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Under the Radar - AL/NL Only Leagues
Nate Springfield | Thursday May 10th, 2012
Christian Friedrich left a lasting impression in his big-league debut. (US Presswire)
Christian Friedrich left a lasting impression in his big-league debut. (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
Jerome Williams - SP, Los Angeles Angels (7% owned)
Once a top pitching prospect for the San Francisco Giants, Jerome Williams was never able to carry his effectiveness in the minor leagues onto the mound at the major league level early in his career.  Now, at the age of 30, it seems that the Hawaii native has figured out how to get major league batters out.  In his four 2012 starts, Williams has gone deep into games, lasting at least 6.2 innings in every start, including a complete game shutout against the Twins.  His strikout-per-nine-innings pitched mark of 6.5 is not great, but his 2.56 strikeout-to-walk rate is encouraging, and makes his 1.15 WHIP look for real.  His 2012 success may be smoke and mirrors at this point, but he is definitely worth a gamble early on in the season.

Jarrod Dyson - OF, Kansas City Royals (3% owned)
Jarrod Dyson is a speedster, and it appears the Royals are going to let him run as long as he keeps reaching base.  He has 15 hits in his first 50 at-bats this season (.300 average) and has already swiped three bags.  Last season, he stole 38 bases while being caught only twice at the minor league level.  He isn't going to be a long-term option in the Royals outfield, already at the age of 27, but he is currently keeping centerfield warm for the injured Lorenzo Cain, meaning he should get plenty of opportunities at the plate until Cain's return.  If you are looking for a short-term cheap source of steals, Dyson is your guy until he is forced out of the lineup.

Brian Dozier - SS, Minnesota Twins (0% owned)
Ranked as the Twins tenth best prospect entering the 2012 season according to Baseball America, Brian Dozier is now getting the opportunity to change his prospect status to major league regular.  Manager Rod Gardenhire has pushed Dozier in front of veteran Jamey Carroll to be the Twins new everyday shortstop for the near future.  Dozier does not possess much pop in his bat, but has great plate discipline and the ability to steal a base or two.  The first few days in the starting lineup have the Mississippi native has hit second, making him well worth a pickup for any AL-only owner looking for a middle infielder.

NL-Only Players
Jordany Valdespin - 2B/SS, New York Mets (0% owned)
Jordany Valdespin will have a chance to see regular at-bats at shortstop for the Mets now that both Ruben Tejada and Ronny Cedeno are out of the lineup due to injury.  Valdespin has the potential to mature into a great speed-power combo player, but he is still raw at the age of 24 for the major league level.  Last season between Double and Triple-A, Valdespin hit .294 with 17 home runs and 37 stolen bases.  He will look overmatched at times, but his ability to steal a base once reaching makes him worth owning, while any more home runs he hits will be a nice a bonus.

Travis Ishikawa - 1B, Milwaukee Brewers (1% owned)
After losing starting first baseman Mat Gamel to a torn ACL last week, the Brewers have been marching out once San Francisco Giants prospect Travis Ishikawa more times than not to fill the void.  Ishikawa has a little pop but at the expense of striking out quite a bit.  His bat will play a lot better in Miller Park than it did in San Francisco, but don't expect more than low double digit home runs from him the rest of the way if he gets another 350 at-bats this season.  All-in-all, the corner infield spots in any NL-Only league just continues to be weakened by injury, and Ishikawa should be a guy that can give you fairly regular at-bats if you have a hole at that position.

Christian Friedrich - SP, Colorado Rockies (2% owned)
Making his major league debut on Wednesday against the San Diego Padres, Christian Friedrich struck out seven, only walked one, and allowed one earned run over six innings of work.  Even though the Padres are not the offensive juggernaut they never were, the 24-year-old southpaw gave potential owners confidence in him when he got a lot of swing-and-misses throughout the game.  Friedrich probably would have made his debut at the major league level last season, but was injured and Juan Nicasio was given the opportunity instead.  The Rockies first round pick of the 2008 draft has shown great command in his three-plus minor league seasons, striking out better than three batters for every walk issued over 418 innings pitched.  His performance in his debut should have earned himself another start, which will come against the struggling Giants.
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.