Apr 17, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Baltimore Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold hits a two-run home run during the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Fantasy Baseball-Sleeper Central-April 18th pickup options


Tuesday night was another full baseball evening as all 30 teams played under the lights. The Rangers exploded against Boston for 18 runs in their win while the Nats won over visiting Houston 1-0 behind a great night from Gio Gonzalez. The Rockies had the oldest winning pitcher ever; and the Dodgers, Cardinals, Tigers, Pirates and A’s all won late.

The goal here at Sleeper Central is to make sure you don’t miss players who are available in your league who can help your team. I don’t know your league rules, scoring system, or team needs, but what I can do is highlight players who have low ownership and are playing at a high level (or at least did last night).

Here’s a player at each position who is owned in less than 20% of ESPN Leagues who had good offensive nights last night, and could help you if you have an early-season need due to injury or ineffectiveness. At the bottom of the post, I’ll give you my top 3 spot start options for today if you’re going with the streaming starter strategy, or just need to plug someone in for today’s game.

Sleepers Starting Lineup

Apr 17, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski hits a single during the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

C-A.J. Pierzynski-CHW: (19.2%) Pierzynski went 2-4 raising his average to .387 and driving in his 10th and 11th runs of the year. He’s hit safely in all but 1 of his 8 games and has 3 multi-hit performances. He’s got 3 HR and 11 RBI’s as he starts the season in a groove offensively. Right now he’s the 3rd ranked catcher overall.

1B-Justin Smoak-Sea: (0.4%) Smoak went 4-5 against Cleveland and continues to anchor the Mariners lineup. He raised his average to .250 with his for hits while adding a R and an RBI bringing his total to 6 RBI’s on the year.

2B-Darwin Barney-CHC: (4.8%) Barney went 3-4 and has hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games. He scored his 6th run of the year and raised his early-season average to .300 (12-40). If you need OBP or AVG he’s worth a look although his power numbers are barely existent so far this season.

3B-Kyle Seager-Sea: (5.5%) If you’re in search of 3B, there’s little hope for you. Seager’s not a great option, but his 2-5 night last night raised his average on the year to .300 and he scored a run as well. He’s 6-24 on the year with 3 2B’s, a HR, a SB, and 6 RBI.

SS-Tyler Pastornicky-Atl (1.6%) Pastornicky still hasn’t really started to hit yet, although he had a nice double, run scored, and 2 RBI’s yesterday of Johan Santana. It could be the start of something, and he’ll get continued chances since the Braves other options aren’t contributing much offensively either.

OF-Nolan Reimold-Bal: (4.1%) Neimold hit a HR in his 4th consecutive game and saw his average drop to .351 while going 1-3 with 1 R, 2 RBI’s, and a BB. He’s red hot right now hitting in 8 in a row with HR in his last 4 games, so grab and insert him in your daily lineups as needed.

OF-Josh Reddick-Oak: (1.9%) Reddick is batting 3rd for the A’s these days and last night he finished 3-4 with 2 2B’s with a R and an RBI. He’s 5-8 so far in this Angels series and he’s raised his average to .286 with just 2 RBI’s so far on the year.

OF-Ryan Sweeney-Bos: (14.9%) Sweeney was one of the few bright spots in the Red Sox lineup as they were hammered by the Rangers. He finished 3-4 with 2 2B’s as he raised his early average to .406 which is currently 2nd in the AL. He’ll continue to play every day until Carl Crawford returns.

April 17, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Drew Smyly (33) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

DH-Travis Hafner-Cle: (1.1%) Hafner went 3-4 with 2 R’s, an RBI, and his 2nd HR on the year. He’s up to .292 with 2 HR and 6 RBI. His OBP is over .400 and he’ll continue to be a regular in the middle of the Tribe lineup against righty’s as long as he stays healthy.

AL Starting Pitcher-Drew Smyly-Det: (0.9%) Smyly gave up 7 H and an unearned run while striking out 4 in 6 innings for Detroit yesterday. His ERA dropped to 0.90 while his WHIP is still 1.50. He has the Tigers elite lineup behind him yet doesn’t have a decision yet. Get him while you can, since he’ll start getting W’s if he continues to pitch effectively.

April 17, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer (50) delivers a pitch during the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

NL Starting Pitcher-Jamie Moyer-Col: (1.6%) He deserves a shout-out for being the oldest pitcher to ever win a game to be sure but his 7 innings and just 2 R and 6 hits allowed may earn him a little bit of fantasy notice despite the lack of strikouts. His ERA is now 3.57 and his WHIP  1.30.

Relief Pitcher-Rhiner Cruz-Hou: (0.0%) Cruz continues to show his value for the Astros as the first pick in the Rule 5 draft. The concerns with him coming into the year were mainly focused on his control, but that hasn’t been an issue in his 5 1/3 innings of walkless pitching so far this season. He has yet to give up a run and has 6 K’s while allowing just 4 hits. He’s getting the call in close games for Houston as he entered a 1-0 game yesterday and shut down the Nats for an inning and could get a vultured win or 2 along with his quality innings in this early part of the year.

Spot Starter Options for 4/18

Apr 13, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy throws a pitch during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

R.A. Dickey-NYM: (13.0%) Dickey has started 2 games and is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. One of those starts was against the team he faces today the Atlanta Braves. He’ll be opposed by Jair Jurrjens who the Mets and the Brewers have knocked around in his first 2 outings (7.71 ERA, 2.04 WHIP). Dickey should be able to get the W for the red-hot Mets if he has another quality start.

Jake Peavy-Chw: (22.4%) Peavy looked good against Detroit his last time out striking out 8 in 6 2/3 innings while picking up his first win of the year. He has an ERA of 3.55 with a WHIP of .95 and a BAA of .222. He has 13 K’s in his 12 2/3 innings in his first 2 starts. Tonight, he gets the Orioles at the Cell as the former Cy Young winner tries to get the White Sox their first win against Baltimore in the third of this 4-game series.

Derek Lowe-Cle: (5.2%) Lowe is 2-0 after 2 starts as well and although he’s giving up a ton of hits (16) in his 13 2/3 innings has only allowed 3 ER. He won’t get you K’s, but against a light-hitting Mariners team in Safeco should be a safe pick if he can pitch into the 7th for the 3rd consecutive start.

Tags: A.J. Pierzynski Darwin Barney Drew Smyly Fantasy Baseball Additions Fantasy Baseball Help Jake Peavy Jamie Moyer Justin Smoak Nolan Reimold R.A. Dickey Ryan Sweeney Sleeper Central Spot Starters Waiver Wire