Yesterday, Major League Baseball had a pair of games rained out, but there was still plenty of drama and heroics in the 13 games that did happen across the league. As the early season continues, there are some great options emerging for fantasy baseball owners. If you’re regretting any of your draft-day decisions or just looking to tweak your roster, there are definitely options out there on your league’s waiver wire.
Each day we take a look at those options in our sleeper central post (archive here). Here’s the top performers from Wednesday who are available in more than half of ESPN leagues and a quick look at what you should do about it:
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Evan Gattis-Atlanta Braves: (3.8% owned in ESPN) Gattis has the most upside of any of the catchers widely available although there’s several really good options out there. Gattis continues to hit right in the middle of the Atlanta lineup and produce in almost all offensive categories. He’s hitting .391 (9-23) and has put up back-to-back 2-4 performances with home runs in each. Last night he had three RBI bringing his total for the year to six. He should be owned in virtually all formats, and he’s starting to get plenty of buzz so you’ll need to act now. There is one problem looming, as described here by our fellow-fansided site Tomahawk Take. Ultimately, I think Gattis stays where he is and keeps producing for the near future.
1B- Brandon Moss-Oakland Athletics: (34.1%) Moss has awakened and be ready for more blasts as he enjoys his time “in the zone.” As I said yesterday, when Moss sees the ball this well, the homers and RBI come in bunches making him a fine start until he cools back off. He went 3-4 for the second night in a row and hit his second home run in as many nights as well. He added two runs scored, five RBI, and a triple as well as a pair of walks. He’s now hitting an even .400 (10-25) and is a great add if you need some instant offense for as long as he’s hitting the ball this well.
2B- Mark Ellis-LA Dodgers: (4.1%) We’re still waiting for someone to emerge from the throngs on the unowned 2B as a legitimate sleeper candidate. In this very shallow pool to choose from, Ellis actually is a viable option. He has now hit in six straight after going 2-5 with an RBI last night. He consistently hits in the two-hole which is an extremely valuable spot for the potential for runs scored if he can keep reaching base regularly. He won’t contribute much power, but if you need countables such as runs and RBI, he’s probably the best 2B option out there.
3B- Juan Francisco-Atlanta Braves: (1.8%) Francisco had a big game for the Braves last night going 3-4 with a run scored, and 2 RBI coming on his first home run of the year. He’s now batting .321 (9-28) and should see regular playing time while Freddie Freeman is on the DL. He’s hit safely in seven of the eight games he’s gotten an at-bat in, and since he’ll be in the lineup on a regular basis, he’s a good source of power numbers from the hot corner for the short-term.
SS- Brandon Crawford- San Francisco Giants: (0.3%) Crawford has earned his spot in the Giants everyday starting lineup primarily with his glove, but his bat may be startin to come around. He went 2-5 last night ans has hit safely in six of his last seven games. On the year, he’s hitting .258 with four extra-base hits including a home run. While he’s definitely not an elite option, he’s becoming servicable if you need him in an NL-only or ultra-deep league.
OF- Starling Marte-Pittsburgh Pirates: (17.7%) Marte had multiple hits again yesterday giving him two hits in each of his last five games as he’s raised his average to .333 (12-36) on the young season. He had a double and an RBI last night as well giving him extra-base hits in each of his last three. The Pirates have him hitting leadoff on a nightly basis, and his best numbers could very well be ahead of him in stolen bases and home runs. Marte is a must-add at this point in virtually all formats. Be aware he does strike out regularly, so be careful if your league penalizes heavily for K’s.
OF- A.J. Pollock-Arizona Diamondbacks: (0.1%) The Notre Dame alumnus and former first round pick had a great opening day going 3-4 with a double, but then crashed into an 0-13 slide over his next five games. He broke out in a big way yesterday going 3-5 with three runs scored, a double, a pair of home runs, four RBI, and a stolen base. He’s not considered a power prospect, but could have value if he anchors the #2-spot in the Snakes lineup and steals bases, scores runs, and adds occasional pop. Right now, this looks like an aberration but stay tuned to Pollock to see if he can build on this.
OF- Frankline Gutierrez-Seattle Mariners: (33.1%) Gutierrez hit his third homer of the year last night against Houston going 1-3 with a walk. He’s hitting .258 so far this year (8-31) with five runs scored and eight RBI. For as long as he can stay healthy, he’s a decent pickup in mixed-leagues.
DH- Chris Carter-Houston Astros: (1.5%) Carter apparently brought the big bat to power the Astros on their trip to Seattle. He’s connected on three home runs in the past two days while going a combined 7-11 with four runs scored and five driven in. He’s a feast-or-famine hitter with 16 strike outs already this year in 37 at-bats, but his power makes him a solid fill-in if you need some thunder for your lineup. He’s eligible in most leagues at both OF and 1B although he started last night at DH.
AL Starting Pitcher- Wade Davis-Kansas City Royals: (1.5%) Davis bounced back from a rough first outing of the season by pitching five shutout innings against the Twins to move to 1-0 on the season. He allowed four hits and three walks while striking out six. The game was at Kauffman Stadium while his first game was on the road, so it looks like Davis will be usable as a streaming option when he’s at home in a favorable matchup.
NL Starting Pitcher- Barry Zito-San Francisco Giants: (18.4%) Zito is the hottest pitching pickup of the season to this point and has looked dominant in his two starts. He’s gone seven innings in both outings and has yet to allow a run while improving to 2-0 after shutting down the Rockies yesterday. He struck out four while allowing seven hits and walking just one. Both starts have been at home, but Zito is locked in right now and should be added if at all possible. Unless you hurry (or added him yesterday, as I suggested here), he may be gone already.
NL Starting Pitcher #2- Jake Westbrook-St. Louis Cardinals: (3.3%) While Zito is the top addition, I can’t overlook Westbrook’s complete game shutout of the Reds which I didn’t see coming or recommend him in our spot starter look. Westbrook allowed five hits and four walks while striking out three and improving to 1-1 on the year. He makes a nice pickup since he has yet to allow an earned run in 15 2/3 innings. He won’t give you many strikeouts but can help in wins, WHIP, and ERA especially in favorable matchups.
Relief Pitcher-Kelvin Herrera-Kansas City Royals: (32.1%) Herrera is threatening for for the Royals closer job as Greg Holland continues to struggle. He picked up his second save of the season yesterday in dominant fashion striking out the side in the ninth as he completed the shutout of the Twins by Royals pitchers. He’s worth an add if you’re searching for saves since he could be up for the job quickly if Holland doesn’t get things turned around quickly.