Early Season: Future Treasure Pt. 1

Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

This article will introduce a group of players that I believe have a potential to make an impact for your fantasy team given some appropriate playing time early on in 2016. IF you have room to hold one or more of these guys on your bench without sacrificing too much, go get them.

Michael Saunders (5.8% owned ESPN) - I'm sure you have heard the news by now but if you haven't, here it is: "Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Sunday that he plans to use Michael Saunders as his primary leadoff man for the foreseeable future." Source: Not only should Saunders have been on your radar before the season since he hits on a fantasy-golden line-up of a team, plays in the AL EAST (every stadium except Tropicana Field is a hitters paradise), but also because he has the ability to hit lead off for this team. They lead the league in runs scored last year with 891, the next closest was the Yankees with 764. WOW.

Coming into the season, Kevin Pillar was the first guy to get his shot. He hasn't quite failed, but it doesn't sound like Coach Gibbons is exactly pleased. Michael Saunders should be added today by many with news of the lineup change. If you can find room for him, grab him and look forward to some production this week as he faces off against 6 straight right handed pitchers. Note that the following week he will be facing 5 straight lefties and one righty (Chris Archer). I would platoon him during that week since he isn't quite as good vs LHP. He is an investment nonetheless. He is a little piece of gold if you can get your mouse-clickers on him. Expect to see many runs scored, a few dingers, and enough stolen bags to keep you happy.

Trea Turner (12.2% owned ESPN) - Trea might be on the radar of your league-mates already and rightfully so. Pick him up where he is available. He should be owned in every dynasty league on the planet. Turner got a taste of the bigs last year where he performed underwhelmingly. That's fine, he got his taste and has no where to go but up from last year. He is too good for AAA pitching. Across the 57 games he has played in AAA he has hit an incredible .330/.381/.457 while stealing 18 bags of the 20 he has attempted.

His only obstacle is Danny Espinosa in Washington. He will never flash the glove that Espinosa possesses but he does have a top-of-the-order bat that could score 100+ runs some day in his career, especially hitting in front of Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. I believe the Nationals give Espinosa another two or three weeks of sub-par hitting until they finally bring Turner up for good. He is the real deal and the future SS of the Nats. Grab him and hold him.

Sean Manaea (1.0% owned ESPN) - Eric Surkamp and Jesse Hahn; the two guys Manaea has to prove he is better than to fill a spot in the back end of the Oakland Athletics rotation. First off, many believe Jesse Hahn has first crack at the spot before Manaea. Respectively so, Jesse has had success in the bigs and deserves the shot. That being said, this will be a bold prediction: Manaea will get the call before Hahn. Hahn is a good pitcher but he doesn't quite bring the flare that the Athletics could use right now. Manaea does. He is a big-lefty k/9 guy that frankly has more of an arsenal and brings more excitement than Hahn. He has started his 2016 minor league campaign with a boom pitching 12 innings, allowing 2 earned runs, striking out 17, and walking only 2. He out dueled Julio Urias in his last outing to pick up his second win n as many starts.

Like I said, it is bold, but I do think he is more ready for the big show than Eric Surkamp and he deserves a chance soon. Add him now or in the next couple weeks. Keep an eye on his next couple of starts. You will not want to miss out on what he has to bring to the majors hopefully as soon as early or mid May.

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