There are already over 120 players on the injured list; many were added just hours before the first pitch of their Opening Day game, making it almost impossible for fantasy baseball players to grab replacements.
An important task this weekend is to ensure that your IL-eligible players are moved to your team’s injured list slots, and replacements picked up.
Even if you don’t need to add players to your everyday lineup, this is the part of the season where championships can be won by reacting quickly.
Here are six under-owned players for you to consider adding before it is too late.
Fernando Tatis jr. (SS-SDP)
It was expected that we would not see MLB’s No.2 prospect until after the All-Star break, at the earliest, but instead, the exciting shortstop made the Padres Opening Day roster. The 20-year-old went 2-for-3 in his big league debut and should be the first name you look for in free agency. The promotion catapults Tatis to the top of the Rookie of the Year favourites list, and he is still available in one-third of fantasy baseball leagues. Go and grab him now.
Luke Voit (1B-NYY)
Also available in one-third of leagues is the Yankees first baseman/designated hitter. The slugger launched hit a three-run homer on Opening Day and also walked twice. Voit hit .333 AVG with 14 home runs in 39 games last season for the Yankees, and hitting behind Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup is an enviable position.
Pete Alonso (1B-NYM)
With much of the offseason discussion about teams manipulating playing time to keep rookies in the minors, the Mets surprised everyone by promoting MLB’s No. 51 prospect to their Opening Day roster. Alonso has power to spare and is fresh off a 36-homer/.925 OPS season in the high minors. The Mets have a gaping void at first base, so if he hits, Alonso will stick in the majors all season. He is available in 60% of leagues, but expect that to change dramatically over the next few days.
Jung Ho Kang (3B-PIT)
Limited to just three Major League games over the last two years stemming from legal issues following his third drink-driving offence, Kang isn’t the type of guy you want to drive your kids home, but he might fill a gap in your fantasy baseball lineup. The Korean posted 1.113 OPS in Spring Training to win the third base job in Pittsburgh and is currently available in 90% of leagues.
Greg Bird (1B-NYY)
With Aaron Hicks on the IL and Giancarlo Stanton shifting to the outfield, there is a two-week audition for the first base job in New York between Bird and Luke Voit. Both players will see everyday at-bats until Hicks returns and a decision must be made. Bird was a higher rated prospect than Aaron Judge, but injuries have haunted him. The 26-year-old is only owned in 5% of leagues, but if he can stay healthy, he offers the power potential within a devastating lineup to be a fantasy game-changer this season.
Rowdy Tellez (1B-TOR)
By shipping Kendrys Morales across the continent to Oakland, the Blue Jays created an opening for their No.21 prospect. Tellez, a victim of prospect-fatigue, has not progressed at the speed Blue Jays’ fans wanted, but looked impressively powerful with four home runs and .923 OPS in his 23-game cup of coffee in the big leagues at the end of last season. You can pick up the 24-year-old in all but the deepest of leagues.
Under-owned pitchers to consider
Diamondbacks announced Greg Holland (20% owned) is their closer, and Twins’ Taylor Rogers (2%) picked up Minnesota’s first save of the season with a four-out, three-strikeout outing.
Padres’ Eric Lauer and Tigers’ Jordan Zimmermann both impressed in Spring Training and brought that form into their Opening Day heroics. Both players are available in 90% of leagues.
Finally, Chris Paddack (yes, yet another Padre) looked awesome in the Cactus League and made San Diego’s rotation. He will debut against the weak Giants lineup on Sunday; it should be fun to watch. The right-hander is available in more than half of leagues, so jump on the Paddack bandwagon before it pulls away.
With the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox coming over in June for the London Series, this could be the most exciting time ever to be a baseball fan in the UK. Get your friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues and school mates to subscribe to our podcasts and to follow @BatFlips_Nerds. Get involved in the conversation.