Fantasy Baseball: 5 Diamonds in the Rough to Grab Right Now
The Major League Baseball season has barely gotten underway, but your fantasy baseball team might be in trouble already. If your team is already decimated by injuries or simply seems to be in a bit of a bind, there is a way to recover.
The beginning of the season is the perfect time to begin to look for unsung heroes. More specifically, many players will have a low price right now, but if they're able to break out even for a short while, their value will skyrocket. Your opponent very well might have short memories, so they will pay a premium for players who are riding a hot streak. You get a major return on your investment in a free player.
The other option is of course to keep these players and utilize them yourself. We all need players that get base hits or accumulate strikeouts. If you think that that hot streak will continue all season like when Jose Bautista burst onto the scene in 2010, you then have the option of keeping these currently underappreciated players and benefiting that way.
I'm going to try to identify five of these players for you right now. Each of these players will be owned in under 20 percent of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues, so the price of acquiring each one will almost always be as simple as adding a free agent. Don't be fooled by the easy availability, though. Each one has the ability to break out and be worth quite a bit more in the near future.
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Aubrey Huff is only owned in 6.4 percent of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues. Most of this is probably due to the fact that he had a very difficult 2011 where he only hit .246 with 12 home runs and 59 RBI. There are many players who could post better numbers than that.
However, Aubrey Huff himself is one of them. The San Francisco Giants have a better lineup this year with the return of Buster Posey and the acquisition of Melky Cabrera. That support will definitely help him put up better numbers. Also, he has hit over 20 home runs seven different times in his career with a .279 average.
If he is able to start putting up numbers on that type of track, his value will definitely rise, and he would either have value on your team or have enhanced trading value if you have a different hole to fill.
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The Chicago Cubs moved Jeff Samardzija from the bullpen to the starting rotation for 2012. He looked great in his first start of the season and is currently owned in 10.8 percent of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues. It is worth noting that that percentage has risen substantially since that first start, so you might want to move on this one quickly.
I am not simply making this recommendation because of that first start. That would be reactionary, and I encouraged you to take advantage of owners who act this way on the first slide. Interestingly enough, if you grab him now and he has another great start, his value will climb even higher and you will be able to trade him at an even higher value.
I am making this recommendation because of his success during the entirety of last season. He averaged almost a strikeout per inning with a 2.97 ERA. If he continues to those numbers like that as a starting pitcher, his value will skyrocket, and you will be able to either benefit from that or grab a safer bet with similar production.
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Jake Peavy was one of the best pitchers in baseball at one point when he was with the San Diego Padres, but now, he is only owned in 16.6 percent of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues. His last strong season was in 2009, but there is definitely reason to pick him up. In fact, he is on my own fantasy baseball team.
While 2011 was definitely not what Peavy must have had in mind, he had a few excellent performances. In fact, five out of his last nine starts in 2011 were quality starts, and he allowed four earned runs in two more of those nine.
During that approximately month-long stretch, he demonstrated that he still has the potential to be a very strong pitcher. Even though there are a few speed bumps, he had some very good moments. If he is able to open 2011 with a similar month-long stretch, his trade value will jump. Even if he regresses after that month, you should definitely be able to recognize that coming and trade him when his value is at a peak.
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Tyler Pastornicky is a very exciting young prospect for the Atlanta Braves. Even though he is only 22 years old, he's going to have the opportunity to play every day, and that definitely increases fantasy value. Despite that, he is only owned in 2.2 percent of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues.
He split last season between AA and AAA, and he hit .314 with seven home runs, 45 RBI and 27 stolen bases. While a slight decrease should definitely be expected since he will be hitting against better pitching, shortstop is a very shallow position. Even if he is able to hit only .280 with five home runs, 40 RBIs and 20 stolen bases, he would be a respectable option on your team.
Tyler Pastornicky has a very bright future, and some of that future should happen in 2012. He will have plenty of opportunities to excel for the Atlanta Braves this year, and he has continually climbed the organizational ladder. Now that he is at the top, he should do well.
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Trevor Cahill is going to have a lot more run support as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks than he ever did with the Oakland Athletics. This could definitely bring quite a few wins. Despite that fact, he is only owned in 14.3 percent of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues.
I mentioned in the opening slide that people have short memories. That also applies to Cahill. People forget that in 2010, he went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA. He still has that talent; that hasn't changed even though 2011 was much less successful.
Cahill is now a part of a great franchise. It would definitely not be surprising to see him approach his 2010 numbers again. Even if his ERA doesn't drop that low again, he should receive plenty of run support, which will result in victories, which will definitely help your fantasy baseball team.
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