Coming at you quicker than a Joel Zumaya fastball (before the injuries), this is my newest edition of my “Fantasy In Five” series!
In this issue, I will talk about five players that might or might not be on your waiver wire that you should consider picking up. It’s only the second week of the regular season, but by picking up one of these five players, it could help you win your league.
1. Nolan Reimold, Baltimore Orioles- By only playing one season with at least 100 games, Reimold is someone you might just pick up to ride him while he’s hot. With Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and a few of the Oriole’s top-tier prospects, the pressure on this 28-year-old has been increasing.
So far this season, Reimold is .370 with five home runs and 10 RBI’s. Knowing the history of this player, to see these numbers keep up are as high as the Charlotte Bobcats winning 12 games this season; very unlikely.
Another reason why Reimold should only be a rental is of his injury history. He’s only averaged 60 games a season his whole career, which obviously isn’t something to fully invest in. It’s just those spurts where he’s on for about a week straight that make him a waiver wire pickup.
2. Kyle Drabek, Toronto Blue Jays- After being acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Phillies, the Blue Jays were expecting big things from Drabek from day one. The unfortunates were that he was what Toronto acquired after trading their ace pitcher Roy Halladay, and those are bigger shoes to fill than Shaq’s.
Drabek struggled his first 20 starts with the Blue Jays, going 4-8 with a bloated ERA of 5.41. Why I was never worried about his early struggles were because he’s only 24-years-old. Drabek has so much time to grow and develop into the ace the Blue Jays and fantasy owners expected.
That rough patch to start off his career might’ve helped his mechanics during spring training, as he’s 2-0 with an ERA of two and 15 strikeouts in 18 innings so far this season. Now this might be just an A.J. Burnett-type of start where he’ll have a hot April and that’s it. Or he’s finally found out the issues with his pitching after two years in the majors. Either way, pick him up and make him your sixth starter. Drabek is just another low-risk high-reward player that can easily be expendable if he does start to struggle.
3. Lance Lynn, St. Louis Cardinals- Lynn is another case of the reliever that’s transitioned to the starting rotation quite nicely. Now I hope that’s not a jinx, as I’m currently knocking on wood, but he’s posted some pretty good numbers to start the season.
Once Chris Carpenter went down, Lynn stepped up to fill his role, and might be here to stay if his pitching stays consistent. He’s 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA on the year with 17 strikeouts in just 19 innings. If he keeps this up, fantasy owners who spend the roster spot (and even more importantly the St. Louis Cardinals) might have the biggest sleeper of the year that’s come out of nowhere.
Lynn’s youth and eligibility makes him even more of a reason why you should pick him up once you’re done reading this. He’s as old as Drabek (24-years-old) with a reliever position in fantasy currently. In a few starts, Lynn should be eligible for a starting spot. If one of your closers have gone down with a season-ending injury or you want to have six starters at once, he’s your guy to pick up. But hurry up, because he’s gaining some popularity quickly.
4. Cody Ross, Boston Red Sox- I’m a little disappointed that Ross isn’t that wanted in fantasy leagues. You can’t name many reasons at this point that could drive me away from him. I’ll start off with a few notes to consider.
Ross is 31-years-old playing in an outfield that currently is without Jacoby Ellsbury or Carl Crawford. Fenway Park is the definition of a major-league softball field, especially with the dimensions. Even with that, you know what you’re getting out of Ross every year (near 20 home runs and 70 RBI’s). These numbers could increase by playing 81 games at Fenway.
This season, Ross has hit .250 with two home runs and eight RBI’s. I know these numbers might not pop out at you like the other three previously mentioned, but at least you know what you’re getting from Ross. A consistent option playing in a hitter-friendly park sounds like a good combination to me.
5. Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals- Never known to be a first-half player, LaRoche has started off this season doing just that. In the two weeks of this young season, he’s hit .309 with two home runs and 13 RBI’s.
The reason why I think many owners don’t have him on their roster is because of Michael Morse. After having a breakout season last year, Morse was expected to get most of the starts this season until he got injured. He’s expected to sit six weeks before he even starts rehab with a strained lat muscle.
What does this mean for Washington? More starts for LaRoche. The 32-year-old has always been a consistent option for 25 homers and 80 RBI’s with a .262 average. Now that the odds are in the favor for LaRoche to be an everyday player for a good amount of time, pick him up. When Morse comes back, don’t drop him on the dime though. If LaRoche can keep up his pace, the Nationals might try to place Morse in the outfield so they can both get some playing time. And no, Bryce Harper’s debut won’t be because of these two Nats.