As the baseball season wraps up its second month, its time for fantasy owners to make some moves to get their teams set for the summer months. There are a number of opportunities to improve your lineup as players return from injuries and expand into new roles with their team. Here’s our weekly lineup of position player upgrades available in over half of ESPN leagues:
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- A.J. Pierzynski-Texas Rangers: (34.2% owned) Pierzynski returns after a quick 15-day DL trip. He jumped right back into the lineup and has only gone 1-6 in his first two games back. However, he’s one of the top 10 offensive catchers most years and won the 2012 Silver Slugger for C. The fact that he’s so available shows how deep the C market is, but it also represents quite the opportunity for owners who need an upgrade. As the summer heats up in Texas, Pierzynski should be able to get rolling with the long ball and be a solid option at a typically offensively-challenged position
1B- Brandon Belt-San Francisco Giants: (23.1%) Belt pinch hit yesterday going 0-1 after going 0-4 on Tuesday. On Monday, he had a huge game going 4-5 with four runs scored a home run and an RBI. His average is still .252 with six homers on the year and 22 RBI. He’s not an elite option, but he’s definitely an option especially in daily leagues against righties. Belt has had a good May hitting .276 this month with four homers and 11 RBI.
2B- Darwin Barney-Chicago Cubs: (1.6%) 2B is an incredibly thin position, but Barney is bouncing back from a horrible April to at least make himself a deep league option. In May he’s hit .224, but in the last seven days he’s been even hotter hitting .353 while going 6-17. He’s raised his average over .050 already and has a couple home runs and a couple RBI. He still is far from an elite option but is at least putting up numbers worth the Cubs keeping him in the lineup. How long he can stay hot is unknown, but for now he can be used as a short-term fill-in.
3B- Eric Chavez-Arizona Diamondbacks: (39.9%) Chavez is tearing things up for the Snakes and hitting in the middle of the Arizona lineup. He’s gone 22-50 in May for a scorching .440 average with 10 RBI, six doubles, a triple, and a home run. Again, he won’t be able to keep this pace up for the rest of the season, but there’s nothing wrong with riding him as long as he does.
SS- Didi Gregorius-Arizona Diamondbacks: (40.8%) We’ll take the whole left side of the infield from the desert this week. Gregorius is batting .348 on the season. He’s in a prime batting spot between leadoff hitter Gerardo Parra and Paul Goldschmidt who has been raking from the third spot. Gregorius has yet to steal a base and only has three home runs but can score runs and get on base enough to make him a solid SS pickup.
OF- Matt Joyce-Tampa Bay Rays: (15.8%) Joyce is still not an everyday fixture for the Rays, but he’s starting to bring his average up and still providing the power numbers owners can utilize. His season average is .252, but he’s hitting .288 in May and .333 in the lsat seven days. In his last four games, he has a pair of home runs and six RBI along with three walks, a pair of doubles, and four runs scored. He is dealing with a bit of a hamstring issue but is expected to be fine tomorrow when Tampa returns from its off-day today.
OF-Domonic Brown-Philadelphia Phillies: (36.7%) Another outfielder trending the right way offensively is Domonic Brown. Brown has gone 10-38 in his last nine games with a pair of home runs and seven RBI during that span. He’s even added a pair of steals in two attempts. Brown now has eight homers on the season with 24 RBI and is starting to grow into an increased role of production.
OF-Leonys Martin-Texas Rangers: (7.2%) Martin has stepped in as the new Rangers center-fielder and is worth an add right now for run-scoring, steals, and even average. He’s hit consecutively in seven striaght games with two doubles and a triple along with five runs scored and five stolen bases. As long as he’s in the lineup, he’s a great bargain in daily leagues and a decent add if you need steals and runs in season-long formats.