Fantasy Baseball: Every Team's Most Intriguing Fantasy Option After Week 2
There's a lot to pay attention to in fantasy baseball. With 30 teams—each possessing 25-man rosters—there's 750 players to be concerned with each fantasy season.
That's not counting disabled lists and minor leaguers.
Now that we're two weeks into the season, it's a good time to review the most intriguing fantasy storylines so far.
Note that these aren't all studs. Some may be surprises, injuries or studs being studs.
Baltimore Orioles: Jim Johnson
2012 Stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 SV, 3 SO, 1.071 WHIP
It's been a long time since the Orioles have had a stud closer. After four seasons as a solid reliever, Jim Johnson has been put in that role.
So far so good, as Johnson's 4-4 in save situations with a perfect ERA and solid WHIP.
Boston Red Sox: Jacoby Ellsbury
2012 Stats: .192/.300/.269, 4 R, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB
In the offseason, the biggest question mark Ellsbury had to answer was if his 32 home runs in 2011 were for real or not.
Now—after this past weekend—Ellsbury's hit the DL with a subluxation of his right shoulder. This is a major concern for the outfielder's power, and it's also worth noting that he's had issues coming back from injuries in the past.
New York Yankees: Robinson Cano
2012 Stats: .263/.349/.368, 7 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Robinson Cano isn't driving in runs, and it's already caused Joe Girardi to dabble with the lineup.
With zero home runs and one RBI, it's time for Cano to bring the power and become a force in the middle of that Yankees lineup.
Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Pena
2012 Stats: .353/.450/.735, 7 R, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB
Pena has seen success in the American League, and it seems a return to the Rays is doing the 34-year-old well.
Pena's hot start might not be sustainable, but the power and ability to drive in runs is for real.
Toronto Blue Jays: Brett Lawrie
2012 Stats: .306/.350/.389, 4 R, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB
Heading into 2012, the fantasy world was abuzz with the potential behind Lawrie. After week one, it looked like a sophomore slump was on its way.
Enter week two, and the third baseman has turned up the heat, culminating in a one-home-run, three-RBI performance last Sunday.
Chicago White Sox: Jake Peavy
2012 Stats: 1-0, 3.55 ERA, 12.2 IP, 13 SO, 0.947 WHIP
Once considered a fantasy stud, Peavy has become waiver wire junk since moving to the Chi Sox.
The biggest number is the 13/2 K/BB ratio. Control has become a major issue for Peavy, and this could be a sign of great things to come.
Cleveland Indians: Jason Kipnis
2012 Stats: .188/.257/.531, 6 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB
Jason Kipnis has been overshadowed by other top prospects, but his potential's starting to show.
The batting average and OBP look ugly, but Kipnis has been fantastic in every other stat category. That power is for real, so all owners should continue to monitor the 25-year-old.
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
2012 Stats: .242/.350/.545, 7 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB
Cabrera's been asked to move back to third, and there are a lot of folks hoping it doesn't mess with his game.
The average and overall OPS hasn't been there; still, Miggy is flashing his regular power and run-creating abilities. Cabrera is one of the most consistent guys in baseball—no need to worry about that batting average.
Kansas City Royals: Alex Gordon
2012 Stats: .118/.231/.206, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB
Gordon had a huge breakout in 2011, but so far things have been worrisome in 2012.
The 28-year-old has been lacking in all major fantasy stat categories. Most worrisome is the 11/5 K/BB ratio, from a player who displayed great patience at the plate last season.
Minnesota Twins: Josh Willlingham
2012 Stats: .419/.514/.871, 7 R, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB
Usually a man of underrated power, Josh Willingham is enjoying one of his best starts to the season. It's doubtful he can keep the average up, but 30 home runs and 100 RBI is a real possibility.
Los Angeles Angels: Albert Pujols
2012 Stats: .243/.300/.324, 2 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB
Perhaps the biggest story of the offseason, Albert Pujols is—so far—the biggest disappointment of the 2012 fantasy season.
Then again, this is Albert Pujols. We all know he'll come around and be slugging away soon enough.
Oakland Athletics: Yoenis Cespedes
2012 Stats: .212/.350/.545, 5 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB
Cespedes is currently in a slump, but he's already shown a lot of promise. The power is certainly there, and his speed is starting to rear its head as well.
Seattle Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki
2012 Stats: .289/.313/.378, 4 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB
The question isn't what Ichiro is doing, but more what he isn't doing.
Despite hitting cleanup for Seattle, Ichiro's only got 4 RBI. His greatest asset, speed, has resulted in one stolen base.
The potential is there, but it' remains to be seen where Ichiro's main value for 2012 is going to come from.
Texas Rangers: Josh Hamilton
2012 Stats: .390/.381/.756, 10 R, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB
Hamilton is a fantastic player, but injuries continue to restrict his value.
Injuries or not, Hamilton is off to an amazing start to 2012. He's absolutely raking it in, proving he deserves to be considered among the fantasy elite.
Atlanta Braves: Jason Heyward
2012 Stats: .345/.424/.655, 7 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB
The J-Hey Kid entered 2010 as one of the best prospects in all of baseball. Despite injuries, he put together a great season, only to hit a wicked sophomore slump in 2011.
2012 has been kind to Heyward, as he continues to flash his astronomical upside.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
2012 Stats: .229/.250/.314, 3 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB
It seems a first name might not be the only thing changing for Stanton in 2012.
A knee injury continues to plague the power ceiling of Stanton, as he's hit zero home runs on the season. Until healthy, who knows how valuable the 22-year-old can be.
New York Mets: Johan Santana
2012 Stats: 0-1, 0.90 ERA, 10 IP, 13 SO, 1.200 WHIP
Santana is kicking off 2012 right where he left off in 2010.
He's only made two starts, but both have brought hope for the future of the long-time ace.
Philadelphia Phillies: Chase Utley & Ryan Howard
The biggest player story for the Phillies are the two who aren't there.
Both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have started 2012 on the DL. Not only do questions surround their return times, but also how useful they'll be once back in the lineup.
Washington Nationals: Rotation
Whether your name is Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman or Edwin Jackson, you've started 2012 off on the right foot.
One through four, the Nationals' starters have dominated 2012. There's no reason not to roll with these fantasy studs.
Chicago Cubs: Bryan LaHair
2012 Stats: .348/.423/.696, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB
Despite his age—29 years old—LaHair enters 2012 with the potential to be a great fantasy surprise.
Though he's struggled at the major league level, recent minor league numbers have shown a high power ceiling. So far, LaHair has yet to disappoint and should continue to be watched heading forward.
Cincinnati Reds: Closer Situation
The Reds thought they finally had a solid closer in Ryan Madson, until it was announced he'd be sitting out 2012 after undergoing TJ surgery.
Enter Sean Marshall, who's yet to be fantastic in the closer role. Meanwhile, Aroldis Chapman is dominating with a 15/0 K/BB ratio.
With the closer situation in such flux, it's unknown if any Cincinnati reliever can be trusted in fantasy.
Houston Astros: J.D. Martinez
2012 Stats: .371/.436/.714, 5 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB
There's not much hope for any Astros these days, but if it's going to start with any player it'll be J.D. Martinez.
The 24-year-old prospect has shown great promise, and his power is for real. He's a great guy to watch in keeper leagues, while offering value in all other fantasy styles.
Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun
2012 Stats: .343/.400/.543, 5 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB
Braun entered 2012 with a lot of question marks. He's faced major PR issues, and his track record without Prince Fielder was anything but inspiring.
Nonetheless, Braun's hit the ground running in 2012. His one home run and four RBI aren't spectacular, but it's hard to discount a .943 OPS.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Erik Bedard
2012 Stats: 0-2, 2.25 ERA, 12 IP, 7 SO, 1.333 WHIP
There's two truths for Erik Bedard. Truth one: At some point in the season, he'll hit the DL. Truth two: When healthy, he'll be devastating.
So far truth two is holding, making Bedard a fantasy gem.
St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright
2012 Stats: 0-2, 11.42 ERA, 8.2 IP, 9 SO, 1.615 WHIP
Adam Wainwright has always been a fantasy great, and his 2011 TJ surgery was devastating to fantasy owners.
His first start of 2012 was solid, but things quickly unraveled in start No. 2. The rest of the season remains a mystery for Wainwright.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Justin Upton
2012 Stats: .241/.389/.310, 8 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 SB
The Uptons are known for their inconsistency, but things have always looked more promising for the younger, Justin.
However, things haven't started too well in 2012. Upton has lacked any signs of power and hasn't recorded a single RBI. Things should get better, but continue to keep Upton on a short leash.
Colorado Rockies: Michael Cuddyer
2012 Stats: .371/.405/.657, 5 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB
The Rockies are known for their bats, and offseason addition Michael Cuddyer is no exception.
The super utility man's flexibility brings a lot of fantasy value, and it's hard to overlook his offensive stats. With the move to a hitter-friendly park, this hot start could be a precursor for things to come.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp
2012 Stats: .487/.523/1.026, 13 R, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 1 SB
Don't want to make Matt Kemp the 2011 MVP? It's cool. He'll just prove you wrong in 2012.
Kemp is off to a torrid start, and things can only get better. You could make a case that he's the best player in baseball, and that goes double for fantasy.
If you've got him, hold on to him, and if you don't, keep wishing you did.
San Diego Padres: Chase Headley
2012 Stats: .212/.400/.455, 6 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB
Chase Headley is a player who continues to improve, despite playing his home games in Petco Park. 2012 is no exception.
The average isn't there, but he's shown fantastic patience at the plate. His continually developing power is nothing to balk at either.
San Francisco Giants: Brian Wilson
2012 Stats: Does it matter?
Brian Wilson is one of the best known closers in baseball, and owners were burned when he was shut down midseason in 2011.
One year later, and things haven't gotten much better. With TJ surgery looming, it's time to let Wilson go for another fantasy season.