Fantasy Corner: Hitting Waivers Early To Land Hidden Gems

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As I talked about last week, there’s nothing worse than dropping a guy and watching him blow up for a competitor’s team. But here in the Fantasy Corner, we can’t let fear cripple us.

Face the fear, my friends!

While there’s always the fear of dropping an early slumper, the hope of adding a rising star can be the difference between a championship and a fifth-place finish.

On my team, I spent my final four draft picks on Josh Willingham, Justin Smoak, Peter Bourjos and Alexander Guerrero (come on, I needed one homer pick in there, right?). Of the four, only Smoak has done anything of worth thus far (.995 OPS with 2 HR and 8 RBI), but why would I feel irrational loyalty to the other four?

Bourjos is 0/13. #cut

Guerrero is in the minors. #cut

While Willingham is still on my roster thanks to a .435 OBP so far (albeit with no power), he’s next in line to go if a stud pops up on the waiver wire.

So with Bourjos and Guerrero out, who was out there worth grabbing? Try Emilio Bonifacio — him of a .500 average and 4 SB so far. Or what about Joe Kelly of the Cardinals and his 5.1 IP, 1 ER win in his first start of the season?

While most guys are “still giving there guy a chance”, I’m crushing the waiver wire and subsequently crushing my competition.

So gloss over your roster — especially your late-round picks — and ask yourselves who you could dispense of. I’m obviously not advocating for dropping a guy like Chase Headley after his 3/23 start, but Mike Moustakas and his 0/15? Maybe.

So with our expendables on the block, who’s out there to swap them for?

Trevor Plouffe (available in 93% of Yahoo! leagues)

Two seasons removed from smashing 24 home runs, the Minnesota 3B is an intriguing option this early in the season. In 6 games, Plouffe has 9 hits, 6 runs and 7 RBI to go along with 5 BB. If you’re in an on-base percentage league or one that rewards walks, Plouffe could be a major coup.

Unfortunately, Plouffe has a career batting average of .243 so we have to wonder whether this is a mirage or something that’s actually sustainable. I think if Plouffe can hit .270 and flash some power, at the weak position of 3B, he could bring some major value.

I’m not sure I’m ready to drop a guy like Moustakas (who I had high hopes for coming into the season) for Plouffe, but if you’ve got guys waiting to be dropped, Plouffe might be worth a flyer.

Chris Owings (available in 73% of Yahoo! leagues)

The Arizona shortstop may not carry your power numbers, but if he can hit close to .300 and steal lots of bases, he’ll add a lot of value at a another weak position — shortstop.

Currently, Owings is hitting .367 with 3 steals in 9 games. Imagine being able to pencil in a shortstop who will steal 30 bags and hit for average? Not too shabby for the waiver wire.

Scott Feldman (available in 85% of Yahoo! leagues)

Through two starts, Feldman has allowed just 1 ER in 13.2 innings with a WHIP of 0.66. He’s going to win the Cy Young!

(Just kidding)

The good news with Feldman is, however, that in 15 starts in the national league last season, the righty notched a 3.46 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with the Cubs (he was then traded to Baltimore and is now with the Astros). The bad news with Feldman is that he plays for the Astros and he doesn’t strike a ton of guys out.

If you’re looking for a boost in the averages, Feldman is worth your time. If you need wins and strikeouts, look elsewhere.

Jarred Cosart (available in 91% of Yahoo! leagues)

Of all the guys on this list, I think Cosart is the one I like the most. In 10 starts last season, the (now) 23-year-old posted an ERA of 1.95. Of course, if he was that good, he wouldn’t be available in 91% of leagues, right?

Well, the downside to the righty’s 2013 is that his WHIP was an unimpressive 1.35 and he struck out just 33 guys in 60 IP (the 6IP/start average doesn’t impress either).

So why do I like him so much?

He’s 23!

Cosart was a big piece of the Hunter Pence trade between Houston and Philadelphia, and at some point it appears this guy is going to burst onto the scene. This early in the year, Cosart is the perfect guy to add and stash — just to see what happens. If he goes two or three more starts without getting blown up (he went 5 IP with 4 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts and 0 ER in his first start of the year), this could be a guy you brag about stealing early in the year.


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