And we're back! This season I will be bringing back by '10 Under 10%' series to FakeTeams. For those unfamiliar with these articles the concept is simple, using Yahoo! Ownership percentages I recommend 10 players that are worth adding. The suggestions are format agnostic, but the recommendations are geared for 14-team leagues and above. I try to get an even split of hitters and pitchers and mix up the positions within the offensive selections. I also make a conscious effort to not repeat picks, but if there is a player I feel isn't getting enough love I will occasionally put him on back-to-back weeks. My picks are a combination of players on a hot streak and worthy of a temporary addition, as well as players with a recent role change who could become long-term solutions. If a player clearly falls on one end of the spectrum, I will point it out in my brief write up. Let's get into it:
Derek Norris/Welington Castillo - I couldn't decide which of these two deserved to make the list, so I put them both on there. Castillo has the playing time edge, with Norris getting the weak-side platoon in Oakland. However, Norris hits in the better lineup and has the better peripheral numbers. If you can afford to platoon Norris with someone else, I'd go there, but Castillo is the better ‘set it and forget it' play. These are my two favorite sleeper plays from the C position.
Chris Denorfia -
Yes— Is Quentin on the DL (@QuentinOnDL) March 29, 2014
A jack of all trades, Denorfia had a quiet double-double season for the Padres last season and with Quentin on the DL again, he's slated to start in LF. Both Maybin and Quentin can push Denorfia out of his starter role, but he should have a solid month or two of production before they are factors. Denorfia also has the sneaky triple LF/CF/RF eligibility if you play in such a league.
Nate Schierholtz - I was genuinely surprised to see Schierholtz at only 6% owned. In a semi-platoon situation last season, he still hit 21 dingers with a useful .251/.301/.470 triple slash. Ruggiano will still complement him when the Cubbies face a lefty, but any sort of improvement from both Castro and Rizzo should help Schierholtz improve his counting stats. Schierholtz has expressed interest in remaining with the Cubs, which is probably the best for his fantasy value, but there's a chance he gets dealt to a better lineup and forms a stricter platoon partnership.
D.J. LeMahieu - This one is fairly straightforward: a starter at a thin position, playing half of his games in Coors Field = fantasy value. He's a bit of an empty average guy, but he'll run into a handful of homers and managed 18 steals last season. Inexplicably, Josh Rutledge gets all of the love, but I expect LeMahieu to deliver more fantasy value in 2014.
Robbie Grossman - A 10 HR/15 SB candidate, Grossman finds his way on the list by the nature of batting atop the Houston lineup and having little challenging him in LF. The Astros recently claimed Alex Presley off of waivers, who I do like as well in deep leagues, but until Grossman is unseated he's the best play. If you're just looking for players who are going to get AB's (a strangely underrated component to fantasy value) Grossman should have no trouble finding those in another rough season in Houston.
Roenis Elias - One of my favorite stories out of Spring Training has been the emergence of Roenis Elias. A lefty, fastball/slider guy Elias will have to walk a tight-rope due to his control issues and the fact that righties have hit him pretty hard. The results could be explosive (not in a good way). However there is also a chance Elias puts it together and racks up above-average strikeout rates and lets the safe haven of Safeco remedy his mistakes. His first start or two will be very telling, but jump on him now because there is a lot of potential, and he's an easy cut if the first start doesn't go well.
Alex Torres - Torres was downright filthy for Tampa Bay last season, and a move to Petco should only add to his value. He's more than a LOOGY and is in a great place to rack up the tough to predict Holds. As recently as 2012 he was still viewed as a starter and while I'm not sure the Padres will go that route, there is still the outside shot he finds himself in a rotation.
Jenrry Mejia - Mejia just recently beat out Daisuke Matsuzaka for the 5th rotation spot in New York. The once top prospect has struggled to stay on the bump, but when he's there he's shown the ability to strike out a batter an inning. You're not adding him expecting 200 innings, but he should provide at least 100 quality innings with the possibility for more if he can avoid the injury bug.
Felipe Paulino - If you haven't noticed the theme yet, my pitcher picks are limited to players with high strikeout potential. No player on the wire is going to help out much in the ratio departments, and Felipe is no exception, but an 8.5+ K/9 is a very real possibility. Similar to Mejia, Paulino is a big injury risk and doesn't have quite as favorable of a home ballpark, but he's firmly entrenched in the rotation and has flashed the ability to be a dominant SP.
BONUS: Josh Beckett - A sprained thumb will keep him out until mid-April, but Beckett has been given the 5th spot in the banged up Dodgers rotation. Beckett is still capable of getting outs in bunches and with a potent offense backing him, there's a good chance Beckett wins 10+ games this season.