By Sam McPherson
A good fantasy baseball owner watches the boxscores every day for the first month of the season to see who is playing unexpectedly well, and as the second week of the season draws to a close, there are plenty of options for the smart fantasy baseball owner to get the jump on the competition.
Quite often, a fantasy league is won — or lost — because an owner grabbed the newest up-and-coming stars early in the season before the competition even knew that player was on fire. Take the two starting pitchers on the “must add” list below this week: They could be huge acquisitions if one of your original SP’s has gone on the disabled list already or has lost the edge on his curveball.
You snooze, you lose. That is never more true than in the beginning of fantasy baseball season. Fortune doesn’t favor the foolish here; it favors the bold and the vigilant. If you miss out on any of the players below, make sure to keep watching the boxscores next week so it doesn’t happen again.
(And always remember who to drop when you pick up new players, too: That outfielder you drafted in the last round hitting just .143 right now without an RBI? He’ll still be there on waivers later, so don’t sweat it.)
Players to Get Into Your Lineup
1. Shane Greene, SP, Detroit Tigers: A former New York Yankees starter, Greene came over to the Tigers in December, and he’s looking pretty good right now. His numbers last year (5-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.398 WHIP) didn’t turn any heads, but Greene looks a lot better in Detroit thus far (2-0, 0.00, 0.500). Grab him and ride him while he’s hot.
2. Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: He was solid last season (.263, 10 HR, 35 RBI) in a part-time role, but Kiermaier is now the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Rays. He’s played in all 10 games thus far this season, and he currently leads the majors with five doubles. That 1.132 OPS won’t last, but Kiermaier should settle in nicely for the long haul.
3. Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH, Kansas City Royals: He probably went undrafted in your league, but Morales is a proven hitter when healthy. He’s taken over for Billy Butler—now with the Oakland Athletics—in Kansas City, and is doing his usual thing. He hasn’t played first base yet this season, but Morales has eligibility there from 2014.
4. Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians: The third overall pick in the 2011 Amateur Draft has finally arrived. Bauer has walked nine batters thus far this year, but that’s countered by a whopping 19 strikeouts. If he can keep batters swinging and missing, Bauer is worth having in your fantasy rotation for those ever-valuable K’s.
Players to Sit This Week
1. Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants: Never mind the Giants’ seven-game losing streak, because that’s not the issue here. Belt has all the talent in the world, but he can’t seem to stay healthy or put it together for any long stretches of play. Either stash him on your bench until he gets hot, or let another owner take on the risk.
2. Scooter Gennett, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers: He may be one of those players who declines the more he plays, although Gennett certainly is still young with a whole lot of upside. Yet he’s off to a very slow start this season, and if you were looking for double digits in HR’s and stolen bases, that is looking like a long shot right now.
3. Brett Cecil, RP, Toronto Blue Jays: This is more about Toronto Manager John Gibbons than it is about Cecil. When the manager seems to change his mind daily about who his closer is, it’s time to find a different closer. You can play roulette with him in your lineup, or you can find another owner who wants him in a trade.
4. Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners: He’s just not ready yet; with only 10 MLB starts under his belt at this point. Walker is only 22-years-old, and he’s got a very high ceiling—but some pitchers take awhile to put it together. That could be later in the season, of course, so hang on to him. Just wait until he posts two or three good starts in a row before trusting him in your rotation.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on a Examiner.com.