The days are longer. The birds are chirping. The grass has that smell and everyone’s a little more relaxed. That means only one thing: the fantasy baseball season is finally upon us, and we can all rejoice in unison. Opening Day graced us with its presence the last two days, and here are some early season (VERY early 2013 MLB season) thoughts on some potentially available fantasy baseball waiver wire players. Sure, it’s only a game or two, but it’s never too early to catch that worm. While this is advice for those of you in full season leagues (try out one of our one-day money leagues for a much more thrilling experience, in our slightly biased but obviously correct opinions), every player’s FanDuel salary cap price is listed next to his name.
1) Dexter Fowler ($3,300 FanDuel price)
I think in his age 27 year, Fowler will finally take a step forward, and it’s long overdue. He went 3 for 5 yesterday with a clutch tater off of John Axford in the 9th, and I expect bigger things from him with a healthy Tulo and Cargo. He may not give us the steals that we all expected him to produce, but double digit steals aren’t out of the question. And he has the ability to tease us with close to 15-20 homers at Coors and great peripherals to boot.
2) Carlos Marmol and John Axford (and grab Fujikawa and/or Jim Henderson, respectively)
I’m mashing these two up in one because they don’t deserve their own spot. It’s the same tune with these guys as it was last year…great K totals, but will ruin your peripherals, and I run far, far away from relievers that have poor peripherals. I’d rather go for a Vinnie Pestano or Kelvin Herrera, even in non-holds leagues. Those guys could end up closing. Expect Fujikawa and possibly Jim Henderson respectively to take over the closer duties before too long.
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3) The Detroit Bullpen
I don’t blame Leyland for utilizing his closer by committee approach, albeit it is torture for fantasy GMs. He’s arguably the best manager in the game, and can really play matchups with Benoit, Coke, Alburquerque, Dotel, etc. He managed the pen in marvelous fashion having Benoit pitch a scoreless inning in the 8th, take care of the right-handed batter in the ninth, and having Coke pitch against the last two consecutive lefties to close the game. Expect more of the same, and if you have the room, why not chance it by rostering one of these guys with the potential to close a game here and there. They may not have the best peripherals (although I like Benoit’s peripherals the most out of this bunch), but they may help your team some.
4) Colin Cowgill ($2,500 FanDuel price)
He hit a granny yesterday, but hang on to your bloomers. We don’t want to have lofty expectations for a guy that didn’t really do much in the minors or with the Marlins. Well, Jose Bautista proved me wrong a couple of years ago, and Cowgill can as well, but we also don’t want to pull a Chris Shelton either. Patience if you’re contemplating dropping a guy like a Lorenzo Cain or a Starling Marte for him. Let’s see some more from Cowgill before we buy the cow. But he has some ability to produce, especially with Mets outfield finally open for the taking. Some pop, some speed, and if he can put it all together with some plate discipline and good contact, he can be valuable.
5) Jose Iglesias ($2,400 FanDuel price)
Went 3 for 5 yesterday, but relax. He’s just a Rey Ordonez. At the same time, SS isn’t very deep, and he’s someone to simply watch for now. You never know.
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6) Ernesto Frieri
He HAS to be the closer for this team, otherwise Scioscia will disappoint me thoroughly. The dude can pitch, and I think he’ll hang on to the role even with Madson coming back. Well, he should. It’s not like Madson hasn’t been a set up reliever for most of his career.
7) Matt Carpenter ($3,200 FanDuel price)
He’s starting at 2B for the Cards, and before long he will gain positional eligibility there, making him a fine addition for those of you in leagues that have him floating on waivers. I consider him a Martin Prado lite, but without the SS eligibility. He won’t steal many bases, and his pop has a low ceiling, but his hitting peripherals are real and he can score some runs so long as he’s atop the lineup (which is possible with Furcal done). Getting a guy who can also play 3B, 1B and the OF is nice to have.
8) Jackie Bradley ($2,500 FanDuel price)
The BoSox decided to give this kid a chance with their Opening Day roster, and he didn’t really disappoint. He can steal some bases, so long as he’s exercising some plate discipline and makes some contact so that he can utilize his speed for a handful of infield hits/sacrifices. If he’s available, strongly consider rostering him.
9) Jason Maxwell
Yeah, the Astros look bad. Yeah, they won’t make the playoffs. But that doesn’t mean the counting stats won’t come for a guy with Maxwell’s talents. He’s a nice 4th OF option if you need it.
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10) David Murphy ($3,300 FanDuel price)
I think this 31 year old is underrated. He has some decent pop and some decent wheels, and finally getting everyday opportunities will mean more production in his counting stats. He’s a pretty good hitter, and it helps being in that Ranger lineup.
11) Alcides Escobar ($3,300 FanDuel price)
He shouldn’t be available, but if he is and you need a SS or MI, grab him ASAP. He’s going to give you Elvis Andrus numbers and at a lower cost than Elvis. He went 2 for 4 with a stolen base yesterday, and don’t forget that he was a highly touted prospect in the Brewers organization before being shipped to the Royals in a package deal for Greinke.
12) Jose Fernandez ($2,600 FanDuel price)
Don’t jump on him yet, unless you really have a roster spot open and can’t find anyone else. He won’t win many games with the Marlins, and he is rather raw since he has never pitched above Single High-A, but this 20 year old has immense talent and could be useful in deeper mixed leagues if he can handle this huge leap. Try grabbing him and placing him on your roster if you have the room, and see what he can do before bestowing confidence on the kid. But finding waiver wire starter gems are keys to success.
13) Daniel Murphy ($3,100 FanDuel price)
He is one of the more underrated players in the game because he doesn’t do anything extraordinarily well. But what he does do is provide consistency, particularly with his peripherals and to a lesser degree, some of the counting stats like runs scored. As we all know, 2B is shallow, and he is a guy that can help a team out akin to a glue guy, particularly if you need to roster a MI.
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14) Peter Bourjos ($2,400 FanDuel price)
He didn’t start yesterday because the Angels were playing at Great American Ballpark against the Reds, and thus there was no DH. As a result, Scioscia decided to keep his power bat in the lineup and put Trumbo in left. A large majority of the games the Angels play will have a DH, and Trumbo will be slotted there regularly, leaving left field open for Trout to rest his body, and giving centerfield for the speedy and rangy Bourjos. With Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter gone, Bourjos has the opportunity to shine in a loaded Halos lineup, and he has the ability to swipe some bags and has a bit of pop. Not bad for a 4th OF, or even as a 5th OF.
15) Julio Tehrehan ($5,000 FanDuel price)
He has yet to pitch for the Braves, and spring training stats should not be adhered to as gospel, but Tehrehan was a highly touted prospect and the fact is that he has some nasty, filthy stuff. He dominated in each and every spring start this year, and I believe that he can take that step forward this year to become a very reliable starter.
Until next time, fellow batsmen.
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