Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Andre Ethier, Taijuan Walker want your attention

by Tim Heaney on May 30, 2014 @ 08:55:05 PDT


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OF Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ethier in the clear vs. RHP

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OF Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers

The injury to Carl Crawford (ankle) clears up the Dodgers' playing-time puzzle, and this vet, especially against right-handed pitching, earns more deep-league cred. Joc Pederson doesn't appear to be a threat yet.

SP Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners

He's rehabbing -- albeit with a rough Thursday outing -- and could rejoin the M's rotation in the coming weeks. The talented young hurler could work his way back to full strength from his shoulder malady after the All-Star break. Walker is one of those "buy now, enjoy later" types.

RP John Axford, Cleveland Indians

The tepid results from Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw, combined with the Ax man's improvement in the last few weeks, could prompt the Tribe to restore the default settings on the bullpen's hard drive.

1B/OF Tommy Medica, San Diego Padres

His bat is once again doing the talking, convincing him to get more PT. Even if he only starts three times a week, that's still a decent deep-league dice roll for an intriguing stick.

RP Jeurys Familia, New York Mets

Seriously, Terry Collins: Pick a closer and stick with it. Familia, for what it's worth, will get a shot here and there. Jenrry Mejia hasn't proved worthy of permanent replacement yet, but if you have to chase saves, then grab this one, we guess, with a cautious investment.


SP Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds

Sadly, the big strikeout arm might lose his rotation spot when Mat Latos (elbow) returns. Alfredo Simon has performed well enough to convince Brian Price to stick around. If this plays out, Cingrani isn't necessarily an outright drop in deep games, but he's close.

OF Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox

Another DL stint should have shallow-leaguers thinking about cutting him if they're running low on stash-worthy space, especially since he could miss about a month this time.

RP Ronald Belisario, Chicago White Sox

Robin Ventura's affinity for Belisario has overridden some poor results of late, and you have to wonder how long this arrangement will stick. Two words: Daniel Webb.

Matchup notes

SP Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers (June 6-8)

One of the few bright spots for the tortured defending champs, the ace has dazzled with a 3.45 ERA and 83 K in 73 frames. A scheduled jaunt to Comerica Park, however, doesn't promise his typically dominating numbers. Detroit's nearly all-righty batting order has ranked among the top 10 clubs in on-base-plus-slugging at home and against southpaws. Adding further insult are Lester's 4.58 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in three career outings at Detroit.

3B Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians at Texas Rangers (June 6-9)

Though it hasn't featured much power, his revival has been a result of growing comfort in his age-25 season; his spotty but plentiful experience has aided his recent push. The Rangers' rotation has suffered numerous injuries and resides near the bottom of the league in terms of performance at home and versus left-handed hitters. There's no reason to sit Chisey, or most hitters, in Arlington.

1B Ike Davis, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers (June 6-8)

Davis has faced a left-handed pitcher in just 15 at-bats this season. In the 118 he's logged against righties, the lefty hitter is batting .305 with three homers and 16 RBI. Milwaukee's pitching staff falls among the teams that have allowed the most homers on the road, and the Brewers' rotation is comprised of all right-handed throwers. Did we mention Davis is hitting .380-3-14 at PNC Park in 2014? Sounds like a prime fantasy spot play.

3B Chris Johnson, Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks (June 6-8)

A Diamondback for a 2012 spell, one of baseball's frequent leaders in batting average (especially on balls put in play) has struggled to move that needle this year. He's starting to come around, though, and familiar Chase Field confines, which typically favor right-handed sticks, should move him along. This patchwork D-backs rotation comes in as one of Major League Baseball's worst in a home setting.

Line up your pitching on the next page....

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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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