by Will Overton
We have only had two full days of games, so it feels a little early to be looking at the waiver wire, but you should always have a close eye on that wire and know who is and who is not out there for you to grab. At this point we are really just looking at a bunch of guys who went undrafted in your league, the guys nobody wanted.
But, there are always a few guys who slip through the cracks of a draft and don’t get taken when they really should have. Whether by oversight or people being distracted by the shiny new young guys they want. You shouldn’t give up on players too quickly based on early performances, but if you had a guy go to the DL, or you had a guy who isn’t going to be getting the playing time you were hoping for than here are some guys who went undrafted who can give you some help off the wire.
Zack Cozart – SS, Cincinnati Reds: If you read the around the majors this morning, I talked up Rafael Furcal. If Furcal is available he is my first choice for a shortstop pickup among the undrafted, but Cozart comes in a close second place. Cozart is the opposite of Furcal in that we don’t know yet what he’s capable of in the big leagues, but the temptation to find out is enticing. Cozart has a decent combo of power and speed and he’s going to hit in a very nice spot in the Reds lineup. Cozart will be hitting second after Brandon Phillips and before Joey Votto. Available in over 90% of leagues, Cozart could be standard league material by the end of this month.
Juan Rivera – 1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: This is another add based on opportunity and lineup placement. Going into many drafts we weren’t really sure how much Rivera would play, but he beat out Jerry Sands for the starting left field job. Not only did he beat out Sands for the job, but he’s now hitting in the middle of the lineup, fifth on opening day and cleanup yesterday. The Dodgers lineup isn’t overly potent, but hitting between Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier is an envious spot for any hitter. Rivera has four hits in his first two games and has already scored three times. As long as he keeps his job, which he should he’s going to be useful in five outfielder leagues.
Sean Rodriguez – 2B/SS/3B, Tampa Bay Rays: Rodriguez was a highly touted prospect so early in his career that it’s hard to remember just how young he is at just 26. The expectations on him last year didn’t pan out as he hit just .223, but the Rays must see something they like because he has a full time job once again this season. Rodriguez position eligibility is a big part of what makes him an appealing option on the waiver wire. He’ll get another chance to show his merit this season, and Alex Gordon showed us last season that sometimes it just takes these prospects a little longer to develop.
Jonathon Niese – SP, New York Mets: There are a lot of good pitchers on the waiver wire, but Niese is one of the more intriguing ones to me. Niese elevated his K/9 rate to 7.89 last season and lowered his BB/9 to 2.52. He keeps the ball down well with over 50% GB rate and gives up less than one homerun per nine innings. With all of these stats in his favor you have to wonder how he still ended up with a 4.40 ERA. He’s starting to put everything together and his numbers should start reflecting that better. I think Niese turns in a sub 4.00 ERA, but a good amount and he could see his numbers climb over 8.0 K/9 this season.
What undrafted guys in your league do you have your eye on right now? Any of these guys? Give us your thoughts.