The standout of Friday’s MLB action was Aaron Hill who became the first player since 1900 to hit for the cycle (a game with a single, double, triple, and home run) two times in the same season. He wasn’t the only player who stepped upt though as another full Friday of MLB action gave us another round of available heroes for our fantasy baseball sleeper central.
Hill’s universally owned and having a great year for the Snakes, but if you’re in need of a lineup makeover, our daily sleeper central can give you ideas of players owned in less than half of ESPN leagues who contributed to their teams and deserve consideration depending on team need and positional availability. ESPN ownership percentages are included in parentheses, so you can check out who’s heating up and decide if they’re worth picking up for your league.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Jesus Flores – Wsh: (0.0%) Flores 2-4 effort last night included a double and a solo home run and brought his average to .250 on the season. He appears fully healthy and ready to be in the lineup on a daily basis for Washington. He has doubled in four consecutive games and has 14 extra-base hits in 46 games including three home runs to go with his 12 RBI and 13 runs scored. He’s not an elite option but is a solid second catcher and will be more widely relevant if he can continue to hit for this kind of power.
1B- Adam Lind – Tor: (23.3%) Back from the minors and swinging a hot bat, Adam Lind went yard twice last night against the Angels finishing with four RBI and pulling his average above .200. After a disastrous start to the season, Lind makes a good pickup if you think he can turn things back around and keep them going like he has since being recalled.
2B- Jemile Weeks – Oak: (33.3%) One of the better bounce-back pickups in the league is the A’s Jemile Weeks. He went 2-4 yesterday with a triple and a run scored. He has 11 steals despite a .221 batting average and has scored 31 runs in 71 games. Weeks plays everyday in Oakland and could turn things back around with a solid second half.
3B-Pedro Alvarez – Pit: (49.4%) Continuing to provide power numbers from a thin 3B position, Alvarez went just 1-5 with a double and a walk but still managed to drive in four runs in the Pirates 14-5 win over St. Louis. He’s driven in 40 runs while hitting 14 home runs which puts him on pase for 85 RBI and 30 home runs. While those numbers may be a bit of high expectations, Alvarez is definitely one of the better 3B power options despite his liability in batting average.
SS- Ruben Tejada – NYM: (4.1%) Since returning from the DL, Tejada has three multi-hit games in his six starts. Last night in LA, he west 4-5 with a double, RBI, and two runs scored. His average is all the way up to .318 on the year and he’s hit 12 doubles and scored 19 runs in 33 games. He hasn’t homered yet this year, but he’s one of the better everyday SS options, if you can sacrifice the power for average and runs scored.
OF- Norichika Aoki – Mil: (4.6%) From his new leadoff spot, Aoki again collected multiple hits while extending his hitting streak to six games. Against the D-backs he went 2-4 with a run scored raising his average to .289. He has 10 steals on the year and has scored 30 runs for the Brewers. If you need runs, steals, and average, Aoki is showing he can provide those typical leadoff-man numbers.
OF- Justin Ruggiano – Mia: (0.1%) Filling in for Emile Bonifacio, Ruggiano has been tearing up the league and has taken the lion’s share of the platoon time from Scott Cousins. Yesterday, Ruggiano went 3-4 with a double, run scored, and a pair of RBI while adding his second stolen base in as many days. He raised his average all the way up to .388 on the year with a pair of home runs, eight runs scored, and eight RBI in his 23 games and just 49 at-bats. His long-term outlook is unclear since he doesn’t have a full-time spot once everyone is healthy, but he’s swinging a hot bat and can contribute short-term if you need average, RBI, and runs.
OF- Jose Tabata – Pit: (2.6%) Struggling as of late, Tabata has put together a couple solid starts as he tries to turn things around. His last two starts have both been multi-hit efforts as yesterday he went 2-4 with a pair of walks and three runs scored. He’s still hitting just .230 and has only eight stolen bases, but see if this is the beginning of a hot stretch for Tabata. He has value due to his runs scored (31) and other countables if he can stay hot and in the lineup.
AL Starting Pitcher- A.J. Griffin – Oak: (0.1%) Any time a rookie goes six shutout innings in his second MLB start, he’ll get noticed. Griffin achieved that while facing the potent Rangers lineup in Texas last night. He went six innings in his first start as well allowing a pair of runs on three hits. He doesn’t have a Major League win yet, but has a 1.50 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP in his 12 innings of work. He faces the Red Sox next time out and he’ll be worth spot starter consideration if he does decently in that one.
NL Starting Pitcher- Mike Leake – Cin: (7.1%) In San Francisco last night Leake out-dueled Matt Cain going all nine innings while scattering nine hits and a walk and allowing just one run and striking out four. He picked up his third win of the year and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last three starts while averaging eight innings per start. He’s turned things around after a rough start to the year and is rewarding the Reds and other patient owners with quality starts as the season goes on.
Relief Pitcher- Brad Lincoln – Pit: (0.8%) Lincoln’s back in the ‘pen and contributes yesterday against St. Louis by shutting down the Cards for three innings while allowing just one hit while striking out four. He’s been valuable out of the pen for the Pirates this year and has a 3.21 ERA in his 20 appearances. He’ll be used in long relief in the near future but has shown he can also pitch in higher-pressure situations as well. If you need a reliever who’s a non-closer, Lincoln might be an option as he’s allowed just three hits and one run over his last 10 innings.