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Players To Watch AFTER Your Draft

BeeZee’s Note: Today we’re giving the on deck circle to Scott of WaiverSharks.com for some analysis on the top players to keep an eye on AFTER you draft this year.

Jed Lowrie fantasy baseballHere is a mini-preview of a few players to keep close tabs on if – and when – things “Go All A-Rod” with your regular starters.

Depending on your fantasy league’s format and size – many of these waiver cats should still be strutting around on your waiver wire – spittin’ some chew, chuggin’ a few energy drinks, just waiting for you to realize “hey, there are 162 games – I might need some back-up plans!”

On the shallow end of your waiver watch:

Jed Lowrie, 3B/SS, Boston Red Sox: Even prior to President Obama throwing out a ceremonial Opening game pitch, fantasy baseball fans are scrambling to figure out how to deal with some major injuries. We thought Chase Utley would be the most devastating loss heading into the regular season, but with the news that A-Rod will have 9 weeks to reflect on his turbulent offseason, many are left scratching their heads for a third baseman. A position that already lost Milwaukee’s Hebrew Hammer, Ryan Braun, due to eligibility reasons, is now becoming thinner then Alexei Ramirez in a steam sauna.

To say young Jedi – Jed Lowrie can replace A-rod would be ludicrous – we’re NOT claiming that at all! But if you don’t want to give up the farm to try to trade for another top notch 3B, and believe A-Rod’s recovery time will be quick enough, you may need a cheap stop-gap plugin like Lowrie to slow the bleeding. Chase Utley owners are breathing a little easier, as the superstar second basemen has mended quite well, so perhaps A-Rod owners will benefit from a similar fast heal?

John Smoltz, SP, Boston Red Sox: If you think you’ve got enough starting pitching depth to carry a fantasy starting pitcher who in all likelihood won’t put a toe to the rubber until June 1st, go grab big John! The Atlanta Braves most famous “starter, turned reliever, turned back to starter” comes to Boston , and immediately becomes a fantastic SLEEPER candidate! Buy for a rock bottom price right NOW, and stash him away until the Fenway Park debut of “Smoltzies Summertime Sox.”

Kendry Morales, 1B/OF, Anaheim Angels: Scouting for a first baseman that’s still on your waiver wire? You obviously won’t discover the prototypical big boppers who fly off draft boards in the early rounds left on waivers. But, if Kendry Morales is still kicking about, you shouldn’t hesitate to add him. For the first time in his career, the big switch hitter from Fomento, Cuba came into spring training with votes of confidence from Scioscia and Angel’s upper management. Both have ensured him that the first base job is clearly his to lose. Sometimes, that’s all a player needs.

If you need to dig a little DEEPER for SLEEPERS:

Micah Hoffpauir fantasy baseballMicah Hoffpauir, 1B/OF, Chicago Cubs: Okay, if some wisenheimer has already “waiversharked” you out of Kendry Morales, take a glance at the Cubbies hard to spell, and apparently hard to remember, Micah Hoffpauir. Perhaps he’s been standing too close to the Wrigley Field wall, and the ivy is smothering what appears to us to actually be a pretty good ballplayer? His Rodney Dangerfield treatment in Chicago will likely justify a call to his agent soon if Lou Piniella can’t find “one of the more impressive players this spring” a few more at bats. An injury to Derrek Lee could push him into a prominent role. Also, with the offseason trading of the versatile Mark DeRosa (Mmm… say hello to Heidi for us, Cleveland) to the Tribe, Hoffpauir could be thrust into a super duper utility role while he once again awaits a full-time gig in the Windy City.

Vincent Mazzaro, SP, Oakland Athletics: The Oakland A’s have some amazing future starters in their system who could be packing their cleats and heading to the Coliseum before the ink dries on Matt Holliday’s contract. Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill are the popular choices in this grouping. Mazzaro, a pitcher who won’t wow you with high 90’s heat but appears to be truly grasping the finer art of pitching, is a guy we really like. Despite being entrenched in the Athletics “elite prospects” shadows, Mazzaro is the only one to have some Triple-A experience under his belt, making him or James Simmons the likeliest candidates to get called up if injuries are bestowed upon Oakland ’s somewhat fragile rotation.

Brandon Wood, 3B/SS, Anaheim Angels: If your league contains the proverbial “Red Sox Slappy” in it, and kin folks say Jed has moved away from the wire, another “dualie” we’re watching is the Angels’ long time touted prospect. Neither Wood nor Lowrie have 100% locked up spots once the regular season kicks off this April, so they are still widely available on several league’s wires.

What we love about Wood is that he is 3B/SS eligible. If injuries should wreak further havoc on either of these two positions during the upcoming fantasy baseball season, fantasy managers may be pulling their hair out trying to fill them. Unless some unexpected phoenix (ala Mike Aviles in 2008) rises above what the fantasy pundits are prognosticating for 2009 – both shortstop and third base potentials could be in high demand as the sizzling heat takes it’s toll on this year’s crop of “The Boys of Summer.”

Five more Hott potentials to keep on your fantasy radars if still available:

  • Ryan Sweeney, OF, Oakland Athletics
  • Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Colorado Rockies
  • Denard Span, OF, Minnesota Twins
  • Chris Volstad, SP, Florida Marlins
  • Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies

In the event some slick son of a #@*! already swooped down and captured these waiver gems from your 2009 fantasy baseball wire, check out WaiverSharks for an even further look into some deeper SLEEPERS and better KEEPERS.

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