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, this mix of players has you covered.
* Owned percentages via Yahoo!
AL-Only PlayersXavier Avery
- OF, Baltimore Orioles (0% owned)
Injuries to Nolan Reimold
and Endy Chavez
have presented speedy prospect Xavier Avery a chance to find everyday at-bats with the Orioles. Avery, 22, started the season at Triple-A Norfolk, and after starting off slowly, he hit .429 (15-for-35) over his final nine games before his call-up. Avery has improved his walk percentage from the Double-A to Triple-A level (7.8 BB% 2011 to 13.1 BB% in 2012) and if can continue to reach base, he could produce big stolen base totals. Across five seasons of minor league ball, Avery has 125 steals. As long as Reimold and Chavez are hurt, expect Avery to see plenty of at-bats for the Orioles.
- SS/2B, Tampa Bay Rays (5% owned)
Over the past seven games
, Rays manager Joe Maddon has used Elliot Johnson at the second base and shortstop position. Over his past eight games, Johnson is hitting .423/.483/.692 with three stolen bases and two home runs. Although Sean Rodriguez
has appeared in 26 games at SS this season, most of the time spent at SS was while Evan Longoria
was healthy. With Longoria on the DL, expect Rodriguez to stay at 3B and Johnson to see plenty of time in the lineup at shortstop.Daniel Nava
- OF, Boston Red Sox (6% owned)
Fantasy baseball is about chasing stats and gaining ground on the leaders. While outfielder Daniel Nava may not be a full-time player in two weeks, his stats are worth owning right now (as long as you don't give up the house for him). Prior to his 2012 call-up, Nava was a .242/.351/.360 hitter in 60 big-league games. Since May 10, the 29-year-old outfielder is hitting .583/.750/1.167 in 5 games. Now obviously he won't hit at a .500 clip for a long period of time, but as long as he's picking up multiple hit games and drawing walks, owners in AL-only leagues shouldn't be afraid to take a risk. With all the injuries the Red Sox have in the outfield, the team has limited options for platoon players. Nava should be safe for a few weeks.
- 3B, Cincinnati Reds (1% owned)
Long time third baseman Scott Rolen
landed on the disabled list with soreness in his left shoulder. It's the same shoulder that has bothered the 37-year-old over the past few seasons. 26-year-old Todd Frazier is the starter for the short-term in Cincinnati. Although he's been on a rough streak over his past ten games (.185/.241/.333) - Frazier is hitting .270/.325/.514 in 16 games this season. Frazier has issues making contact at times, but with regular at-bats, he could turn into a decent option for NL-only fantasy owners.
- C, Washington Nationals (1% owned)
It's a tough time to be a catcher for the Nationals. After losing Wilson Ramos
to a season ending knee injury, the team called-up defensive minded catcher Sandy Leon. Leon, making his major-league debut, was also injured and is likely out several weeks with an ankle injury. With two catchers out within a week of each other for an extended period of time, the Nats will be relying heavily on Jesus Flores for the rest of the season. Flores, 27, is a career .251/.302/.384 hitter with 17 HR and a .687 OPS in 244 career games. He's missed some time in the past with a shoulder injury, but appears to fully recovered. With plenty of at-bats left this season, fantasy owners should kick the tires on Flores and see if they can sneak a few home runs out of him moving forward.