On another full Saturday across the Major Leagues there was plenty of action from coast to coast. There were comeback wins by the Red Sox and Orioles. Great pitching won games for the Angels (C.J. Wilson), Cardinals (Lance Lynn-promoted here), Nationals (Edwin Jackson), Rangers, Mets (Jonathon Niese), Braves (Mike Minor), White Sox (Gavin Floyd), Mariners (Hector Noesi), and Dodgers (Ted Lilly). The other winners used some thrilling end-of-the-game heroics to get there wins: the Rockies, Astros, Indians, and Giants.
I don’t know your fantasy team or league as well as you do, so I’ll let you decide who’s worth picking up. Here’s some underowned players who make great options whether you need to fill in for a fallen star (like Jacoby Ellsbury, or Brian Wilson) or are just trying to improve your already studly team.
Here’s a whole lineup of players who performed well yesterday and are available in over 50% of leagues (% are ownership in ESPN Leagues). After our lineup, check out our spot starter selections for the Sunday.
C-Chris Ianetta-LAA: (2.4%) Ianetta hit his first HR of the season while going 1-2 with 2 BB’s, 2 RBI’s, and 2 R’s. He raised his average to .316 and is off to a good start for his new team in his new league.
1B-Adam LaRoche-Was: (44.3%) LaRoche’s hot start has made his ownership sky-rocket in the last few days. He went 2-3 yesterday with a double, 2 RBI’s, a BB, and a K. He is now batting .333 with 2 HR, 10 RBI, and a .984 OPS. He’s off to a great start to his second year with the Nats.
2B-Jose Altuve-Hou: (35.8%) Altuve had his 4th multi-hit game in his last 6 going 2-4 with a R and a 2B for the Astros as he raised his average to .321.
3B-Danny Valencia-Min: (4.3%) Valencia went 2-5 with 2 R’s and 2 K’s against Texas yesterday. He’s batting .259 but has 5 hits in his last 3 games. 3B is a notoriously thin offensive position and Valencia can easily hit his way to fantasy relevance.
SS-Mike Aviles-Bos: (6.7%) Aviles went 3-5 with a HR, 2B, RBI, and 2 R’s as he raised his average to .296 on the year. He was the leadoff hitter for Boston in their first game without Jacoby Ellsbury and receives a huge boost in value if he hits well enough to maintain that spot while Ellsbury is out for at least a few weeks. It should mean plenty of R if he hits in from of Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, and David Ortiz.
OF-Nolan Reimold-Bal: (0.9%) Reimold had his 2nd big game in a row hitting his 2nd HR in as many days and going 2-5 with a double as well as he raised his average to .323. He’s not a typical speedy-leadoff hitter, but he’s done well from the position to this point for Baltimore and should continue to lead off for the O’s until he cools off.
OF-Denard Span-Min: (9.0%) Span went 3-5 to raise his average to .375 and drove in his 2nd run of the year as as one of the bright spots in the Twins lineup. He won’t offer much in the way of power but his OBP makes him a valuable leadoff hitter and his average could help lots of fantasy teams. Look for his ownership to rise quickly if he keeps hitting.
OF-Cody Ross-Bos: (8.6%) Ross went 2-5 with a 2B and a HR for the BoSox yesterday. It was his first dinger of the year and brings his yearly totals to just .222 with 5 RBI’s but he should be assured of playing time in the coming week with Jacoby Ellsbury out with his shoulder injury. Ross has a hit in 5 of his last 6 games.
AL Starting Pitcher-Hector Noesi-SEA: (0.4%) Noesi pitched 8 shutout innings striking out 6 Oakland A’s and evening his record at 1-1. He was hammered in his first start by the Rangers but had a nice bounce-back outing in Seattle. He’s worth noting for spot starts at least at Safeco.
NL Starting Pitcher-Jonathon Niese-NYM: (21.3%) Niese had a no-hitter through his first 6 innings in his last start and yesterday went 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Phillies in the Mets win. He struck out 5 while lowering his ERA to 2.13 and running his record to 2-0.
Relief Pitcher-Rhiner Cruz-Hou: (0.0%) Cruz hasn’t given up a run in his 3 games and 4 1/3 innings. He got the win yesterday against the Marlins after 2 shutout innings and dropped his WHIP below 1 while striking out 2 to bring his total to 5. He’s showing his value in his rookie year and could be a name to stash away…
Spot Starter Selections for Sunday 4/15
Ross Detwiler-Was: (0.3%) Detwiler is about the only thing that’s stopped the Mets this season. He pitched 5 2-hit, shutout innings and got the W in his first start of the year while fanning 6. He pitches at home this afternoon with the Reds in town as he tries to follow up Edwin Jackson’s complete game last night.
Blake Beavan-Sea: (0.3) Beavan went 6 1/3 against Texas his first start of the year and gave up just a R but still took the loss. He’ll get Oakland at Safeco today, so he should have better luck if he can pitch as effectively.
Rick Porcello-Det: (6.6%) Porcello looked solid in his first start against the Rays going 7 innings allowing just 2 runs and 7 hits while striking out 4. Tomorrow he faces the White Sox at US Cellular. He’s not typically a great April pitcher, but see if he can carry over his success from his first start. Plus, with that lineup a W is always a good possibility if he can pitch even just decent.