Fantasy Baseball – Free Agent Frenzy

The list of guys off to hot starts that need to be owned in your league.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Hard to believe we’re already almost two weeks into the Major League season. Every year, in fantasy baseball and in real-life baseball, there are some big-time ‘shockers’ to start the season.

Let’s first take a look at real-life. The Red Sox are in last place.  The Angels are in last place. The Mets….they’re in first place. In their first two starts, Kyle Lohse has a 1.35 ERA, while two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum rocks an ERA of 12.31; yup, more than a run per inning.

Now is it likely that Lohse will out-pitch Lincecum come season’s end? Will the Mets finish with a better record than the Angels, Red Sox and Yankees? Of course not. In fact, I’m willing to bet my entire G.I. Joe collection on it; something I’m very fond of.

Every year it’s the same in fantasy. Annual studs get off to rocky starts or someone goes haywire over a rookie that has one good week. So where do you draw the line?

Based on last year’s numbers and scouting, not to mention their hot starts this season, here are just a few guys that need to be owned in every league. If they’re available you need to seriously consider finding room on your roster for them, before it’s too late. Or trust me, you’ll be in tumultuous regret for keeping Jason Bay on your roster after he hits under the Mendoza line.


J.D. Martinez, OF, Hou – He’s off to a quick start, batting .364/2/6. We know he’s going to hit for average, but if he can keep up the RBI and power total, he’ll be a top commodity fast; especially considering he has some speed as well. He was the ‘Stros’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2010; they want to give him a real shot, and so should you.  Currently owned in 27% of leagues.

Zack Cozart, SS, Cin – The hyped-up rookie is living up to his lofty expectations early-on, batting .455 with a home run and a couple RBI. I love the fact that he already has two doubles and two triples, which shows he’s hitting the gaps with power. Even though he started his career last year on a seven-game hitting streak—the longest by a Reds rookie in a decade—many thought Cozart would split some time with Paul Janish this season. If he keeps up his hot hitting, Cozart isn’t leaving shortstop to ride the pine anytime soon. It’s a shallow position, the kid needs to be owned. Currently owned in 52% of leagues.

Alejandro De Aza, OF, CHW – The guy turned 28 on Wednesday; definitely a late bloomer. He had 12 stolen bases in just 152 at-bats last year while hitting .329 in that span. This year could be his big break-through as he hits his peak playing age. Right now he’s started the ’12 season hitting .272/2/3 with 1 stolen base. Currently owned in 45% of leagues.

Kyle Seager, 3B, SS, Sea – So we just mentioned how shortstop is a shallow position, well, so is third base. Gotta love the kid’s multi-position eligibility at both. Another guy that many thought would share time — with Chone Figgins of all people – even though he started his debut last fall on a tear. He’s started ’12 hitting .333 with 5 RBI, a stolen base and two doubles. I’m a believer in Seager (I rhymed that one on purpose – I know, it sounds like the M’s new catchy ballpark song)  and I think the kid could easily hit .280 with 15 homers and 15 swipes. Currently owned in 11% of leagues.

Jose Altuve, 2B, Hou – Whaddya know, another Astro! Houston has a few fun kids that could be fantasy commodities this year; Altuve is one of them. He’s absolultey raked everywhere he’s been, and so far it’s continued in the majors. The knocks on him are that he’s only 22-years-old and stands at 5-foot-7. You can’t shy away from the numbers though. He’s an average hitter that has started this year smacking a .368 average with a triple and an RBI. He’ll also give you some speed too. If he plays to his potential, which could easily be a line of .295/8/40 and 20 stolen bases, he could be a top 12 second basemen. Currently owned in 21% of leagues.

Photo Credit: Juan DeLeon /Icon SMI

Josh Helmuth is the sports editor and lead baseball writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at