I was right about Aaron Harang, Matt Harrison, and Sam Fuld last week, so once again, I’ll do a weekly review of five players who are available in at least 50% of Yahoo leagues that you should definitely keep your eye on, as well as one AL-only and one NL-only special. We publish every Monday, in time for you to set your lineups, but feel free to post comments and questions throughout the week and I’ll be sure to answer all.
Jason Kubel/Jonny Gomes (Tie) – 49% owned.
Gomes and Kubel are very similar players, i.e. good sources of power and bad sources of batting average. Right now, Gomes is hitting the cover off the ball and drawing walks (something he rarely does) and Kubel, on the other hand, just hit his second home run on Sunday (to go with a whopping 4 RBI) but is hitting a decidedly unKubel-like .321. I think both should be owned, but beware of the streaks, for good (like Gomes right now) and evil (like Kubel the first 10 days). Ultimately, I lean toward Kubel because is more of a guarantee to get the at-bats. Gomes has had more than 400 at-bats once in his career, while Kubel has done it 4 straight years.
David Murphy – 40%
The major beneficiary of Josh Hamilton’s broken arm, Murphy should be owned in EVERY SINGLE LEAGUE. He hits in the best lineup in baseball, is guaranteed virtually daily playing time for the next two months and beyond when Nelson Cruz or Julio Borbon inevitably get hurt, and has generally acquitted himself when he’s gotten playing time. A lifetime .280 hitter with decent pop (double digit homers three years in a row in limited at bats), decent speed (14 steals last year and 4 in 8 games already this year), and an OPS hovering around .800, you should pick up Murphy right now.
Johnny Damon – 19%
The brilliant Joe Maddon finally figured out that since Damon can still hit but can’t do much in the field, Johnny Jesus should serve as the Rays’ Designated Hitter. And since that move, Damon has been on fire. I know he’s only hitting .218, but his BABIP is a paltry .237 – SEVENTY points below his career average. He has 3 homers, 12 RBI, 3 steals, and is seeing daily playing time. He’s well worth a pick-up – his numbers are only going to improve.
Chris Iannetta – 14%
Actually owned in fewer leagues than John Jaso and Ryan Doumit, Iannetta is quietly putting together a nice April. His batting average leaves something to be desired, but power from a catcher is worth its weight in gold, and Iannetta has that. Only five catchers have more home runs this year (and one of them, Jorge Posada, is hitting .171), his 7 RBI are two fewer than the position lead, and only the red hot Miguel Montero has more runs scored than his 8. If you can withstand the batting average pains, Iannetta is a solid option at catcher.
Mitchell Boggs – 5%
About to blow up in the ownership ranks, Boggs is the most closer-like pitcher in the Cardinals bullpen. Though the move is totally speculative at this point, the last time a Cardinals closer had a run like Ryan Franklin’s, it was Jason Isringhausen in May 2008. After blowing two straight saves and capping a miserable two weeks where he blew 4 saves in 7 tries (making Franklin’s 4 in 5 look that much worse), TLR replaced Isringhausen with the previously untested…Ryan Franklin. Moral of the story? Go get Boggs.
AL Only Special – Felix Pie – 1%
I have to admit – this was particularly tough for me to choose, since everyone is gone in most AL-only leagues. Pie, however, is a purely speculative but worthwhile pickup. He is the first outfielder off the bench for the Orioles, and between days off, injuries (both Adam Jones and Luke Scott miss time every year due to injury) and the need for a burst of speed, Pie will find his way onto the field.
NL Only Special – Miguel Batista – 1%
Chances are, Boggs and Jason Motte are probably owned by now in your NL-Only league, but Batista could be a sleeper. No one has any idea what Tony LaRussa will do, but given Ryan Franklin’s complete inability to close a game, and Batista’s 31 saves in 2005, Batista may be worth owning. And at 1%, he’s probably out there, even in the deepest of leagues.
Written by Jesse Mendelson exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com. Find and follow Jesse on Facebook.
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Tags: The Fantasy Fix, Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire, Week Three, Fantasy Baseball Advice, Fantasy Baseball Tips, AL Only, NL Only, Jesse Mendelson, Miguel Batista, Felix Pie, Mitchell Boggs, Chris Ianetta, Johnny Damon, David Murphy, Jason Kubel, Jonny Gomes