Thursday across the Major Leagues featured plenty of day baseball with some more exciting nightcap action in Toronto as the new-look Blue Jays joined the Yankees, Royals, Padres, and Phillies in getting their first win of the year. There is only one undefeated team left in Major League Baseball-the Washington Nationals.
In the fantasy baseball world, there are some players starting to creep into the fringes of fantasy usability you need to be aware of even though the season is only one series old. Click here to see this past week’s highlights of unexpected contributors.
Here’s some of the mostly-unowned players who contributed yesterday, with their ESPN ownership percentages included:
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- John Buck-New York Mets: (2.0% owned) Buck has been known as a streaky hitter and he’s started off the season on fire for the Mets. He’s collected multiple hits in each of New York’s first three games going 6-12 with four runs scored, five RBI, and a pair of home runs. His solo shot yesterday was all the offense the Mets could get in their 2-1 loss to San Diego. Buck is a decent power option when he’s hitting like this so feel free to grab him and plug him in until he cools off.
1B- Mark Reynolds- Cleveland Indians: (38.5%) The Tribe 1B is a one-category contributor who can hurt you in batting average but can be counted on to provide power. So far, he’s done just that with a pair of tape-measure shots in Toronto. His second home run came yesterday as part of his 2-5 night with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Reynolds is useful if your team gets batting average from other positions and you just need long balls and RBI from your 1B slot. It looks like he’ll work his way into the Cleveland lineup on a regular basis at 1B, 3B, or DH.
2B- Gordon Beckham-Chicago White Sox: (9.1%) Beckham collected four singles in four plate appearances yesterday, but the White Sox lineup could only manage one run in their 3-1 loss to the Royals. Beckham was plagued by some bad luck last year according to the sabermetrics, and could be in for a bounceback season. He’s still at the bottom of the Sox order, but his value would get bumped if he moves up to the two-spot.
3B- Jedd Gyorko-San Diego Padres: (40.1%) Starting and getting a hit for his third consecutive game, Gyorko picked up his first MLB RBI and his second double of the season in the Padres 2-1 win over the Mets. Gyorko is bouncing back and forth between 2B and 3B due to injuries on the club. His minor league numbers indicate he’s ready for the Bigs and the Padres are ready to give him a long, long look this season. The added positional flexibility only increases his value making him worth a roster spot in almost all leagues.
SS- Eduardo Nunez- New York Yankees: (2.9%) Filling in for Derek Jeter, Nunez went 2-3 with a double and a run scored in the Yankees 4-2 win over Boston. Nunez has gone 4-10 over his first three games and can fill in for you at least in the short term while Jeter recovers. If he sees regular playing time all season, Nunez can be worth owning based on his speed and average potential.
OF- Chris Heisey-Cincinnati Reds: (0.3%) Heisey connected on his first home run of the season while going 1-4 and now is 2-10 on the season with a pair of RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base. Heisey should settle into the spot between Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto which gives him the chance to score a ton of runs if he can get on base. He’s never had this clear shot at a starting spot, but with Ryan Ludwick out for the next 3-4 months, Heisey is a intriguing pickup. Heisey should get good pitches to hit and this is his chance to emerge as a full-time player and a fantasy option.
OF- Denard Span -Washington Nationals: (9.8%)Span went 1-3 with a walk while scoringhis first two runs scored of the season. He’s locked in at the leadoff spot in a solid lineup so should get runs scored, steals, and have a solid year overall. He’s a potential injury risk and won’t provide much in power-categories, but still retains his fantasy value if your lineup can get that from other places (see Reynolds, Mark)
OF- Justin Ruggiano-Miami Marlins: (11.3%) Ruggiano has scored and driven in 100% of the Marlins runs this year… Unforunately, that’s just one. He hit his first home run of the season yesterday and if he gets regular playing time could have a nice season although the rest of the lineup around him is obviously lacking.
AL Starting Pitcher- A.J. Griffin-Oakland Athletics: (3.8%) Griffin went six solid innings yesterday to get the win over the Mariners allowing two runs on seven hits while giving up two walks and striking out three. He’s worth a look as a spot starter (as mentioned before the game here). However, giving up that many hits didn’t help your WHIP and could hurt him against more potent lineups, so I wouldn’t keep him on my roster except in AL-only or very deep mixed leagues.
NL Starting Pitcher- Travis Wood- Chicago Cubs: (0.3%) Another spot starter who paid off was Travis Wood who threw six innings of one-hit, shutout baseball against the Pirates. He struck out four and walked only two while throwing 85 pitches and getting his first win of the season. The Cubs bullpen may cost him wins-it almost did yesterday-but it was a great way to start the season for Wood and he’ll be a spot-starter option if your streaming for the near future.
Relief Pitcher- Kyuji Fujikawa-Chicago Cubs: (40.0%) Fujikawa was brought on in the eighth inning and was perfect while striking out one. The Cubs current closer, Carlos Marmol almost gave the game away in the ninth, and it appears that its only a matter of time before the Japanese reliever gets his shot as closer (most Cubs fans are hoping for soon).