A full Friday of baseball yielded plenty of drama and intrigue as well as some heroes and goats in the 15 MLB games on April 5. As we head into the first full weekend of the season, there are some potential pickups you need to be aware of who are starting to emerge as fantasy baseball options.
In our daily Sleeper Central (archive here) we highlight the players who are mostly unowned who are producing usable stats that you can add if you have a need at a given position or in a specific category. Here’s the players on the waiver wire who contributed yesterday:
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C - Chris Iannetta-Los Angeles Angels: (5.1% owned in ESPN leagues) Iannetta hit his second home run of the season while going 2-3 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI in the Angeld 3-2 loss in Texas. He’s started the year 5-12 with the two home runs and four RBI. If you need a catcher upgrade, he’s emerging as a solid option and could be even better when the whole lineup around him starts hitting.
1B- Greg Dobbs-Miami Marlins: (0.2%) Dobbs is getting playing time while Casey Kotchman is sidelined and took advantage of his opportunity yesterday going 1-4 with his first home run and first two RBI of the year. Dobbs isn’t really an option outside of the deepest of leagues, but if you need a super-low budget daily option, he’s finding his way into the lineup and can provide a bit of pop.
2B- Chris Getz-Kansas City Royals: (0.3%) Getz was part of the Royals 13-4 win over Philadelphia as he went 3-5 with a double, triple, run scored, and three RBI. It looks like he’ll be the primary 2B for Kansas City and should be able to provide some steals, runs scored, and a decent average. He’s only a fill-in or deep league add.
3B- Matt Dominguez-Houston Astros: (1.8%) Dominguez had his first multi-hit game of the year yesterday going 2-4 with a double and an RBI and has gone 3-10 to start the season. Dominguez isn’t an elite prospect, but should get plenty of opportunities in Houston as they try to evaluate who’s worth keeping for the long run. Dominguez could be valuable if he can hit Major League pitching, so monitor his progress if you are in the market for a 3B where the talent gets thin in a hurry.
SS- Jean Segura-Milwaukee Brewers: (13.6%) Segura holds the lead for most appearances in sleeper central as he’s started the year well for Milwaukee. He hit his first home run of the year last night going 1-3 and providing all the Brew Crew runs in their 3-1 loss to Arizona. He’s hit safely in all four of Milwaukee’s games and is 6-14 on the year. He’s one of the hottest pickups in fantasy baseball in the early going and should be locked in at SS for the Brewers all year long.
OF- Justin Ruggiano-Miami Marlins: (11.2%) Ruggiano continued his solid start going 2-5 with a double and a pair of RBI yesterday in the Marlins win over New York. To start the year, he’s gone 4-13 but three of those hits have gone for extra bases and he’s driven in three runs. He even added a pair of stolen bases last night, and should be the everyday CF for Miami. There was talk of a platoon with Chris Coghlan, but the Fish need offense so badly that they won’t be able to sit Ruggiano down if he keeps pounding it like this. Grab him in the short-term since he tends to be streaky and you can move on when he starts to cool off.
OF- Franklin Gutierrez-Seattle Mariners: (1.4%) The injury-prone Gutierrez hit his second homer of the young season and hit in his fifth straight game going 3-5 with a double, the home run, three runs scored, and three RBI. He’s 7-17 so far this year with a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs to go with his six RBI. He’s firmly atop the Mariners lineup and can be added in leagues where OF depth is scarce. Monitor his injury situation, but he’s worth a look when he’s healthy.
OF- Nate McLouth-Baltimore Orioles: (0.5%) McLouth hit leadoff for Baltimore yesterday and stole his second base of the year while going 2-5 with a pair of runs scored. The O’s are still tinkering with who’s hitting where, but with Wilson Betemit still sidelined, there’s opportunity for McLouth to show that last year’s resurgence was no fluke.
AL Starting Pitcher- Dan Straily-Oakland Athletics: (2.8%) While many of my spot starting options struggled, Straily pitched well against Houston striking out 11 Astros in 6 2/3 innings allosing just two runs on five hits. Straily had big K numbers in the minors last year but didn’t every seem to translate them into the Majors. He may be headed back to the minors with Bartolo Colon coming off his suspension tomorrow, but he showed when he pitches he’s a good plug-and-play option in the right matchup.
NL Starting Pitcher- Barry Zito-San Francisco Giants: (6.7%) Zito dominated the Cardinals yesterday allowing just three hits and three walks in seven shutout innings. He had a strong spring and looks to be carrying over last year’s postseason momentum to the opening weeks of this year. He’s a spot start option and will be more ownable if he can perform away from AT&T Park.
Relief Pitcher- Drew Smyly-Detroit Tigers: (0.5%) Smyly dominated yesterday throwing four perfect innings against the Yankees while striking out five to pick up the save. He’s a long reliever that doesn’t have a ton of fantasy upside, but if his role changes to either full-time closer or full-time starter he’d be worth a quick pickup.