D.J. Short

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Club Jed

Thursday, April 21, 2011





AL ONLY

Hank Conger C, Angels (Yahoo: 4 percent owned, ESPN: 0.2 percent)

Conger was one of my favorite American League rookies prior to the start of spring training, primarily because I saw Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson as completely unappealing offensively. It looks like Angels manager Mike Scioscia is beginning to see the light. The 23-year-old backstop has started four of the last six games and is swinging the bat well early in the season, batting .333 (8-for-24) with two homers, one double and seven RBI. Let's hope this is a sign of things to come.

Conor Jackson OF, Athletics (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Jackson isn't going to be an everyday player in Oakland, but Athletics manager Bob Geren is giving him some starts against left-handed pitching. While the 28-year-old has struggled to stay healthy over the past couple of seasons, he still owns a .276/.359/.419 batting line in the major leagues and a .295 batting average and .856 OPS against southpaws. He's not a bad option if you don't mind platooning.

J.P. Howell RP, Rays (Yahoo: 2 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Howell is just about ready to go out on a minor league rehab assignment as he works his way back from shoulder surgery. The southpaw should make around 10 appearances in the minors, so assuming all goes well, he should be back with the Rays in mid-May. Kyle Farnsworth has been pretty solid in the ninth inning so far, but Howell could be worth a stash in the event that his success is short-lived. Remember, Howell saved 17 games with the Rays back in 2009.

Tyson Ross SP/RP, Athletics (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Dallas Braden was placed on the disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis earlier this week, so Ross will take his spot in the starting rotation for now. The young right-hander posted a 5.49 ERA over 39 1/3 innings last season and was shaky in two spot starts, but he nearly won a rotation spot out of spring training. Ross has promising stuff, including a low-to-mid 90s fastball and an above-average slider, so I'm willing to take a chance on him Friday night against a Mariners team that is dead last in the league in batting average.

NL ONLY

Daniel Murphy 1B/2B/OF, Mets (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

The Mets cut ties with Brad Emaus this week, mostly because they didn't see him as a long-term option at second base. Murphy probably isn't either, but he figures to be on the strong side of a platoon with Justin Turner moving forward. The 26-year-old is still learning the second base position, so there will be some growing pains over there, but don't forget that he has a .276/.332/.439 batting line over 741 major league plate appearances. He's worth an immediate stash where available.

Kameron Loe RP, Brewers (Yahoo: 4 percent owned, ESPN: 0.2 percent)

John Axford was one of the better closer finds in fantasy last season, going 24-for-27 in save opportunities while winning eight games and posting a 2.48 ERA and 76/27 K/BB ratio over 58 innings. This year? It's quite a different story. He has blown two out of his first five save opportunities while his control problems have resurfaced in a big way. He probably has a little leash left, but I'd give Loe a look if you're willing to speculate. The 29-year-old right-hander doesn't throw hard, but has good control and gets plenty of ground balls. He's the best alternative here since Takashi Saito is still on the disabled list with a hamstring strain.

Jerry Sands OF, Dodgers (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 3.1 percent)

Say hello to the newest waiver wire sensation. The 23-year-old Sands got the call from the minors earlier this week after batting .400 with five homers and 17 RBI over his first 45 plate appearances with Triple-A Albuquerque. The Dodgers are in desperate need of offense right now, so Sands should be the regular left fielder unless he falls flat on his face. He might even see some time at first base over James Loney against tough left-handed pitchers. I wouldn't go nuts in shallow mixed leagues, but Sands has enough power potential to be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Dillon Gee SP, Mets (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Chris Young hit the disabled list with biceps tendinitis last weekend, prompting the Mets to call up Dillon Gee from Triple-A Buffalo. The 24-year-old right-hander did just fine against the Braves on Sunday, allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings while striking out four and walking a pair. Gee probably pitched over his head last September (2.18 ERA over five starts) and can be a little homer-prone at times, but he'll be less of a liability calling Citi Field home. Give him a look against the Diamondbacks on Saturday.


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D.J. Short is a Rotoworld baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. You can also find him on Twitter.
Email :D.J. Short



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