D.J. Short

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Thursday, April 19, 2012




NL-ONLY

Wade Miley SP, Diamondbacks (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

We're all waiting for top prospects like Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs to make their way to the big leagues, but the less-hyped Miley might function as a worthy stopgap. Josh Collmenter has allowed 10 runs in seven innings over his first two starts and while he'll make his next scheduled start Thursday against the Pirates, it's clear he's already on thin ice. Miley had a 4.50 ERA over 40 innings with the D-Backs last year and has tossed seven shutout innings in relief so far this season. Stash him away in case a change is made.

Chris Nelson 2B/3B, Rockies (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Jordan Pacheco appeared to be the favorite for the starting third base job after Casey Blake was released toward the end of spring training, but the Rockies sent him down last week in order to work on his defense. This leaves Nelson as the last man standing, at least until top prospect Nolan Arenado is deemed ready for the big leagues. The 26-year-old doesn't run much anymore, but he has posted pretty strong offensive numbers with Triple-A Colorado Springs over the past two seasons. Granted, this is the Pacific Coast League we're talking about, but with Nelson's multi-position eligibility, he could have some short-term value.

Steve Clevenger C, Cubs (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

It hasn't taken long for some Cubs fans to begin clamoring for Clevenger to get more playing time. It's mostly a byproduct of Geovany Soto's slow start, but Clevenger has seven hits in his first 13 at-bats this season, including four doubles. It was somewhat of a surprise that the 26-year-old made the Opening Day roster over Wellington Castillo, but he had a .308/.369/.421 batting line over parts of six seasons in the minors to go along with an impressive 203/181 K/BB ratio. I don't think Soto's job is in any real jeopardy, but Clevenger might play more than first believed. With previous experience at first base, second base and the hot corner in the minors, he could be a very useful bench piece for Dale Sveum.

Emmanuel Burriss 2B, Giants (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.3 percent)

I know, I know. Burriss owns a pretty miserable .251/.312/.281 batting line and .593 OPS over 678 plate appearances in the majors. It's hard to believe that the Giants couldn't settle on a better option for second base, but after Freddy Sanchez's "minor setback" with his surgically-repaired shoulder, Burriss should continue to play pretty regularly in the short-term. On the bright side for fantasy owners, at least he can steal some bases. The 27-year-old swiped 11 in 59 games last year, 11 in 61 games in 2009 and 13 in 95 games in 2008. There's value here, as long as you're willing to put up with the lack of production in other categories.

AL-ONLY

Tyson Ross SP, Athletics (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.2 percent)

Ross pitched well in his season debut Tuesday against the Angels, allowing two runs over six innings while striking out three and walking none. The 24-year-old right-hander began the season in the minors because the A's didn't need a fifth starter due to some early off-days in the schedule, so there's a chance he may have been overlooked in certain leagues. The A's have a number of interesting alternatives for their rotation as the year moves along (Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock, Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden), but Ross should be owned as long as he's pitching every fifth day.

Brandon Inge 3B, Tigers (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.4 percent)

With a .227 batting average and .684 OPS over the past five seasons, Inge isn't much to get excited about these days, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland appears set on using him at second base against left-handed pitching. This actually plays to Inge's strengths, as the 34-year-old has an .800 career OPS against southpaws. He's not a good option in weekly leagues, as he doesn't figure to play much, but his pending eligibility at second base makes him a decent bench option.

Darnell McDonald OF, Red Sox (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.3 percent)

It's hardly an ideal situation for the reeling Red Sox, but Jacoby Ellsbury's recent shoulder injury has pushed McDonald into a semi-regular role. At least for now. The 33-year-old outfielder is best utilized against left-handed pitching (.777 career OPS against southpaws compared to a .609 OPS against right-handers), but he has enough pop and speed to be useful until Carl Crawford (wrist) comes off the disabled list in the early part of May.

Clete Thomas OF, Twins (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

I didn't think much of the Twins claiming Thomas off waivers from the Tigers at first. If anything, his presence allowed Ben Revere to be sent to the minors so that he could play everyday. And that's a good thing for the Twins, even if it frustrates fantasy owners. However, Ron Gardenhire has thrown us all for a loop by starting Thomas in right field in three out of the last four games. The 28-year-old hasn't done anything in the majors since 2009 and has a poor approach at the plate, so I doubt this arrangement will last long, but his modest power-speed combo makes him interesting in the short-term.



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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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