Brandon McCarthy, Chicago White Sox:
McCarthy currently serves as manager Ozzie Guillen’s darkhorse out of the bullpen. In four appearances so far this year, he has worked nine innings tallying seven strikeouts and a 0.89 WHIP. In other words, the 22-year old reliever logs multiple innings per outing while establishing a K/9 ratio nearing 9.0. Can anyone say rotation? Grab onto McCarthy while he’s still available and hope that one of the White Sox starters goes down to injury – McCarthy is next in line.
Chuck James, Atlanta Braves:
James, like McCarthy, is an innings eater for Bobby Cox. He has worked two or more innings in each of his five appearances so far this year, allowing runs in only one outing (solo HR’s to Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell last week). Although his strikeout ratios have not been overwhelming, opposing batters are batting just .179 against him. With all of Atlanta’s pitching in flux, pick up James and hope that Chris Reitsma continues to blow it. James could very well be the Braves’ next option.
Scott Shields, LA Angels of Anaheim:
Shields is a set-up man that keeps his ERA down and his K/9 ratio up. What bolsters his value is his ability to factor into decisions. Over the last two years, Shields has logged 18 wins, surpassing the likes of both Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Add to those numbers 33 holds (last season) and you have yourself a mighty successful setup man. Still not sold? Angels stud closer Francisco Rodriguez is day-to-day with a tight hammy. Grab Shields now to fill out all of your stats columns.
Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres:
Few people on the east coast realize that Gonzalez is even starting, nonetheless putting up solid numbers. Ryan Klesko is out indefinitely due to shoulder surgery and word has it that the Padres aren’t too upset. Gonzalez has filled in by hitting .298 over the first two weeks, crossing the plate ten times. Although the power numbers currently aren’t there (1 HR), fantasy owners could benefit from a first basemen that plays everyday, scores runs and hits for average. Start a trend and pick up Gonzalez now. You will wow your league with west coast fantasy expertise and also benefit from Gonzalez’s ever improving numbers.
Craig Wilson, Pittsburgh Pirates:
Wilson is another quality bat that many fantasy owners have overlooked. He’s expected to act as the Pirates’ everyday first baseman with Sean Casey going on the disabled list with two fractures in his lower back. In fourteen games this season, Wilson is batting .297 with six homers and an astronomical slugging percentage of .865. This is the same Craig Wilson that belted 29 homeruns in 155 games in 2004. With that track record, Wilson should be good for another 10+ homers while Casey misses at least six to eight weeks with the gruesome injury.