Stash And Hope
There’s no time like early April to raid the waiver wire of “stash and hope” gambles who certainly have the talent to prosper, but whether they’ll exhibit the durability and consistent productivity required to survive a long season is something that many fantasy owners are going to have to watch and learn over the next several weeks.
The first week of baseball had many fantasy owners on the hunt for starting pitching, as many starters were knocked around to the tune of double-digit ERAs (see Lackey, John; Carmona, Fausto; Scherzer, Max; etc.).
Attentive owners jumped all over Toronto’s Kyle Drabek as their early season savior, but other young arms that could help stem the tide of skyrocketing ERAs include Brandon Beachy and Justin Vargas.
Beachy tore it up on Monday against Milwaukee by striking out seven and walking one batter in six innings of one-run ball. The fact that he fought his way through jams and threw his slider/breaking-ball combo for strikes was very encouraging to say the least.
The 25-year-old Brave would be a great short-term and/or keeper league addition to anyone’s fantasy squad given his terrific spring numbers (0.90 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 20 innings), but to expect an inexperienced youngster to provide numbers over the balance of an entire year is foolish. Expect his innings to be capped at 150 or less.
Soft-tossing southpaw Jason Vargas is another alternative in deep leagues. While he won’t rack up many strikeouts, he’s a control artist who relies on lots of sinkers and change-ups to get big outs. The fly-ball hurler is a much safer choice at home. If it’s a relatively harmless rotation filler that you seek, he’s your man.
Staying with pitchers, Colorado’s Jason Hammel is an intriguing option, who has the stuff to rack up strikeouts while keeping walks to a minimum. The problem with him is that he’s eminently hittable, particularly with men on base. But if he can make some minor adjustments, he’s the type of groundball master who can consistently produce seven-innings and seven to eight K’s per outing.
Cubs’ fifth-starter Andrew Cashner is an unproven righty with high- 90s heat and an effective slider. He pitched so well that he drove Carlos Silva out of town in spring training. Keep in on the bench for now and see how he develops.
Those in need of hitting stats may want to look at acquiring the following batsmen, who seem to still be available in most leagues: Alex Gordon, Michael Brantley, Reid Brignac and Ryan Hanigan.
Out of those names, Gordon is the one who offers the most promise. After being touted as the next George Brett over the past few years, this post-hype sleeper is finally tearing the cover off the ball with consistency. His spring performance in which he hit .353 with six round-trippers and 12 walks in 23 games (an impressive feat for the free swinger) give reason for hope. The Lincoln, Neb. product still has a gorgeous lefty swing with the ability to provide power and speed.
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