This article originally appeared on Fantasyfootballmaniaxs.com.
We are now more than 35 games into the year as teams are beginning to show their true colors on the diamond.
At this time of the season, we begin to see who are contenders, who are pretenders, and what players are capable of holding their own in the bigs. We will look at some of these athletes on this week’s waiver wire.
Mat Gamel (3B) (MIL)- Well, it looks as though the Brew Crew has brought up another talented young bat to add to a growing lineup. Joining a batting order already filled with star-studded youngsters (J.J. Hardy, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, and Corey Hart) is third base prospect Mat Gamel.
While with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Gamel hit for a .336 average, with eight homers, 31 RBI, 25 runs scored, and a .428 OBP in 33 games.
Now up in the big leagues with the Brewers, Gamel is looking to prove to Milwaukee management that he could be the third baseman of the future. For now, his role should be simple.
We should be seeing nothing more than a start here-and-there with some pinch-hits late in games, but other than that, we must be patient as we wait for him to get his chance. Gamel has plenty of talent, and is a definite grab in keeper leagues, so monitor his progress for the time being.
We could just have another star brewing in Milwaukee.
Kendry Morales (1B) (LAA)- In years past, the first base position for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has been held by the likes of Casey Kotchman and Mark Teixeira. With these two out of the picture, the Halos needed someone to step up and assume the role as starter.
Kendry Morales appears to be a solid fit. At the moment, he is hitting for a .280 average, with five homers, 20 RBI, and 16 runs scored.
Now that Kendry is finally receiving full-time at-bats, he is showing what potential he truly has. Morales could be a sleeper this season, as he hits for solid power and has the ability to drive in runs on a consistent basis.
So, if you need someone to man your fantasy bench and be an injury reserve candidate, then Morales is your guy. If you want to see him in your lineup even quicker, start him. You may just like what you see out of this growing star.
Rod Barajas (C) (TOR)- I must say, the Blue Birds of Canada are really impressing me. They are hitting it off on all cylinders: Offense, defense, starting pitching, and bullpen.
It’s unbelievable seeing them sitting atop the mighty AL East at 24-14, and this success is due in large part to catcher Rod Barajas. Thus far, Barajas is hitting for a .308 average, with three homers, 21 RBI, and 12 runs scored.
His work behind the plate is one thing, as ace Roy Halladay and youngsters Scott Richmond, Brett Cecil, and Brian Tallet have all found success so far this season. His bat is another. He hits in an order with solid protection, as he is surrounded by Aaron Hill, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, Travis Snider, Adam Lind, and Lyle Overbay.
As long as he can continue producing, he is a solid fantasy option at the catchers’ position. If he’s available, grab him. If you need a starter, play him. It couldn’t be any more simple. As of now, Barajas is a top-of-the-line fantasy backstop, and hopefully it will stay that way.
Cristian Guzman (SS) (WSH)- What is up with the Nationals’ infielders this season? Ryan Zimmerman goes on a 30-game tear, Nick Johnson is hitting for a .333 average, and now Cristian Guzman is shooting to reach the .400 mark. So far this season, he is hitting for a .390 average, with one homer, nine RBI, 18 runs scored, and a stolen base.
What Guzman brings to any fantasy team is simple: Everything. He can occasionally hit for power, always hit for average, and is a continuous threat night-in-and-night-out to swipe a bag. Now some of you may be wondering how many people actually own Guzman.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Cristian is owned in 35 percent of fantasy formats, a four percent increase from last week. To put it simply, there is a good chance that he’s still available near you.
Guzman would make a fine starting shortstop in any fantasy format, so if you can get him, I suggest you do. He could be a key to success for you sometime in the future.
Laynce Nix (LF) (CIN)- Formerly owned by the up-and-coming Chris Dickerson, the left field job in Cincinnati now belongs to Laynce Nix. He certainly deserves it, as he is hitting for a .304 average, with two homers, seven RBI, and 11 runs scored.
Nix appears to bring power and RBI potential to the table, two qualities that can prove effective in 5X5 fantasy formats.
If Nix can keep his job (Something that appears likely if he just continues to tear the cover off the ball.), then he should prove to be a solid bench player/injury reserve. Monitor his progress over the next week and see how well he continues to perform. If he succeeds, take him and run. He could prove to be useful at some point this year.
Nolan Reimold (LF) (BAL)- Matt Wieters who? This is what many Orioles’ fans were saying while they gazed on at this kid’s potential while down at Triple-A Norfolk. Here, he hit for a .394 average, with nine home runs, 27 RBI, 21 runs scored, and six stolen bases. Some analysts call him the “right-handed Nick Markakis.”
Others say that he could be the future in left field for Baltimore.
But let’s look at his situation. He is currently fighting for playing time with Cubs’ former top prospect Felix Pie and veteran Luke Scott, so at-bats for Reimold will come based on production.
If he hits, he sees the plate more often, and vice-versa. This 25-year old outfielder has high upside, as he brings severe power and RBI potential to the batters’ box with every appearance.
Now that he’s in B-More, it’s only a matter of time before we see the “pop” become unleashed. Reimold is a solid pickup in keeper leagues, and an intriguing one in mixed formats.
If I were you, I would monitor his progress over the week. If he performs well, grab him and put him on your bench. You may like what you see out of him as the games fly by.
Clete Thomas (RF) (DET)- A few weeks ago, a different Tigers’ outfielder made this list (Josh Anderson). This time around, though, we have a new name to add. Clete Thomas, the new right fielder of the Detroit Tigers, is slowly beginning to make himself known throughout the league.
He is hitting for a .333 average, with five RBI, three runs scored, and a stolen base.
With Gary Sheffield being sent to the New York Mets, the Tigers had former starting right fielder Magglio Ordonez assume the role as designated hitter. Thus far, this idea has worked out well. With Thomas hitting in front of Ordonez, the runs will continue to come, aiding anyone who needs help in this category in a 5X5 fantasy format.
If you need someone to cross the plate on a regular basis, Clete is your guy.
Matt Palmer (SP) (LAA)- Who is this guy? That’s all I asked when I read that he threw a complete game on Wednesday night against the Red Sox. This victory put him at 4-0 on the young season, with a 3.38 ERA and 16 strikeouts. He has also issued ten walks.
So, what is so special about him? He finds a way to win ballgames. Plain and simple. To make picking him up even more appealing, he is a two-start pitcher for Week Seven, giving you the opportunity to possibly grab two victories over the next seven days. If he’s available, grab him and put his solid work to good use.
David Aardsma (RP) (SEA)- The youngster has finally been relieved of his duties. Former Seattle closer Brandon Morrow is out as the Mariners’ ninth inning man, and now setup man David Aardsma must step in and control the show. This season, he is 0-1, with a 1.62 ERA, three saves, 18 strikeouts, and 11 walks.
Seattle has a decent offense that will allow save opportunities to come his way, making Aardsma’s acquisition an appealing one (Their defense isn’t too shabby either.). If you need saves anytime soon, look into the Seattle bullpen for an answer. Aardsma could prove reliable over the next few weeks, so if he’s available, don’t be afraid to snatch him.
Eric Stults (SP) (LAD)- To conclude our Week Seven list, we look to the Dodgers’ rotation for our final candidate. Eric Stults is the guy we’re analyzing today. Stults has overachieved thus far this season, going 4-1, with a 3.58 ERA, 20 strikeouts, and 14 walks.
One primary thing that Stults will always have going in his favor is a solid offense behind him. Even without Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers have one of the better young lineups in all of baseball, led by core players Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier, and Juan Pierre.
As long as these names are in the batting order, Stults should have no problem pitching with a lead on a consistent basis. So, if you’re looking for a few wins over the next couple of weeks, then Stults may be a solution. Who knows, he could end up in your fantasy rotation for the duration of the regular season.
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