Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled
Carlos Ruiz, C, Philadelphia Phillies
Ackley: turn and face the strange
Ruiz returned Sunday from his 25-game Adderall suspension and went 1-for-4 with a double. Coming off a breakout season (.325-16-68), the backstop served as a preseason regression warning, but most of what he accomplished was real. The 34-year-old will give you a .280ish BA while teetering on double-digit homers (late-career power growth) and playing in a solid lineup.
Most single-catcher owners probably won't make the change until he shows more potency, but if you've been playing matchups or, say, sticking a bit too long with the waning John Buck, here's a good opportunity to change direction. Players of two-receiver games mustn't stall. He's one of the safest secondary options if not a game-changer.
Peter Bourjos, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Another BABIP alert: .400 through 79 at-bats. Why it'll land closer to 2011 (.338) when all's said and done: He still produces a ton of grounders. Will he surmount a .300 BA? Nah, but anything above .275 (plausible) makes him a money-making option considering he's capable of swatting 10 ding dongs and making a dent in deep-leaguers' stolen-base needs.
Theoretically, moving from ninth to leadoff was supposed to increase his likelihood of running, but it took him until Saturday to take his first 2013 bag. His latent larceny has probably kept many from committing, but he might start going soon. The club cites that opponents are trying to slow them down via quick deliveries with runners on. Bourjos also claims he's slipped a few times when trying to pilfer.
He'll move down in the order once Erick Aybar (heel) returns, possibly this week, but fixing his basepath approach and renewed vigor from the Halos' feet might render his lineup placement irrelevant.
Dustin Ackley, 2B, Seattle Mariners
The changes he made in spring didn't stick, but the modifications he installed earlier this month seem to be paying off. Tracing back from April 12, the first day he reportedly instituted his new stance in earnest, he's batting .316 in 57 at-bats. (Arbitrary end point, schmarbitrary schmend schmpoint.) There's only one RBI and four plate crossings in there, but at least he's showing life.
He was prematurely expected to become the next big fantasy thing in 2012, his first full campaign and a ripe target for a sophomore slip. With hype eroded, middle-infield-starved owners have little to lose in testing him, even if it's with an empty average and mostly based in an underwhelming offensive park. Joining his modest 2012 homer total (12) with anything close to his 2011 average (.273) could be his new baseline, and the results of a streamlined swing could help him exceed that pair and provide unexpected, Kyle Seager-ian MI profit.
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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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