Thursday, March 28, 2013

Opening Day Fantasy Fillers

The 2013 MLB season has yet to see its first pitch, yet there are plenty of fantasy studs who will begin the season rehabbing an injury.  Players that would normally be drafted in the early rounds fell deep in drafts and when they return could prove to be difference makers, but until that time you need players accumulating stats from Day 1.  Let's take a look at each division, see where teams are plugging gaps and which of these players can help your fantasy team!

AL East

Boston Red Sox
  • David Ortiz - Right Heel Inflammation
    • It is possible Big Papi returns in April but I wouldn't count on it.  He was able to take batting practice on Wednesday but until he can run (by his standards) he won't be in the lineup.  At the moment it appears Jonny Gomes will fill in the DH spot in the lineup, while rookie phenom Jackie Bradley gets the go in the OF.  

New York Yankees
  • Derek Jeter - Left Ankle
    • The Captain could return by the end of April, but the Yankees should give him all the time he needs.  Eduardo Nunez will fill the void at short, but for his bat only, not for his glove.  That being said, as a fantasy player, Nunez can provide decent value in AL only formats. 
  • Curtis Granderson - Fractured Right Forearm
    • With Granderson out until sometime in May, the Yankees signed Brennan Boesch and traded for Vernon Wells.  Both guys could take advantage of the dimensions at Yankee Stadium..
  • Mark Teixeira - Torn Tendon in Right Wrist
    • I wouldn't expect the slugger back until June so in the mean time Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay will split the 1B/DH duties.  I would LOVE to see Hafner return to form with the short porch because he could prove to be a very valuable addition, in mixed leagues as well as AL only.
  • Alex Rodriguez - Right Hip
    • We won't be seeing A-Rod until around the All-Star break and Kevin Youkilis was most likely drafted or will be drafted in your fantasy leagues. 
AL West
Los Angeles Angels
  • Ryan Madson - Tommy John Surgery
    • Madson should be back by May, so worth the stash, but for the time being it looks like Ernesto Frieri will get the first crack at save opportunities.  Clearly he was drafted or will be drafted in all formats, but Frieri can give you a ton of stikeouts and a low ERA/WHIP.  He could EASILY steal the role from Madson if he struggles during his recovery. 
Texas Rangers
  • Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz - Tommy John Surgery
    • Soria is expected back sometime in June while Feliz is not expected back until August.  Both will return to the bullpen and battle Joe Nathan for save opportunities.  That means you better sell high on Nathan if and when he gets off to a good start.
NL East
Atlanta Braves
  • Brian McCann - Shoulder Surgery
    • With McCann unavailable until May, Gerald Laird and Evan Gattis will be splitting the catching duties for the Braves.  While Laird is a non factor, Gattis has shown plenty of pop in the minor leagues for a catcher.  You can go there if you play in a NL only league.
Philadelphia Phillies
  • Delmon Young - Right Ankle
    • Young's injury is important, not because of who gets to play instead, but because of who is not losing any ABs to the 4th and 5th OFs.  That guy is Dominic Brown and he WAS a deep sleeper before this tremendous Spring Training. 
NL Central
St. Louis Cardinals
  • Jason Motte - Elbow Strain
    • The Cardinals have a great bullpen, but it seems Mitchell Boggs will get the first crack at save opportunities.  If he struggles, Edward Mujica could earn a couple saves as well.
NL West
Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Adam Eaton - Sprained Left UCL
    • Eaton could be back in early May, but during his time off, Gerardo Parra will hit at the top of the Diamondbacks lineup and should be owned in every league.  Parra never gets 500 ABs and that wont change this year, but the Diamondbacks will rotate all the outfielders which will give Parra enough ABs to hit his 20 doubles and score 50-60 runs.  I would hold onto Parra in NL only leagues and even the deeper mixed leagues when Eaton returns.
Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Hanley Ramirez - Right Thumb
    • HanRam could return by late May but until then, Luis Cruz and Juan Uribe will get extended playing time.  I disagree and think Dee Gordon should be the guy at short, but I am not Don Mattingly.  Either way none of these guys can really help UNLESS Gordon is hitting leadoff on a daily basis.
San Diego Padres
  • Chase Headley - Left Thumb
    • Headley could be back by the end of April and Jedd Gyorko deserves as much playing time as possible.  That means Alexi Amarista will have to move to the bench so Gyorko can man second base when Headley returns to third.  Gyorko should be owned in all leagues while Amarista should be limited to NL only
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