As usual, the primary waiver focus leans towards pitching with calamitous bullpens and hot young arms taking center stage. But what if your pitching isn’t the problem? Let’s say you’re flush with quality starters and secure closers and you don’t want to spend the bulk of your FAAB budget on Tony Cingrani or Edward Mujica. What about adding a little offense to secure your future? Leagues with short benches make it tough to stock a few good bats as most people tend to use their bench for starting streamers, but deeper leagues with more abundant bench spots allow you to do both. So here are a couple of guys who might be helpful adds as part-time injury fill-ins who could blossom into full-time fantasy stars.
Daniel Nava, BOS |OF| Ownership: ESPN – 26.2% Yahoo – 9.0%
With David Ortiz nearly ready to come back, the Sox are going to have to make a corresponding roster move to make room and the general consensus has them sending the struggling Jackie Bradley, Jr.back down to Triple-A. Jonny Gomes moves from the DH slot back out to left field where he was originally slated to start this year. Though the original plan called for Gomes to get full-time at-bats no matter what, the Sox know that he struggles against right-handers and won’t be able to tolerate his near-empty bat every time they face one. Fortunately, they have an excuse to change the plan and platoon him as the switch-hitting Nava is swinging a hot bat right now. They’ll be able to use the “excuse” that they want to take advantage of his hot start as much as possible.
Right now, Nava is doing everything right while he is in the lineup. His .310 batting average doesn’t have some overblown BABIP inflating it, he’s drawing plenty of walks and he’s making excellent contact. Sure, the .345 ISO is exaggerated, but right now you take what you get and be thankful because you’re not using him for power anyway. Home runs from him are gravy. What you are going to get is a quality batting average, some good runs scored and maybe a bit of speed. He’s a solid guy to have as a fifth outfielder, just keeping your lineup stable. He also has the potential of becoming a full-time player at some point. Should he improve his overall production against left-handers, the Red Sox could deem Gomes expendable and with such a friendly contract (two years, $10M, expires end of 2014), they could deal him to someone looking for his particular set of skills. If Bradley hasn’t forced his way into another call-up, Nava could fly solo in left the rest of the way.
Yonder Alonso, SD |1B, OF| Ownership: ESPN – 8.6% Yahoo – 11.0%
Maybe I just play in too many deep leagues, but I’m actually surprised that Alonso’s ownership percentages are so low. Given the issues at third base, I would at least figure Alonso to be a quality corner infield selection. He’s never been expected to hit for big power — obviously a drawback for a primary first baseman — but as a corner man with the potential to hit upwards of 15-18 homers while maintaining a strong batting average, he’s definitely got some potential. You’d like to think that the fences coming in at Petco would help, but the depth of right field to right-center still ranges from 350-400 feet and that’s no easy task, even with the wall three feet lower. But again, big power isn’t Alonso’s game. He’s all about walks and high contact rates which help him to maintain a strong BABIP and a healthy batting average. And he’s not even off to a hot start here; none of the Padres are. But Chase Headley is on his way back and when he is re-inserted into the lineup, Alonso will be right behind him, ready to drive in some runs and boost your RBI total. The Padres seem content with Alonso and aren’t clamoring for some big-time masher at first, so you have to figure that as long as he’s healthy, he’s a lock for the lineup. With steady work, a strong average and quality RBI total, he’ll make for a steady bat in your lineup that you never have to worry about.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at email@example.com