Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled
Jim Henderson, RP, Milwaukee Brewers
Hanson's career isn't over
Looks like Ron Roenicke is on the brink of ousting John Axford from the closer role. Grab Henderson immediately; he has his own flaws with control but hasn't had to fight Axford's demons with velocity and location.
Axford probably has a legit shot to get the job back, like he did last year, but if his problems run deeper this time, Henderson has the best makeup of any on-roster alternative to carry the flag permanently.
Denard Span, OF, Washington Nationals
The Nationals' leadoff man shouldn't be sparsely claimed, even with his utter lack of power and sputtering statistical start. Many might be put off by his 17 swipes last year in 568 plate appearances, but his early-career numbers say there's more in store, especially now that he's healthy, something he hasn't been during a full campaign since 2010.
He's working on his theft instincts and has already walked seven times in 27 PAs. Sustaining that pace would jack up his opps to commit larceny. There isn't much difference between Span, who's setting the table for Bryce Harper and a thump-packed Nats lineup, and Juan Pierre, who has Giancarlo Stanton and ... exactly.
Vernon Wells, OF, New York Yankees
Stop laughing and read. Maybe Kevin Long can work out another miracle. The Yanks' hitting coach, along with Wells, noticed that the new Bomber was getting out in front of too many pitches last year. A shorter approach to the zone may deliver sounder connections even beyond the two homers he clubbed in the opening week.
Anyone receiving at-bats in the Bronx confines has at least short-term utility, and Wells should extract another 20-homer season from his aging but hardly dead bat. He's a lineup fixture until Curtis Granderson (forearm) returns (probably next month), but if Wells catches fire, he should stay on the card when summer comes. A new scenery and swing may breathe some life into this expensive former carcass.
Tommy Hanson, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
His first scheduled 2013 start (Texas Rangers at Arlington) was scary, but he acquitted himself well with a textbook-defined quality effort, complete with four K's in six frames; a spring triceps injury didn't seem to bother him, either. Constant tweaks to his delivery, along with his back and shoulder, have marred his stock in recent seasons, but pitching home games in one of the best pitching environments in the AL mitigates the typical league-oriented concerns.
He gets a cushy matchup with the Houston Astros in SoCal this week, and while a good effort there may inflate his worth, any good signs that are carried over may produce a waiver wire rush for the formerly hyped righty, as they have for Masterson. It may just take a few adjustments to keep Hanson off the DL and rediscover his lofty ceiling.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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