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2013 Fantasy Baseball: Week 1 Waiver Wire Hunting

The end of Spring Training is a hectic time for every team. When teams finalize their rosters they have to expose some players on waivers. Every other team has to decide if their 24th and 25th guy is better than what is available on the waiver wire. In a similar way, you can take a look at what is available on the waiver wire to see if there are some draft mistakes you can eliminate.

I will be doing a more thorough series on this using TRI, but I thought I would highlight one name at each position that somehow went overlooked in most drafts. Here are the rules: each player has to have been overlooked in at least 75 percent of Yahoo drafts. I choose Yahoo because it happens to be the platform I know best, but it should be fairly consistent throughout platforms.

Catcher: A.J. Ellis (13 percent owned)

I don’t get this one. Of course, I don’t have him in any of my three leagues, so whom am I to judge? He is the regular catcher on a team that will be a contender. He is an on base machine with decent power potential. He may not be regular catcher material, but if you are desperate he is a lot better than most of the alternatives.

First Base: Yonder Alonso (9 percent owned)

Again, no one would mistake him for a fantasy starter, but he is a guy that gets underrated because a lack of home run power. Sure, home runs are nice, but Alonso is a line drive hitter that should improve with more experience. If you are one of the unlucky ones that got stuck with Mark Teixeira you can use a decent hitter.

Second Base: Omar Infante (21 percent owned)

Like Ellis, Infante is a not a brilliant offensive player, but there aren’t many of those that get passed over. He plays for a playoff contender that has a good offense. We’ve heard that before too. He should be a good bet to get you through some tough times.

Third Base: Lonnie Chisenhall (12 percent owned)

I actually did add him in one league. The Indians decided to give him the everyday job when they let Jack Hannahan go. He was supposed to be the regular last year, but had some difficulty adjusting. Prospects rarely pan out in their first opportunity. He may not be a great bet to bust out, but he should also improve with more time.

Shortstop: Yunel Escobar (10 percent owned)

He had a bad year last year in many ways, but a change of scenary might be the key to him returning to his days as a top ten fantasy shortstop. If you want some insurance on your starting shortstop you could do a lot worse.

Outfield 1: Will Venable (3 percent owned)

Check out my platoon advantage articles on this guy. He doesn’t play everyday in San Diego but he seems to produce when he does play. Furthermore, Yahoo has him eligible at all three outfield positions. If you play in a position specific league he is that much more valuable.

Outfield 2: Denard Span (16 percent owned)

Again, I’m not sure why he went undrafted in so many leagues. He will be a regular in a good lineup and he can offer your team some speed. I am not one to overvalue speed, but when you have a regular outfielder that is capable of stealing 30 or more bases it is hard to believe he got so little love.

Outfield 3: Matt Joyce (6 percent owned)

He is eligible at both corner outfield slots and he should be good for 20 home runs if healthy.  He didn’t play everyday last year and that is probably why he didn’t get drafted this year. He is a lot like Will Venable in the fact that he is productive when he plays. As a regular it would infuriate you when he sits, but on your bench he could get you through some tough times.

Starting Pitcher: Jeff Niemann (5 percent owned)

TRI can explain many things, but it can’t explain what is going on with the Rays. Incidentally, TRI does explain what pitchers would do in a neutral environment. The Rays have been baseball’s best fielding team over the past several seasons. That fielding tends to make pitchers like Niemann look a lot better than what they are. You benefit in the end anyway.

Relief Pitcher: Andrew Bailey (9 percent owned)

Based on last season, Joel Hanrahan was lucky to be as effective as he was. Luck has a way of catching up to relief pitchers. Drafting setup men with vulnerable closers is a good strategy. Picking up those guys on waivers is an even better idea.


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