Happy Easter to one and all!
It looks like you have already found your Easter basket this year as I am about to give you eight really good free agents to add to your fantasy baseball team this week. If you have been following since the beginning then right now you are enjoying the hot starts of Mike Fontenot, Jordan Schafer, Brett Gardner and Elvis Andrus.
If this is your first time reading The Hot Eight, welcome and you may want to go ahead and bookmark this page or subscribe to the feed. This weeks batch of free agents I am very excited about and believe most of them will have some staying power for success.
1) Emilo Bonifacio (2B/3B) — Giants — Without a doubt the hottest free agent name on the market right now. Bonifacio is hitting .583 with a .600 OBP through the first five games of the season. He also has a HR, 9 runs scored, 5 RBI and 4 stolen bases. What you need to understand about Bonifacio is that these types of numbers just won't last.
I can guarantee you that Bonifacio hits about .280 this year and will finish with only that inside the park HR he got against his former organization. But, he will steal a bunch of bases and with this hot start has cemented his status as the Marlins 3B and leadoff man.
They key for Bonifacio fantasy wise will be whether or not he can continue to get on base like he has been. If he gets on base over 35 percent of the time, then he will score 90+ runs and steal 40+ bases which easily puts him in the top eight of all 3B. If he is still available in your league then you have to pick him up.
But if you are trying to trade for him, now is not the time to swing a deal. His value is just too high for what he will be once this hot start has cooled.
2) Colby Rasmus (Outfield) — Cardinals — I drafted Rasmus late in one of my leagues this year but really expected him to be sent down for regular playing time in AAA.
Surprisingly, he made the team and appears likely to get plenty of AB's going forward. What I absolutely love about him is that Tony La Russa is hitting him second in the order right in front of the great Albert Pujols. What a perfect situation for any young hitter especially one with the skills of Colby Rasmus.
This is a guy who may very well be a difference maker for your team all season long. He is going to score a boat load of runs, steal 15-20 bases and hit about 15 HR's. Hitting in front of Pujols may be the single best gig in all major league baseball and that job now belongs on Colby Rasmus.
3) Nick Swisher (Outfield/1B) — Yankees — Swisher has come out of the gate on fire for his new team and is hitting a whopping .538. Six of his seven hits have gone for extra bases including 2 HR's.
Swisher or "dirty 30" as he wanted us to refer to him as a member of the White Sox last year had been practically forgotten about during drafts this spring after a miserable 2008 season and being named a reserve player for the Yankees.
But the good thing about Swisher is that he is versatile in that he can play all three OF positions, as well as an outstanding 1B.
With Xavier Nady struggling and Mark Teixeira dealing with some tendinitis in his hand, Swisher will get plenty of AB's at least until he cools off. Swisher has always been a great OBP guy and has power from both sides of the plate.
He also is a cocky, proud type of guy who fell into a hole last year and couldn't sulk his way out. He is a better player than Xavier Nady and will see plenty of playing time at multiple positions to make him worthy of a spot on any fantasy roster.
4) Scott Downs (LHP - Reliever) — Blue Jays — I understand that in most competitive leagues Downs is already on a team. But my research shows that he is owned in just 24 percent of Yahoo leagues and 35 percent of CBS leagues. B.J. Ryan is in a tailspin in case you haven't been paying attention and the Blue Jays are still playing great ball.
They cannot afford to have Ryan blowing games as he nearly did on Saturday night. Downs is the closer in waiting and will most likely get more save opportunities this week then B.J. Ryan will and therefore should be picked up by any team looking for a closer.
5) Dexter Fowler (Outfield) — Rockies — I must confess right away that this is a bit of a man-crush for me. I love Dexter Fowler. There...I said it . He is the type of kid organizations dream about. Supremely talented, can hit for average, power, steal bases and is the best defensive player in the organization.
What is more is that he is a real good kid who has an unparalleled work ethic and commitment to the game. Ryan Spilborghs technically has the starting CF job right now and is off to a hot start.
But Fowler has already shown what he is capable of hitting his first big league HR, stealing a base and getting on base five of his first 10 trips to the plate. This kid will be a star very soon so do yourself a favor and stash him on your bench. This is a move that could pay off big time later in the season during your fantasy playoff run.
6) Scott Baker (RHP - Starter) — Twins — Baker was the Twins best pitcher last season but has started the season on the DL with some shoulder stiffness. All indications are that this move was more a precaution then anything else and Baker will be rejoining the team and the rotation on Wednesday against the Blue Jays.
He is not a strikeout pitcher nor does he possess overpowering stuff. I see Baker much like former Twins starter Kevin Tapani. He pitches to contact quite well and knows how to change speeds and fool with the hitters eye level.
If he stays healthy I think that he'll probably lead the Twins in wins and ERA, especially if Francisco Liriano continues to struggle. Think about picking up Baker and use him as your mid-week replacement starter off of your bench.
7) Lou Marson (Catcher) — Phillies — An injury that hasn't received much attention outside of Philadelphia this week was the oblique strain suffered by Phillies starting catcher Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz has been placed on the DL and if looks like he could be out about a month or so.
This prompted the Phils to call up Lou Marson, who is widely considered their catcher of the future. Marson isn't a special hitter by any means, but for a catcher he hits for a great average and is an on-base machine in the mold of Chris Ianetta. Marson can hit 12-15 HR's in a full season so he does have some pop in his bat as well.
His defense is good enough that he should get plenty of playing time ahead of backup catcher Chris Coste who is awful defensively. More playing time would mean more runs scored in the potent Phillies lineup also.
For those of you suffering the injuries to Geovany Soto or the lack of offense from John Buck or Kurt Suzuki you would be wise to grab Marson and ride the offensive wave.
8) Nyjer Morgan (Outfield) — Pirates — I have been waiting on Morgan to stick with the big league club, stay in the lineup and stay healthy for the past three seasons.
Morgan is the perfect mold for a leadoff hitter. Great strike zone discipline, good contact hitter and blazing speed are among Morgan's strengths. He has gotten off to a hot start so far this season hitting .391 and collecting three stolen bases already.
I am a big believer in Morgan's ability. If the Pirates can continue to plate runs the way they have the first week of this season, Morgan could score 100 runs this year and probably steal 50+ bases.
Yeah..that is a big if when you are talking about the Pirates but sometimes you have to take chances on players with mad skills and let circumstance be damned.
That is the Hot Eight for this week. What do you guys think? Post your comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org