Baseball is finally here! My Reds made the playoffs last year but lost in the first round. I’m hoping for better things this year. To start the year, they are in first place and it would be great if they would just stay there all season.
There are some surprises already. The Red Sox started off 0-6 before winning a game. And Cleveland was projected to be terrible but sits atop their division right now at 7-2. Granted, that probably won’t last but it’s a nice start.
If you were happy with your draft, it may be too early to make some changes. But if you’ve had some injuries, or if you lose patience quickly (like me), you might need (or want) to change some things up. With that in mind, here is the first list of waiver wire pickups that you should take a look at. The baseball season is long and I may not get a list ready for every week but I’ll try to do the best that I can.
Jordan Walden (RP, Angels) – The closer for the Angels was Fernando Rodney. Have you ever owned Rodney before? Well, I have and he’s not reliable. At all. And after sucking, Rodney got demoted and Walden is in. The Angels could be in for a lot of wins so Walden has a shot at saves if he can keep the job. The Angels say Rodney’s demotion is only temporary but even if he gets the job back, he’s bound to lose it again at some point. I’m in two leagues and Walden was already gone in one. I was able to pick him up in the second league though.
Chris Iannetta (C, Rockies) – Iannetta has had to share the catching job for a few years but the job is all his now. After four games, he’s batting .313 with a home run and two RBI. I keep reading that he has 20-homer potential so if your catcher is sucking, he might be worth a look.
Alex Gordon (3B/OF, Royals) – For years, Gordon was supposed to break out and be a star for the Royals and he just hasn’t taken off. This year, he’s off to a great start and maybe this will be his year. He’s batting .379 after six games with a home run, 7 runs and 4 RBI.
Russell Martin (C, Yankees) – Martin was a decent fantasy force for years. He’s a catcher that hit for a good average but he also got steals which is great at that position. He was hurt last year and released and most people thought he was done. Apparently, he’s not. I just wish he was doing it for someone other than the Yankees. He’s batting .300 so far with 4 RBI, 3 runs and 2 stolen bases. So it looks like he might be a lot more healthy than people thought.
Michael Pineda (SP, Mariners) – Pineda made his major league debut against the Rangers. He threw six innings, gave up 3 runs on 5 hits and had 4 strikeouts. He took the loss but the Rangers offense has been on fire and Pineda did pretty well against them. The Mariners’ offense blows but they have high hopes for this kid.
Aaron Harang (SP, Padres) – As a former Red, I have a soft spot for Harang. He pitched a lot of innings for the Reds over the years and I’m grateful to him for that. He was going to cost too much money for the Reds to keep him so I was ok with him leaving. Now he’s pitching in a big ballpark and could do well. In his debut for the Padres, he pitched six innings and gave up one run on six hits against the Giants.
Michael Brantley (OF, Indians) – Brantley is a promising young player. He’s had a hit in his first 5 games and is batting .316 with 4 RBI, 2 runs and a stolen base. He’s got speed and there is potential for 25-30 stolen bases. If you can stash him, you’ll be able to use him when you need a boost in steals.
Wilson Ramos (C, Nationals) – Ramos is sharing time with Ivan Rodriguez but the team says that Ramos will get more and more playing time as they go. Ramos has played better than Rodriguez and is their catcher of the future. At some point, he’ll become the catcher of their present. So far, he’s batting .412 with 2 runs and 2 walks.
Carlos Quentin (OF, White Sox) – I had Quentin on my team last year and he was banged up and just didn’t do much. He would have gone undrafted in our league but I took a chance on him late in case he was healthy. After the draft, I realized that I had too many outfielders and needed depth at other positions so I dropped Quentin, thinking he’d still be there when I wanted him back. Well, Quentin has been on a tear, batting .400 with 2 home runs, 6 runs and 10 RBI. And as you can guess, he was not there when I went to pick him back up. Maybe you’ll have better luck.
Neil Walker (2B/3B, Pirates) – Walker started off really hot and has cooled off just a bit. His average is down to .300 after 10 games, which isn’t bad. He also has 2 home runs, 9 RBI and 7 runs scored. Walker has had a hit in every game but two.
Freddy Sanchez (2B, Giants) – Sanchez always seems to be available in my leagues every season and I’ve picked him up before. You can almost always count on him to help with your batting average and he’s hitting .314 right now. He also has scored 6 runs, has a home run, a triple and 4 RBI. He doesn’t get many steals at all and any home runs are bonus. But if you need help in runs or batting average, he’s a nice option.
Joel Hanrahan (RP, Pirates) – Hanrahan won the closer job in spring training and hasn’t let go. He’s got 4 saves already, which is more than any closer I have on my teams (I think). He’s pitched 6.1 innings and has 8 K’s so far. The Pirates weren’t projected to get many wins and they’ve been a surprise so far and Hanrahan might be a decent fill in or upgrade for you.
Derek Lowe (SP, Braves) – Lowe was drafted in some leagues so he may not be available in yours. He’s already pitched in three games and his record is 1-2 but both losses were close and he got no run support. His ERA is 1.45, so that tells you he’s pitching well. He’s not a huge strikeout pitcher but he’s got 15 already, which is the amount of hits he’s given up as well.
Travis Wood (SP, Reds) – Wood pitched great in his first game of the season, going 7 innings and striking out 7 while only giving up a run. In his second outing, he got shelled for 6 runs in 5 innings. Wood only has 19 career starts and he’s only given up four or more runs on two occasions. He doesn’t strike out a ton of batters and has 11 K’s so far but his command is usually very good, as shown by only walking 2 for the season.
I wrote this list over the course of a couple of days so a few stats may be a game outdated. Hopefully your real team is off to a nice start and it’s always nice if your fantasy team can grab a win or two to start the season. So good luck and here’s hoping for a good year.
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