1. Bryce Harper (OF - Nationals) - The day has come. Bryce Harper was called up to the big leagues and joined the Washington Nationals. He will make his major league debut today against the Dodgers. Harper was hitting just .250 in Triple-A with a .333 OBP, 1 HR, and a 14:9 K:BB rate through 20 games. But the #1 draft pick from a couple of years ago obviously is one of the biggest prospect in baseball and has the power potential to make a big splash right away. Simply for his marquee name and the potential for him to be an immediate impact player, he deserves a claim right away in any league. The reality is that he is just 19 and will experience the humility of the game at some point, but he could put up 20 HR numbers if he remains at the big league level all year.
2. Jeremy Guthrie (SP - Rockies) - Dust off the "freak injuries of baseball" list and add Jeremy Guthrie to it. He is heading to the DL with a sprained shoulder after the chain on his bike broke and he crashed to the ground. What is he, 8 years old? The good news is that the injury isn't that serious and he should be ready to go in the scheduled 15 days. If you are in a mixed league and need the roster space, Guthrie can be released. His 5.92 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and 5 K's in 24.1 IP isn't worth the roster space in non-NL only leagues.
3. Aaron Hill (2B - Diamondbacks) - Aaron Hill is quietly showing a rebound in power out in Arizona. With his 4th HR of the year last night, Hill has an AB/HR of 18.0. His value went way down after posting a rate of 65.0 in 2011, but he is looking more like his 2009/2010 self when he posted rates of 18.9 and 20.3. Returning to his 36 HR season from 2009 is a stretch (20-to-30 is more likely), but he is certainly looking more like that power hitting 2B we remember and drafted from a few years ago.
4. Joe Saunders (SP - Diamondbacks) - Low K guys like Joe Saunders isn't the kind of pitcher I typically chase in fantasy leagues. Afterall, he has a K/9 of just 5.4 this year and a career rate of 5.0. But there is no questioning Saunders' command through his first four starts of the year. He has 4 QS with a 0.90 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and a 2-1 record. He went the distance last night against the Marlins and recorded 4 K's with just 2 BBs. While his 2011 was respectable as well (3.78 ERA, 12 W, 1.31 WHIP), his high strand rate of 0.75 combined with his inability to get the K should lead to higher ERA/WHIP numbers. I'm selling high on Saunders as it looks unsustainable.
5. Henry Rodriguez (RP - Nationals) - With Brad Lidge heading to the disabled list with an abdominal strain, Henry Rodriguez's value goes up even more as he becomes the lone guy i the 9th inning to get the save opportunity (at least for now). In 8.1 IP this season, H-Rod is 5-for-5 in save opportunities with 10 K's, 0.84 WHIP, and no earned runs allowed. If we're going to nitpick, the 6 BB's is a concern for any closer, but the sample is small enough where I think it'll normalize over the next few weeks. Up arrow for Rodriguez as he becomes the best option in Washington to get the save opportunities.
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