The amount of injuries across MLB has been nothing short of ridiculous so far this year. It seems as though players are getting soft and missing gobs of time due to blisters and the flu. This is creating some very interesting situations in fantasy baseball leagues. Check your league standings and I will all but guarantee you that the healthiest team(s) are on top. With this knowledge it’s now important to not only look for the best skills when searching for waiver wire pickups but also for durability. Getting the most games played out of your club is so important yet underrated in fantasy baseball. So, with this in mind let’s look at some players who are out on the waiver wire who can help you rack up numbers game in and game out.
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The Ship Is Sailing
Chris Davis – 1B/3B – Orioles (Owned in 16% of leagues) – It is amazing that Davis is still owned in so few fantasy leagues. But I can assure you that the rest of your league will grow hip to Davis in the very near future. He is seeing the ball very well lately and before long those walks and line drive singles will turn into 3 run HR’s somewhere over the right field wall.
Vance Worley – RHP – Phillies (Owned in 59% of leagues) – I am loving the way Worley is throwing the ball right now and believe he should be owned over players like Mat Latos, John Danks and Max Scherzer.
Jose Altuve – 2B – Astros (Owned in 36% of leagues) – All I want to know is what 2B are you guys holding on your roster instead of Altuve? There is few hotter hitters in baseball right now and we haven’t even begun to see his true speed potential yet. I understand that you may not believe in him long-term and frankly neither do I. But you play to win this years title and thus Altuve is a must have if he is still available in your league.
Stephen Drew – SS – Diamondbacks (Owned in 25% of leagues) – Drew is making much progress coming back from a nasty broken ankle suffered last season. He is set to begin a rehab assignment soon so this is a good time to grab him and ideally stash him on one of your DL spots. If you don’t have a DL spot then I’d recommend waiting a week or so until he actually gets back onto the field on his rehab assignment and then make the move.
Steve Lombardozzi – 3B – Nationals (Owned in 1% of leagues) – Lombardozzi is just a good damn ballplayer plain and simple. He doesn’t have exceptional tools but he is a great #2 hitter which is exactly where he has been hitting since the Nationals put Ryan Zimmerman on the DL. He hits well from both sides of the plate and is a great situational hitter. He is also very patient at the plate and will take his share of walks. Getting on base at the top of the lineups has been one of the few problems with the Nationals this year so Lombardozzi fits in quite nicely here. He’ll be the Nats regular 3B until Zimmerman returns which could be a month or so.
Joe Saunders – LHP – Diamondbacks (Owned in 23% of leagues) – Saunders is playing out of his mind right now but you have to ride this out if you are not getting the production you thought from your starters. Please don’t ignore guys who are having a good start in order to keep trotting out the lame starters you drafted who had a good 2011. Last season is over. It’s time to move on and adapt to what is working in today’s fantasy baseball.
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My Hidden Gems
Pedro Strop – Reliever – Orioles (Owned in 3% of leagues) – Strop is the Orioles closer until Jim Johnson returns. Johnson has been in the hospital for 4 days so far and it is unclear what is actually wrong with him. Initially they thought it was the flu but I’ve heard from a trusted source that this was definitely not the flu. Strop is a very capable arm who is throwing the ball very well in the early going.
Tony Campana – OF – Cubs (Owned in 2% of leagues) – Campana is a tiny little guy with a heart of gold. The Cubs are so desperate for a spark that they are giving him regular playing time at the top of their lineup and Campana has been producing. Through 7 games he is hitting .421/.450/.421 with 4 runs scored and 5 steals. Last year he stole 24 bases for the Cubs in just 143 at-bats. Grab him right now for an instant upgrade in stolen bases and runs.
Bryce Harper – OF – Nationals (Owned in 29% of leagues) – If I’ve said it once I’ve said it 1000 times but I just don’t think Harper is ready at this time. I see a few potentially devastating flaws in the mechanics of his swing that will be taken advantage off in short order at the major league level. Also, I worry about how long he will be in Washington especially once Zimmerman and Michael Morse return. There is definitely some upside here but truthfully this is more of a hail-mary than a lay up.
Mike Trout – OF – Angels (Owned in 26% of leagues) – Trout offers more upside than Harper at this stage. The Angels not only cut a highly paid veteran in favor of Trout (Bobby Abreu) but they are also trusting him in the leadoff spot right from the get go. If he can get on base at a decent clip and the Angels start winning games, he will be up for the long haul. Still, his age and his lack of power or run production make Trout anything but a can’t miss pickup.
Scott Downs – Reliever – Angels (Owned in 30% of leagues) – Downs is filling in on a temporary basis for the struggling Jordan Walden. But there is little chance that he keeps this gig for longer than 2-3 weeks. Walden is a far superior arm at this point. I feel Walden has been struggling mostly due to lack of activity so far this season. Once he gets into a rhythm and the Angels get back to winning I believe Walden will be one of the top closers in the AL the rest of the way.
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