This weekly column will focus on guys who are out there to be had for nothing in most leagues that can help your team even if only as a short term fill in. So if you’re like me and have Evan Longoria, Jason Bay, Brian Matusz and Chase Utley sitting on your DL, these are some names you might have to call to the rescue!
Jeremy Guthrie: SP Baltimore Orioles (40 percent owned in Yahoo, 29 percent in ESPN leagues)
Current Stat Line: 1 W/6 K/ 0.00 ERA
While clearly we can not expect his next few starts to go as well or better than his first, Guthrie is a solid starter backed by an improved offense in Baltimore. He may not make Sunday’s start due to a bout with Pneumonia, but beyond that, he should be ready to go. We can expect wins in the teens, an ERA under 4 and 125+ strike outs.
Coco Crisp: OF Oakland A’s (42 percent Yahoo, 62 percent ESPN)
Current Stat Line: .280 Avg/5 R/0 HR/1 RBI/3 SB
Coco has gone overlooked, especially in a lot of Yahoo leagues, but if we look at his recent seasons this is a guy who can definitely help your team when healthy. Last year in 75 games he had 32 stolen bases, 51 runs scored and a surprising 8 home runs. I wouldn’t count on the pop, but if you need runs and steals, Crisp can get them in bunches. Assuming no injuries, look for a .280 Avg, 45+ steals and 100 runs scored.
Jordan Walden: Closer LA Angels (65 percent Yahoo, 59 percent ESPN)
Current Stat Line: 1 S/7 K/0.00 ERA
Well, the Fernando Rodney experiment in LA is over—all hail the new closer Jordan Walden. Jordan is more heavily owned in both leagues than guys I would normally talk about here, but his upside is undeniable. He’s a young fireballer out of the K-Rod mold and has already converted on his first opportunity. Walden has the potential to be a top-tier closer this season. I’m looking for 35 saves with an ERA under three and about 1.5 K’s per inning.
Brennan Boesch: OF Detroit Tigers (20 percent Yahoo, 18 percent ESPN)
Current Stat Line: .421 Avg/7 R/1 HR/5 RBI/0 SB
Boesch is looking much more disciplined at the plate right now and appears to look more like the hot player from the first half of last season at this point. With Rayburn slow out of the gate, Boesch has an opportunity to lock up LF all to himself. I would stay conservative with projections until playing time is solidified, .270 Avg, 20 home runs, 50 runs, 70 RBI and five steals.