The season hasn’t even started yet, but there’s no better time then after the draft to start scouring the waiver wire and adding potentials to your watch list. I do this after every draft because every year; regardless of the league you are in, there are always a few tasty nuggets left sitting out that could be better than those end draft players. In the past I would hoard those names like Scrooge McDuck; unfortunately (for me) I now have an obligation to share those players with you, the reader. Keep in mind, some of the names may be irrelevant to you based upon the size of your league. These players may or may not be better than those on your roster, but they are still worthy of your attention and at the very least deserve a place on your watch list.
C – Travis d’Arnaud: Mets
The catcher position is deep this year; in fact it’s the deepest it has been in many years, but injuries happen and sometimes even the best players don’t perform. This makes d’Arnaud a perfect player to watch, just look at his minor league numbers.
Granted not all young guys produce like they did in the minors, but it gives you a glimpse of the talent here. You may be comfortable with Salvador Perez or Evan Gattis now, but will you still feel the same way a month from now? Considering most fantasy teams don’t carry a backup catcher, there’s no reason to run out and grab d’Arnaud now, but he should be added to your watch list.
d’Arnaud is currently owned in 61% of CBS leagues, 45% of Fantrax leagues and only 10% of Yahoo leagues.
1/3B – Mike Olt: Cubs
Paul thoroughly covered Olt in his Gambling on Prospects piece and Kevin mentioned him in his new series Ball Street: The Roto Exchange so there is no need to beat a dead horse. You can read their assessments of Olt and decide for yourself if he’s worthy of an add for your league.
Mike Olt is currently owned in 20% of CBS leagues, 5% of Fantrax leagues and 3% of Yahoo leagues.
1B – Tommy Medica: Padres
I talked about Medica the other day in my super sleepers article, but considering his numbers so far this spring he deserves another shout out. Currently Medica is batting a ridiculous .396 with 2 home runs, 2 steals and 6 RBIs in 48 at bats. With Maybin down and Kyle Blanks not impressing anyone, the Padres are giving Medica a shot in the outfield. This is not a player to add to your watch list, this is someone to add to your roster now just in case he does break camp with the Padres. Medica could make a very good CI or 4th outfielder for 12 team or deeper leagues.
Medica is currently owned in 5% of CBS and Fantrax leagues and 1% of Yahoo leagues.
2/3B – Marcus Semien: White Sox
I know he’s a third baseman, but with Gordon Beckham sidelined Semien has been getting time at second. Also, the third base job is still open despite the acquisition of Matt Davidson. Semien hasn’t shown it above AA, but he has the ability to draw a decent number of walks. That along with a nice combination of power and speed could be a nice play for not only your MI, but a possible improvement over your current second baseman. For a comparison, he could be everything we thought Dustin Ackley would be right now, just with a lower batting average. A preemptive strike could be warranted if you have the spare roster spot, but if you’re strapped for space at least keep a sharp eye on this one.
Semien is currently owned in 7% of CBS leagues, 3% of Fantrax leagues and 1% of Yahoo leagues.
SS – Chris Owings: Diamondbacks
It’s still a battle to see who will be the shortstop in Arizona as nothing is official, but Owings bat gives him the upper hand. Owings hit .291 in the minors which is what he did during the brief stint in the majors last season. He has a nice combination of power and speed (47 HR/46 SB in 1968 at bats), but the defense is questionable as Owings committed 28 errors last year in AAA. Despite his defensive shortcomings, the D’Backs seem determined to go forward with Owings as their shortstop and have been shopping Gregorius (Mets?). Shortstop is a thin and volatile position, and having a plan B should always be in the back of your mind (looking at the Elvis Andrus owners out there). Owings could produce good enough numbers to be considered a low-end starter for short, but a better than average option for MI should you be stuck with someone like Cozart or one of the Escobar’s.
Owings is currently owned in 21% of CBS leagues, 14% of Fantrax leagues and 11% of Yahoo leagues
OF – Jason Kubel: Twins
As Rodney Dangerfield would say, this guy gets no respect. I don’t see Kubel hitting 30 home runs like he did in 2012, but he’s more than capable of 20 homers. He had 90 or more RBIs in three of the four seasons from 2009 to 2012. And yet, despite the power and RBI potential, he’s being widely ignored in all leagues on every site. The move to Minnesota shouldn’t be a factor since he’s hit well during his years there. The injury he suffered last year was nothing major so there should be no concerns here. He turns 32 in May so it’s not like he’s old. Kubel hasn’t had the best spring training, but many players go on to put up their normal numbers during the season after starting out slow. Why Kubel is so widely available is a mystery (even Grady Sizemore is owned more with his checkered past), but if you are in need of a solid fourth outfielder, look no further. If that hot rookie with upside you’re banking on doesn’t pan out, take a chance on old faithful.
Kubel is currently owned in 5% of CBS leagues, 7% of Fantrax leagues and only 1% of yahoo leagues.
OF – A.J. Pollock: Diamondbacks
Pollock was overshadowed last year by the presence and potential of Adam Eaton. Eaton is now gone and after this Spring, it doesn’t look like Pollock will be sharing time with anyone. The former first round draft pick was a .300 hitter in the minors, has above average on base skills (.354 minor league OBP) and can steal 20 or more bases annually. Pollock doesn’t have a lot of power, but enough that he should be able to put about a dozen over the wall. As for what to expect this year, I can see Pollock repeating what Michael Brantley delivered for us last season. Those aren’t bad totals for a fourth outfielder, he’ll give you something everywhere without hurting your batting average.
Pollock is currently owned in 15% of CBS leagues, 16% of Fantrax leagues and 8% of Yahoo leagues.
OF – B.J. Upton: Braves
I’m not surprised people are down on Upton after last years performance, but what does shock me is that he is available in over 40% of leagues. Three straight years of 18 or more home runs and 31 or more stolen bases and people have turned their back, and he’s not even 30 years old. Upton has never had a strong batting average, but neither has Jay Bruce and I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t forgive one bad season from him. If he’s available in your league, you owe it to yourself to pick him up. If he is able to turn things around you just got yourself the cheapest 20/30 player you’ll ever get. If he doesn’t, are you really going to miss that bench guy you release to acquire Upton?
Currently Upton is available in 47% of CBS leagues and 41% of Yahoo leagues.
SP – Archie Bradley: Diamondbacks
They say things come in three’s, and Bradley completes the Diamondbacks trifecta here. This window is quickly closing so if Bradley is available in your league, stop reading this, open a new window, go to your league and grab him now. While Bradley hasn’t officially won a roster spot, the writing is on the wall with Patrick Corbin done for the season. Bradley is currently the number 5 prospect in the minors according to the mlb.com prospect watch, and he can be the kind of game changer that can elevate your pitching staff. Granted he could turn out to be just another Trevor Bauer, but it will only cost you a waiver move to find out.
Bradley is currently owned in 64% of CBS leagues but only 24% of Yahoo leagues
SP – Erik Johnson: White Sox
Johnson isn’t a big or highly sought after name and didn’t do much to draw attention to himself during his brief call up. He could, however, make that perfect player to fill in your rotation with. Here’s what Johnson did prior to his cup of coffee.
Johnson carried over some of the numbers he had in college and improved upon the rest. The overall package isn’t fancy and doesn’t scream Jose Fernandez, but it does shout solid value with upside and that’s what you should be looking for. As of now, Johnson is slated to be the number 5 starter in Chicago. Unlike some other rookies, Johnson is stretched out to the point that he could go at least 180 innings this year so there shouldn’t be any restrictions or fatigue to worry about. Johnson deserves to be owned over some retreads like Ricky Nolasco, Tim Hudson and Bronson Arroyo to name a few. If you have a player like this filling out your rotation, make the swap now.
Johnson is currently owned in 35% of CBS leagues, 19% of Fantrax leagues and 4% of Yahoo leagues
SP – Drew Hutchison: Blue Jays
Doug Anderson over at My Fantasy Links mentioned Hutchison in the comments section when discussing super sleepers, and he is another name to gamble on. Right now Hutchison is a virtual lock to take the final rotation spot in Toronto; while he hasn’t had any success in the majors yet, his minor league numbers have been very good.
Hutch has had a good spring so far, posting a 2.79 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 9.2 innings. I’m not as confident in him as I am in Johnson above, but there is upside and potential here. And just like I said with Johnson, if your final pitching spots are filled with the same ol’ same ol’, take a chance on the upside and make the move now in case the price goes up.
Hutchison is currently owned in 19% of CBS leagues, 8% of Fantrax leagues and 10% of Yahoo leagues
To get a better idea of what types of players to feature here, I’d like to know about your league. More specifically, how many teams are in your league? This way in the future I will know if you are looking for players in standard 12 team leagues, 14 team leagues or if you’re looking for something deeper.
Please cast your vote below. Help Me…..Help You.