Fantasy Baseball Pickups — Walking the Wire After Week One
Can you believe it’s been a week already?
Sure the sample size is small, but there is plenty to be taken from what we have seen. The biggest thing I have taken away this week is the fact that the Houston Astros know how to strike out. Through their first six games they have whiffed 74 times. To put that into perspective that puts them on a pace to strikeout 1,997 times. The 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks hold the record for a team with 1,529. This is going to be a situation to exploit all season long from a Fantasy perspective.
Every week in this column we will highlight players at each position that can help your Fantasy squad. Whether your team gets bit by the injury bug or your players just flat out suck, you are going to be picking guys up off waivers. So without further ado, let’s get at this.
** Percentage available taken from ESPN on Sunday April 7th
J.P. Arencibia, C, TOR (80.3%)
The Blue Jays shipped top prospect Travis D’Arnaud in the deal that brought knuckleballer R.A. Dickey north of the border over the offseason. That move solidified Arencibia as the teams franchise backstop, and locks him in for 130 starts this season. He has legit 20-plus homer power, and has already shown it. The question here is can he hit for average? The answer is somewhat. The 27-year old has the ability to improve into the .250-to-.260 range. Doing so makes him a serviceable option this year.
Mark Reynolds, 1B, BAL (55.5%)
Picking up Reynolds depends entirely on the makeup of your team. If you loaded up on guys that hit for average at your draft, he is a gamble you can take. Sure he is a career .235 hitter that has struck out in 32.6 percent of his plate appearances, but he has hit 181 homers over his last six seasons. Only twelve players have a higher total over that time span.
Jed Gyorko, 2B, SD (65.0%)
The 24-year old rookie has been pedestrian over his first six games, hitting .261 with three RBIs. The lack of a big start has him actually getting dropped in many leagues. What many forget is that this kid was a career .319 hitter in the minors 55 homers over his last two seasons. He may take a bit to settle in, but he will reward owners with patience once the switch does turn on.
Matt Carpenter, 3B, STL (37.0%)
Carpenter actually won the second base job in Spring Training but is filling in for David Freese until he returns from injury. He is flying off waiver wires for his ability hit for average and score runs at the top of a very potent Cards lineup. With eligibility at first base, third base and outfield with second base coming, he is the exact type of player every fantasy team needs.
Jean Segura, SS, MIL (79.5%)
Segura left Sunday’s game against the Diamondbacks with a bruised left quad, but he was likely taken out of the game to play it safe. Don’t let that deter you. Segura offers plus speed that he can mix with a decent average. He compares very favorably to the Royals Alcides Escobar, who happens to have 100 percent ownership. See what I am getting at here?
Franklin Gutierrez, OF, SEA (86.7%)
Gutierrez isn’t what one would call a model of health, but when he does play he offers the upside of a borderline 20-20 guy. Right now he is locked in as the Mariners center fielder and leading off for their improved lineup. That isn’t a bad place to be. Expect him to provide solid run totals and to start getting snatched up off waiver wires in the coming weeks.
Vernon Wells, OF, NYY (88.8%)
Sure he is 34, and yes he was absolutely miserable last season. But part of his struggles were in part due to the fact he just didn’t receive regular playing time. The Yankees can offer plenty at the moment, and with 500 plus at-bats he can offer up numbers similar to what Cody Ross did last season (.267-70-22-81). Those are fourth outfielder numbers. At this point I am buying.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, SEA (32.2%)
There really isn’t all that much that screams flashy about Iwakuma. What he does do, and well, is keep himself in a ball game. He has started 18 games since coming over to the states and has yet to give up over four earned runs. Solid control and an ability to induce the ground ball will allow him to help Fantasy owners with wins, ERA and WHIP. This guy will be owned in just about every league by this time next week.
Kelvin Herrera, RP, KC (99.4%)
The struggles of Greg Holland to start the season make this a name you need to keep tabs on. If you play in an extremely deep league or one that scores holds this guy should be on a roster. Last year he posted a 2.35 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and struck out 77 in 84.1 innings as a 22 year old. His electric fastball is already one of the best in the league. If he gets the chance to close, he won’t lose the job.
Jim Henderson, RP, MIL (98.6%)
I hate John Axford. Not personally, just as a closer. I labeled him a bust to start the season in our preseason write-up and he sure has done nothing to disappoint. He has already blown a save, just took a loss in the Brewers extra inning loss on Sunday and has given up four homers. It’s just a matter of when, not if he loses his job. Henderson will get the first crack, so if you are looking for saves now is the time to make the add.