We haven’t even cracked open the 2010 season — although the glory that is regular season baseball is fast approaching — and I know some of you are already scouring the waiver wire.
For those of us who are not scouring it yet, rest assured that we will be by next Sunday.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the players who are available now and who you’ll want to pick up before or after Week 1.
Players available are listed by position with ownership rates in parentheses:
Jeff Clement (Yahoo 4%, ESPN 1.2%) — Drafted him in just about every league after he was named the Pirates starting 1B. Now as a 1B he’s not that exciting, and his batting average could be bad. However, if he goes 70/20/70 as your starting catcher, you’re going to be pretty happy.
Chris Davis (Yahoo 47%) — He’s owned in 100 percent of ESPN leagues (where teams are required to fill a 1B/3B and a UTIL slot on top of 1B and 3B in standard formats). Shouldn’t be that available. He should be rostered this season until we know whether he’ll perform closer to last year’s expectations or last year’s actual performance.
Adam LaRoche (Yahoo 62%) — He’s available in 38% of Yahoo leagues and none of the ESPN leagues — see the Davis blurb above for why that is. Put his numbers next to Billy Butler’s. Actually, don’t bother. Knock .020 off Butler”s batting average and you have the same numbers.
Casey McGehee (Yahoo 27%, ESPN 25.9%) — He’ll bat in a lineup that produces runs and in a lineup spot that will be conducive for his own production.
Scott Sizemore (Yahoo 21%) — ESPN’s a little higher on Sizemore in their rankings, that’s why he’s more available in Yahoo. He’ll be on a lot more rosters by the end of the first week.
Clint Barmes (Yahoo 50%, ESPN 8.2%) — Strikingly low ownership rate in ESPN leagues, another difference in preseason rankings. Barmes qualifies at 2B and SS and had a near 70/25/70/15 line last season with a bad batting average. He could pop three homers and steal 3 bags this week and end up owned in every league.
Sean Rodriguez (Yahoo 11%, ESPN 5.9%) — Behind Ben Zobrist and Willy Aybar at second. However, I see Zobrist taking over in right field, and Rodriguez leapfrogging Aybar by May 1. Rodriguez was too good during the preseason to not get a shot.
Casey Blake (Yahoo66%, ESPN 8.1%) — Surprising he’s so available in ESPNs considering he went almost 85/20/80/.280 last season.
Brandon Wood (Yahoo 8%, ESPN 5.1%) — Could finish the season with 30 homers. Check out our third base targets for more on him. Here’s a snippet: “Wood has a starting 3B gig and 30-homer power in 2010.”
McGehee — Discussed this dual-eligible player in the second basemen.
Ian Desmond (Yahoo 15%, ESPN 4.2%) — Yahoo also requires a 2B/SS spot. Everyone overlooks him in those leagues because of ESPN’s rankings, which were done before Desmond won the job. Go get him if you need middle infield help.
Alcides Escobar (Yahoo 32%) — Another matter of rankings because he’s owned in 100% of ESPN leagues. Allow me to snippet you again, this time from our shortstop targets post: “Escobar is going to be more of a speed option than a power threat, but he has gone deep this spring and plays in an incredibly talented offensive lineup.”
Everth Cabrera (Yahoo 25 %) — He’s owned in most ESPN leagues for the same reason he’s on this list. He could get you 40 steals this season. He’s awful in every other category, but if you need a speed boost, roster Cabrera.
Barmes — Discussed Barmes in the second basemen.
Chris Young (Yahoo 40%, ESPN 47.9%) — How often do you find a 30/30 threat sitting on waivers?
Drew Stubbs (Yahoo 27%, ESPN 15.3%) — This proves that not enough people are reading our fantasy baseball daily updates. In this particular one, I discussed how Stubbs was leading the team in spring homers AND how he stole 46 bags in the minors in 2009 and hit eight homers. A breakout star, this one.
Kyle Blanks (Yahoo 34%, ESPN 48.7%) — One of my personal favorites, we’ve talked about him a lot here. I’ll refer you to our Top 80 outfielders for 2010.
Carlos Gomez (Yahoo 4%, ESPN 5.9%) — He can be a shaky both with the bat and the glove. he can also steal bases and is in competition to bat high in a stacked, run-producing lineup.
Ervin Santana (Yahoo 55%, ESPN 11.6%) — Had 200Ks two seasons ago. He appears to be healthy again. Shouldn’t be so available.
Phil Hughes (Yahoo 67%, 61%) — Those ownership numbers are a little higher than most on this list, but in today’s fantasy baseball update I made a pretty good argument why, despite his extended spring training, he should be owned in most leagues.
Fausto Carmona (Yahoo 23%, ESPN 12.1%) — Suspicion is founded with Carmona who won the Cy Young in 2007 then disappeared for two seasons. He’s been dominant in the spring. Maybe he’s ready for an encore. If he is, it wouldn’t hurt to have him on your roster. you don’t really need that backup catcher.
Aroldis Chapman (Yahoo 38%, ESPN24%) — His stay in the minors will be a short one. He will be make a bigger fantasy impact in 2010 than Neftali Feliz or Stephen Strasburg combined. How’s that for a bold prediciton?
Jon Rauch (Yahoo 48%, ESPN 66%) — Another example that enough people aren’t reading our daily updates. He’s the full-time closer. Joe Nathan had 41 or more save opportunities in five of the last six years. Even if Rauch loses the job he’s a virtual lock for 20.
Chris Perez (Yahoo 46%, ESPN 44%) — Kerry Wood is already hurt and Perez is throwing cheese. His 30 saves won’t be sitting on waivers for long.
Ryan Madson (Yahoo 63%, ESPN 23.2%) — He’s got closer skills and will fill in for an injured Brad Lidge for now. If Lidge’s dead arm never comes back to life, Madson will stay in the role. The only problem is a lack of bullpen depth that could hurt the Phillies’ chances of winning games AND Madson’s save opps. Still, there’s no way he should be available in 77% of ESPN leagues.
Matt Lindstrom (Yahoo 43%, ESPN 36%) — He’s the closer for the Astros. The really ridiculous thing is that Brandon Lyon is owned in 68.3% of ESPN leagues. Sure, Lindstrom’s going to lose his job at some point this season, but he’ll be getting the saves right now.
How many waiver moves have you made already? Are you busy on the wire or do you dabble? Let us know in the comments.