By Sam McPherson
We all know those owners in our fantasy baseball leagues that overvalue their hometown, favorite players. Who cares if we all know that the shortstop for the New York Mets is going to hit only .240 this year? The Mets fan in the league still will draft their favorite team’s players way too soon. The rest of us just chuckle internally and cross our fingers that our hometown guy will last until our next pick.
Now consider the reverse: That Mets fan may grab every player they can from the favorite team, but they also foolishly shun the best players off their least favorite team. That means maybe the New York Yankees right fielder stays a little longer on the draft board—and we can grab that player unexpectedly.
The same concept works for the waiver wire midseason. Forget team loyalties and or the fact that the Philadelphia Phillies center fielder may have cost you a beer in a wager four seasons ago. Don’t make the mistake that other owners make: Fantasy baseball is an emotion-free endeavor, and the more you let emotions in the way, the worse you will do in your league standings.
Let the other people in your league make those mistakes and waive players they don’t like. It’s your job to make sure you find those gems on the waiver wire each week—without providing the same opportunity for your opponents in return!
Players to Get Onto Your Roster Now
1. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros: Grab him now if you can. This rookie is going to be good, and he’s already off to a great start for the surprising Astros. With one home run, three RBI and a stolen base already in his first three games, the sky is the limit for the first pick of the 2012 draft. A lot of wise fantasy owners may have picked him up already, so check to see if Correa is available in your league; you don’t regret it.
2. Cameron Maybin, OF, Atlanta Braves: It’s hard to believe Maybin is only 28, because it seems like he’s been around forever. Remember when the Detroit Tigers traded him to the then-Florida Marlins as part of the Miguel Cabrera deal? A few teams later, and Maybin is a good candidate—now that he’s healthy, finally—for 15 HRs and 30 SBs this season.
3. Matt Wieters, C, Baltimore Orioles: He’s only 29, and Wieters is back from Tommy John surgery. Good-hitting catchers can be hard to find depending on your league’s roster rules, so he’s a good pickup to go after. The three-time All-Star player will get more and more playing time as the summer goes on.
4. Joey Butler, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: He’s 29, too, and this is his third cup of coffee in three years with a third different team. Yet something is different this time around for Butler. He’s getting regular at-bats with the Rays and hitting .324 with four HRs so far in only 108 at-bats. As long as he keeps hitting, he’ll keep playing in Tampa Bay.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
1. Aaron Harang, SP, Philadelphia Phillies: The good part of his thrill ride is over, and don’t get sentimental when you drop him. Harang doesn’t get you a lot of strikeouts, and his June numbers are scary (0-2, 9.26 ERA, more walks than Ks). With a career 4.17 ERA, he’s not going to experience a sudden resurgence in his 14th MLB season.
2. Caleb Joseph, C, Baltimore Orioles: See above as the reason why you can let Joseph go if you’ve rostered him this season. He’s not going to get a lot of playing time any more, and even if Wieters gets hurt again, Joseph is not a productive catcher to begin with. He’s below average in every way, even if he does hit the occasional home run.
3. Álex Ríos, OF, Kansas City Royals: His two All-Star seasons (2006-07) were a long time ago, and Ríos is not even close to being that player anymore. The Royals gave him $11 million this year, so they will keep playing him, but that .220 average with minimal power and/or speed isn’t going to help you.
4. Melky Cabrera, OF, Chicago White Sox: Ignore the fact this confirmed PED user has been so inconsistent in his career that you really never know if he’s for real or not. That .346 average with the San Francisco Giants in 2012 was obviously the result of his PED use, and now you have to wonder about his 2014 numbers in Toronto. Either way, the Melk Man is hitting .230 with one home run right now. You can do better for your outfield slots (see Butler above).
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball and fantasy sports for many online sites, including CBS, AXS and Examiner.