As we enter week 5 in fantasy baseball, we turn the calendar on April and go in to month two of the long baseball season. We’ve watched some amazing things happen so far like Matt Kemp hitting 12 HR, collecting 25 RBI, and batting .417, while the $250 million man, Albert Pujols, has driven in 4 runs, has no HR and is batting 200 points less than Kemp at .217. Some of the pitchers that were drafted early like Cliff Lee, Daniel Hudson, Rick Dempster, Drew Storen, Brian Wilson, and Andrew Bailey have all found a place on the DL.
And so here are some key waiver wire pick ups that you should be considering and who are not widely owned in most leagues:
Gerardo Parra-OF-Diamondbacks- Parra makes for a nice little pickup in all leagues basically for one category; stolen bases. While OF Chris Young is healing from what has been diagnosed as a slight ligament tear in his right shoulder, the speedster will continue his lead-off duties and probably see 3-4 more weeks on the field. In the last two weeks, he has stolen 7 bases, knocked in 10 runs, has 2 HR, and has scored 13 runs. Not bad for a replacement player. So if you have a ‘need for speed’ (and a little more), Parra is available in 75% of leagues.
Chris Davis-1B/3B-Orioles- This 26 year old has been red hot of late after a torrid weekend series versus the Athletics. He’s batting .310, which is bound to come down somewhat, but his power is his strong suit as he has hit 4 HR and driven in 12 in just 67 AB. I was surprised that Texas gave up on him so quickly because less than 2 years before he was traded to Baltimore, in 2009, he belted 21 HR in just 391 AB which equates to 1 HR every 18.6 AB. His dual position eligibility is also a plus. Davis is currently owned in just 35% of Yahoo! leagues and makes a nice add in 12+ leagues.
Bryan LaHair-1B/OF-Cubs- Another player on fire is LaHair. Monday he doubled and hit a 2-run home run against the Phillies, which now gives him 5 moon-shots for the season to go along with 14 RBI. More impressive for the 29 year old who has spent most of his career in the minors, is his stellar .390 BA which, coupled with his obvious power, makes him a must add in most leagues. If you’re a gambler, you can think about trading LaHair while he’s got these amazing numbers. Or, if you don’t have him, you can pick him up on waivers which is becoming even harder to do as his stock rises. On Monday he was owned in 51% of leagues. Today it’s up to 62%. Don’t procrastinate-see if he’s still available.
Jason Hammel-SP/RP-Orioles- Hammel, who has spent the last three seasons in the thin air of Colorado, has watched his wins and K’s go up while his ERA 1.97, and WHIP 1.03 has dropped significantly since being traded to Baltimore this past winter. He’s 3-1 in the month of April and has fanned 30 in just 32 innings pitched. On Monday versus the Yankees he allowed 2 runs over six innings and struck out five but took the loss. The red hot Red Sox are up next for Hammel so it won’t be an easy task for the 29 year old. He is another player you might consider selling high but would suggest waiting another start or two. His 10 strikeout performance against the White Sox is what impressed me the most and is worth a grab in most leagues. He is available in 50% of leagues.
Pedro Strop-RP-Orioles- Our third Oriole of the week, is a 26 year old fire-baller who can bring it. With closer Jim Johnson securely in place with his 7 saves, 0.00 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, Strop is a nice alternative if you’re lacking in the RP slot and could use an occasional save and/or win. He finished April with a 3-1 record and has added 2 saves to his resume. He also has struck out 14 in 13 innings and has a 2.08 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP which makes him more than serviceable. In Yahoo! leagues, he is currently ranked 70 among all pitchers. He is widely available in 85% of leagues and is definitely worth a flier.