As we head into the second month of the baseball season, it’s time to start making decisions on some of the players you drafted. While I’m not saying to cut your superstars like Albert Pujols regardless of how they’re struggling, it is time to make the moves you need to to strengthen your team going forward.
If you do decide to make a change or need a fill-in for an injured player, Sleeper Central is here to help you know your options. Each day you can find a full lineup of productive players owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues (percentages included in parenthesis). If you want help with your starting pitching, check out our daily spot starter selections.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C-Miguel Olivo-Sea: (0.3%) Olivo went 2-4 for the second game in a row with his 3rd HR in the last 5 games and extended his hitting streak to 8 games. He’s now hitting .210 on the year with 7 RBI’s and 3 HR’s. He struggled mightily to open the season, but remains the Mariners starting catcher showing how secure his job is. The only caveat to his recent offensive resurgence is that he did leave last night’s game with what is reportedly a minor groin strain. He’s day-to-day at this point, but is hitting if he’s able to play.
1B-Ty Wigginton-Phi: (8.7%) The Phillies lineup has struggled mightily to start the season, but Wigginton is hitting well in his first 20 games. He’s hitting .322 after going 2-4 yesterday. He only has 8 RBI’s and 9 runs scored, but he has been a solid contributor in batting average and OBP. With Ryan Howard still a ways away, consider Wigginton if you need a 1B who can help with average.
2B-Alexi Casilla-Min: (0.7%) The 2B pool is a shallow one so Casilla’s 3-4 with a run scored, RBI, and a double in yesterday’s game against he Angels would be notable even if it wasn’t for his 2 stolen bases. He’s collected 8 hits in his last 4 games with 4 RBI’s and 3 SB. His average is not a healthy .300 and he has 5 stolen bases on the year. If you need speed and decent average, Casilla is a good option at a thin position.
3B-Pedro Alvarez-Pit: (1.5%) Alvarez continues to rebound after a difficult start to the year. He hit his 5th HR of the season collecting 2 RBI’s to go with his run scored. His batting average is up to .203 after bottoming out at .067. He’s hit in 3 in a row and is driving the ball well. He’s gone from being a huge offensive disappointment to hitting in the middle of Pittsburgh’s lineup in the last week.
SS-Jed Lowrie-Hou: (2.1%) Lowrie continue his hot streak going 2-4 with a key RBI and a K in the Astros win over the Mets. He’s hitting .360 in the last week with both his HR and 5 of his 6 RBI’s on the season. In 5 of his last 7 games he’s had multiple hits and has moved into the 3-hole in the Houston lineup. If you need a short-term addition, Lowrie can fill a need at your SS position.
OF-Kirk Nieuwenhuis-NYM: (11.9%) Nieuwenhuis continues to produce for the Mets. He doesn’t have the speed of a typical leadoff hitter and was picked off last night in Houston but went 2-4 with 2 RBI’s raising his average to .325 on the year with 11 runs scored and 8 runs batted in.
OF-Josh Reddick-OAK: (4.1%) Reddick returned to Boston where he played last year and got a measure of revenge on the team that traded him going 2-4 with a 3-run homer. The HR was his 4th of the year and he now has 9 RBI’s, 12 runs scored, and a .277 average. He’s hitting in the middle of the Oakland lineup and can help your OF situation if you need injury replacement or are in a deep league.
OF-Darnell McDonald-Bos: (0.1%) Whatever you think of Bobby V’s ability to manage his pitching staff, he’s definitely found good combinations in a makeshift outfield. Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross have both become fantasy relavant and Marlon Byrd has been rejuvenated by the chance of scenery from Chicago to Boston. None of those players were the offensive standout last night, however. It was Darnell McDonald who went 3-4 with a 2B, a HR, 3 runs scored, and 2 RBI’s. He’s hit a HR in each of his last 2 starts and has 6 of his 8 RBI’s in those 2 games. He won’t play everyday, but has shown his value as a defensive player (played LF-RF-LF last night) and with his bat as of late.
AL Starting Pitcher-Kyle Drabek-Tor: (22.0%) Drabek has started 5 games and has yet to give up more than 2 earned runs in any of them. Poor run support has led to a 2-2 record including the loss he took last night while facing off with Yu Darvish. He struck out a season-high 8 in his 6 innings last night and now has an ERA of 2.40 and a WHIP of 1.27. He’s shut down Boston, Baltimore twice, and now Texas, so he’s worth considering at least as a starter fill-in in his next start.
NL Starting Pitcher-James McDonald-Pit: (1.6%) McDonald was the best of my sleeper selections from yesterday. He went 7 2/3 innings against the Braves in Atlanta while getting his first win of the season despite allowing 3 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks. He struck out a season-high 10 and has 18 K’s in his last 2 starts compared to 6 in his first 3. His ERA is 2.97 after last night’s game with a WHIP of 1.05 and a BAA of .200.
Relief Pitcher-Tom Wilhelmsen (0.4%) Wilhemlsen pitched 2 shutout innings last night bouncing back from allowing 2 runs against the Jays his last time out. He has 5 holds for the M’s on the year and has at least a strikeout in each of his 13 appearances. He’s kept the opponent scoreless in all but 2 of those appearances with a WHIP of 1.22 and an ERA of 2.76. He would probably be next in line if the Mariners decided to go away from Brandon League as their closer.