Injuries are once again providing opportunities for bench players and minor leaguers. At the top of the list is Jesus Aguillar, Alen Hanson, and Alex Verdugo. Hanson has always shown tantalizing skills but has never put it together, first in Pittsburgh and then briefly in Chicago. But the injury to Joe Panik and Hanson playing extremely well at Triple-A gives hope to fantasy owners. Verdugo can really hit and we always thought the power would come. He’s off to a hot start and the injury to Yasiel Puig gives him a shot. Several years ago, Jesus Aguillar hit 16 home runs in winter ball but has never gotten a full-time shot. WIll he now? He can hit lefties and if he gets a shot against right-handed pitchers, it could prove very productive for fantasy owners.
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Jesus Aguilar, MIL (CBS: 10% owned): The injury to the hot-hitting Eric Thames (lost for upwards of two months with a thumb injury) is cause for an increase in playing time for Aguilar. He did hit 16 homers in only 279 at-bats in 2017, and now has the opportunity to pile up some decent numbers during the Thames absence.
Albert Almora Jr., OF, CHC (CBS: 20% owned): The Cubs have moved Almora into the leadoff spot and he’s getting it done. He’s up to 16 runs scored with a solid .365 OBP. That should keep him out of the “Maddon doghouse” and at the top-of-the-order in Chicago.
Trevor Cahill, SP, OAK (CBS: 22% owned): We’ve now seen two solid starts from Cahill. He’s worthy of a small bid but is facing Houston and Baltimore in a two-start week. Keep him on your bench with the Astros on the schedule.
Mark Canha, OF, OAK (CBS: 9% owned): Am I a believer long-term? The answer is a definite No! Short-term he’s on a bit of a tear, going 7-for-25 with a pair of homers last week. In deeper Leagues, he could fill a hole until the return of the walking wounded.
Wei-Yin Chen, SP, MIA (CBS: 3% owned): It has been a long time between starts for Chen, but the UCL held up for a solid 5 1/3 innings against the Rockies. A small bid in NL-only formats could return decent value.
Robert Gsellman, SP/RP, NYM (CBS: 16% owned): In 14 relief innings, the one-time starter is now up to 19 strikeouts, three wins, and a stellar 1.93 ERA. The Mets #3-thru-5 starters will provide him with plenty of opportunities to build on that great start.
Alen Hanson, OF, SF (CBS: 1% owned): Joe Panik hits the 10-day DL with a left thumb sprain, and surgery is looking to be the option. It looks like former Pirate top-prospect Hanson is in line for a steady diet of at-bats over the next couple of months. He was tearing it up at Triple-A (3 HR and 6 SB in 62 AB) and hit a three-run shot in his Giants debut on Saturday. Maybe, we’ll finally see that untapped potential.
Yoshihisa Hirano, RP, ARZ (CBS: 6% owned): Just because he’s behind the likes of Brad Boxberger and Archie Bradley, doesn’t mean there isn’t some sneaky value with Hirano. He’s now up to six holds while posting a great 1.46 ERA and .65 WHIP. In Leagues that count holds, he’s a must own.
Jung Ho Kang (CBS: 2% owned): He finally received the US Governments blessing to work, after a two-year struggle, and looks to attempt to reclaim his job in Pittsburgh. The odds aren’t really good, but for those playing in deeper NL-only formats, it’s worth a dart toss.
Yusei Kikuchi, SP, SL (CBS: not listed): Five starts…five wins. Toss in an ERA of 3.34, WHIP of 0.83, and a strikeout per inning, and those are pretty decent numbers in any League. The soon-to-be 27-year-old southpaw is generating very little chatter thus far, but that will change. He is looking at an off-season posting, and if your League rules allow for him to be rostered now, get it done.
Francisco Liriano, SP, DET (CBS: 38% owned): Three quality starts in five outings, with the other two coming up just a bit short on the IP requirement, make Liriano worthy of a look in Mixed 15-team formats.
Daniel Palka, OF, CWS (CBS: unowned): A 4-for-5 Saturday against the Royals, with a homer and three RBI and runs scored, should garner some attention for those playing in AL-only formats. Avisail Garcia is most likely a couple of weeks away from a return.
Addison Reed, RP, MIN (CBS: 28% owned): After three consecutive blown saves by incumbent Fernando Rodney, who does Paul Molitor turn to for the next save opportunity? Fernando Rodney. This is why the Twins and their fans don’t have nice things. It’s only a matter of time before Reed starts working his way into save opportunities.
Chance Sisco, C, BAL (CBS: 18% owned): He’s got the BA up to .255 and is sporting a .364 OBP. He also hit his first homer of the season this past week. The #1 catcher spot is his for the taking and it won’t be long before he does exactly that.
Dan Straily, SP, MIA (CBS: 26% owned): Dan Straily has successfully made it through three rehab starts and is looking at putting that forearm strain suffered in spring training behind him. A two-start week against Philly and Cincinnati isn’t a bad way to start your 2018 campaign.
Mark Trumbo, OF, BAL (CBS: 48% owned): Trumbo is finally looking for a return to the game after missing the first month with a quad injury. He is likely to be activated May 1 for the Orioles west coast swing and should be active and rolling in all formats. Pedro Alvarez and Danny Valencia owners take note.
Jonny Venters, RP, TB (CBS: unowned): Any player that has gone through three TJS and returns to the game after a five-year absence deserves mention, if only for his perseverance and dedication to the game.
Alex Verdugo, OF, LAD (CBS: 17% owned): Yaiel Puig is currently day-to-day with a foot injury, so at least short-term, Verdugo is worthy of a roster spot. He was absolutely tearing it up down on the farm and went 2-for-3 in his 2018 MLB debut. Maybe Puig isn’t the only Dodger outfielder that should be concerned?