Between all of the injuries and slow starts, it’s expected that everyone in your league is scouring the waiver wire and looking for players to fill in the gaps. The trick though, is to do it on the cheap this early in the season. There are far too many people blowing their FAAB budget too soon or wasting a decent waiver priority on a quick-fix band-aid that won’t be playing in a month’s time, so while you need to stay active, you need to be smarter than the next guy in the way you do it.
Robert Andino, BAL |2B, 3B, SS| Ownership: ESPN – 12.7% Yahoo – 17.0%
The Orioles are 10 games into their season and so far, Andino, normally a bench guy, has played in all 10 of them. While he is merely considered a replacement for incumbent second baseman, Brian Roberts, it looks like he’s going to be a regular for what could be the next month and a half. Roberts, who is still recovering from a concussion he suffered last May, is apparently taking batting practice every day, but the Orioles have yet to put a timetable on his return. Recent speculation had him missing the first two months of the season.
Andino isn’t going to dazzle you with his numbers as there is little pop and he’s never really flashed the 20 stolen base potential he showed in the minors. But he makes for a solid temporary fix while you wait for one of your stars to either heat up or get back from an injury. His .429 BABIP will obviously regress, but with an expected decrease in his strikeout rate, including his current 11.1% swinging strike percentage, he could conceivably hit somewhere around .270 for the year.
There’s also a strong chance that Andino continues to remain a fixture in the Orioles lineup even further into the season. Even if/when Roberts makes it back, we don’t know how he’s going to react to in-game play. Obviously there’s a huge difference between taking BP in a cage or fielding grounders at practice than doing it on the field of play. And then, of course, there’s the chronic back issues that caused him to miss plenty of time in the past. And if that’s not enough for you, then how about the fact that Mark Reynolds has manned the hot corner only once in the last five games. If neither he nor Chris Davis is capable of playing third, then perhaps Andino might impress a little more than Wilson Betemit.
Ryan Sweeney, BOS |OF| Ownership: ESPN – 14.9% Yahoo – 6.0%
Wow, is that Boston outfield in shambles, or what? Tuesday’s lineup featured Sweeney in right, Cody Ross in left and Jason Repko in center. Not the outfield configuration Sox fans were expecting this season, was it? But some good news is on the horizon, for Sox fans atleast, as Carl Crawford got some at-bats in an extended spring training game and should be headed for a minor league rehab assignment soon. He is on track for an early May return.
But that still leaves two outfield spots to contend with while Jacoby Ellsbury recovers from his shoulder injury. The assumption here is that Repko gets bumped in favor of Sweeney and Ross, with Ross manning center and Sweeney in right and Darnell McDonald acting as the fourth outfielder. If that’s the case, then you’re looking at at least another month and a half to two months of semi-regular playing time for Sweeney (he’ll tangle with the righties with the occasional start against a southpaw) who can be a solid boost to your batting average.
His walk and strikeout rates are on right on par with his career averages, and while his .435 BABIP is ridiculously gaudy, he’s always posted above average BABIP numbers. He should slot right in between .290 and .300 this year. Again, no power or speed for you to rely on, but to grab anywhere from 80-100 at bats at or near the .300 mark is certainly helpful.
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