As the end of the baseball season’s first month draws near, so too does that all important juncture in the young fantasy campaign: the retooling period. By now you’ve probably cut ties with the pre-season sleeper picks like Brent Morel, Brennan Boesch and Jed Lowrie. While the old reach back into the well for guys like Alex Rios and Carlos Lee is one option for supplementing the core of your roster, there are several much more viable options sitting on the waiver wire clamouring for your attention.
It was just 2009 when Colby Rasmus’ name was bandied about with the likes of Matt Wieters, David Price and Jason Heyward as one of the top prospects in baseball. The story goes something like this: Rasmus enjoyed a fantastic breakout season with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010 with a slash line of .276/.361/.498, while delivering some promising fantasy totals with 23 HR, 66 RBI and 12 SB. Then, a national smear campaign spearheaded by a triumvirate of forces featuring Tony LaRussa, ignorant sports talk radio hosts and Rasmus’ own disastrous 2011 campaign derailed the hype train. Rasmus was sent packing for Toronto, where he would struggle through 35 games.
Enter 2012: Rasmus is off to a decent start through 15 games, hitting for power (3 HR, 9 RBI, .473 SLG) and playing every day. While we may never see him reach fantasy stud status, Rasmus is a more than adequate option as a 4th outfielder with significant upside. He’s worth a look in all formats. Oh, and if you haven’t heard, “wow, wow, wow, wow… yeah, yeah”.
Flashback to 2009: A Baltimore Orioles team that would lose 93 games appeared to have a burgeoning power and plate discipline disciple in one Nolan Reimold. The right handed hitting outfielder made good on the promise of power he displayed in parts of four seasons in the minors by posting some attractive counting stat totals (15 HR, 45 RBI, 8 SB) in 104 games with the Orioles. Armed with a powerful bat and a seemingly decent eye at the dish (11.4% BB%, .365 OBP), Reimold looked like a power source on the rise.
2010 and 2011 were not kind to Reimold, as the former prospect bounced between Baltimore and the Norfolk Tide at Triple-A in search of some semblance of consistency. Reimold showed glimpses of his 2009 self in stints with the big club last 3, but he struggled to find a regular spot in a crowded Orioles outfield. A hot start to 2012 (.370/.383/.783, 5 HR, 10 RBI) has refueled the hype machine to a certain degree. Reimold homered in four consecutive games last week, pushing his ownership percentage well up over 50% in both Yahoo! and ESPN fantasy leagues. He was held out of action on Saturday and Sunday with lingering neck spasms, so grab him and hope for the power totals to climb if he’s managed to fly under the radar in your league.
Alejandro De Aza
Alejandro De Aza has assumed the role of leadoff hitter for the Chicago White Sox and laid the foundation for a productive fantasy season in the process. De Aza is 15-for-56 on the year with three homers, seven RBI and an inflated .869 OPS through 15 games thus far in 2012. He’s never been much of a power hitter, so the early power totals may be a bit misleading. What De Aza does offer to prospective owners is a decent stolen base option, with a propensity for getting on base.
De Aza swiped 38 bags between 2010 and 2011 at Triple-A Charlotte, while posting OBPs of .366 and .378, respectively. His ownership percentages have spiked significantly in most formats on the heels of his hot start. De Aza is the buzziest buzz pick-up of the week; get him while he’s hot.
At 24-years old, Houston’s J.D. Martinez is primed to be the best hitter on a terrible team. That said, he’s unlikely to really blow your hair back with a prodigious fantasy breakout this season.
Armed with unsustainable high marks in OBP (.424), BB% (17%) and SLG (.527), Martinez is a candidate to come crashing back to earth sooner than later. Kudos if you reaped the benefits of his hot start (3 HR, 14 RBI, .309 AVG), but don’t expect him to keep it up. Like Rasmus and Reimold, Martinez projects as a quality fourth outfielder in fantasy circles, with the potential to deliver a decent payoff if he remains hot for a significant period.
Ok, maybe we’re reaching a bit here, but Doumit’s not entirely without value. Doumit’s eligibility at catcher warrants him a look in deeper formats and AL-only leagues, but don’t expect much of the perennial disabled list dweller.
Doumit’s offensive breakout in 2008 seems like a lifetime ago, and looks more like an aberration today than anything. Still, he’s got considerable pop and dual eligibility at OF and C. Tread carefully here, like, very carefully. For very deep leagues and multiple catcher requirements only.
Unless, of course, your league awards points for best batter walk up music… then Doumit’s the MVP.