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Under the Radar - Week 1 AL and NL Only Leagues
Nate Springfield | Thursday April 7th, 2011
Jeff Francis makes two starts next week for the Royals. (KC Star)
Jeff Francis makes two starts next week for the Royals. (KC Star)
Each week, Baseball Press will be providing some "under the radar" fantasy players for NL-only leagues, AL-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 2011.

Well the first week of baseball is nearly in the books, and fantasy baseball has already has its share of surprises.  With all of the unpredictable injuries, slumps, and job changes, many fantasy owners are already looking to the waiver wire for help in keeping their early season hopes alive.  Here are some league specific options for owners looking to make additions in the early stages of the fantasy campaign:

* Owned percentages via Yahoo! Fantasy Sports

AL-Only Players
Alberto Callaspo - 2B/3B, Los Angeles Angels (10% owned)
Alberto Callaspo has locked down the starting third base job thus far for manager Mike Scioscia's Angels.  While injuries were a concern in the past for him, Callaspo has averaged over 150 games during the past two seasons while totaling 129 RBI and a .283/.330/.416 triple-slash line.  He doesn't fit the mold as your typical power third baseman, but his ability to make contact and reach base, along with his position eligibility, makes him a nice option.

Milton Bradley - OF, Seattle Mariners (2% owned)
Despite playing for an anemic offense, Milton Bradley is carrying a high batting average thus far, while hitting in the three hole behind Ichiro Suzuki and Chone Figgins. With hopes of Suzuki and Figgins causing havoc on the basepaths against opposing teams, Bradley should have plenty of RBI opportunities, something any AL-Only team could use from an outfielder.

Brennan Boesch - OF, Detroit Tigers (17% owned)
Even though Brennan Boesch ended the 2010 season with a mediocre .257/.320/.416 triple-slash line, he owned a .342/.397/.593 line prior to the all star break.  Boesch has once again started hot again this season, hitting .500 over his first 12 at-bats with a home run and four RBI.  He likely won't be in the lineup every day because of his struggles against right-handed pitching, but will excel in the at-bats he receives against lefthanders.

Jeff Francis - SP, Kansas City Royals (5% owned)
Jeff Francis has made the undesirable jump for a starting pitcher from the National League to the American League, but over his first two starts for the Royals, he's done very well - pitching 13 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs, striking out eight and walking only two.  The Royals' offense looks improved thus far and with Francis facing off against the Minnesota Twins and the Seattle Mariners next week, he's a great pickup for week two.


NL-Only Players
Nate McLouth - OF, Atlanta Braves (12% owned)
Because of his strong spring, Braves' manager Fredi Gonzalez named Nate McLouth his starting center fielder.  Batting for a high average has never been a strength for McLouth, but the .190 average he posted in 2010 really damaged his value heading into 2011.  His power/speed potential that earned him the number two spot in Atlanta's order is the reason he should be owned early in the season.

Wilson Ramos - C, Washington Nationals (1% owned)
The Washington Nationals probably have more catching prospects than rest of the National League East combined, but Wilson Ramos is receiving a bulk of the attention this season.  Manager Jim Riggleman named Ramos the every day catcher and will have Ivan Rodriguez starting about once a week.  The rookie catcher was never a real power threat in the minor leagues, but usually carried a solid average, which is a lot more than you can say for most second catcher options in NL-Only leagues.

Willie Harris - OF, New York Mets (2% owned)
With Jason Bay hitting the disabled list prior to opening day, the left field position has been a revolving door.  The left-handed hitting Willie Harris will see the bulk of the at-bats, as the Mets look to be implementing a platoon with him and the righthander Scott Hairston early on.  Harris has legit speed and power potential, as he's already stolen a base and hit a home run in his first ten at-bats this season.

David Hernandez - RP, Arizona Diamondbacks (2% owned)
It may be a little early in the season to prospect for saves, but because of the amount of closer roles up for grabs in the early going, it's always nice to have at least one set-up man on your roster for their save potential.  David Hernandez, a converted starter, is Arizona's eighth inning man, setting up the fragile J.J. Putz, who has not closed since 2008 because of elbow problems.  With the Diamondbacks protecting Putz's health, it's probable that he will need a day off here and there, allowing Hernandez to grab a ninja save.
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.