Managing a successful fantasy baseball team takes a lot of work. One of your most important duties is regularly checking your league's daily waiver wire, and analyzing box scores so that you will be your league’s fantasy baseball owner who discovers sleepers and breakouts like the next Yasiel Puig or Jose Fernandez. Each week I am going to try and help you, by bringing some of the players who are currently flying under the radar to your attention. You might recognize some of these players, but there will be others that you might not have heard of - and I want you to know about them before your fellow fantasy baseball owners do.
Have you given any consideration into picking up:
Jason Kubel (OF): Minnesota Twins
If you are looking for an upgrade for your fantasy team’s outfield then picking up Jason Kubel is a no-brainer. After missing a significant amount of time last season due to injuries, Kubel seems poised to have a big bounce back year. As the perfect “under the radar” type of player, Kubel has quietly hit 20 or more homeruns in every season in which he has played in at least 140 games.
Coming back home to Minnesota seems to be agreeing with Kubel and he has gotten off to a hot start, batting well over .400. The fact that he is not widely owned in more leagues is surprising because when healthy, Kubel has been one of the most consistent fantasy producers in recent years. Kubel’s career numbers show that over a typical full season you can expect him to compile a .265 to 275 BA, hit 20 to 25 HR and drive in 80 to 90 RBI.
Those are very impressive numbers for someone who at the start of the season was owned in just 4% of fantasy leagues. That is quickly changing and his ownership rate has quickly jumped to 21%. If you need outfield help and are looking to add Kubel you had better act now!
Scott Feldman (SP): Houston Astros
Too many Fantasy Baseball Owners ignore players from teams expected to finish near the bottom of their respective divisions but if you play the waiver wire wisely, you just might find the one player that can help put your team over the top. One perfect example is Scott Feldman. So far this season, the 31 year old Feldman has been pitching like Cy Young. He has posted three successive solid starts, compiling a 0.44 ERA while notching two wins for a team that won just 51 games all of last season. With a lifetime ERA of 4.52 I don’t want to misrepresent Feldman as the second coming of Clayton Kershaw, but there are certain pitchers who sometimes inexplicably have a season where it all comes together for them. Ryan Vogelsong is a good case in point. In his first six major league seasons Vogelsong regularly pitched to an ERA of over six and then in 2011 at the age of 33 he compiled a 13-7 record with a 2.71 ERA and was named to the NL all star team. Feldman pitched well last season, posting a 3.86 ERA and a 1.183 WHIP and, like Vogelsong, just might be coming into his own in his thirties. Be forewarned, your fellow Fantasy Baseball Owners are starting to notice Feldman. His ownership has increased from just 14% at the start of the season to 42% this week and that is likely to rise. If you are in need of starting pitching you should definitely consider adding Feldman while he is hot. He is not a top strikeout pitcher but he should be able to help you in the ERA and WHIP categories. If you do choose to add Feldman, monitor his starts closely and get ready to drop him if and when his stats return to their former mediocrity.
Yangervis Solarte (3B/2B/OF): New York Yankees
Keep an eye on Yangervis Solarte but be wary. Solarte, a career minor leaguer, burst onto the scene and impressed the Yankees so much that they felt that they were able to trade away long time utility player Eduardo Nunez. Solarte is currently eligible at third base, second base and outfield in many leagues which make the career minor leaguer extremely valuable. The recent injury to Mark Teixeira has ensured that Solarte will get regular at bats for the near future. Who knows, if Teixeira’s injury lingers or if the often injured Brian Roberts needs some time off, Solarte can continue to see some significant playing time as long as he continues his hot hitting. As of now he is playing with reckless abandon and is batting well over .300. Based on his recent minor league numbers he may be able to hit anywhere from 15 to 20 homeruns in a full season. His star is quickly rising. Solarte was owned in just one percent of leagues at the start of the season and is now owned in 46% of all leagues. Consider adding him if you have the roster space, but pay attention to his stats on a daily basis since his batting average is likely to level off. Also keep an eye on his playing time once Teixeira returns from his injury.