So the regular season begins tomorrow and one of your players is finally placed on the DL and its time to grab someone off the waiver wire. Or after days of debate you’ve finally decided that one bench player probably isn’t going to be enough for you. Who do you add? This should have all your answers.
Catcher – So you drafted Bryce Harper hoping he would make the team and now you don’t have a catcher? Seriously this shouldn’t have happened to anyone. But there really aren’t any catchers who will be starting the season on the DL. If you’ve decided you don’t like your catcher and want an upgrade there are probably a few undrafted options in your player pool. Jorge Posada will be the DH for the Yankees and should play most days. He’s a better option than owning a guys like John Buck or Carlos Ruiz. JP Arencibia is also worth looking at. Arencibia may hurt your average a bit, but he has a lot of power potential in a power hungry Blue Jays lineup. Chris Ianetta, who was once on many people’s sleeper list is also a candidate to finally have a healthy season with decent power. And then there are the three starting catchers for last year’s top 3 teams in the AL East. John Jaso, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Russell Martin. All have value because of who they play for.
First Base – If your a Kendrys Morales owner like myself your hoping the Angels finally place him on the DL today so that you can make your move for tomorrow. Or if you own Justin Morneau watch his status today to see if he will start the season on the field or on the injured list. Your going to have to do some research later today as some camps break to see exactly what is going on for this important position. If Brandon Belt makes the team for the Giants then grab him whether or not you need a 1B. DL Morales and add him, or stash him on your bench, or trade someone, or something. Just get Belt. I would imagine the decision will be made later today, and if he is on that roster he is my pick for NL Rookie of the Year. If you are unsure of his status grab Freddie Freeman. He is the starting 1B guaranteed and he’s hitting in that great Braves lineup. Kila Ka’aihue is another good young option who is guaranteed a spot. With these young guys you have to be patient. Do not cut guys if they don’t produce right away, because if you do then you will be regretting it in May or June when they show the potential you know they had. I can see any of these guys exploding out of the gate and producing right away. But what if you want something more proven? (Which you shouldn’t. Just take my advice and get one of those 3.) We all know Luke Scott goes on those streaky hot streaks and is a must own when he does. Well he just started one of those streaky hot streaks at the end of spring training and I believe it will carry over into the first week of the season. His streak should last until about the time that Kendrys Morales comes back. Other pickup options at 1B are Derrek Lee (who is starting opening day), Gaby Sanchez, Ike Davis, Michael Morse, and Lance Berkman. All of those guys should produce nicely in April.
Second Base – Yikes, Utley’s injury doesn’t sound good. You might need someone to fill in for a few months. Of course the first guy I’ll mention is Tsuyoshi Nishikoka! What do you mean you didn’t draft him???? Aaron Hill has looked great this spring and a lot of people think he will have a full bounce back. Do I? Nope. But, he’s an okay add. Ryan Raburn should be a good pickup worth a lot of power and multiple eligibility. Neil Walker, Danny Espinosa, and Sean Rodriguez are good adds too.
Third Base – Casey McGehee avoided the DL, but it looks like Ian Stewart is going to hit it. Believe it or not, Chipper Jones may be your guy. Chipper is healthy (at least this hour), starting, and hitting in the heart of the best lineup in the National League. He has Prado in front of him and McCann, Heyward, and Freeman behind him. Enough said. Edwin Encarnacion and Danny Valencia will be owned in all leagues by the end of April. You might as well get them now if you need 3B help. David Freese could be a nice add too.
Short Stop – Stephen Drew could miss a few games to start the season but it looks like he will avoid a DL stint. Other than that SS seems to be pretty healthy. Depending on who was drafted Ian Desmond, Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alcides Escobar, and Omar Infante are good pickups. Escobar is good for speed. But he’s not better than Tsuyoshi Nishioka! He’s the first guy I’d pick up. Especially at shortstop. And if he doesn’t perform to yours (and my) expectations then just cut him. He’s low risk high reward.
Outfield – Corey Hart is starting on the DL and proving my bust projection of him pretty early on. If you need to grab someone to fill in for him, or you foolishly had Nolan Reimold here are some options. Will Venable has skyrocketed up my rankings since I wrote my outfield piece. Venable is leading off for the Padres, should increase his average to around .270, could hit 20 HR, and could steal 40 bases. Those are great numbers. Ryan Raburn is eligible at OF and the best thing is that he can also fill in at 2B for you when there is an off day or if your guy hits a slump. It’s always good to have depth. Brett Gardner is leading off for the Yankees. He could lead the league in steals. Jose Tabata is usually available and should help you with average and speed. Carlos Beltran looks like he will start. Alfonso Soriano seems to have stronger knees and could bounce back to 30 HR again. Thats not a stretch seeing how he quietly hit 24 last year. Dexter Fowler is another good leadoff hitter option if you want runs and steals. Magglio Ordonez will hit for a high average until he gets hurt again. I spoke in the 1B pickups about Luke Scott. The same can be applied here. The same for Michael Morse as well. That guy doesn’t seem to stop hitting. Don’t sleep on Johnny Damon. He should be a key part of that Rays offense.
Starting Pitcher – The biggest injury bug bite is with starting pitchers. Guys who are on the DL or may go on the DL today are Zack Greinke, Mat Latos, Brandon Morrow, Johnny Cueto, Jake Peavy, Jair Jurrjens, Johan Santana, JA Happ, and Homer Bailey. The best guy to grab is Michael Pineda. He made the Mariners rotation and is instantly an AL Rookie of the Year candidate. If you missed out on Jeremy Hellickson, here is your second chance. Brandon Beachy has made the Braves rotation and is another solid add. Anyone pitching for that Braves offense is worth owning. Erik Bedard looked great this spring and can put up ace like numbers each start. If he is unowned I’d look into making a spot for him. Other guys who have made rotations in the #5 spot and are worth taking a chance on in very deep leagues are Chris Capuano, Brandon McCarthy, and Tom Gorzelanny. If your looking for some opening day starters who will pitch a lot in the beginning and are unowned you can get Mark Buehrle, Jeremy Guthrie, Livan Hernandez, Luke Hochevar, and Kevin Correia. Of course, if Tim Stauffer is unowned grab him immediately and regardless. He is also the opening day starter and is going to have a huge season. I also really like Carlos Carrasco. He is a great add. As is Rick Porcello. A few guys who are in the rotation temporarily are Mike Leake, Chris Tillman, and Mike Minor. Leake is already proven and can stay with success. Tillman may go to AAA by the end of April with Justin Duchscherer returning and Zach Britton coming up, and Minor may make a start if Jurrjens hits the DL.
Closer – Brian Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Brad Lidge, David Aardsma and Frank Francisco will all start on the DL. Their backups are Jeremy Affeldt (not recommended), Brian Fuentes (recommended), Jose Contreras (recommended), Brandon League (recommended) and Jon Rauch (recommended). Pick up Craig Kimbrel if he’s available. Don’t be frustrated by Venters stealing a save or two early and hold on to him. Kimbrel is a favorite by many to win NL Rookie of the Year. (See 1B above for my pick.)
Good luck. If you ever have any add/drop or trade questions just comment on here, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit thefantasygod.tumblr.com I will continue to do pieces throughout the season and will be updating on who to add and drop.