While Monday was a big day for college basketball, Major League Baseball had plenty going on as well. There were 11 games across the country including several home-openers and another stellar performance from Matt Harvey of the Mets. The Reds and Yankees powered their way to victory while the Red Sox, Braves, Royals, Mariners, and Giants won low-scoring games.
Fantasy stars emerged from all the games-some expected (like Harvey) and some a bit of a surprise. As a fantasy owner, you need to keep track of the emerging options that could offer you an upgrade, injury replacemtn, or fill-in. Each day on Fantasy CPR we highlight these options who are mostly unowned in our post called Sleeper Central (archive here).
Here’s the sleepers who produced on Monday:
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C-John Buck-New York Mets: (27.6%) Buck hit his third home run of the year going 1-4 with the three-run shot of Roy Halladay as the Mets cruised past the Phillies. Buck has 12 RBI to go with his three home runs on the year while batting .375 (9-24). He’s providing power from a non-power-laden position, so there’s definitely value if your looking for some pop. However, be ready to move on when the slump that would seem to be inevitable canes for the career .236 hitter.
1B-Mitch Moreland-Texas Rangers: (3.1%) The Rangers lineup has stagger a bit out of the gate after some major losses this offseason, most notably Josh Hamilton. Moreland has the opportunity to be part of the answer and pitched in a big 3-3 night last night while hitting his second home run of the year. He started the season 0-13 in the first four games but has gone 5-11 since with a pair of long balls. If he can hit, there’s room for him in the Rangers OF, 1B, or DH role. If he does get regular playing time, Moreland should be able to produce home runs, RBI, and average enough to make him a viable, non-elite option at 1B and even a factor in the outfield as well.
2B-Dustin Ackley-Seattle Mariners: (16.5%) Ackley went 1-3 with a run scored but among qualifying 2B yesterday that was the best there was. He’s still just 2-23 and not a good fantasy option unless all you need is a warm-bodied starter. Of all the offensive positions, this is one of the shallowest. If you need a pickup for 2B, I’d look at Mark Ellis of the Dodgers, Daniel Descalso of the Cardinals, Jedd Gyorko of the Padres, or even Donovan Solano of the Marlins before I considered Ackley. He has shown the ability to hit in the past, but he’s not getting it done right now.
3B- Matt Dominguez-Houston Astros: (1.4%) As we’ve mentioned before, Dominguez is going to get plenty of opportunities this year for the Astros. Yesterday he went 2-4 bringing him to 5-21 on the year. He hasn’t showcased much power yet and with the lineup around him struggling his RBI and run totals won’t be great. At this point he’s a regular starter but doesn’t offer much beyond that.
SS-Alex Gonzalez-Milwaukee Brewers: (0.3%) Gonzalez slid back to SS while Jean Segura sat out a game with a minor quad issue. Gonzalez has played a bunch of 3B and 1B as well so his positional flexibility adds to his value if he can produce offensively. Yesterday he went 1-4 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored. After starting the season 1-16, he’s gone 3-9 in his last three games with three RBI and three runs scored as well as his first home run of the season. He’s proven valuable in the past for stretches when his bat gets hot so see where and how much he keeps playing and contributing for the Brewers injury-ravaged offense.
OF-Vernon Wells-New York Yankees: (14.2%) Wells has been a solid pickup for both the Yankees and fantasy owners starting the season 8-21 (.381) with two home runs and two doubles to go with his four RBI. Yesterday, he went 3-4 and added his first stolen base of the year. He’s served as a nice stop-gap for New York and can continue to do the same for you for as long as he’s in the lineup.
OF-Starling Marte-Pittsburgh Pirates: (11.5%) Marte had his third two-hit game in a row going 2-4 with two runs scored, a triple, and a walk. He continues to hit at the top of the lineup and should get a long look there as the season progresses. He is now 8-27 on the year and has scored four runs despite not stealing a base. I still think the steals will come, and when they do they’ll make Marte a solid option even in mixed leagues. If you need runs, average, and steals, Marte is a good pickup at this point even thought the Pirates offense has had its issues.
OF-Chris Heisey-Cincinnati Reds: (0.7%) Heisey went 2-6 with a pair of doubles in the Reds romp over St. Louis yesterday. He’s still just 5-26 but does have three extra-base hits now. He continues to get a long look in the second slot in the Reds lineup which should pay off if he can start getting on base. He’s struggling to seize the opportunity in front of him right now which makes him a risky pickup, but the opportunity still appears to be in front of him if he can get into the groove with the bat soon.
OF-Daniel Nava-Boston Red Sox: (0.2%) I can’t leave my boy Nava off the list after he won the game for my Red Sox yesterday, so I cheated and added a fourth outfield spot. Consider it payback since there wasn’t any good 2B… Anyway, Nava wnet 2-2 yesterday with a home run for the second game in a row and three RBI. He’s now hit safely in all four games in which he started going 6-12 overall. There’s limited opportunity long-term in the Red Sox lineup for Nava, but in daily leagues he’s a nice bargain option if you know he’s in the lineup.
AL Starting Pitcher-Joe Saunders-Seattle Mariners: (1.0%) Saunders became the latest beneficiary of the Astros offensive struggles as he hurled 6 1/2 shutout innings while allowing six hits and a walk while striking out five. He picked up the win to level his record at 1-1. He’s an option as a streaming starter in the right matchups and the Astros are definitely earning their way onto that list. For more streaming/spot start advice and our daily picks off the wire, click here.
NL Starting Pitcher-Paul Maholm-Atlanta Braves: (48.0%) Maholm has been dominant in his first two starts allowing just one hit last night against Miami in seven scoreless innings while striking out seven and walking only three. He’s yet to allow a run in his 12 2/3 innings pitched and has a 2-0 record to show for it.
Relief Pitcher-Aaron Crow-Kansa City Royals: (0.2%) With the Royals bullpen worn out and struggling, Manager Ned Yost skipped over Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera who had both been shaky and used twice in the past two days. Instead with the game on the line with a 3-1 lead, Yost turned to Aaron Crow. Crow got the save while striking out one, walking one, and inducing a game-ending double play. The Royals bullpen is still set up for Holland to close, but Crow is emerging as an end-of-game option to be aware of. He hasn’t allowed a run this season in four appearances all one inning long. He’s struck out three batters in his four innings and only allowed two hits. If your league counts holds or if you’re speculating on saves, Crow is worth a look.