In the movie ‘Dumb and Dumber’ Harry and Lloyd are driving down the road singing “Mockingbird” about to get whacked by a hitman who is riding with them when they see a Hispanic family on the side of the road. “Pick ‘em up,” says Lloyd.
The hitman holsters the gun he was about to use on them and Harry and Lloyd are safe for the time-being.
Fantasy baseball can be a lot like that. Your team’s early performance could be about to put you in a hole early in the season, but a few well-timed pickups could either turn everything around for you or at least keep you in the game until your slow-starters come around.
The following are players owned in less than 50 percent of most leagues who could have an immediate positive impact on your team.
Gerardo Parra OF Arizona Diamondbacks – He looks to have added some pop and speed to his arsenal after hitting 8 HRs with 15 SBs in 144 games in 2011. He already has 2 HRs, 4 SBs, 8 Rs, and 6 RBIs (after yesterday’s Grand Slam) and will continue to see action as long as Chris Young and Justin Upton are sidelined.
Jose Altuve 2B Houston Astros - Altuve has decent speed and won’t hurt your batting average. He’s red hot right now and although he could turn out to be an empty-average hitter, right now he could be just the piece to give your middle infield a boost. After all, average, runs, and stolen bases count in Roto and H2H leagues.
Darwin Barney 2b Chicago Cubs - See Altuve, Jose. But seriously, less speed than Altuve with .293 AVG, 8 Rs, 1 HR, and 7 RBIs in 2012. He’s a Top 12-15 second-baseman this year.
Alejandro De Aza OF Chicago White Sox - His 2012 BABIP (.279) is 62 points lower than his career average hinting that he is a bit unlucky to start off the season. Yet, he still has managed a .268 AVG with 14 Rs, 3 HRs, 7 RBIs, and 2 SB. If he’s available in your league don’t worry – he’s legit. Plus, with guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford on the DL he could really give your team an edge in the outfield.
Bartolo Colon SP Oakland A’s - The portly right-hander is off to a great start with a 3-1 record in four starts with a 2.63 ERA, .080 WHIP, and 19 Ks to only 2 BBs. I think his ERA will come up to the 3.20 range but he pitches in a pitchers park and gets to share a division with the Seattle Mariners. Not a bad combo.
Jason Vargas SP Seattle Mariners - A 2.84 ERA and 19 Ks thus far Vargas pitches in the friendly confines of Safeco and gets to share a division with the lowly Oakland A’s. He has a 0.99 WHIP in-spite of 7 BBs through four starts. Pick him up for his home starts against anyone but the Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, etc., and also use him on the road against lesser offenses.
1. These guys may or may not be available in your league, but if they are they could provide a substantial boon to teams who have slow-starting and/or DL players. If they are not available in your league then do a little research. Finding and claiming Waiver Wire gems are an important part to succeeding in fantasy baseball.
2. Don’t get caught up in name recognition. Use the statistics. Never be afraid to cut-bait with an established player (such as Adam Dunn in 2011) for an up-and-comer who could be the next Starlin Castro.
3. Have fun. If you want to pick up a player because he’s on the team you watch play four times per week then, by all mean, pick him up and root for him. Have a little fun with it (with the caveat, of course, that it could hinder your team’s performance a little bit). Folks play fantasy baseball for two reasons. Fun and competition. If you put more emphasis on fun then good for you. If you just want to win then good for you too.
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