Fantasy Baseball Pickups — Walking the Wire After Week Two
What do Matt Kemp, Evan Longoria, Jay Bruce and Giancarlo Stanton all have in common? Each player has yet to hit a home run in the 2013 season. I actually own the latter three on one squad and rank dead last in homers. Three guys I was counting on for 100 long balls collectively have rewarded me with nothing. That doesn’t mean I am panicking, though. These guys have a collective 508 career home runs between them. Four power hitters entering the prime of their careers don’t suddenly stop hitting long balls.
Keep your eyes on your waiver wire over the next couple of weeks. I guarantee there will be a few guys out there that shouldn't be dropped. There are a few on my list this week that are getting cut too early, in my opinion. If you have the room on your roster, be sure and scoop up these guys up.
**Percentage available taken from ESPN on Sunday, April 14.
A slow start saw Lucroy dropped in just about 41 percent of ESPN leagues last week. Last season, he posted a .320-46-12-58-4 line over 96 games and would have had a full-fledged breakout season had a broken hand not cost him two months. This kid will turn things around and is worth picking up immediately, if he's available in your league.
Playing half of his games in Petco Park won't exactly do wonders for Alonso's power potential, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help you in other areas. A career .279 hitter that takes walks, Alonso has teased us before, but failed to fully deliver. While I don’t see more than 20 homers in his future, the 26-year-old does have room for growth and has more than enough ability to fill a utility role on any roster.
There is nothing sexy about a 35-year-old second basemen. That doesn’t mean they aren’t useful, though. Ellis and his career .331 OBP are currently locked into the two-hole for the Dodgers. It hasn’t exactly paid off yet, but this guy has the potential to score 90-plus runs while offering a solid batting average and respectable power totals.
In 422 at-bats last season, Plouffe hit 24 home runs. That number tied him for sixth among third basemen. Sure, he only hit .235 last season, but when you take into consideration his batting average on balls in play sat at only .244, you see he definitely didn’t have all that much luck on his side. He can easily up his average into the .260 range and flirt with 30 homers with 600 at-bats. With all the injuries at third, this guy can definitely be of use.
Only Mike Trout and Rajai Davis stole more bases than Cabrera last season. His 44 stolen bases came in just 115 games. It absolutely blows my mind that this guy is finding his way onto waiver wires, especially when you consider he's hitting .302 with a homer and a pair of swipes already. Cabrera will steal 50-plus bases this season. Grabbing that type of speed off your wire is the kind of move that can lead to a championship.
A monster spring that saw Brown smash seven homers and drive in 17 runs over 90 at-bats had many fantasy owners pegging him for a breakout. A .262-4-2-6-0 start over his first 44 at-bats have many owners already giving up on him. Give the 25-year-old a chance to settle in. We are talking about a guy with 20-20 potential if everything clicks. My money says it does, now that Brown is seeing regular at-bats.
There are few players in the league that possess greater pure power than Duda. His first season as a full-time starter was a disaster. It also makes him a perfect post-hype sleeper. He is off to a solid start, hitting .258 with three homers. What I love is the fact that he is taking walks. Last year, Duda walked 51 times in 459 plate appearances. He has nine base-on-balls over his first 42 trips to the dish this year. Patience at the plate will bring Duda better fortune, and make him a fine source of power as the season progresses.
Consider this a public service announcement, because by this time next week the Marlins hot-shot rookie will undoubtedly have full ownership. Here is all you need to know: Fernandez has an electric fastball and a rapidly developing change-up that will enable him to come close to striking out a batter per inning. But playing for Miami means wins will be few and far between. This is precisely the type of guy I add off the wire to trade. His value will fluctuate drastically throughout the season as he learns to pitch at the big league level. Grab him, wait for a high point and then sell him for a piece you need for your squad.
Last season, Santana struggled with the long ball, giving up an MLB-leading 39. Prior to last season, he never gave up more than 26. Law of averages says he brings his HR-allowed total down this year, and with it his peripheral numbers. He isn’t going to morph into an ace overnight, but he does have the ability to provide owners with an ERA in the 3.75 range with 180 strikeouts over 33 starts. Those are quality numbers to round out any fantasy staff.
Mitchell Boggs has been absolutely brutal for St. Louis, giving up seven earned runs in just 6 1/3 innings pitched. With Jason Motte looking very unlikely to return this season, rookie fire-baller Rosenthal is the next man up should the Cards look to make a change. He hasn’t been lights-out to start the season, but those of you who saw him in last year's playoffs know this kid is legit. The Cards minor league depth in terms of starting pitching allows them to keep Rosenthal in the pen long-term.