It's been a rough start to the season for elite outfielders, as Chris Young and Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks are both out, as is Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. With Ellsbury and Young both on the DL and Upton looking like he may be heading there himself, it's a good time to look at what's out there on waivers to replace them.
J.D. Martinez of the Astros has gotten off to a fast start, hitting .326 with 3 home runs and 12 RBI with 6 runs scored heading into yesterday's action. Martinez had decent numbers (6 home runs and 35 RBI, .274) in 53 games with the Astros last season and was a career .342 hitter in the minors. He also showed decent power, hitting 18 home runs and notching 89 RBI in 2010 between stints at Single- and Double-A. Playing in hitter-friendly Houston may be a boon for his statistics.
His teammate Jordan Schaefer may be a good short-term solution if you're looking for a little speed. Schafer already has 6 stolen bases this season, along with 11 runs scored and a .271 average. He was mediocre at best last season, hitting just .242 with 22 steals, 13 RBI and a pair of home runs, so don't expect to get long-term relief from the former Brave. He's a player to ride a hot streak with and dump at the first sign of trouble.
Nolan Reimold of the Orioles has been enjoying a power surge of late, bashing 4 home runs and notching 8 RBI while hitting .341. Reimold is a career .261 hitter and his career high is 13 home runs, so like Schafer don't expect the power surge to last. But, he may be valuable in the short-term while he's swinging a hot bat.
Finally, Melky Cabrera of the Giants has been solid, hitting .314, scoring 9 runs and driving in 7 runs. Cabrera had a solid season last year with the Royals, hitting a career-high 305, with 18 home runs and 87 RBI while racking up 20 steals. It was by far Cabrera's best overall season, so there was some skepticism that he would be able to follow it up with similar success. But, thus far Cabrera has been solid and if I was going to roll the dice is on one of these guys it would be him.
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If you bought into Francisco Liriano's strong spring and now find yourself looking to dump him in favor of someone a little better I have two strong options, both available in a large number of Yahoo! leagues.
Surprisingly, Jake Peavy is only owned in 56 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Sure he's had some health concerns in recent years, but it was not all that long ago he was considered one of the top pitchers in baseball. He's shown some of that form so far this season, going 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. Peavy has held opposing batters to a .200 average and has struck out 21 while only walking a pair in 19 2/3 innings. Reports suggest that his velocity is up and that he is truly healthy for the first time in a while. I'd jump on Peavy while you still can.
On the younger end of the spectrum, Braves pitcher Mike Minor is off to a 2-1 start with a 3.10 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP and 19 strike outs in 20 1/3 innings pitched. A 2009 first round pick, Minor was ranked as the 37th best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season but has always taken a backseat in the Braves system to Julio Teheran and Brandon Beachy. But, in holding opposing batters to a .194 average thus far this season, Minor is proving that he belongs in the major league rotation and that he deserves to be owned in more than 46 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
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After an injury-plagued 2011 season, long underrated first baseman Adam LaRoche has bounced back nicely in Washington.
LaRoche is hitting .309 with 2 home runs and 13 RBI and has an .879 OPS. Despite the numbers, LaRoche is owned in only 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues. When healthy, he's good for at least 20 homers and around 85 RBI, so if you're in need of some decent power take a look in his direction.
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Andy Silva writes the Fantasy Forecast for The Salem News. You can follow him on Twitter @ SN_fantasysport.