Welcome to May, as April quickly becomes an afterthought in the never-ending marathon we know as the Major League Baseball season. It is like a soap opera, with plot twists daily, so here are some guys who can help your Fantasy squad in a pinch when all hope appears lost:
Carlos Frias, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 1.3 per cent owned; CBS: 3 per cent): Frias got a shot to be the first to replace the injured Brandon McCarthy, and we feel confident he’ll earn another one after a gem on Friday. Granted, it merely the D-backs he handled, but Frias has the arsenal and now just needs to learn to harness it in a starting role. He has yet to allow a run in three appearances including his first start and has shown an ability to stay with the play, fielding wise (see video below).
Chris Young, SP, Kansas City Royals (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): No, Young did not suddenly solidify himself as the Royals’ ace, but his five-inning, no-hit, nine-K performance Friday certainly should get your attention. He was a Wire Troll darling last year and may earn himself another opportunity in the near future, even though his gem against Detroit was only happened because of Edinson Volquez’s suspension.
Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox (ESPN: 6.8 per cent; CBS: 47 per cent): Just a couple of weeks ago, we wondered on the Podcast whether we’d see Swihart sometime in the second half. Well, after Ryan Hanigan suffered a serious hand injury Friday, that timetable was expedited as Swihart was recalled from Triple-A to handle the bulk of the catching duties in Boston for the time being. Boston would have preferred to let this can’t miss prospect get a bit more seasoning, but this move can’t be avoided — it’s not as if there are starting calibre catchers sitting around waiting to be signed. With Hanigan out until at least July, we’re going to get a long look at Swihart, and the early results are promising as he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run in his MLB debut Saturday. Judging by his numbers at Triple-A, Swihart’s bat was ready.
Allen Craig, OF, Boston Red Sox (ESPN: 0.7 per cent; CBS: 10 per cent): We here at RotoRob.com are equal opportunity enthusiasts for the glut of BoSox outfielders. A week after singing the praises of Brock Holt, we turn our attention to Craig, who continues to see ABs despite being a complete shell of the stud he was in St. Louis. Craig finally got on the home run board Friday and we think continued opportunities will slowly, if not surely, bring him back toward relevance.
Joe Panik, 2B, San Francisco Giants (ESPN: 8.5 per cent; CBS: 26 per cent): This kid showed incredible moxie during the Giants’ World Series run last season and always seems to be in the middle of the action when things are going well, as evidenced by Friday’s walk-off single against the Angels. Panik doesn’t provide much in the power department, but is steady in terms of average and RBI.
Ichiro Suzuki, LF, Miami Marlins (ESPN: 1 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): Was that some power we saw from Ichiro the other night? Indeed, the man inching towards 3,000 MLB hits blasted a three-run shot against the Mets and we don’t doubt he’ll continue to provide the Marlins with quality at-bats throughout the 2015 season. Don’t expect many stolen bases (however, he did swiped his first two bags of the season Sunday), but Ichiro is holding up quite well at 41, making him a decent NL-only option.
Evan Scribner, RP, Oakland Athletics (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): Scribner has been lighting it up in terms of K-BB ratio and has moved into a setup role. Don’t be surprised if he snags a save or two given the shakiness of interim closer Tyler Clippard. Regular closer Sean Doolittle is on the mend, but Scribner could get a few save chances if he keeps at the pace he’s on and will offer value in holds leagues regardless.
Others to Consider
Bryan Shaw, RP, Cleveland Indians (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): Need some holds in an AL-only or deep mixed league? Shaw, who is averaging over a K per inning, will do the trick.
Marco Gonzales, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 0.2 per cent: CBS: 19 per cent): Gonzales is currently on the DL, but he’ll soon be ready and is the most obvious long-term solution to take Adam Wainwright’s rotation spot. Grab and stash Gonzales now.
Juan Lagares, OF, New York Mets (ESPN: 29.7 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): Lagares has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games to raise his BA to .324 and OBP to .346.
Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Minnesota Twins (ESPN: 2.7 per cent; CBS: 43 per cent): Plouffe has shaken off a sluggish start by hitting .325 over the past 11 games with three dingers and 12 RBI, including a grand salami Sunday.
Dan Haren, SP, Miami Marlins (ESPN: 19.6 per cent: CBS: 49 per cent): Haren has a pretty sweet 2.70 ERA through five starts and 30 IP, and he gets the Giants in AT&T Park this week, making him an ideal plug and play option.
Levi Michael, 2B, Minnesota Twins (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): Michael is putting himself on the map as a keeper league option. The 24-year-old, Minnesota’s first rounder in 2011, has hit safely in three straight, including a three-hit, four-RBI explosion on Sunday. Michael is only hitting .250, but has an 866 OPS thanks to some sweet extra-base pop. That kind of power from a middle infielder is worth noting.
Nathan Karns, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (ESPN: 1.3 per cent; CBS: 15 per cent): Karns has looked effective in four of his six starts, and while the long ball has been an issue, there’s nothing wrong with his .181 BAA and 1.14 WHIP, which suggests he’s been better than his ERA indicates.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.
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