Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 10 April 2008
This week we’re scanning those waiver wires for players who can help you as frontline offensive replacements when a key position player goes down. All players are undrafted in 50% or more of Yahoo! or ESPN leagues and all of them have upside and can still help in at least 2-3 categories.
Let’s go around the diamond and prospect for some, not quite gems, but valuable replacements.
Mike Napoli (C, Angels):
Napoli shouldn’t be a replacement player in most lineups but a starting player for any team who didn’t draft one of the top catchers in fantasy ball. He’s got 25 home run power and should be capable of hitting around .250. The Angels are giving him the bulk of at bats and he should set career highs across the board. He’s already parked 3 in the seats and has 7 RBIs after just 7 starts.
Casey Kotchman (1B, Angels):
Casey won’t hit .300 so he’s not the greatest of average players, but expecting an average in the high .280s, maybe low .290s, is a realistic option. Throw in 15-18 home run power and the chances to drive in about 80 runs in that potent Angels lineup and you’ll be wondering why he’s a free agent in so many leagues.
Luis Castillo (2B, Mets):
Making an appearance for the second week in a row is the speedy Castillo who is still capable of swiping 20 bases to go with his .300 average 90 odd runs scored.
Casey Blake (1B/3B/OF, Indians):
Can you imagine an undrafted Indian? Look no further than the versatile Casey Blake especially in Yahoo! leagues where he qualifies at three positions (he’s only a 3B in ESPN leagues). Moreover he one of those guys who won’t hurt you anywhere down the line. He went .270-18-78-81 last year and should come pretty close to those numbers again this year. How can you complain about that?
Stephen Drew (SS, Diamondbacks):
The largely undrafted tier of shortstops is pretty thin, and you are forced to choose between guys with .260 averages (or less) with 10-20 steal potential or guys like Drew who have some upside. Drew won’t bowl you over despite his torrid start. He’s never at any level hit more than 17 home runs and his average has dipped with each step up he has taken. Still when looking at the remaining shortstop pool the potential for 20 home runs and a .250 average looks pretty good.
Cody Ross (OF, Florida):
Ross is only a part time player for now but if he gets hot (and he will) he’s very likely to take over the everyday centerfield job down in Florida. He’s got 20 home run power; he’ll hit .300 and drive in a fair number.
Matt Diaz (OF, Braves):
Diaz does have 20 home run power, but it’s all potential at this point, but it complements the ability to hit in the neighborhood of .320 which makes him an idea compliment to a power hitter like Adam Dunn who’s never going to hit for average.
Milton Bradley (OF, Rangers):
I don’t have to tell you how good Bradley can be when he’s healthy or not being suspended for some sort of boneheaded argument with an umpire. If he can manage just 400 at bats, he’ll produce numbers in the .300-20-70 range and will steal about 10 bases too.
Randy Wynn (OF, Giants):
Another guy who’ll contribute something in the area of a .285-.290 average while contributing double digits in home runs and steals. He’ll be even more of a center of the lineup guy (batting 3-4-5) with this lackluster offense and could have a career year in terms of RBIs (he’d have to beat 81 and should do that).