Each week, Baseball Press will be providing 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 2011.
This week's Under the Radar features a pair of rookies from Pittsburgh, along with Cleveland's top prospect position player. Whether you're seeking injury replacements or overhauling your entire roster, this mix of players has you covered.
* Owned percentages via Yahoo!
- 3B, Cleveland Indians (10% owned)
Top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall made his major league debut earlier this week and should be a common fixture in Cleveland's lineup given the current third base production numbers for the Indians. Rated as the the number one position prospect for Cleveland according to Baseball America, Chisenhall hit .265/.352/.427 at Triple-A Columbus in 65 games this season. The promotion is not due to Lonnie's blistering numbers at the Triple-A level like it was with Anthony Rizzo
or Eric Hosmer, rather, it's simply because the Indians offense needed a replacement for Jack Hannahan and his .215/.306/.336 triple-slash line this season. Chisenhall is an immediate addition for AL-only leagues, but as with all rookies, owners should keep their expectations in check. Deeper leagues could take a flier on him if he continues to hit over the next few weeks.
- SP, Los Angeles Angels (4% owned)Rookie starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood finished the month of June with a 2-2 record, 2.78 ERA and 5.8 strikeouts per nine innings. His five starts in June were easily the best of his young career, cutting down on walks and increasing his strikeout totals from previous months. In his last two starts, Chatwood allowed one earned run over 14 innings against the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. His next start is against the Dodgers to start the month of July, making him a nice spot-start pickup.
- OF, Toronto Blue Jays (1% owned)
24-year-old outfielder Eric Thames is back for another taste of the big leagues and should see plenty of innings this time around. Toronto has moved Jose Bautista
to third base, allowing for Thames to see plenty of action in right field along with the designated hitter spot. With Brett Lawrie
shelved due to an injury and the Blue Jays having offensive woes from Corey Patterson
and Rajai Davis
, Thames will have a chance to showcase his speed and power ability. Since his return to the Blue Jays in late June, Thames has eight extra-base hits in 14 at-bats and has batted in the second spot in the lineup. He's a must addition to any AL-only team and worth a look in deeper mixed leagues based on speed/power potential.
The Detroit Tigers announced this week that Phil Coke
had lost his spot in the rotation and was being replaced by 25-year-old lefty Charlie Furbush. Furbush made his big league debut in late May and has worked from the bullpen since his promotion. In 21 2/3 innings in relief, he has 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings and has walked 3.7 batters per nine innings. In eight starts at Triple-A Toledo this year, he was 4-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings. His work as a starter in the minor leagues makes him the obvious choice to replace the struggling Coke. He's scheduled to start Monday against the Los Angeles Angels.
- SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (0% owned)
Although Chase d'Arnaud is listed at shortstop in Yahoo! fantasy games, he's seen all of his big league action at third base thus far. With Pedro Alvarez
and Steve Pearce
on the disabled list and Brandon Wood
being Brandon Wood
, d'Arnaud will see plenty of at-bats. He doesn't produce a lot of power, hitting a total of 18 home runs in four minor league seasons, but he did steal 17 bases this season at Triple-A Indianapolis and had 33 swipes in 2010 at Double-A Altoona. Even with Alvarez returning to third base soon, d'Arnaud could find himself shifting to shortstop given the triple-slash line of .246/.305/.339 from Ronny Cedeno this season.
- 2B/3B, Houston Astros (1% owned)
Even though the Houston Astros have stalled offensively in 2011, middle infielder Matt Downs has put together a solid month of June and could see increased at-bats headed his way in the near future. In 19 games during the month of June, Downs hit .321/.472/.750 with three home runs and a 1.222 OPS. With the failed experiment of Bill Hall
and Clint Barmes
at the middle infield positions in 2011, Downs is the obvious choice moving forward. After all, Downs does lead the team in slugging and on-base percentage and is tied for the second most home runs on the team in his limited playing time.
With Jose Tabata
on the shelf until after the All-Star break, 25-year old Alex Presley will see a bulk of playing time in left field while hitting leadoff. He hit .336/.389/.500 with 18 steals at Triple-A Indianapolis this year and is a career .290/.345/.437 hitter in six minor league seasons. NL-only owners should look to Presley for steals and batting average help, but obviously be aware that his playing time could take a serious hit when Tabata returns from the disabled list.