So we are about a month into the season and now is the time to really start making moves. Whether it’s through the waiver wire or through trades, if you don’t want to fall too far behind, or for those of you playing in leagues with me, if you want to stay on top you can’t just sit around.
Well, I guess you can if you want, I’m not the boss of you. But, if you want to win your league, get off your ace and get to work. Now is the best time to pick up a couple players off the Waiver Wire for a couple of reasons.
First, with a month under their belts, or jockstraps if you want, players are starting to show us who they really are. If we look closely we can find out who is for real, and who is pretending. Right now is the key time to identify who these guys are. Lucky for you I’ve already done that for you….maybe. Which brings me to the second reason;
If you wait too long these guys will be gone. The Aaron Hills and the Ben Zobrists of the world don’t stay Free Agents for long. Everyone is looking for the next big thing and we all want a little edge. Finding one of these breakout stars can be the difference between a First place finish or missing the playoffs completely.
So who are these up and coming stars you ask? Keep reading and you’ll find out…smart a$$! Players are listed in no particular order.
(All ownership percentages come from Yahoo Fantasy)
1B Justin Smoak Texas Rangers 20 Percent Owned
Super prospect Justin Smoak is the real deal and before the Season started Scouts were raving about his 30+ Homerun potential. Well he’s made it to the Show and is ready for your Fantasy Roster, that it, if you are ready for him. He’s only hitting .158 but boasts an OBP of .370 and just hit his first homer last night against the Cubs. He could be a good source of runs too in that potent Rangers lineup.
2B Kelly Johnson Arizona Diamondbacks 71 Percent Owned
Who’s the top ranked 2B so far? No its not Chase Utley or Ian Kinsler, it’s Robinson Cano. What does that have to do with Kelly Johnson? Nothing besides the fact that sometimes power can come from where you least suspect it. Anybody think Mauer was going to hit 30 homers last year? Kelly Johnson could be this year’s Joe Mauer, he’s hit 9 homers in 75 at bats already, tops in the league, compared to 8 dingers in 303 at bats last season. Johnson is the 6th ranked player overall in the Yahoo game and should be owned in every single league. He’s still available in 29% of leagues so go get him, don’t wait, I already got your page view, I don’t mind.
SS Alex Gonzalez Toronto Blue Jays 65 Percent Owned
Ok so he’s not one of the sexiest names on the list but the guy can mow. His numbers don’t blow you away but when you look at them in relation to what other Shortstops are doing you realize Gonzo needs to be owned in more than 65% of leagues. 2nd to only Jason Bartlett in RBI’s with 15 and sporting a .277 average and 5 dingers, you get the 5th ranked Shortstop, statistically speaking that is, in Fantasy Baseball. He’s ahead of guys like Hanley Ramirez, Elvis Andrus, Ben Zobrist, and Stephen Drew, all owned in more leagues. I know the season is young and he probably won’t finish better than the HanRam, but he will finish top 10, and that’s good enough for your Roster. (Note: As I’m writing this Alex Gonzalez just finished a 2 homerun game against Oakland.)
1B Adam LaRoche Arizona Diamondbacks 46 Percent Owned
I know, LaRoche is the second 1B on this list, and 1B is already a deep position, but you can’t ignore a guy that is owned in less than half of Fantasy leagues, has turned in the 48th best Statistical season thus far, and is a notoriously slow starter. LaRoche has been operating on a May Opening day the past few years but already has 16 runs, 4 homers and 15 RBI’s, Ryan Howard has 17 RBI’s. Adam LaRoche is actually one of the best hitters in the league but injuries have really damaged his rep the past couple years. Pick him up and hope he stays healthy, if so there’s at least 30 homers, 90 RBI’s and a .280 average in it for ya.
OF Andrew Jones Chicago WhiteSox 34 Percent Owned
This pickup is for all you Nostalgic Atlanta Braves fans who remember the good old days when 50 homers and 130 RBI’s were a reality. Oh, wait, nobody misses those days but me. Oh well, if you need homers Jones could be your answer. He’s got two multi-homer games already, 6 bombs on the year total and is hitting better than he has in years. If he can get hot and reclaim his long lost glory, don’t you want to be the guy that believed?
OF Kosuke Fukudome Chicago Cubs 24 Percent Owned
The young star out of Japan has been somewhat of a disappointment during his first two seasons with the Cubs, so he’s fit right in with that Cubs team. If you need help in Batting Average Fukudome is a great add, but what’s surprising is the power numbers that we are seeing right now. In the past 7 days Fukudome, (I love saying his name phonetically, go ahead and try it), is hitting .421 with 3 homers and 7 RBI’s. His season numbers are even better with 5 homers on the year and 16 RBI’s while batting an impressive .344. In 2009 Fukudome hit 11 homers in 499 at bats, with 5 already Fukudome is primed for a breakout.
OF Austin Jackson Detroit Tigers 40 Percent Owned
Ok so you will have to move fast to get this one, but you won’t be disappointed. Austin Jackson was drafted in 2005 but is finally getting his first shot in the big leagues and he’s making the most of it. Only Robinson Cano and Evan Longoria have more runs than Jackson, who has 20, he’s hitting .364 in his first 99 Major League at bats and has swiped 5 bags so far. Obviously Jackson probably won’t finish the year hitting .364 but it’s not far-fetched to think he can hit at least .310 with 90 runs if he stays healthy of course. With his speed 25-30 steals is a real possibility as well. Not bad production from your 3rd or 4th Outfielder.
If you are looking for Pitching help any one of these guys could be a good pickup or spot starter depending on the matchup.
SP Livan Hernandez Washington Nationals 34 Percent Owned
31 IP 3 wins 10 Strikeouts .89 ERA .87 WHIP
SP Carlos Silva Chicago Cubs 37 Percent Owned
26 IP 2 wins 15 Strikeouts 1.76 ERA .77 WHIP
SP Doug Fister Seattle Mariners 26 Percent Owned
27 IP 2 wins 13 K’s 1.67 ERA .93 WHIP (Has gone at least 7 innings in 3 of 4 starts)
RP Matt Capps Washington Nationals 79 Percent Owned
13 IP 10 Saves 15 K’s .68 ERA 1.35 WHIP
Ok so this one shouldn’t have to be said, Capps is the league leader in Saves with 10 but is still not universally owned. If he’s still available in your league, well, then either you play with idiots or Saves isn’t a Category. Even so, his K/9 is fantastic and his ERA is out of this world. Go get him.
RP Franklin Morales Colorado Rockies 39 Percent Owned
9 IP 3 Saves 6 K’s 3.72 ERA 1.34 WHIP
This one is more for you deep leaguers looking for some saves help. Morales is Huston Streets backup and has shown promise. He’s blown a couple of saves this year and could lose the Closer job to Manny Corpas but it’s his job right now and if you need saves and have the roster spot he’s worth a pickup. Given Huston Streets extensive injury history it might not be a bad idea to have Morales rostered just in case Street does go down again at some point this season. Just sayin.
About the Author
Written by Danny Shapiro
Danny Shapiro is 26 years old, married and a father to 2 boys, who he hopes one day to play MLB and support him and his wife in their old age. Danny's second love, mistress even, is sports and Danny is living his dream of being a sports writer right now, thanks to Prosportsblogging.com.