Yu Darvish captivated the baseball world last night as he dominated the Houston Astros for 8 2/3 innings before losing his perfect game in the ninth. If you drafted Yu Darvish, your year got off to a great start. What’s the plan though if you didn’t? Well, Sleeper Central can help.
Each day we’ll rundown a full lineup of players stepping up who are owned in less than half of ESPN leagues (ownership percentage included). Not all players are good pickups for all teams, but based on your team needs and positional availability these are some options to consider.
Here’s the players from yesterday’s seven MLB games that got off to a good start to their season who can help your team who are available.
Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- A.J. Ellis-LA Dodgers: (2.9%) With only seven games on the schedule, there were a few hard positions to fill in today’s lineup. Catcher’s always tricky and there wasn’t much out there in last night’s options. Ellis did get his first hit of the year going 1-3 with a double in a forgettable night for the Dodgers offense which only managed two hits total against Madison Bumgarner. Ellis doesn’t offer much power but got off to a hot start last year and could potentially do the same this year. He contributes a solid offensive line most nights and is one of the better options among the non-elite catchers.
1B- Joaquin Arias-San Francisco Giants: (0.1%) In his first start of the season, Arias was at 1B instead of his typical 3B. He finished the night 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Arias could see extra playing time in the short term with Pablo Sandoval dealing with an elbow issue. Arias isn’t a long-term solution but should see a bump in playing time in the next few days if you need a bargain option at almost any IF position depending on eligibility rules in your league.
2B- Brian Roberts-Baltimore Orioles: (6.3%) Roberts started the season in the nine-spot for Baltimore as they took their opener from Tampa Bay. He finished the day 2-4 with a run scored and showed no signs of his ankle injury which he sustained late in spring training. Roberts has an extensive injury history, but if he stays healthy could be a bargain if you need runs scored, steals, and a solid average. The key with Roberts is his healthy, but he works out nicely as a short-term pickup for as long as he can stay on the field.
3B- Chris Nelson-Colorado Rockies: (2.0%) The Rockies 3B has started both of Colorado’s first two games and is 3-8 after his 2-4 day yesterday with an RBI. He’s more known for his glove than his bat, but as part of the Rockies squad will always have marginal offensive output thanks to playing half his games at Coors Field. He’s also eligible at 2B and doesn’t make a bad bargain option or short-term fill-in if you need help at one of those positions. He struck out in each of his first two games and now has 124 in 192 games, so be aware of that if your league penalizes for K’s.
SS- Jean Segura-Milwaukee Brewers: (10.7%) Segura is THE SS option on most waiver wire’s right now. He’s opened with back-to-back multi-hit games after going 2-3 with a walk yesterday. He ripped up spring training and looks ready to contribute on the MLB level. Especially at the thin SS position, he’s worth a look if you have a low-end option and want to upgrade. He hasn’t stolen any bases yet, but he should be a solid speed contributor throughout the season.
OF- Jon Jay-St. Louis Cardinals: (20.2%) Jay seems to always be overlooked at the end of drafts due to injury issues in the past and his usual lack of power. He started to break that stereotype last night with his first homer of the season to go with a pair of runs scored and a pair of RBI. He’s got 2-4 in both his first two games, but historically is a .300 hitter so his average should rise a bit. If he can hit more homers, he’ll be a huge addition since his batting average and consistent playing time already make him an attractive pickup.
OF- Nolan Reimold-Baltimore Orioles: (0.4%) Reimold has been one of my favorite sleeper picks of the Spring as he comes back from a shortened season last year due to injury. He started off well yesterday with a 2-4 night and should get some good playing time over the next few weeks as Wilson Betemit recovers from his knee injury.
OF- Craig Gentry-Texas Rangers: (0.2%) Currently platooning with Leonys Martin, Gentry can earn more playing time with nights like last night. He started in CF and went 2-4 with a double, triple, and two runs scored. Keep an eye on the time-share in Texas since Gentry could contribute steals if he gets regular playing time. He’s the right-handed hitter in the platoon which typically means he plays a bit less than 50%, but Ron Washington has said he’ll go with the hot hand so the situation definitely deserves watching.
AL Starting Pitcher- Justin Masterson-Cleveland Indians: (7.3%) Masterson wasn’t drafted like an Ace in fantasy drafts this season to be sure, but he looked like one last night against the newly-constructed, highly-touted Blue Jays offense. Masterson went six innings allowing just one earned run on three hits. He walked four and struck out five on his way to the win. He’ll need to cut down his walks to stay in the game longer, but this was a great start to the year for the young righty.
AL Starting Pitcher #2- Hisashi Iwakuma-Seattle Mariners: (25.0%) Normally, in this spot I’d spotlight an NL pitcher, but since the un-owned pitched poorly last night in the NL I’ll go with a second AL starter. Iwakuma went for six innings last night in Oakland getting the win allowing just two hits and one earned run. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out seven A’s. The only run Oakland scored was on a Yoenis Cespedes long ball, but other than that Iwakuma was exceptional. He makes a nice sleeper pickup and expect him to be a regular in our spot starter feature (archive here) as long as he’s this unowned.
Relier Pitcher- Carter Capps-Seattle Mariners: (0.1%) Capps went 1 2/3 after Iwakuma left the game and allowed a hit and a walk with no runs allowed and a strikeout. Capps is a big right-hander who shot through the Mariners minor-league system and should be a valuable middle or late inning reliever setting up Tom Wilhelmsen.