Trevor Story is a Fantasy God. Mike Trout is struggling to break the Mendoza Line. The Baltimore Orioles have the best pitching in the game. It’s the first week of the season and rest assured our world will return to some semblance of normality. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve talked someone off a ledge this week, I’d be drinking Cherry Coke with one of those funky umbrellas on a Caribbean Island. A little patience can and will go a long way. With that small tirade out of the way, let’s take a look at our Wire options for Week Two.
Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco Giants (CBS: 24 per cent owned, ESPN: 5 per cent): It has been a long tough road for Matt Cain, but if his 2016 debut against the Dodgers is any indication, he might finally be healthy. He tossed six innings of six-hit ball, with one free pass, and only two earned runs. A small bid has the potential to return solid value.
Aledmys Diaz, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (CBS: 4 per cent owned, ESPN: per cent): The Jedd Gyorko experiment at shortstop appears to have concluded. The Cards have turned the shortstop gig over to the 25-year-old Diaz and he responded in fine form by going 4-for-9 with a homer in his first week with the big league club. The Cards might have found the answer to their shortstop woes, until the mid-season return of Jhonny Peralta.
Jeanmar Gomez, RP, Philadelphia Phillies (CBS: 11 per cent owned, ESPN: 4 per cent): The failures of Andrew Bailey, David Hernandez, and Dalier Hinojosa have forced the Phillies to look a bit deeper in that bullpen. Jeanmar Gomez is surprisingly the answer. He’s now earned saves in back-to-back games and at least for now has a lock on the ninth inning gig in Philly. Who would have thought we’d ever be looking to add Jeanmar Gomez to pad our save numbers?
Jeremy Hazelbaker, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (CBS: 3 per cent owned, ESPN: per cent): Randall Grichuk is struggling, with only one hit in his first 15 at-bats and eight strikeouts. Until Grichuk get’s his game in order, Hazelbaker has more than adequately filled in, contributing two homers and two stolen bases. Is he worth a bid in NL-only formats? You betcha!
Ryan Madson, RP, Oakland Athletics (CBS: 17 per cent owned, ESPN: 16 per cent): I very rarely make mention of players in back-to-back weeks. I’m making an exception for Mr. Madson. Last week you bought Madson for pennies. This week, after earning two saves, you’ll be digging a bit deeper.
Leonys Martin, OF, Seattle Mariners (CBS: 22 per cent owned, ESPN: 9 per cent) After an abysmal 2015 campaign, has Martin obtained a new lease on life as a Mariner? The early results have been positive and any semblance to the player that stole 30 plus bases in back-to-back seasons as a Ranger would be huge in determining your fate in the stolen base category.
Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers (CBS: 34 per cent owned, ESPN: per cent) Shin-Soo Choo is looking at a four-to-six week stint on the DL with a strained right calf and the Rangers made the call to Triple-A Red Rock and promoted young phenom, Nomar Mazara. He didn’t disappoint, going 3-for-4 with a solo homer in his debut this afternoon against the Angels. It will take some serious FAAB cash to acquire his services and it might just be worth the investment.
Brett Nicholas, C, Texas Rangers (CBS/ESPN: unowned): Robinson Chirinos is lost for the next 10-to-12 weeks with a fractured right forearm and in the interim, (before they get serious about acquiring Jonathan LuCroy) Nicholas should play enough to warrant a small bid in AL-only Leagues.
Angel Pagan, OF, San Francisco Giants (CBS: 14 per cent owned, ESPN: 12 per cent): He’s not the Angel Pagan we once knew, but he’s healthy, playing every day, and will still score enough runs and steal enough bases to provide value in all formats. He’s also likely to be a solid bargain compared to some of the other hotly contested options this weekend.
Carlos Ruiz, C, Philadelphia Phillies (CBS: 3 per cent owned, ESPN: 2 per cent): With the injuries to both Kyle Schwarber and Robinson Chirinos the free agent catcher options are incredibly slim. How slim are they? Carlos Ruiz slim.
Mallex Smith, OF, Atlanta Braves (CBS: 6 per cent owned, ESPN: per cent): Ender Inciarte finds his way to the DL with a strained left hamstring and the Braves quickly make the move to bring up the young speedster, Mallex Smith. A platoon in centerfield with Drew Stubbs is the likely scenario, but if your need is speed, Smith could be just what the doctor ordered.
Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals (CBS: 35 per cent owned, ESPN: 6 per cent): Ben Revere is lost for probably most, if not all of April, with a strained left oblique and Taylor slides quickly into his roster spot. The power and speed are both very real, but what is Dusty Baker doing slotting a .282 career OBP hitter into the leadoff slot?
Nick Tropeano, SP, Los Angeles Angels (CBS: 4 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): The parade of injuries continues, as Andrew Heaney hits the DL with a left flexor muscle strain and one of my picks-to-click from 2015, Nick Tropeano, gets the call. For those owners looking at a relatively cheap streaming option, he’s heading into a two-start week against the offensively challenged A’s and Twins.