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MLB Fantasy Baseball 2011: Brandon Beachy and More Waiver Wire Sleepers to Watch

Peter HillCorrespondent IIApril 5, 2011

MLB Fantasy Baseball 2011: Brandon Beachy and More Waiver Wire Sleepers to Watch

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    With the season just a few days old, us fantasy nerds are loving life. The longest and most in-depth fantasy sport has officially kicked off.

    A lot depends on how you draft, but us diehard fantasy guru's know it's much more than that. Each year there are multiple waiver wire pickups that can launch your team to the next level. Whether you are looking for an emerging rookie, a veteran hoping to bounce back or a complete surprise player, this season will have it all.

    You are only reading this article for one reason and we both know it is. Without further delay here are some guys you need to keep a close eye on, if not snatch off waivers immediately.

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Brandon Belt is first on this list for a reason. Go pick him up! If he is already snagged in your league then you missed the boat.

    Belt has had a stellar Minor League career, hitting over .350 in just one year. He played at the Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A level in that one season, moving his way up the system with ease.

    Belt stole over 20 bags, hit over 20 homers, had an OBP over .450, and a slugging percentage over .615. His all-around type of play makes him a serious fantasy player this season.

    His spot at first base is not guaranteed once Cody Ross comes back from the DL, but a strong showing over the next couple weeks could cement him there.

    Grab Belt while you can, and reap the benefits all the while.

Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres

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    Scouts have been anticipating a breakout season from Maybin for years now. With a change of scenery in San Diego, why can’t this be the year?

    Maybin possesses all the physical tools scouts love. He is tall, quick and is the ripe age of 24. He does hit in a very unfriendly ball park, but Maybin has the ability to steal extra bags because of it.

    Don’t pick up Maybin yet, rather wait for him to get hot and then ride him the rest of the year.

Jose Contreras, Philadelphia Phillies

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    For the time being, Jose Contreras has locked in the Phillies closing job. With Brad Lidge on the disabled list, Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel has elected Contreras at temporary closer.

    Contreras will have the opportunity for multiple saves over the next few weeks. He could gain as many as 10, and had the superior spring to win the job over righty Ryan Madson.

    Pick up Contreras while you can, and monitor the situation of Brad Lidge.

Brandon Beachy, Atlanta Braves

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Pitcher Brandon Beachy is an emerging pitcher in the Major Leagues. He has a variety of stuff, able to strike you out or let you pop fly.

    He will be cemented in the Braves rotation for at least a few weeks. In his first Major League start this year, Beachy threw solid six innings.

    Beachy gave up four hits, one walk, one earned run, and seven strikeouts. Due to a lack of run support, Beachy didn’t get the win.

    His next start comes at home against Philadelphia, who has had more than their share of troubles at the plate this year.

J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Arencibia came into this season as one of the major “sleepers” in fantasy baseball. On his first day in the big leagues, Arencibia showed why he isn’t much of a sleeper.

    Arencibia went 3-4, recording two home runs and five RBI’s. Besides his opening day, Arencibia could be a stud for many reasons.

    Last year in AAA, Arencibia hit over .300, had over 80 RBI’s and smacked over 30 dingers. His power has been growing over his minor league career, and should continue to do so this year.

    If you are weak at catcher or need a viable backup you should pick up Arencibia without hesitation.

Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Danny Espinosa is a quiet sleeper you should keep an eye on. He is able to make fantasy owners happy for two reasons, speed and power.

    While he doesn’t hit for a great average, his ability to go 20/20 from the stolen bases and home run categories make him a special player. There are few guys in the league who can go 20/20, and Espinosa is probably the only one you can find on your waiver wire.

    At 23 years old, Espinosa could have a solid year in the Nats lineup. Espinosa is currently hitting in the eight spot, making him a less than attractive candidate.

    However, if Espinosa can get hot, skipper Jim Riggleman will likely move him to the two hole. If Espinosa does find himself in that slot, than guys like Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman will be right behind him increasing his runs and stolen bases.

A.J. Burnett, New York Yankees

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Burnett has to rebound at some point, right? Burnett went 10-15, posted an ERA well over 5.00 and continuously got rocked last season.

    After finishing a very nasty divorce, Burnett could be in for a quality season.

    In Burnett’s home opener this year, the righty had an encouraging outing. Burnett went five innings giving up five hits, three runs, one walk and six strikeouts.

    The upside of this start stems from his improved control. Burnett only walked one batter, which is a big change from last year.

    Add that to the fact that Burnett has a new pitching coach and we could be looking at a new guy. Burnett’s next start comes against Minnesota at home, so scoop this guy up before someone else does.

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