Listed below are seven players who are likely flying under the radar in your fantasy leagues. Each of them could post numbers worthy of a roster spot. Keep an eye on them, as they could provide a lift to your team at little to no cost.
Alberto Callaspo – Callaspo has been receiving regular playing time since Jose Guillen came down with an injury on April 9th and he’s making the most of it. His career IsoP is .094, so don’t expect him to sustain his current .204 IsoP. He could still be a valuable player though, as he will likely hit at an above-average rate and give you average level production elsewhere. If Mike Aviles continues to slump, Callaspo could steal at-bats from him when Alex Gordon returns.
Aaron Laffey – Recently moved to the bullpen to stabilize the Indians’ relief corps, Laffey has little value as a middle reliever. However, his stay in the bullpen may only be temporary. And if he rejoins the rotation later this season, he will likely have eligibility as a reliever and starting pitcher. This dual-eligibility will make him a useful commodity in many Head-to-Head leagues. Avoid Laffey until he gets back in the rotation, but keep an eye on him.
Brett Cecil – A good groundball pitcher, Brett Cecil has performed admirably in his two starts with the Blue Jays. While he has the arsenal of a big league pitcher, his durability is a bit of a question mark. Cecil has yet to pitch more than 118.2 innings in one season. His peripherals are good though, so go ahead and put in a waiver claim for him. Just know that the Blue Jays probably won’t let him log more than 160 innings or so this season.
Chris Coghlan – With Cameron Maybin’s recent demotion to Triple-A, Chris Coghlan stands to pick up the majority of the available at-bats for the Marlins. He split time between second and third base in the minor leagues this season, and the Marlins are planning to play him in the outfield. The possibility of eligibility at three different positions certainly makes him appealing in fantasy leagues, and if everything goes right for him, he could hit for a solid average with above-average steal totals. Coghlan is worth a look in all NL-Only and deeper mixed leagues right now. He could become useful in all leagues by the end of the season.
Juan Cruz – Blessed with a power arm, Cruz was not pursued with as much intensity as we expected this offseason. He ultimately landed with the Royals, and with closer Joakim Soria’s trip to the disabled list, Kansas City finds itself in need of a temporary closer. Though manager Trey Hillman said he plans to go with a closer by committee, Cruz is easily the most qualified candidate to pick up save opportunities. And you should expect him to get the bulk of them in the foreseeable future. He is worth a pick up if you need saves, but know that he’ll be just another bullpen arm after Soria comes back.
Barry Zito – Yes, that Barry Zito. Over his last 26.1 innings, Zito has given up exactly four earned runs. His FIP on the season is a very respectable 3.91. His recent successes may be a result of Pablo Sandoval serving as what appears to be his personal catcher. While Zito will likely never pitch well enough to justify his $126 million contract, he could become a useful pitcher again if he continues pitching like he has lately. Watch him closely in his next couple of starts, and be ready to pick him up if he shows consistently solid outings.
Andrew Bailey – With Brad Ziegler out for an estimated ten days, Bailey should be first in line for save opportunities. He already has one save in Ziegler’s absence, and Oakland has tabbed him as their closer-in-training. Add Bailey if you need some cheap saves, and watch carefully to see what happens when Ziegler comes back. If he falters, Bailey could grab the closer’s job as early as this year.
Contact Ethan Saporito.