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Under the Radar - AL/NL Only Leagues
Nate Springfield | Wednesday April 4th, 2012
Chris Parmelee will see plenty of playing time in 2012. (US Presswire)
Chris Parmelee will see plenty of playing time in 2012. (US Presswire)
Each week, Baseball Press provides some "under the radar" fantasy players for AL-only leagues, NL-only leagues, and mixed leagues. We'll review the diamonds in the rough on the waiver wire that might help you boost your fantasy team in 2012.

This week's AL/NL-only waiver wire pickups features players who can provide some early season help to owners in need of stopgaps and youngsters with upside.  Whether your fantasy team needs home runs, steals, or strikeouts, or even if you're just chasing wins, this mix of players has you covered.

* Owned percentages via Yahoo!

AL-Only Players
Raul Ibanez - OF, New York Yankees  (14% owned)
The new Yankee Stadium has played very well for lefthanded, pull-hitting power hitters, and that's exactly what outfielder and designated hitter Raul Ibanez provides.  Because he'll be slotted in the lineup as the designated hitter against righthanded pitching, a lot of Ibanez's deficiencies at the plate may be hidden this year, since he'll be protected from lefthanded pitching.  Furthermore, playing DH instead of the outfield could help increase his overall production.  He's had hot starts in recent seasons, and that early season success could continue deeper into the year in 2012.

Denard Span - OF, Minnesota Twins (9% owned)
If Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire's spring training lineups are any indication, Denard Span should be the starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter for the Minnesota Twins this season.  After hitting 18 for 54 (.333) this spring, Span has seemingly put his 2011 problems with concussion symptoms behind him.  The soon-to-be 28 year-old is just two seasons removed from hitting .300 with 20 stolen bases, and if he stays on the field he is an excellent source of runs and stolen bases for 2012.

Chris Parmelee - 1B, Minnesota Twins (3% owned)
With the announcement that Twins slugger Justin Morneau will be getting most of his at-bats at the designated hitter spot this year, prospect Chris Parmalee will now open the season as the Twins starting first baseman.   The 24 year-old did not appear outmatched in his 2011 cup of coffee debut with the Twins after hitting .355 over 76 at-bats, and he also enjoyed a strong spring training by driving in 13 runs and posting a .277 batting average.

Henderson Alvarez - SP, Toronto Blue Jays (15% owned)
After a strong spring training, righthanded Toronto pitcher Henderson Alvarez may follow the same path to rookie success that Seattle Mariners rookie Michael Pineda did last season.  Henderson is a young arm with electric stuff and a secure spot in Toronto's starting rotation, and a dominant spring (until his final outing against the Detroit Tigers) has many talking about his upside potential for 2012.  He'll start the season with a favorable matchup against the Cleveland Indians, which should be a great way for the youngster to find some early season success.

NL-Only Players
Marco Scutaro - SS, Colorado Rockies (19% owned)
Rockies shortstop Marco Scutaro, who will soon acquire second base eligibility, struggled this spring, which likely contributed to his low ownership in fantasy leagues.  The 36 year-old veteran has been reliable in recent seasons and should be able to find his swing again.  Hitting in front of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez should make Scutaro a good source of runs which, when combined with his usual high batting average, could help a fantasy squad.

Alex Presley - OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (12% owned)
Pirates outfielder Alex Presley impressed in his first 215 major league at-bats last year and looks poised to do more of the same in his sophomore season.  Presley is slated to lead off for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season and has a minor league history of high batting averages and good stolen base totals.  He not a big name or on a great team, but Presley is the type of fantasy pickup that could win a league if picked up early enough in the season.

Juan Nicasio - SP, Colorado Rockies (7% owned)
After having his 2011 season cut short due to a broken neck, it is pretty amazing that Rockies righthanded pitcher Juan Nicasio is pitching at all this season, let alone breaking camp as Colorado's number three starter.  Nicasio offers a respectable strikeout rate (7.28 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 2011), and decent enough control of his walk totals to not damage your teams ERA or WHIP.  The 26 year-old will face the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres in two of his first three starts, which should allow him to begin the season favorably.
Nate SpringfieldNate Springfield joined the Baseball Press crew for the 2010 season and hosts the site's podcast. His love for the game has grown thanks to fantasy baseball, with a specialty in NL-only auction leagues. You can contact him at nate@baseballpress.com or follow him on Twitter @NateSpringfield.