April 25, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Jason Hammel (39) pitches in the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Fantasy Baseball-Waiver Wire Options by position-Sleeper Central-April 26

Another great Wednesday in the MLB featured every team in action with 16 total games and the debut of a brand new MLB rule, which doesn’t happen very often. In the new CBA, if a split double-header is scheduled at least 48 hours in advance teams are allowed to have 26 players on the roster. The rule is designed to give teams some bullpen help and stop their being roster moves between the games. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Colorado Rockies broke in the new rule yesterday as they split a pair of well-pitched games.

March 20, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) walks with pitching coach Larry Rothschild (58) to the dugout after he warmed up against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Elsewhere in the Bigs, the top story was the news that Michael Pineda is out for the year with a shoulder injury. There’s been some speculation as to whether the Mariners had any knowledge of the injury before they shipped him to the Bronx. On the field, the Yankees didn’t fare much better as they fell to the Rangers who look like by far the top team in the Bigs. The Yankees’ hated rival, the Red Sox won an ugly game in Minnesota barely hanging on to a big lead. The Ragers division-rival the Angels continued to struggle behind the hitter formerly known as Albert Pujols.

As teams rosters and roles continue to shift as we end the third full week of the regular season, different players are given opportunities to step up. These players can become valuable fantasy baseball additions. Each day at Sleeper Central, we’ve given you a whole lineup of people owned in less than half ESPN leagues who contributed to their teams the previous day (percentages of ownership included). You can make the call if you want to or need to add these players, but they’re widely available and playing well.

Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Starting Lineup

C-Hector Sanchez-SF: (0.1%) Sanchez could be in for a huge opportunity if he continues to hit. He went 2-3 yesterday in Cincinnati with a run scored, a walk, and a K. He raised his average to .321 with a HR and 7 RBI in limited time. If the Giants look to play Buster Posey more at 1B which is an “open position” according to their manager Bruce Bochy, Sanchez could see much more time behind the dish as long as his bat stays hot. He has a hit in every game he’s started and the Giants offense can hardly afford to have that kind of production on the bench.

Apr 25, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair (6) celebrates his solo home run with third baseman Ian Stewart (2) against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

1B-Bryan LaHair-CHC: (22.2%)-LaHair continued to rake hitting his 4th HR of the year and 2nd in 2 days as he accounted for the Cubs lone run in their 5-1 loss to the Cardinals. He went 1-4 and his average slipped to .364. He’s the Cubs biggest offensive threat and should continue to hit right in the middle of their lineup the rest of the year.

2B-Jose Altuve-Hou: (47.9%) Altuve is about to graduate out of the column where he’s been a regular when his ownership breaks the 50 percent mark. He’s had multiple hits in his last 3 games and went 4-5 yesterday with a 2B, 3 R, and an RBI. Overall on the year he’s a top 5 2B so far with a .377 average, 12 runs scored, 4 SB, 1 HR, and 8 RBI’s. Get him now if you still can.

April 24, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) doubles against the Colorado Rockies during the seventh inning of the second game of a doubleheader at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

3B-Pedro Alvarez-Pit: (0.8%) Alvarez got off to a horrible start going 2-30 to start the year. In his last 3 games though he’s 5-15 raising his average from .042 to .156. He hit a HR in both games of the Pirates double-header bringing his total to 4 on the year with 6 RBI and 5 runs scored. He may be starting to come alive with the bat and could provide power and RBI’s from a thin 3B position if he gets it going.

SS-Clint Barmes-Pit: (0.0%) Barmes like his teammate Alvarez started the season woefully at the plate. His average was down to .089 before his former team the Rockies came to PNC Park. He’s gone 6 for 14 in the series bringing his average to .179. He was expected to help the Pirates offensively and maybe he will now that his bat has woken up from its early-season slumber.

OF-Raul Ibanez-NYY: (37.1%) Ibanez will continue to see more time while Brett Gardner is on the DL for the Yankees. Offensively, he’s been solid despite his defensive adventures in the outfield. He went yard for the 3rd time last night as part of a 2-4 night with a 2B and his HR, driving in 2 and scoring a run. He’s 13-48 this year for a .271 average with 3 HR, 11 RBI, and even 2 SB. For at least the short-term, he’ll be in the Yankees lineup which should mean some solid production from him.

Apr 23, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Twins center fielder Denard Span (2) catches a fly ball hit by Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis (not pictured) in the fourth inning at Target Field. The Red Sox won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

OF-Denard Span-Min: (38.1%) Span continued his recent hot streak doing 2-6 with a 2B, R, and RBI against Boston last night. He’s batting .333 with 3 SB and 7 runs scored from atop the Minnesota lineup. If you need some speed and average Span’s a nice pickup.

OF-Michael Saunders-Sea: (1.1%) In deeper or AL only leagues, Saunders is worth a look as he continues to play everyday CF for the Mariners. He went 2-4 last night against Detroit with a run scored, an RBI, a BB, and a SB. He has 3 steals on the year now to go with a .250 batting average, 7 runs scored, 6 doubles, a HR, and 6 RBI’s.

DH-Kila Ka’aihue-Oak: (0.1%) Ka’aihue doesn’t get to play everyday, but when he does he’s delivered. He’s 12-36 in 12 games played after going 2-6 with his 2nd RBI of the season yesterday. If he keeps hitting, his opportunities should increase at DH and 1B.

AL Starting Pitcher-Jason Hammel-Bal: (15.0%) Hammel was one of my spot start options form yesterday and he shut down the Blue Jays in his 4th good start of the year. After seven 4-hit, shutout innings while striking out 7 he lowered his ERA to 1.73 with a WHIP of exactly 1.00 and a nice BAA of .194. He’s 3-0 for the O’s to start the year and will be a hot pickup as the season progresses. He has 25 K’s in 26 IP so far this season.

NL Starting Pitcher-James McDonald-Pit: (0.4%) McDonald got a tough no-decision yesterday and remains 0-1  despite giving up no more than 3 runs in any of his starts. He struck out 8 in his 7 innings yesterday giving up just 1 run on 1 hit and 3 walks. His lowered his ERA to 2.78 and his WHIP to 1.01 and has 14 K’s in 22 2/3 innings in his first 4 starts.

Relief Pitcher-Robbie Ross-Tex: (0.2%) Ross has 4 wins on the year to lead the AL. He’s gotten all 4 wins in his last 5 appearances out of the Texas bullpen. While relief wins are unpredictable, what’s even more impressive is that in his 6 games he’s only given up more than a single hit in one. He went 2 2/3 of flawless relief with 2 K’s yesterday and now has 7 K’s in 8 innings. He gave up 2 runs against the Tigers, but has been lights out in his other 5 apperances. He’s a situational reliever, but he’s a valuable rookie form the ‘pen for Texas and he can be on your fantasy team as well.

Tags: Bryan LaHair Clint Barmes Denard Span Fantasy Baseball Additions James McDonald Jason Hammel Jose Altuve Kila Ka'aihue Michael Saunders MLB Recap Pedro Alvarez Raul Ibanez Robbie Ross Sleeper Central Waiver Wire

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