MLB - Fantasy Baseball - Waiver Wire / Stock Watch Report
Fantasy baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. You can't win or lose your league in the first week, or the first month, no matter what happens, good or bad. The important thing to remember right now is that all of the data we have to make player decisions on comes from an extremely small sample size. Don't panic. Every week, FFToolbox will take a look at five must-have wavier wire targets and take a look at which players stock is on the rise or on the decline.
Wavier Wire Targets
Jed Lowrie - SS - Oakland Athletics - Owned in 72% of Yahoo! Leagues
I debated whether or not to put Lowrie on this list, but decided to put him on the wavier wire targets section rather than the stock watch section because he is still avaialble in some leagues and even if he is owned, he can likely be acquired in a trade for less than an elite shortstop. Watching Lowrie play on several occasions this week, I couldn't help but be impressed by his approach at the plate, smooth swing and his ability to drive the ball. The former Red Sox and Astros product is batting .500 with three home runs, four doubles, seven runs scored and six RBI in seven games with the Oakland A's. The only knock on Lowrie is that in five career seasons, he has never stayed healthy for an entire year and has never recorded more than 340 at bats in a single year. Lowrie is healthy and if he can stay on the field, he will produce at an elite level offensively.
Paul Maholm - SP - Atlanta Braves - Owned in 51% of Yahoo! Leagues
How Maholm is owned in barely half of Yahoo! fantasy leagues blows my mind. Granted he has faced a cupcake schedule out of the gate (Pittsburgh and Miami), he has taken care of business in both starts, going 2-0 while working 12.2 scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts and just four walks. Maholm needs to be owned in all fantasy leagues, sometimes the advice is simple, this isn't a hard game unless you make it into one.
Kelvin Herrera - RP - Kansas City Royals - Owned in 42% Yahoo! Leagues
We are just over a week into the season but it appears that Greg Holland is not as entrenched as the Kansas City Royals closer as we thought. Herrera has a closers arsenal highlighted by a blazing fastball that can touch 100-mph and had not trouble nailing down his first save opportunity of 2013 last week. Herrera has pitched three and one third scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and just one walk so far and even if he remains in a setup role, the strikeouts alone and the occasional vultured save will give him plenty of value for his fantasy owners.
Jim Henderson - RP - Milwaukee Brewers - Owned in 41% of Yahoo! Leagues
John Axford's struggles out of the gate due to decreased velocity have been well documented and it looks like he won't be getting save chances any time soon. Surprisingly, Henderson is available in a majorty of Yahoo! leagues and has pitched four scoreless innings with one save so far in 2013. Henderson doesn't have the ceiling that the other hot closing pickup of the week, Kelvin Herrera, but he will likely have more opportunities and that's really all that matters. Every save counts and Henderson has the chance to rack up a few handshakes before Axford gets another opportunity.
Jhoulys Chacin - SP - Colorado Rockies - Owned in 17% of Yahoo! Leagues
Chacin has long been one of the most intriguing pitchers in all of fantasy baseball to me. He fell off the radar completely last season, posting a 7.30 ERA in five starts while struggling with shoulder soreness, control problems and a dramatic dip in strikeouts. Chacin came back late in the season and looked like a completely different pitcher, posting a 2.84 ERA over his final nine starts after coming off the disabled list. Chacin struggled in Spring Training, but has looked great in his first two starts of the 2013 season (1-0 with a 1.35 ERA, 0.90 WHIP with eight strikeouts and only three walks). Chacin is available in most leagues and as long as he continues to pitch well, he is a great option to solidify the back end of a fantasy rotation.
1. Justin Upton - OF - Atlanta Braves
A change of scenery was all Upton needed to regain his power stroke and unlock his monster potential. Upton, who hit just 17 home runs last season in Arizona, has already gone deep six times in seven games. Upton is the consensus fantasy MVP through the first week of the season and seems like a lock to finally realize his massive potential in Atlanta.
2. Chris Davis - 1B/OF - Baltimore Orioles
A notoriously streaky player, Davis slugged home runs in each of the Orioles first four games and is batting .455 with 17 RBI through Baltimore's first six games. Davis can get red-hot for stretches, but can also get ice cold. Davis blasted 33 home runs but also struck out 169 times last season. Davis is legitimate, but don't overpay for his current production in a trade.
3. Matt Harvey - SP - New York Mets
Every fantasy analyst was high on Matt Harvey entering the 2013 campaign, but nobody could have predicted that he would be this good, this soon. Harvey gave up just one run on three hits with nine strikeouts and two walks over seven superb innings against Philadelphia to pick up his second win of the year. Don't be surprised if Harvey ends up as a top-15 or top-20 fantasy starter by the end of the season.
1. R.A. Dickey - SP - Toronto Blue Jays
Opening Day jitters may have played a big role in his shaky Toronto debut, but there is no explanation for the shellacking he received at the hands of the Boston Red Sox (eight runs on 10 hits over four and two thirds innings) over the weekend other than that he just didn't have it. It is a small sample size and it is too early to give up on Dickey, but he just hasn't been able to throw his knuckleball effectively early this season and needs to stay on the bench until he rights the ship.
2. Roy Halladay - SP - Philadelphia Phillies
After giving up five runs in just three innings last week, Halladay was shelled for seven runs on six hits over just four innings against the New York Mets in his second start of the season. Halladay, who owns a 14.73 ERA through his first two starts is coming off a disastrous Spring Training (6.06 ERA) and should not be trusted in any fantasy lineups. Halladay is proof that at an advanced age, guys just don't come back from injury.
3. Pedro Alvarez - 3B - Pittsburgh Pirates
Alvarez is 2-for-25 on the young season and has been held without a hit in five straight games. He has not walked all season and has struck out 10 times already. Alvarez has always struggled against left-handed pitching (.201 career average) but unless he can start to hit anything, he may play his way out of a job entirely.
Down on the Farm - Prospect Stock Watch
Rising - Jose Fernandez - SP - Miami Marlins
Fernandez dazzled in his big league debut shutting down the New York Mets and had a shot to stick in the Marlins rotation if he continues to pitch well and he supplants Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi who remain out with injuries. One of the best pitching prospects to come up in recent memory, Fernandez looks like he will be around, and very good, for a long time.
Falling - Trevor Bauer - SP - Cleveland Indians
The control problems that plagued him at the Major League level in six starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season reared their ugly head (seven walks) in his first start in an Indians uniform last week. Bauer will be given a chance to correct his control issues at Triple-A and unless he can stop issuing free passes, Bauer will never develop into a useful fantasy commodity. One of the games most polarizing prospects, his stock has taken a hit due to major control problems.