The 2014 MLB season is only a couple of weeks old, but it's never too early to try to strengthen your fantasy roster. In fact, being able to snatch a couple of gems or sleepers off the waiver wire may be the difference between winning and losing your leagues, especially in AL-Only or NL-Only formats. With that in mind, here is a closer look at a few players worth considering if you're looking for help at either of the corner infield spots.
Third Base (3B) Waiver Wire Pickups
Juan Uribe (3B, LAD)
BALLER MOVE: Add in NL-Only Leagues
ANALYSIS: Uribe is getting regular at-bats for the Dodgers to start the year, and he is making the most of the opportunity. He is hitting .358 with 5 RBIs and 5 runs scored, and he has already smashed 7 doubles. Granted, his career numbers say that he won’t even come close to maintaining his current pace, but in 388 at-bats for the Dodgers last year, he managed to score 47 runs and drive in 50 while hitting .278.
Meanwhile, Uribe has always been good for 15-20 homers. Staying healthy could certainly be an issue for a guy in his 14th year in the majors, but he has a regular spot in a solid lineup and can still produce useful offensive numbers. While he is healthy and hitting, scoop up Uribe in NL-only formats
Conor Gillaspie (3B, CWS)
BALLER MOVE: Add in AL-Only Leagues
ANALYSIS: His second full-time season has gotten off to a strong start, and through the first couple weeks of the season, Gillaspie is hitting .341 to go along with 5 runs scored and 9 RBIs. Although the sample is small, he definitely looks more comfortable than the player that hit .245 as a rookie a year ago. More importantly, Gillaspie has been hitting fifth in Chicago’s lineup against righties so he should continue to see RBI chances. His ceiling is limited thanks to a lack of speed and modest power and a platoon situation is likely waiting when Jeff Keppinger returns. However, he could be a decent source of RBI and batting average in the meantime. Consider him a solid short-term add in AL-only formats.
Kelly Johnson (3B, NYY)
BALLER MOVE: Continue Scouting
ANALYSIS: The utility man can play just about any position, and with all the injuries the Yankees have had, Johnson has been getting regular at-bats and doing some damage. His .263 average isn’t exactly impressive, but he already has 3 home runs and 7 RBIs and is slugging .605. Johnson’s average has actually been horrible the past three years, but during the stretch, he has also averaged 59 runs, 18 homers and 55 RBIs. With New York’s veteran-laden roster, the versatile Johnson should have no problem getting the at-bats to at least match those totals in 2014. No, he won’t carry a fantasy team, but with decent power and eligibility at multiple positions, he could make a surprisingly helpful addition.
First Base (1B) Waiver Wire Pickups
Adam Lind (1B, TOR)
BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues
ANALYSIS: A lot of fantasy owners have probably had bad experiences with Lind. After a 2009 season that saw him hit .305 with 35 homers and 114 RBI, he has spent the last several seasons teasing owners with impressive stretches followed by prolonged slumps. However, he is coming off a respectable 2013 campaign where he hit .288 with 23 home runs, and Lind has picked up where he left off.
Two weeks into the 2014 season, he is hitting .313 with 6 runs scored and six RBI. Perhaps more encouraging is the fact that he has walked more times than he has struck out. Lind is already in a great situation in terms of his home park and his supporting cast, and if he is going to show consistency and patience at the plate, he is going to be much more than the 20-homer guy with the bad batting average that he has been in recent years.
The only downide is that Lind is not getting many AB versus LHP, because he can't touch them, so he is better suited for daily leagues where he can be benched vs. southpaws. At the very least, pick up Lind in deeper formats while he is swinging the bat well.
Justin Morneau (1B, COL)
BALLER MOVE: Continue Scouting; Add in NL-Only Leagues
ANALYSIS: The former AL MVP has seen concussions and other injuries rob him of some of his best years, but he seems to be enjoying life in Colorado this season. In 11 games with the Rockies, Morneau is hitting .325 and boasts a .386 on-base percentage. On the flip side, his power still seems to be missing in action, but if he continues to hit around .300 for a team with as many offensive weapons as Colorado, his RBI total is going to be respectable. After all, Morneau has managed 77 RBIs in each of the past two seasons with a much lower average. In hitter-friendly Colorado with guys like Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowizki in the same lineup, I don’t think a .280 average and 80-plus RBIs are out of the question. Like Lind, Morneau needs to be benched vs. LHP so he is best suited for leagues where you can swap him out any given day. I’d grab Morneau now in NL-only formats if he's somehow still available and if his power starts to emerge at all, I’d scoop him up in deeper leagues, as well.
Mark Reynolds (1B, MIL)
BALLER MOVE: Add in Deeper Leagues
ANALYSIS: After a disappointing 2013 campaign, Reynolds has been looking like his old self in Milwaukee this year. In eight games for the Brewers, he has already hit 3 home runs and is slugging .567. Of course, he is also hitting just .233 and has struck out 13 times, but Reynolds has always been a strikeout machine. The power is what fantasy owners should focus on, and so far, he seems to be thriving in a hitting-friendly park for a powerful offensive team. Keep in mind that we are talking about a guy that has topped 20 home runs in six straight seasons and averaged 35.3 home runs from 2008-2011. If you need power and can afford the blow to your average, Reynolds is your man.