10 fantasy waiver-wire pickups who provide boost
Plawecki, Ike among options to fill in for slow-starting regulars
In the midst of Week 3, fantasy owners are starting to get anxious about struggling performers. Now could be a good time to give slumping players a spot on the bench for a few games and use one of the 10 options listed below as a replacement.
Kevin Plawecki, catcher (Mets): With Travis d'Arnaud on the 15-day disabled list, Plawecki should get regular action during his first stint in the Majors. Ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect prior to the 2015 season by MLB.com, he is a lifetime .292 hitter in the Minors. Fantasy owners should not expect power production from Plawecki, but his potential to hit for average makes him worth a roster spot in most two-catcher leagues.
Ike Davis, first baseman (A's): The left-handed slugger has compiled a .317 average, seven RBIs and seven runs in 41 at-bats this season. Davis owns pronounced career batting splits, and the A's will likely keep him away from southpaws. But if deployed properly in leagues that allow for daily changes, the veteran could provide fantasy owners with a respectable batting average, 20 homers and 70 RBIs.
Brandon Phillips, second baseman (Reds): In all likelihood, Phillips will not provide difference-making numbers for fantasy owners, but owning a middle infielder who offers consistent production often proves to be a valuable strategy. Hitting .308, the 33-year-old has become a fixture at the cleanup spot in a Reds lineup that has grown in potency with the re-emergence of Joey Votto. From the four-hole, Phillips could sustain mixed-league value by being involved in plenty of run scoring.
Luis Valbuena, third baseman (Astros): A fixture at the hot corner, the 29-year-old has belted five round-trippers in 45 at-bats. Valbuena will be hard-pressed to offer a helpful batting average, but he could be a useful corner infielder in deep mixed leagues due to his 20-homer potential.
Ender Inciarte, outfielder (D-backs): Thanks to a strong April in which he's hit .321, Inciarte has earned a spot atop the batting order. If he can retain that prominent role, he could build on his 19-steal performance from 2014. The D-backs possess several outfield and corner-infield candidates, but that logjam loosened slightly on Tuesday, when Jake Lamb landed on the 15-day disabled list. Inciarte could wind up back on the bench at some point, but he warrants short-term use in many mixed formats.
Jake Marisnick, outfielder (Astros): With a career .280 on-base percentage in 366 Major League at-bats, Marisnick has earned little attention from mixed-league owners. However, the plus defender accumulated 10 homers and 24 steals in 343 Triple-A at-bats last season, and he could offer deep-league owners some power and speed if he can carve out a regular role. The 24-year-old has done well to make his case so far -- hitting .361 with four swipes in 36 at-bats this season -- and he could continue to play often due to the combination of his hot bat and effective fielding skills.
Ubaldo Jimenez, starting pitcher (Orioles): Jimenez tends to be inconsistent, but he is a notable mixed-league asset when he is on top of his game. The right-hander has pitched well in April and could provide a win and double-digit whiffs next week during a pair of home starts against the White Sox and Rays.
Jimmy Nelson, starting pitcher (Brewers): This season, the prospect has helped fantasy owners behind strong strikeout, walk and homer rates. If he can continue to post plus peripherals during a two-start Week 4, Nelson should remain an asset in mixed leagues.
Jarred Cosart, starting pitcher (Marlins): When filling out the back of their weekly pitching staffs, mixed-league owners need to pay close attention to matchups. Cosart should not be regarded as a long-term solution in shallow leagues due to his modest strikeout and walk rates, but he could be useful during a Week 4 slate that will have him at his pitcher-friendly home park against the Mets and Phillies.
Brad Boxberger, relief pitcher (Rays): Saves sometimes come in peaks and valleys, and the Rays have not offered Boxberger a chance to earn one since last Thursday. But mixed-league owners should nonetheless add the reliever, as his number will likely be called the next time Tampa Bay has a close lead to maintain in the ninth inning.