Fantasy Baseball: Every Team's Most Intriguing Fantasy Option After Week 1
So we're a week into the 2012 season.
There have been plenty of nice surprises to start off the new year. Whether it be guys who are returning from injury or guys who are just flat-out exceeding expectations, some of these players are worthy of picking up.
Here's a list of every team's most intriguing fantasy option after week one.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Willie Bloomquist, SS
With Stephen Drew on the DL, Willie Bloomquist has stepped up nicely in the first couple games. He's 5-for-14 with three runs scored and a stolen base.
Bloomquist is only owned in three percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he's most likely available in your league. While Bloomquist is not a long-term solution, he could provide value for the first month. He's hitting leadoff for a very good Diamondbacks offense.
Atlanta Braves: Tyler Pastornicky, SS
Tyler Pastornicky won the starting shortstop gig, and he can be a sleeper for the 2012 season. Right now, he's only owned in five percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Given how shallow the shortstop position is, Pastornicky's speed could be valuable. Pastornicky stole 27 bases splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He also hit .314 across the two levels as well.
He already has a home run this season, so the power could still be developing.
Baltimore Orioles: Robert Andino, 2B
With Brian Roberts still recovering from a concussion, Robert Andino has certainly done his job filling in. He's only owned in nine percent of Yahoo! leagues so far.
Andino is 7-for-22 with three doubles and three runs scored. Last year, Andino was able to steal 13 bags in 139 games. Like shortstop, second base is shallow, so Andino could be a useful add early in the season.
Boston Red Sox: Ryan Sweeney, OF
With an offense that includes Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz, who would have thought that Ryan Sweeney would be leading the Sox in offense over the first week?
He's been one of the biggest surprises in the young season. Sweeney is 8-for-18 with two doubles and a triple. Anybody in the Red Sox lineup will have an extra fantasy boost.
Sweeney should be available because he's only owned in five percent of Yahoo! leagues. The only thing to be cautious of is the fact that Sweeney will be benched when they face a lefty.
Chicago Cubs: Jeff Samardzija, SP
Jeff Samardzija didn't make a single start in 2011, but he looked dominant in his first outing in 2012.
Samardzija allowed just one earned run in 8.2 innings. He struck out eight batters and walked none. The zero walks is the biggest stat. If he can control is 95 mph fastball (something he has struggled with the last couple seasons), Samardzija will be in for a good season.
Chicago White Sox: Hector Santiago, RP
Entering the season, Matt Thornton, Addison Reed and Jesse Crain were the favorites to earn the White Sox closer job.
But enter the screwballer, Hector Santiago.
Santiago has entered two ballgames and has notched two saves, picking up two strikeouts along the way. Santiago had an impressive spring (one earned run and 13 strikeouts in 11 innings), so this shouldn't be that big of a surprise.
The amazing thing is that Santiago is only owned in 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues. If you don't have a closer, or you have an unreliable one, then pick up Santiago now.
Cincinnati Reds: Zack Cozart, SS
Zack Cozart is picking up right where he left off last year. Cozart hit .324 with two homers in 11 games last season before being sidelined the rest of the year with an elbow injury.
It didn't take him long to find his stroke again. Cozart is wearing out pitchers already. He's 10-for-27 with two doubles, two triples and a home run.
Cozart is owned in just 49 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Hitting at the top of the order, Cozart would be a nice addition to a fantasy team in need of a shortstop.
Cleveland Indians: Jack Hannahan, 3B
Jack Hannahan is making it a habit to start out of the gate strong.
Last season, Hannahan belted four home runs in the month of April. In 2012, he's 5-for-16 with a home run and four RBI.
Many thought Lonnie Chisenhall would win the third base job, but Chisenhall struggled so bad he was sent down to Triple-A. Hannahan faded in 2011, but you might be able to ride him for a hot streak at the beginning of the year.
You should have no trouble picking him up, as he's owned in three percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Colorado Rockies: Juan Nicasio, SP
Juan Nicasio suffered one of the scariest injuries I have ever seen. Last August, Nicasio was hit in the head by a line drive, fracturing his vertebra.
He delivered a strong performance in his first start since the terrifying injury.
Nicasio yielded one earned run in seven innings of work while striking out four. He left the game with the lead, but the bullpen let him down.
Nicasio is only owned in 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and he's a good candidate for breakout pitcher in 2012.
Detroit Tigers: Austin Jackson, OF
After making a few adjustments and vowing to have better plate discipline, Austin Jackson is absolutely raking to start the 2012 season.
Jackson has four walks in five games this year. It took him 11 games to reach four walks last season.
Obviously, the approach is working. Jackson is 10-for-23 with nine runs scored, three RBI, two doubles, a triple and a home run. Jackson could be in for a huge fantasy season. He's hitting leadoff for one of the most potent offenses in the game.
It will be harder to snag Jackson because he is owned in 74 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Houston Astros: Lucas Harrell, SP
After winning a spot in the rotation with a great spring training, Lucas Harrell was dazzling in his first start. The 26-year-old tossed seven shutout innings, yielded three hits and struck out four while walking none.
Harrell enjoyed success at Triple-A last season. He went 12-5 with a 2.56 ERA, so it's no surprise to see him get off to a good start. Harrell throws a low-90s fastball that induces a ton of ground balls.
Harrell is only owned in four percent of Yahoo! leagues, but you better not wait because he might be gone if his next few starts are just as good.
Kansas City Royals: Danny Duffy, SP
Danny Duffy has electric stuff, but his control is the biggest issue. If he can get that in check, he could be a very nice addition to any fantasy staff.
Duffy is a 25-year-old lefty who throws a 93 mph fastball. The strikeouts aren't a problem, but with them come the walks. Duffy had a respectable 7.43 K/9 in 20 MLB starts a year ago, but he also posted a 4.36 BB/9.
In his first start of the year, Duffy did much of the same: eight strikeouts and four walks. He worked, however, around the walks by giving up no runs in six innings.
Duffy is an interesting option. It's probably not safe to add him now, but keep an eye out for him. He's capable of big things.
Los Angeles Angels: Kendrys Morales, 1B
After finally recovering from his walk-off celebration injury in 2010, Kendrys Morales is off to a fine start in 2012.
There were many questions regarding Morales' health heading into the season (and rightfully so). For the most part, Morales has been able to silence them.
He's 6-for-21 with a double and three runs scored, being primarily used as the DH. Not playing the field will actually benefit Morales for the time being. It will allow him to get some extra rest on the leg.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Chad Billingsley, SP
Chad Billingsley has looked like the ace he was always supposed to be. In two starts this season, Billingsley is 2-0 with a 0.63 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 14.1 innings pitched.
Billingsley is owned in 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so that means there's a chance he's still on the waiver wire, waitng for you to pick him up.
The only concern here is that Billingsley has gotten off to fast starts before and faded. Back in 2009, Billingsley was 9-4 with a 3.38 ERA at the All-Star break. He finished that year 12-11 with a 4.03 ERA. It's something to keep an eye on.
Miami Marlins: Omar Infante, 2B
Omar Infante has been one of the biggest surprises to the young 2012 season.
After hitting no more than nine home runs in any of the last seven seasons, Infante already has three. On top of the three homers, he has two doubles, a triple and six runs scored.
Infante isn't a bad option. There's no reason to think he counldn't hit .285. And if he keeps up his power, he'll be a solid pick for second base.
Infante is owned in 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so if you're debating on him, you better hurry or you might miss out.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Hart, OF
Somehow, Corey Hart is only owned in 91 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Hart's fast start isn't a surprise, and I don't know how he's not closer to 100 percent.
Perhaps managers were concerned about his knee surgery that was done in March. Even so, he still should have been drafted.
If you grabbed him or were able to pick him up on the waiver wire, then he's rewarding you. Hart is 6-for-17 with three homers and four RBI.
Minnesota Twins: Josh Willingham, OF
After hitting 29 homers for Oakland last season, Josh Willingham is off to a hot start for the Twins in 2012. Willingham is 9-for-22 with four home runs and seven RBI.
Willingham's average was brutal last year (.246), but he offers a lot of pop. For a weak Oakland offense, he was able to drive in 98 runs in 2011.
Willingham is owned in 68 percent of Yahoo! leagues. After belting another home run in Thursday's game, it might be time to add the 33-year-old slugger.
New York Mets: Daniel Murphy, 1B/2B/3B
Daniel Murphy hit .320 in 109 games for the Mets last season. He's trying to prove that was no fluke. So far, he's gone 8-for-25 with three RBI.
Murphy is a great asset because he has eligibility in three positions and he's a good source for helping the batting average.
Murphy is owned in 63 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so you still have a chance of adding him.
New York Yankees: Andy Pettitte, SP
Andy Pettitte decided to return to baseball, and it might have come at the perfect time.
The Yankees starting pitching looks terrible so far. The only quality start they have gotten was from Ivan Nova against the Orioles (it's a start in which he gave up 10 hits in seven innings).
Pettitte threw in a Single-A game on Monday and looked good. The 39-year-old gave up a run and two hits and struck out two in three innings of work.
Pettitte is set for a return in May, and he's only owned in four percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Oakland A's: Yoenis Cespedes, OF
Yoenis Cespedes wasted no time introducing himself to MLB pitchers. The 26-year-old Cuban has already launched three home runs and seven RBI.
There's no question about the power, but Cespedes is struggling with making contact. Of the 16 outs he had made, 11 of them have come via the strikeout.
Cespedes is owned in 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so good luck with trying to get him. Cuban League stats are hard to translate to MLB success, so Cespedes will be a very intriguing storyline.
Philadelphia Phillies: Carlos Ruiz, C
With an offense that has been struggling to score runs, Carlos Ruiz has been one of the few bright spots in the Phillies lineup.
Chooch is 6-for-16 with a home run on the season.
Ruiz has been solid the last two seasons, hitting .302 in 2010 and .283 in 2011. He's a reliable catcher at a very shallow position.
Ruiz in owned in 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Alex Presley, OF
Alex Presley is picking up right where he left off. Last September, Presley hit .308 with three home runs. This year, he's 7-for-21 with a stolen base.
Presley is an excellent source for batting average and stolen bases. And while the Pirates aren't an offensive juggernaut, he's hitting atop the lineup, which will allow him to score more runs.
Presley is owned in 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he's most likely available.
San Diego Padres: Edinson Volquez, SP
A change of scenery could be all Edinson Volquez needed.
Volquez looked very shaky in 2011, posting a 5-7 record with a 5.71 ERA. But, in two starts with the Padres this year, Volquez has a 3.00 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings.
Volquez's changeup will be effective in the much more spacious PETCO Park. Expect a decent rebound by Volquez in 2012.
He is owned 57 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
San Francisco Giants: Melky Cabrera, OF
Melky Cabrera will be on a mission to prove his 2011 campaign was not a fluke. So far, he's doing his job.
After having an incredible spring, the Melk Man is 10-for-26 with a home run, six runs scored and five RBI.
Many people thought Cabrera wouldn't be able to repeat is 2011 season, but he just might be able to. Remember this: Cabrera is 27 years old, so he's just entering his prime now.
You better act quickly because Cabrera is owned in 87 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Seattle Mariners: Chone Figgins, 3B/OF
It's been a while since Chone Figgins was relevant in the fantasy world. Maybe 2012 is the year he turns it around.
After having a pair of disappointing seasons with the Mariners, Figgins is 10-for-33 with four RBI and a stolen base this year.
Figgins is owned in 36 percent of Yahoo! leagues. If you have the luxury of taking a risk on him, you might be rewarded.
St. Louis Cardinals: Lance Lynn, SP
Lance Lynn had a terrific 2012 debut: 6.2 innings, one earned run, eight strikeouts, one walk.
Lynn is the real deal. He had a 2.70 xFIP and registered a 10.38 K/9 ratio as a reliever with the Cardinals last season.
Making the transition to the rotation shouldn't be hard. Lynn was a starter all throughout the minors.
Lynn is owned in 62 percent of Yahoo! leagues. With Chris Carpenter's uncertain future, Lynn could certainly make a name for himself this season.
Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Pena, 1B
Carlos Pena has shown how happy he is to rejoin the Rays. He's gone 9-for-21 with three homers and eight RBI so far.
Last season, it took Pena 42 at-bats to reach nine hits, and he didn't hit any home runs in the month of April.
You'd be crazy to expect the average to remain high, but Pena could transform back into the guy who hit 39 home runs with the Rays in 2009.
The window on cashing in on Pena is closing. He is now owned in 76 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Texas Rangers: Colby Lewis, SP
Colby Lewis has been very dominant as the Texas Rangers ace. In two starts this season, Lewis is 1-0 (should be 2-0 if Nathan didn't blow the save) with two earned runs and 15 strikeouts in 12.2 innings.
Lewis had a roller-coaster 2011 season, so don't expect much different. With that said, though, riding one of Lewis' hot streaks can be very beneficial.
Lewis is owned in 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so there's a slim chance you can add him.
Toronto Blue Jays: Henderson Alvarez, SP
Henderson Alvarez was in line to get the win against the Red Sox before the bullpen blew it. He shut them down, giving up just one run on four hits in six innings.
Alvarez is a strong breakout candidate for the 2012 season. He made his MLB debut last year as a 21-year-old and posted a 3.53 ERA in 10 starts.
The youngster has tons of potential, and he's only owned in 18 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Washington Nationals: Henry Rodriguez, RP
Henry Rodriguez is a flamethrower that has the stuff to be a closer.
With the news about Drew Storen getting worse as time goes by, Rodriguez is becoming a valuable addition. Yes, he will be sharing closing duties with Brad Lidge, but he's still going to get his shot.
Rodriguez has gotten seven outs this year, and six of them have been on strikeouts. His biggest concern is the control.
Rodriguez is owned in 30 percent of leagues. If you need a closer, take a shot on him now. He could earn full closer duties with his 100 mph fastball.