Injuries continue to do wreak havoc with our rosters. This week, we saw the demotion of Blake Swihart, with Charlie Blackmon and Glen Perkins both finding their way to the DL. Those that bought in early on Kevin Jepsen are already reaping solid rewards. Buying in early has its advantages. With that in mind, let’s give this week’s “picks to click” the proverbial once over.
Nick Ahmed, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (CBS: 21 per cent owned, ESPN: 14 per cent): The glut of middle-infielders in ’Zona appears to be at least temporarily resolved with Chris Owings moving to the outfield in a platoon role with Socrates Brito. Ahmed has responded in fine form, going 12-for-40 with three homers and seven RBI. Cheap middle-infield help shouldn’t be ignored.
Jhoulys Chacin, SP, Atlanta Braves (CBS: 8 per cent owned, ESPN: 2 per cent): That six-inning gem against the Nationals last Tuesday got our attention and he followed that up with a solid second outing today against the Marlins. He’s now up to 14 strikeouts in 11 1/3 IP and quickly losing his “off-the-radar” status.
Adonis Garcia, 3B, Atlanta Braves (CBS: 44 per cent owned, ESPN: 4 per cent): I know, it’s Atlanta, but a cleanup bat, is still a cleanup bat and currently Garcia has the gig for the Braves. He can and will hit for power as evident by the 10 homers in 191 at-bats in 2015.
Derek Holland, SP, Texas Rangers (CBS: 41 per cent owned, ESPN: 15 per cent): It has been two full years since we’ve seen a healthy Derek Holland. He’s now had two solid starts and in his last effort against Seattle, tossed 110 pitches over 6 2/3 innings, in gaining his first win of the season. A healthy Holland will be a solid asset for both the Rangers and your Fantasy squad in 2016.
John Jaso, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates (CBS: 11 per cent owned, ESPN: 18 per cent): Jaso is far from the conventional leadoff bat, but a .418 OBP is worthy of our attention. Getting on-base at that clip will ensure plenty of opportunities to help pad those run scored numbers.
Kevin Jepsen, RP, Minnesota Twins (CBS: 28 per cent owned, ESPN: 21 per cent): Glen Perkins hits the DL for the third time in the past three years with a shoulder strain and in the interim, Jepsen is now 2-for-2 closing out games. Perkins is tentatively scheduled to return at the end of April, but after witnessing the constant stream of DL stints, an investment in Jepsen and that save potential could be more long-term than short.
Sean Manaea, SP, Oakland Athletics (CBS: 17 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): The young southpaw is off to a great start down on the farm. In two starts for Triple-A Nashville, he has two wins and 17 strikeouts in 12 IP. There is an opportunity in the Oakland rotation and I’m betting we see him plying his trade in Oakland sooner, rather than later.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Detroit Tigers (CBS: 12 per cent owned, ESPN: 6 per cent): James McCann will be lost for the next month with a right ankle strain. “Salty” not only fills the void, but is the current leader in both homers and RBI’s at catcher. If you’re looking for a short-term boost in your power production at a position that is currently lacking in exactly that, it’s time to be buying.
Hunter Strickland, RP, San Francisco Giants (CBS: 18 per cent owned, ESPN: 7 per cent): The news that Sergio Romo has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right flexor strain, makes the gap between Strickland and the ninth inning all that closer. The Hunter is quickly becoming the hunted.
Melvin Upton, OF, San Diego Padres (CBS: 5 per cent owned, ESPN: 3 per cent): Two homers, seven runs scored, and three stolen bases in the first two weeks of the season is reason for cautious optimism. A small bid might help fill the Charlie Blackmon void.
Christian Vazquez, C, Boston Red Sox (CBS: 10 per cent owned, ESPN: 3 per cent): Blake Swihart didn’t have the defensive chops, so the Sox have quickly turned to Christian Vazquez. A smattering of homers and 40-to-50 RBI would appear to be his offensive potential, but as a second catcher in two-catcher sets that has value.
Austin Voth, SP, Washington Nationals (CBS: 1 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Voth is coming off a 2015 season that saw him earn the Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award for the Nationals. He has gotten off to a strong start at Triple-A Syracuse, tossing six innings of three-hit shutout ball in his 2016 debut. Dynasty League owners in Leagues that run 20-man minors should be paying attention.
Tony Wolters, C, Colorado Rockies (CBS: 3 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): He’s only seen 12 at-bats, but they have been very productive at-bats. Wolters already has three stolen bases in the bank and with Nick Hundley hitting the 7-day concussion DL, the opportunity for additional playing time is at-hand.