Fantasy baseball is all about riding the hot hand and getting in and out on players at the right time. Each Monday I’ll take a look at who’s been added and dropped in the most fantasy leagues in the previous week.
Week One Pops
Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks, OF: ESPN +56.2 %, CBS +42%
Parra, who’s known more for his defense, hit .400 in the first week while getting playing time with Adam Eaton on the disabled list. He’ll have to keep up the hot hitting to keep the spot when Eaton comes back, but fantasy owners looking for a .280ish average and some speed have found their guy in Parra.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners, SP: ESPN +40.7%, CBS +7%
One of my favorite pitchers coming into the season had a great two-start week against the Athletics and White Sox. He compiled a 2.57 ERA and 0.43 WHIP with 10 strikeouts in 14 innings. Iwakuma was one of the best pitchers in the 2nd half of last year and it’s carried over to 2013. I’m particularly fond of pitchers who don’t walk people and he fits the bill as he hasn’t walked a single batter yet. He hasn’t been added in as many CBS leagues, because he had a higher ranking there compared to ESPN.
Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics, SS: ESPN +38.9%, CBS +37%
When Lowrie is healthy, he’s more than serviceable at shortstop and at a middle infielder spot. He started off hot last year in Houston and is doing it again in Oakland hitting .500 with three home runs so far. Owners looking for a fill-in for Derek Jeter have pounced on Lowrie for the time being.
John Buck, New York Mets, C: ESPN +27.1%, CBS +32%
Fantasy owners that hop on the hot catcher are all over John Buck this week as he hit .400 with two home runs for his new team. He was owned in less than 1% of ESPN leagues coming into the season. He has 15-20 home run potential, but expect a slump soon as he hit a dismal .192 in 300+ at-bats last year. He has potential though for hitting .240 with 17 home runs and that’s worth a shot with slumping catchers like Jonathan Lucroy to start the year. I wouldn’t be adding him in 10-team mixed though.
Kyuji Fujikawa, Cubs, RP: ESPN +15.2%, CBS +18%
Carlos Marmol is obviously in the drops department as he’s officially lost the Cubs closer role to the newly-signed Fujikawa. Be weary though as the Cubs may not have enough save chances to go around. If you didn’t pay for saves though, he’s an obvious pickup.
Predicting next weeks pops: Kelvin Herrera, Royals, RP, Paul Maholm, Braves, SP, Chris Johnson, Braves, 3B, Jim Henderson, Brewers, RP
Week One Drops
Phil Hughes, New York Yankees, SP: ESPN -34.0%
Hughes was strong enough to stay in the Yankees rotation and not miss his first start due to injury. Unfortunately for Yankees fans, that start wasn’t very good giving up three earned runs and eight hits in just four innings. He’s not ready and should be on the waiver wire until he proves otherwise.
Bruce Rondon, Detroit Tigers, RP: ESPN -12.4%, CBS -6%
Also on my avoid list, the rest of the Tigers bullpen. I want no part of Rondon, Al Alburquerque, Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, and re-signed Jose Valverde. I’m not that desperate for saves and I hope you aren’t either. I’ll wait for someone to grab actual hold of the job before making a move.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants, 1B: ESPN -11.3%, CBS -6%
Oh Brandon Belt, why must you tease us so? He was spectacular during spring training, making people believe that this would be the year the former top prospect would break out. Instead, he’s started the season 1 for 14 and missed a couple games with a stomach illness. Fantasy owners are ready to go with other options like a hot Mark Reynolds in Cleveland and the Cardinals Matt Carpenter.
Predicting next weeks drops: The rest of anyone owning Carlos Marmol, Cubs, RP, John Axford, Brewers, RP, Ryan Dempster, Red Sox, SP, J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays, C
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)