We are officially a month into the 2011 baseball season and it is time to take an inventory of our fantasy baseball rosters. No matter how well or how bad your team performed in April, there is plenty of time left to challenge for the title or sink to the bottom of the standings. The moves you make in the next few weeks will ultimately define your season.
Be sure to not overreact to slumps or injuries and wind up making a move that you will wind up paying for over the next five months. This is the perfect time to scour your waiver wire and find players who other teams in your league have already given up on and watch them come to life on your roster.
Don't give up on guys like Kendrys Morales, Ian Stewart or Madison Bumgarner despite their obvious shortcomings currently. All three of these players, like many others will make an impact on this season and contribute to fantasy success. So, let's take a look at some players who can help you out in the more immediate future in this weeks Waiver Flavor.
1) Domonic Brown, Outfield, Philadelphia Phillies (Owned in 18 percent of leagues)
Brown is rehabbing at Class-A Clearwater right now and will probably make make one more stop at AAA Lehigh Valley before being plugged into the Phillies starting lineup for the rest of the season.
Brown is a rare five-tool player who has real power and speed and who will not hurt you in batting average or runs produced. Brown will likely get 450-plus at-bats this season and can easily put together a 20-20 season for the Phillies and your fantasy team. This is one of your last chance to scoop up an across the board talent on your waiver wire.
2) Brett Wallace, First Base, Houston Astros (Owned in 20 percent of leagues)
Wallace has been one of the best hitting prospects in baseball over the last couple seasons. The problem was he was a below average third baseman and everywhere he went (St. Louis, Toronto, Oakland) they had valuable young players already at both corner infield spots.
But Wallace is finally in Houston playing every day and by the way, hitting a robust .388/.458/.529. He only has one home run so far this season but his history confirms there is much more power to come. Wallace is going to be a big run producer for the Astros this season and his bat is surely needed by many fantasy teams right now.
Filling a Need
3) Clint Barmes, 2B/SS, Houston Astros (Owned in 2 percent of leagues)
Barmes hit 23 home runs just two seasons ago while in Colorado and is a great fit for Houston's Minute Maid Park. Barmes has missed the first month of the season with a broken hand but is now all healed and back in the everyday lineup for the Astros.
He is a legitimate 20-20 candidate as Barmes has always liked to steal a few bases especially when the pitcher isn't paying him enough attention over on first base. This is a real solid waiver pickup at a position that is entirely barren usually at this point in the season.
4) Brandon Beachy, Starter, Atlanta Braves (Owned in 30 percent of leagues)
I've been hesitant to recommend Beachy thus far because he is relatively new to pitching. Although he does throw three quality pitches for strikes, it has been the development of his changeup that is credited with his quick rise to the major leagues. Beachy is having success in Atlanta this season by keeping the ball down and using both sides of the plate in an old veteran-type fashion.
Though he is only 1-1 on the season, he has had only one bad outing and has managed to keep hitters off base by posting a 0.99 WHIP. He is learning on the fly but improving each and every time out and thus I think now is a good time to take a flier on this budding star for the Braves.
5) Luke Scott, 1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles (Owned in 31 percent of leagues)
Luke Scott is among if not the most streaky hitter in all of baseball. When he gets hot, he can carry your fantasy team for a couple of weeks as he racks up homeruns and RBI in plenty. Scott is currently on a 7-for-19 (.368) run with 2 HR and 4 RBI in his last four games. It is time to hop aboard this train as it is just starting to leave the station.
6) Mike Fontenot, 2B/3B/SS, San Francisco Giants (Owned in 1 percent of leagues)
The broken hand of Pablo Sandoval certainly hurts many fantasy teams that were enjoying his big rebound season. However, for those who are in need of a quick boost at the middle infield spots are in luck.
Mike Fontenot is a little guy but he carries a big stick and that stick should be able to post some quality fantasy numbers while he gets regular playing time in place of Pablo Sandoval. Fontenot is another player who runs really hot and cold and thus he needs to be monitored continuously. Still, the multi-position eligibility and quality offensive numbers are well worth the gamble at this point in the fantasy season.
7) Mike Leake, Starter, Cincinnati Reds (Owned in 11 percent of leagues)
Leake has two very winnable starts coming up this week against the Astros and the Cubs and thus time is of the essence with this potential roster addition. Leake has taken a big step in his development so far this year in limiting his pitch counts while increasing his strikeout rate.
There are some concerns about Leake after his arrest for stealing t-shirts two weeks ago but none of that has anything to do with what he has been able to accomplish on the mound. This kid hasn't even begun to tap into his potential as a starting pitcher in this league and yet he is already posting good fantasy numbers. If your starters are not cutting it right now, there are plenty of starters out there on the waiver wire and Leake is definitely one of the better ones out there.
Will Be Great in a Couple of Weeks
8) Eduardo Sanchez, Reliever, St. Louis Cardinals (Owned in 6 percent of leagues)
Tony LaRussa announced that he is currently going with a "bullpen by committee" in St. Louis which means saves will be going to several different relievers. If history has taught us anything, it is that this approach doesn't work for long periods of time and that roles will eventually need to be defined.
Mitchell Boggs has done a great job in his short term as the Cardinals closer, but he doesn't quite have the 'stuff' that Eduardo Sanchez possesses. Sanchez has already struck out 17 hitters in his first 10 innings this year and there is no reason to believe this trend will stop.
Sanchez not only is prolific in missing bats, but also throws a lot of ground balls which lead to easy double plays. He is my bet to secure the Cardinals closer job for the longterm this year and should be monitored closely over the next week or so.
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Jeff Mans is a co-host of The Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, the Senior Writer at Fantasy Alarm and a contributor to Bleacher Report.