Apr. 17, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Juan Cruz (right) celebrates with catcher Rod Barajas following the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. The Pirates defeated the Diamondbacks 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Fantasy Baseball-Sleeper Central-April 19 MLB Pickups


In another full night of action across Major League Baseball, there were some classics and some laughers. The late game in San Francisco was probably the most memorable one of the night, as the Phillies Cliff Lee threw 10 shutout innings and the Phils still lost to Matt Cain (9 shutout innings) and the Giants on a Melky Cabrera hit in the 11th.

Apr 18, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; The Milwaukee Brewers celebrate after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in 10 innings at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

Earlier in the night, the Red Sox continued their sluggish start, the Twins took a 2nd game in Yankee Stadium, and the Marlins won behind Hanley Ramirez and Mark Buehrle. The Dodgers and Brewers played their 2nd game in a row that was decided by a walkoff and the Brewers won again, this time on a controversial play at the plate.

In our daily sleeper central feature, we take a look at some players flying under the fantasy baseball radar that might be able to be a boost to your team. Not all these guys will continue to produce at this level, but they could have helped last night. I’ll let you make the call if your situation dictates a drop/add, or you can ask me a specific question in the comments section and I’ll let you know my thoughts.

Make sure to check the spot starter selections for Thursday if your looking for someone widely available who I think will have a good game today.

Here’s our starting lineup of players owned in less than half of ESPN leagues (percentages in parentheses) who produced last night:

Sleeper Starting Lineup

Apr 18, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (12) celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

C-A.J. Pierzynski-Chw: (25.0%) Pierzynski has become so much a regular in this feature that I don’t have to look up how to spell his name anymore. He hit another HR bringing his total this year to 4 (he had 8 all of last year) while driving in his 12th and 13th run and bringing his average to an even .400 with a 2-4 night. He’s hit in 7 in a row with multiple hits in his last 3.

1B-Chris Parmalee-Min: (0.4%) Parmalee went 2-4 with a 2b and a walk yesterday in his return to the lineup. He raised his average to .267 on the year and has 3 2-hit games in his last 6 games started.

2B-Alexi Casilla-Min: (0.4%) Casilla went a solid 3-4 from the 9-hole for the Twins while stealing a base and hitting a double. His average rose to .290 (9-31) and as long as he has the starting job he’ll carry some value in deep AL only leagues or if you need a body to fill the position. He has hit safely in 5 of 6 after a slow start.

April 17, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles (3) turns a double play as Texas Rangers center fielder Craig Gentry (23) slides into second base during the fifth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

3B-Chris Nelson-Col: (0.1%) Nelson played his 11th game of the season going 2-3 with 2 R, 2 2b, and 2 RBI’s along with a walk as he raised his average to .306 (11-36). He’s Colorado’s everyday 3B and if you need offense at the position, you could do much worse.

SS-Mike Aviles-Bos: (17.9%) Aviles continues to leadoff for Boston and had 2 walks yesterday while going 1-2 with his first stolen base of the year. He’s not expected to run a ton, but at the top of this lineup he should score some runs if he can keep his OBP up. Right now it’s .318 with a .268 batting average.

OF-Jon Jay-Stl:(35.4%) Jay went 204 hitting in his 5th game in a row and scored a run in the Cardinals romp over the Reds. He also stole his second base in the last 3 games bringing his average to an impressive .350 with 2 HR and 4 RBI to go with his 2 SB and 5 runs scored. His ownership is on the rise, so move fast if you want Jay.

April 14, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; New York Mets center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis (9) makes a leaping catch in front of the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen during the second inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

OF-Kirk Nieuwenhuis-NYM:(0.4%) In his first 11 games this season the California native seems plenty confortable in the Big Apple. He’s batting .375 (12-32) with 1 HR, 3 RBI, and a SB. He was moved to the top of the Mets lineup yesterday going 3-4 with 2 2B, 3 R, a BB, an RBI, and that SB. Don’t expect a ton of SB, but Niewenhuis may stay at the top of the lineup while he’s in the zone like this.

OF-Jordan Schafer-Hou: (43.5%) He probably won’t appear in this feature again due to his skyrocketing ownership. Yesterday, Schafer returned to his customary spot atop the Astros lineup and went 204 with a R and an RBI raising his average to .279. He stole his 6th base of the year and raised his OBP to .404.

April 18, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Luke Scott (30) celebrates his grand slam home run against the Toronto Blue Jays with Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) in the ninth inning at the Rogers Centre. Tampa Bay defeated Toronto 12-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

DH-Luke Scott-TB: (3.2%) Sporting the X-men reminiscent facial hair, Luke Scott went Wolverine on the Jays with a Grand Slam in the 9th. He finished 2-5 with the R and 4 RBI’s raising his average to .333 and in limited time (27 ABs) he has 3 HR, 12 RBI, 4 R, and an OPS of 1.120.

AL Starting Pitcher-Jake Peavy-CHW: (22.4%) I featured Peavy as a good spot start option yesterday, and he didn’t disappoint going 7 innings and surrendering just 4 hits and a run while striking out 8 to lower his ERA to 2.75 and earn his 2nd win of the year. If he can keep his current form, he’s in for a nice bounce back year.

NL Starting Pitcher-Lucas Harrell-Hou: (0.8%) Harrell pitched 6 shutout inning before giving up a run before departing after 6 2/3 with 4 hits allowed and 4 K’s. He’s had 2 very nice starts sandwiched around a tough outing against the Marlins. He’s 1-0 with an ERA of 2.55 and WHIP of 1.19 but most of that damage was in his 4 inning-4 earned runs-11 runners allowed 2nd start. In his other two starts, he’s allowed just 1 run in 13 2/3 with 8 K’s and 10 runners allowed.

Relief Pitcher-Juan Cruz-Pit: (0.1%) With Joel Hanrahan unavailable for the 2nd game in a row it was Cruz who got his 2nd consecutive save by throwing his 6th scoreless inning in his 6 appearances. He’s allowed 8 runners for a WHIP of 1.33 but has 7 K’s and an ERA of 0. Hanrahan is day-to-day for now, but Cruz is off to a great start to the year whatever role he lands in.

Tags: A.J. Pierzynski Fantasy Baseball Additions Fantasy Baseball Advice Featured Jake Peavy Jon Jay Kirk Nieuwenhuis Luke Scott Mike Aviles Waiver Wire