Fantasy Baseball: 4 Young and Valuable Players to Watch During Week 3 and 4
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Fantasy baseball is in full swing this season as Week 3 is upon us.
Waiver-wire adds and drops during this time are crucial in building a team that is bound to keep you—and your wallet—happy come September.
This is also a time in the fantasy season that feels to me like a sort of limbo. Some perennial stars are experiencing early-season slumps, and young guys are coming out of nowhere and filling in for those slumping studs.
These four young studs are going to be broken down bit by bit in this article in order to assess their value now, and their value come crunch time in August and September.
No. 4 Didi Gregorious, Arizona Diamondbacks SS
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Fantasy owners should keep an eye on Didi Gregorious this week. Gregorious was called up when fantasy sleeper and potential stud at second base Aaron Hill was sent to the 15-day DL with a broken hand.
According to Yahoo Sports, Gregorious will be an everyday player right off the bat in Arizona, which skyrockets his value over other short stop prospects who may be considered more talented. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranks Gregorious the No. 10 prospect at shortstop this season.
What makes Gregorious more valuable than the nine players ranked before him by Mayo is that Gregorious is exceeding expectation and cracking the major leagues much earlier than expected and long before those other nine players will.
As previously mentioned the pool for superstar shortstops is especially small compared to other positions, and Gregorious has the tools to make him a valuable player through April until Aaron Hill makes his return from the disabled list.
As often happens in fantasy baseball, this early season period is where the savviest owners use the waiver wire to improve their teams at middle infield positions like SS where they failed to draft a star athlete.
Gregorious has a good pedigree as he was called up last year by his former team the Cincinnati Reds late in the year and in eight games scored one run, knocked in two and hit for a .300 average in 21 plate appearances. Needless to say Gregorious did not get enough reps to showcase his true talent and potential for the Reds before getting traded in December's three-way trade involving the Diamondbacks, Reds and Indians.
However, Gregorious showed more pop for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate by hitting .243/.288/.427 and blasting six home runs and 23 RBI in 48 games and 202 plate appearances. Gregorious has since followed suit in the Diamondbacks' Triple-A system by hitting two home runs and two RBI, while scoring seven runs and hitting .327/.424/.625 in seven games and 33 at bats.
No. 3 Evan Gattis, Atlanta Braves C
USA TODAY Sports
The Braves are off to a red-hot start in the 2013 season, posting a 13-2 record and currently being undefeated on the road, which is no simple task.
The Braves have gotten off to this start thanks to their unmatched power and rotation. Justin Upton leads the team with nine long balls and 13 RBI, and the Braves will continue to gain more power when their young stud Freddie Freeman returns to first after coming off the DL.
There is one player in the Braves lineup who is defying all odds and playing like an All-Star right off the bat. His name is Evan Gattis, and he has played every day as Brian McCann's replacement at the catcher position. Gattis has been slugging with the best of them so far in 2013, posting a line of .279/.333/.674 while belting five home runs and 12 RBI.
Gattis' value to fantasy owners in mixed and NL-only leagues is very limited, however, as he is still a replacement to a six-time All-Star in the equally powerful and much more experienced McCann.
Rotoworld.com reports that the Braves are expecting McCann to start a rehab assignment in the coming days and make his eventual return in early May. Despite the fact that Gattis' impact is not far reaching, he is still a batter on a tear who will be playing for the next couple weeks and is worth a pickup in mixed and NL-only leagues—especially for a team that is thin at the catcher position—but Gattis is also a formidable utility bat.
No. 2 Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins RHP
Highly touted prospect Fernandez on the hill against the Phillies
Jason Arnold/Getty Images
Jose Fernandez has already proved his fantasy value to be immense in the first two weeks of the season. Through 11 innings in two games during the first two weeks of the season the 20-year-old Cuban allowed just five hits and two walks, while punching out 13 batters.
Fernandez may have given up five runs to the offensively potent Reds on Thursday. If his first three starts say anything, it is that Fernandez has tremendous talent and potential, and if he lives up to it he will be a valuable starting pitcher on any fantasy team whether in NL-only or mixed leagues.
The biggest downside about Fernandez is that he plays for the ice cold Miami Marlins, who are 3-13 in this young season, and the hopes to turn it around do not bode well for this team.
Granted, it is early, but so far the Marlins rank 30th in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, according to ESPN. What this means for young hurler Fernandez is that run support will be hard to come by and that he will have to pitch exceptionally well sometimes in order to win games for his team.
Overall, Fernandez is still a very good fantasy option to have on your roster. He has proven already that he has the ability to shutdown opposing teams batters and as fantasy owners know that is often hard to come by.
Another reason to pick up Fernandez is because he is not at any real risk for being called back down to the minors as he was one of the Marlins most sought after players in the system. Scoop up Jose Fernandez in your fantasy league before it is too late and reap the benefits of his right arm.
No. 1 Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds LHP
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Lefty starting pitcher Tony Cingrani got called up to the Cincinnati Reds this week to make a Thursday start. In his first major league start, CIngrani faced another in previously mentioned prospect, RHP Jose Fernandez, a formidable opponent on the hill.
Cingrani, 23, walked away with the win and in doing so only gave up one run, three walks and striking out eight. Needless to say, Cingrani turned many heads and immediately raised his MLB stock for the rest of the 2013 season, as Jim Callis of ESPN writes.
Cingrani is more than worthy of a roster spot in mixed and NL-only leagues. The starting pitcher position is arguably the most important fantasy position to build off of the waiver wire, and Tony Cingrani is the most valuable pitcher on that waiver wire considering his age, potential upside and his undeniable talent.
Maybe the best part about Cingrani is that all of his talents on the hill are being utilized by one of the best teams in the NL. The Reds have notable offensive talent in the perennial MVP-candidate first baseman Joey Votto, and their young slugger in the outfield Jay Bruce.
Cingrani has the offensive support to win games, and the talent to win when his run support is slim. Keep an eye out for Cingrani and pick him up before someone else does.