This article originally appeared on Fantasyfootballmaniaxs.com.
The first week of the 2009 fantasy baseball season is now coming to a close as we have seen both the uprisings of young studs and the sudden downturns of potential greatness.
Before we begin the Week Two Waiver Wire, I would first like to give my condolences to the Adenhart family, who lost loved one Nick on Thursday. I will have a special tribute to the young man later on in this waiver wire column.
Travis Ishikawa (1B) (SF)- Ishikawa came into the season with the opportunity to be the starting first baseman in San Francisco. Come Opening Day, the job was his, and he failed to disappoint. In the first game of the 2009 campaign, Travis hit a three-run triple to help seal a Bay Area victory.
Through three games, he is hitting for a .333 average, with three RBI and two runs scored. Ishikawa’s production should increase as the season wears on, as he has plenty of protection surrounding him in a growing Giants’ lineup.
Whenever you have names like Rowand, Sandoval, Molina, Lewis, and Renteria in your batting order, RBI are bound to occur. Watch Travis’ production as we move into Week Two. I’m expecting solid numbers from him throughout the year.
Marco Scutaro (SS) (TOR)- Have the Blue Jays finally found a shortstop? Two seasons ago, it was John McDonald. Last year, former World Series MVP David Eckstein manned the position. Now, Scutaro has assumed the role as starter.
Thus far through four games, Scutaro has started in the leadoff spot in the lineup, a place where he appears to be comfortable. He is currently hitting for a .353 average, with one home run, two RBI, and five runs scored.
With Scutaro being the first hitter in the order, RBI are hard to come by. This idea turns off many fantasy owners.
Looking at it based on format, though, Marco may be a steal. In many head-to-head 5X5 formats, runs scored counts for solid points. Here is where this shortstop comes in to play. Behind Scutaro in the Jays’ lineup are Hill, Rios, Wells, and Lind, all hitters that can drive in runs.
If Scutaro can get on base enough, look for him to cross home plate on several occasions. So if you need a middle infielder to help give you a boost in this specific category, Marco is your guy.
Mark Teahen (2B) (KC)- This offseason, Teahen’s move to second base in Kansas City tempted me to write a fantasy impact piece, yet I wasn’t sure how the new position would work out. Apparently, Teahen doesn’t seem to mind the infield.
In three matchups, Teahen is hitting for a .250 average with one RBI. Now I know, this doesn’t sound like much; however, you have to look at the potential of the situation.
With Teahen now added to the Royals’ arsenal of up-and-coming hitters, the offense gets a solid boost. As long as Mark is in the lineup, he should be able to rack up the RBI’s, especially with Crisp and DeJesus hitting ahead of him. Monitor his progress as we head into Week Two. You may be in for a pleasant surprise.
Emilio Bonifacio (3B) (FLA)- All I can say is, “Where did this guy come from?” In three games this season, Bonifacio is lighting up opposing pitchers, hitting for a .571 average, with one homer, four RBI, six runs scored, and four stolen bases. All of this occurring in 14 at-bats.
To put it simply, the guy is on fire. This can only increase his current fantasy value. For the time being, Bonifacio is a solid pickup. Thus far, he has hit for power, driven in the runs, stolen bases, and scored numerous times.
What more can a fantasy owner ask for in a 5X5 setup? This guy is currently the complete package. If I were you, I would jump aboard this locomotive and see where it takes you. For now, we cannot yet determine where it plans to stop, but we do know one thing: It’s moving too fast to tell. If you have a roster spot open, grab Emilio.
Felix Pie (LF) (BAL)- After many unsuccessful attempts with the Chicago Cubs, Felix Pie is finally getting his shot with the Birds from Baltimore. In his 2009 debut, he failed to record his first hit, yet he rebounded nicely in his second game. He is currently hitting for a .286 average with two runs scored.
Like Teahen, his numbers don’t seem spectacular, yet the possibilities are endless. Pie combines 20+ home run potential with speed that has been regarded as among the tops in the pros. If he plays to his full ability, any fantasy owner who grabs him may be in for a solid ‘09 season.
So far, it is too difficult to tell whether or not the youngster will pan out. For now, though, I say take the risk if you have an open bench spot. As long as a righty is on the mound to face the O’s, Pie has a chance of becoming a factor in the ballgame.
If he succeeds, then we could see the steady rise of one of the better youthful outfields in the game today. If he fails, then you’re up a creek. It’s your call, I just give suggestions.
Travis Snider (LF) (TOR)- Some people last time suggested that I may have missed Toronto youngster Adam Lind on my waiver wire list, yet I would rather take my chances with a different Blue Birds’ stud.
Thus far in 10 at-bats, Travis Snider is hitting for a .200 average, with one home run, one RBI, and two runs scored. As of now, I like Snider’s power potential over Lind’s, a factor that may play into whether or not Snider gets to start over him during the year.
As far as Snider’s potential goes, the possibilities are endless. CBSSports.com had this to say: “Snider is going to become something special in the outfield but can't really be thought of that way yet as he is hitting in the nine hole.”
To put it simply, the kid is one his way. As the season progresses, Snider will slowly move out of the number nine spot as he descends into the heart of the Jays’ lineup. While he’s there, the RBI opportunities are everywhere. Watch Travis throughout the week before making a final decision.
Nyjer Morgan (LF) (PIT)- Sticking with the left fielders’ theme, we take a glance at Pittsburgh as we analyze Nyjer Morgan. This past Spring, Morgan struggled at the plate, leaving fans with the question of whether of not the young outfielder would be the starter come Opening Day.
On the first day of the new year, we saw Morgan take the field for the Bucs’, and he proved why he deserved it. He would finish going 3-for-5 with two RBI. After 15 at-bats, he is hitting for a .400 average, with three RBI, three runs scored, and one stolen base.
The only worry for fantasy owners would have to be the lineup that he hits in. Batting in the leadoff spot, it is difficult for Morgan to drive in runs. Add on the fact that the Pirates dealt away their heavy hitters (minus Nate McLouth) last year doesn’t help the cause.
Other than this, Morgan should make a fine bench player/injury replacement for your fantasy squad. Who knows? He may end up performing better than we all expect.
Jeff Niemann (SP) (TB)- I would have added his name to last week’s list; however, he was competing with teammate Jason Hammel at the time.
Now with Hammel out of Tampa Bay, Niemann finds himself as the No. 5 starter for the Rays. Jeff is regarded as a top prospect for the organization (Like they don’t have enough already.) and he will get his first start in 2009 against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
This is encouraging for fantasy owners. Though the O’s offense succeeded against the Yankees’ CC Sabathia and Chien-Ming Wang, they struggled against A.J. Burnett. The team is vulnerable, leaving Niemann with the opportunity to strike. Watch how he fares on Sunday, for if he does well, then he should make a solid pickup by any fantasy owner.
Edwin Jackson (SP) (DET)- Formerly making his name known while with the Tampa Bay Rays, Edwin Jackson was sure to make a solid first impression with his first start as a Tiger. Jackson was impressive, going seven-and-one-third innings, while giving up one run on two hits and recording four strikeouts (he also walked a batter).
Jackson has solid upside, and this becomes even more so with the offense he has behind him. In Detroit, the Tigers have a lineup boasting with power. Granderson, Cabrera, Ordonez, Thames, and Guillen provide solid backup for any pitcher on the mound.
If Jackson is able to put up similar numbers week-in-and-week-out, then he may become one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball before season’s end. Monitor his progress during his next start. I believe that he will, once again, do a good job in his upcoming outing, as he faces a strong Texas lineup.
If you want, grab him now to put on your bench. Don’t be surprised if he’s a starter for your squad before the end of the week.
Brandon McCarthy (SP) (TEX)- In his season debut with the Rangers, McCarthy proved why he was named a former top prospect. McCarthy (1-0) went five innings, striking out seven. Like Niemann above, McCarthy’s next start comes against the Orioles, an opponent who can be tamed.
Though this youngster throws plenty of pitches, he seems to be capable of racking up the K’s, a stat that proves to be effective in 5X5 formats. Watch McCarthy’s next start against the O’s. If he has the same sort of performance, then he should make a fine addition to any fantasy squad.
Nick Adenhart (1986-2009) (LAA)- We end today’s waiver wire with a tribute to a young man whose life was suddenly cut short on Thursday. While waiting at a red light in his car with three friends, an intoxicated driver slammed into their vehicle, killing three and leaving one in critical condition.
Nick Adenhart was one of the three killed. This young man was masterful in his first start of 2009, as he leaves this world with an official 1-0 record.
The former Angels’ No. 1 prospect had his whole life ahead of him, just to see it end abruptly while celebrating a solid season debut. If Nick were alive today, I can promise you that he would have made this Week Two waiver wire.
May he rest in peace, for baseball lost a good kid. He will be dearly missed.
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