Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled
Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants
Garza may be waiting for you
Many gave up after the tease's dragging start to 2013. He hit his first homer of the year April 23, though, and including that contest he's 9-for-27 with two homer homers and eight total ribbies. Belt may be reflecting his name more often soon, which would affirm Bruce Bochy's resistance toward knocking him down to a platoon.
Belt still chases pitcher's pitches and has, likely unfortunately, connected on more stuff off the plate, which may be contributing to his jump in pop-ups. He has so far, once again, produced a liner on one-quarter of his batted balls, though, so straightening things out would transform more of those into bleacher screechers. Hope for a BA of .270, but buy for a potential 20-homer result.
Matt Garza, SP, Chicago Cubs
Garza probably was ditched or left on the pickup pile in many leagues because disabled list spots were limited or nonexistent. In his rehab from a lat injury, he'll probably need at least three more starts before warranting activation.
Winners look ahead. Despite his battles with homer allowance, anytime you can tuck away an experienced arm with his skills, act quickly. In three of the last four years, he hasn't recorded a K/9 lower than 8.33 or dished out more than 2.86 walks per nine.
Francisco Liriano, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Speaking of stashes, Liriano (fractured humerus) should come to your aid sooner than Garza, with an expected May 11 return date. Though he's not as reliable, he'll probably go unnoticed in many setups, and his upside approaches Garza's, if with worse control.
The three walks he's registered in 16 2/3 rehab frames means he may not hurt you as much in that category, however. The 27 K's in that time ... that's why you buy him. A move to a pitcher-friendly National League park typically makes the most out of talented but troubled pitchers. Ask A.J. Burnett. Liriano could have a similar turnaround, and hopping on it preemptively will save you anxiety and money.
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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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