The biggest beneficiary of the injuries to the St. Louis Cardinals sluggers Lance Berkman, Allen Craig and Jon Jay should be rookie first baseman Matt Adams. With Berkman out for 6-8 weeks (if not longer) and Craig out at least a couple more weeks, Adams’ time to shine has to be now or else he won’t be sticking around through the summer months.
Adams was tearing it up at AAA Memphis with a .340 batting average and a .603 slugging percentage with 10 doubles and nine home runs in 37 games. Add in his 54 home runs and 189 RBI over his previous two seasons at A/AA and you’re looking at a player who could have a serious impart for the Cardinals at the major league level. Had Berkman not been injured, we probably wouldn’t have seen Adams in the majors until a September call up or until 2013.
Shallow league owners probably have time to wait and see if Adams produces immediately (2-for-8; 1 Run in 2 games) or not but those of us in deeper mixed leagues or NL-only ones have to pounce immediately. He’s only owned in 3.5% of ESPN leagues (surely that is on the rise as I type this artilce), 14% of Yahoo! leagues and 48% of CBS leagues (already that high?).
Here are some other fantasy baseball players worth a look who may still be available on your league’s waiver wire:
1B/OF Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres: Since April 25th, Alonso has gone 30-for-84 (.357 BA) with 11 doubles and a home run. He’s not going to bring you the power numbers you’d want from your first base position but could be a nice option at a CI, IF or DH/UTL in mid-sized mixed leagues. He’s only owned in 36.1% of ESPN leagues, 26% of Yahoo! leagues and 56% of CBS leagues.
OF Gregor Blanco, San Francisco Giants: In the month of May, Blanco has earned 14 games started and hasn’t disappointed. He’s gone 17-for-54 (.315 BA) with 13 walks (.448 OBP), three stolen bases and 14 runs scored with the majority of those at bats coming from the leadoff position. If you’re hurting for outfield help, give Blanco a look. He’s only owned in 20% of ESPN leagues, 8% of Yahoo! leagues and 16% of CBS leagues.
RP Brian Fuentes, Oakland Athletics: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…Fuentes is a closer, again! Over his last six appearances, he’s recorded a win and three saves (in three chances) with six strikeouts in seven innings. Saves are saves and all closers should be owned in all formats. He’s owned in 40.1% of ESPN leagues, 41% of Yahoo! leagues and 45% of CBS leagues.
SP Derek Lowe, Cleveland Indians: In nine starts this season, Lowe has compiled a 6-2 record with eight quality starts, allowing two runs or less in seven starts. Unfortunately, he’s only struck out 15 batters in 58.2 innings pitched (2.3 K/9, UGH!). A career 5.9 K/9 isn’t great but I can’t imagine he’s now a 2.3 K/9 pitcher. I’d look to use him as a streaming option in shallow leagues but it may be time to consider owning him if you’re desperate for starting pitching. He’s owned in 44.8% of ESPN leagues, 32% of Yahoo! leagues and 54% of CBS leagues.
C J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays: In 14 games in the month of May, Arencibia has gone 17-for-52 (.327 BA) with six home runs, 16 RBI and 12 runs scored while slugging .731. Over the last 30 days, he’s the second-ranked catcher on ESPN’s Player Rater tool. His ownership numbers are a little confusing to me. Why is he only owned in 37.5% of ESPN leagues but 66% of Yahoo! leagues and 77% of CBS leagues. Odd. Grab him if he’s available especially while he’s hot.
And down on the farm:
1B Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs: Rizzo is tearing it up at AAA Iowa. In 41 games, he’s produced a 5×5 fantasy line of .346/27/14/39/2 and would probably be in the majors if not for the hot start of Brian LaHair. The Cubs are vowing to be patient but it’s only a matter of time before they find a way to dump Alfonso Soriano and move LaHair to the outfield. If you have room on your roster and are willing to be patient, very deep mixed league and NL-only owners may need to make a bold move sooner than later. He’s virtually unowned in all formats (except maybe dynasty/keeper leagues.
Be aware, these recommendations are for mostly owners who are in the deeper mixed leagues or NL-only types. Shallow league owners have the luxury of picking up nearly all-star caliber players off waivers, so they may have no interest or need to look as deep as those of us who prefer more challenging formats. Two of my Twitter buddies, Mike Gianella (@MikeGianella) and Chris McBrien (@cmcbrien), recently discussed the different perspectives of the Vernon Wells injury.
I’d love to hear how you are dealing with all the injuries that seem to be hitting baseball these days as well as all the changes taking place with team closers. Are you a “never pay for saves” person and laughing at those who invested early while you grab saves wherever and whenever you can get them? Feel free to use the comments section below and follow me on Twitter @DJAubain to continue this discussion and anything baseball-related.