Fantasy baseball leagues come in all shapes and sizes. Well, mostly just different sizes. For those of you in leagues with more than 14 teams, or ones with much larger rosters, it can be a constant struggle to find quality players on the waiver wire.
If you missed my debut piece on Tuesday, I’ll reintroduce myself: I’m Seth, and I will be your tour guide for the duration of this article. But unlike other tours where you may get an up-close view of Jaws’ chompers or see where lustful White House pages sneak off to, this column will take you to the nether reaches of your league’s waiver wire, where only the bottom 10 percent live. It may not be as exciting as stepping into Captain Quint’s shoes, but it could very well help you win your fantasy baseball league. And that’s something 44 U.S. Presidents cannot say they’ve accomplished.
For the purpose of this column, I will be using ownership percentages provided by ESPN.com. All suggested players will be under 10 percent owned and can deliver current or future value in all deep leagues.
(stats and ownership percentages are through Tuesday’s games)
Kyle Blanks, OF/1B, Rangers (3.0% owned)
A recent elbow injury to Mitch Moreland opened up a spot on the Rangers roster, and Blanks has run with the opportunity, hitting .391/.440/.826 with 3 HR and 5 RBI in six games since his call up to the big club.
Blanks has demonstrated his hulking power throughout his six-year career but has never been able to put together a full season with his 308 plate appearances in 2013 marking a career high. Even though his chances were limited that year, he still managed to sock eight homers and drive in 35 runs. The lack of at bats over his career has been due to a combination of some poor health and that he’s never really been given a fair shot at playing time.
As locked in as he is right now, Blanks is a must-own player in pretty much all leagues, not just the deeper ones. He will lose at bats once Moreland returns, but this is one of those “ride ’em while they’re hot” situations. Leonys Martin and Ryan Rua are both out with injuries, so if Blanks can keep this up, there may be room for him to play some outfield when they return. Remember, he won’t turn 29 until September, which means he’s right in the prime of his career, even if he’s never really had much of one.
Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals (2.2% owned)
With a league-leading 20 wins and a current eight-game winning streak, the Cardinals have been the hottest and best team in baseball (sorry, Astros). The whole team is hitting well, but center fielder Jay has been the cog at the heart of it all.
After batting first all season, Matt Carpenter was moved to the No. 2 spot, pushing Jay into the leadoff role. This was eight games ago, and the Cards have reeled off eight consecutive victories. Coincidence? I think not.
Carpenter is a doubles machine, and by bumping him down one spot in the order, it has allowed him to drive in more runs with those gappers. Of course, Jay has happily bought into the cause, as any good teammate should do. During the team’s current winning streak, the Cards’ new table setter has a .290 batting average with a fantastic .389 on-base percentage and just two strikeouts in 36 PA.
He finally got a day off on Wednesday, ceding his spot to Peter Bourjos, but he should be back in the lineup on Thursday and for the foreseeable future.