SP – Cardinals (Owned in 20% of leagues) – Westbrook isn’t a sexy pickup but he is throwing the ball real well right now. He is currently leading the NL in ERA at 0.64 and is carrying a WHIP of 0.86. His next few starts will come against the offensively challenged Pirates, Cubs, Brewers and Astros so this early success could very likely continue.
Ross Detwiler – SP – Nationals (Owned in 9% of leagues) – By now I hope you see why I have stressed not drafting starting pitchers early. Here we are two weeks into the season and there are already a dozen starters worthy of being in your rotation. Detwiler is one of the more intriguing arms out there however. A former first round draft pick, he has broken through the middle relief tag to contribute to the Nats early season success. Detwiler has struck out 8 in just 10 IP and has allowed just 1 ER in that time. He is more than just a streamer in my mind and could be an outstanding find for you all season long.
Closing It Out
Fernando Rodney – Closer – Rays (Owned in 62% of leagues) – Alright, Rodney is probably gone in most of your leagues right now but if available he should be one of your top targets this week. Rodney not only has the closer gig now but I am fairly confident he will hold onto it even after Kyle Farnsworth comes back.
Santiago Casilla – Closer – Giants (Owned in 30% of leagues) – It is interesting that Casilla is less available in Yahoo leagues right now (owned in 42%) than CBS (29%) and ESPN (11%). Whatever the case is he is now the closer in San Francisco and needs to be picked up by anyone in need of saves. I still believe that Sergio Romo may be given this job later on in the season once his elbow issues prove to be gone. But for now it is Casilla’s job and one that he is very capable of handling.
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