The Wire Troll: Mike Leake Flowing Well
Cameron Maybin will be back shortly.
The injuries continue to mount and third base — which was dreadfully thin heading into the season — has been a total nightmare. Adrian Beltre is dealing with a strained left quad that has sent him to the DL, and Ryan Zimmerman has also landed on the DL with a broken thumb that will sideline him 4-to-6 weeks. With Matt Dominguez, David Freese, Brett Lawrie, Pablo Sandoval, and Kyle Seager all looking up at the Mendoza Line, Fantasy owners are scrambling for hot corner options. We’re here to attempt to address those issues and more, so without further ado let’s get down to business.
Mike Leake, SP, Cincinnati Reds (CBS: 40 per cent owned, ESPN: 8 per cent): Leake has very quietly enjoyed a solid start to the season. He was totally dominant against a very good St. Louis Cardinals lineup last week, scattering four hits over eight innings of shutout ball. Coming off a 14-win campaign last year, Leake will provide a lot more value as a fifth/sixth starter in your Fantasy rotation than he’s currently being given credit for. Hell, he’s not a bad golfer, either (see video below).
Cameron Maybin, OF, San Diego Padres (CBS: 6 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Maybin is currently rehabbing from the ruptured left biceps tendon tear that he suffered this spring, but he’s likely to be back before May. Remember, he did steal 40 bases back in 2011. If you need speed, buying in now could save you a buck or two down the road.
Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds (CBS: 35 per cent owned, ESPN: 5 per cent): Yes, Mesoraco started the season on the DL and, no, he has yet to fulfill his potential but a 35 per cent ownership in CBS indicates there is an opportunity here. As the everyday catcher in Cincinnati this year, he has double-digit power potential and deserves a lot more respect than he’s currently getting.
Robbie Erlin, SP, San Diego Padres (CBS: 17 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Erlin won the fifth starter gig out of Spring Training and finally got his first start of the year last week against Cleveland. The 23-year-old southpaw tossed 6 2/3 innings of four-hit ball to earn the win. Next on the agenda, Erlin faces the Rockies and Giants in a two-start week. For those playing in H2H formats, he’s a solid streaming option.
Dayan Viciedo, OF, Chicago White Sox (CBS: 20 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Avisail Garcia is lost for the year with a torn labrum. The ChiSox called up Jordan Danks, but Viciedo is likely to be the beneficiary of most of Garcia’s at-bats. Remember that Viciedo hit 25 homers as a 23-year-old in 2012 before struggling mightily last season. This is a great opportunity for him to get untracked and demonstrate that 2012 wasn’t a fluke.
Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Chicago White Sox (CBS: 9 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): Gillaspie is off to a great start with the ChiSox. This is a dude that for the most part was a forgotten man this spring given the offseason acquisition of Matt Davidson, but two weeks into the season he has not only secured the job but is sporting a .342 BA with nine RBI. Gillaspie has also managed to find a way to walk five times in his first 38 at-bats. He’s sure to be a hot commodity this week as teams try to fill their third base hole.
JB Shuck, OF, Los Angeles Angels (CBS: 2 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Why, oh why, do players slide head first into first base? Maybe Josh Hamilton can provide us with an answer while he watches Shuck platoon in his outfield slot for the next two months.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians (CBS: 22 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): In his season debut, Bauer demonstrated why we still consider him to be one of the best pitching prospects in the game. In six innings, he allowed four hits, two walks and only one earned run while fanning eight. Bauer was needed to fill in during Wednesday’s double-header and immediately sent back to Triple-A Columbus, but rest assured there will be more opportunities this season.
Josmil Pinto, C, Minnesota Twins (CBS: 16 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Pinto’s ability to hit has never been questioned and although he’s currently behind Kurt Suzuki on the catcher depth chart in the Twin Cities, Minny has been sneaking his bat into the lineup as the DH recently. Those extra at-bats do carry value. Pinto hit his second long ball of the year Friday and in two-catcher sets, he should be rostered.
Cesar Ramos, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (CBS: 1 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Matt Moore is out indefinitely with a partially torn UCL and the Rays are giving Ramos first shot at filling the void. He’s facing the Reds Sunday in Cincinnati, followed up by a home date with the Yankees. Ramos is coming off a solid spring and definitely worth a stash, but having him active next week is a bit risky.
Kyle Gibson, SP, Minnesota Twins (CBS: 9 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent owned): In two starts and 11 1/3 IP, Gibson has two wins, but has allowed eight walks, which could be a bad sign of things to come. Still, he’s worth a look in AL-only formats.
Cody Ross, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (CBS: 3 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Ross is currently rehabbing at Triple-A Reno and should get most of the PT in left field when he’s back. He has 20 home run potential.
Dustin McGowan, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (CBS: 4 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): McGowan shut down the Orioles Friday with 6 shutout 1/3 innings for his first win in nearly six… yes, you read that right… six years. It’s been a very long path for him, so you have to take your hat off to him for not giving up when it would have been very easy to do so.
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, Texas Rangers (CBS/ESPN: unowned): With Beltre on the DL, Kouzmanoff will get his chance.
Steven Souza, OF, Washington Nationals (CBS: 1 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Denard Span is on the 7-day concussion DL and Jayson Werth is dealing with groin issues. Souza is likely a short-term option but his power-speed potential is intriguing.
Pedro Strop, RP, Chicago Cubs (CBS: 22 per cent owned, ESPN: 16 per cent): How do you spell relief in Chicago? Remove Jose Veras from the closer gig. Keep a close watch on how this situation shakes out. Strop is likely to get the first crack at saves, but you can’t rule out Hector Rondon from working his way into the mix.
Shawn Kelley, RP, New York Yankees (CBS: 28 per cent owned, ESPN: 21 per cent): David Robertson should be back next week, but in the interim Kelley could garner a smattering of saves. The worst case scenario is that down the road you own a very capable setup man who is obviously next-in-line should Robertson falter or get hurt again.
Edward Mujica, RP, Boston Red Sox (CBS: 9 per cent owned, ESPN: 2 per cent): Mujica stepped in Friday with Koji Uehara dealing with a stiff shoulder and shut down the side in order. We now know that Mujica is the man should Uehara need a stint on the DL but don’t forget about Junichi Tazawa who is off to a great start.
Al Alburquerque, RP, Detroit Tigers (CBS: 4 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): Joe Nathan is dealing with a “dead arm.” Either Alburquerque or Joba Chamberlain could find themselves in the short-term mix for saves in the Motor City.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.
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