Making trades and impulsive roster changes in the early weeks of a fantasy baseball season can be damning to your team over the course of the year.
Fantasy baseball is a marathon race, not a sprint. Very often, the hottest hitters and pitchers in fantasy baseball during April and May do not pan out over the entire season. How many of you out there fell hard for former Tigers first baseman Chris Shelton in April and May of 2006?
However, if your looking for a temp player to replace one of your injured or slow starting superstars, the list of players below are owned in less than 50% of leagues (according to statistics from CBS Sportsline), and can provide some valuable early season numbers before your studs carry you through the long summer months.
- Jeff Keppinger, 3B/SS, Cincinnati Reds (49% owned on CBS Sportsline): Like most of the Reds roster, Keppinger is off to a great start. He batted .335 with five homeruns and 32 RBI following the 2007 All-Star Game, and has carried that success into Spring Training and the 2008 season. Through nine games this season, Keppinger is hitting .382 with two homeruns, seven RBI, seven scored and a steal. He has even taken playing time away from BeeZee’z favorite for NL Rookie of the Year, Joey Votto, by logging a start at first base. Consider Kep as a temp if you’re getting frustrated with the April struggles of third baseman like Miguel Cabrera, Garrett Atkins, or Mike Lowell.
- Dana Eveland, SP, Oakland Athletics (45%): Eveland is technically a rookie even though he has logged Major League time the previous two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks. His first start in 2008 was a gem – a seven inning, six hit victory with one earned run and seven strikeouts. With Billy Beane’s track record of developing young pitching, it’s tough to bet against this 24 year old lefty being the real deal. Consider him in deep AL-leagues and for fantasy baseball week three, when he will be in line for a two-start week.
- Todd Wellemeyer and Brad Thompson, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (Wellemeyer 33%, Thompson 26%): Both Wellemeyer and Thompson are two start pitchers during fantasy baseball week two. Both have moved into the Cards rotation after spot starting in 2007. Both are 1-0 with impressive wins against Colorado to start the year. Wellemeyer has struck out 13 in 12 innings of work and currently posts a 2.25 ERA. Thompson threw six and two thirds scoreless innings against the Rox and has struck out 11 in 10.2 innings. In leagues with daily lineup changes, they can even help you this week. Both are scheduled to start this weekend against the lowly San Francisco Giants.
- Jason Kendall, C, Milwaukee Brewers (38%): Anyone else remember the days when Kendall was an All-Star catcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates (all the way back in 2000)? Kendall will not provide your lineup any power, but few owners should be expecting that from their catcher. Kendall will put the ball in play and get on base – he has a career batting average of .298 and is currently batting .522. He makes a great interim catcher for players like Russell Martin, Jorge Posada, Kenji Johjima, or Ivan Rodriguez, all of whom are currently batting under .200.