For more Fantasy baseball insights, and to keep up with all the latest news, roster trends, and more throughout the season, subscribe to Fantasy Baseball Today now on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify. You can find us on YouTube now, with full episodes and clips available every Monday through Friday.
Life (and baseball) comes at you fast.
One day bleeds into another until, before you know it, you're setting your lineup again. Every day, the numbers build a little more, and every day, someone in your league is looking to snag the next big thing.
If you wait around until it's slap-you-in-the-face-obvious, that someone won't be you.
So while life comes at you fast, you have to come at it even faster, sometimes before you're totally comfortable with it, sometimes before you've even seen the guy play.
That isn't to suggest you should be reckless and drop that slumping stud two weeks (or days) into the season, but every one of us who plays in a league of respectable size has a roster spot or two to play with.
So play with it. You can start by adding some of these trending names from spring training, all owned in less than 60 percent of CBS Sports leagues. Each I think has the potential to make a considerable impact in Fantasy Baseball.
But that's not the only reason I'm targeting them. Also, it's just the way the wind's blowing right now. We're all chasing the breakout, and it's a struggle to keep up. So if any of these 10 doesn't hit the ground running and someone else does, you're within your right to make the switch.
The next Waiver Wire column is only a day (or two) away, after all.
Only reason Franmil Reyes isn't universally owned right now is because of the crowded outfield situation for the Padres, but if he's the guy we saw in the two months after he returned from the minors last year, batting .318 with a .933 OPS, a greatly reduced strikeout rate, high-BABIP tendencies and Giancarlo Stanton-like exit velocities, he'll eventually force the issue.
You can sit around waiting for Jimmy Nelson to get right or just grab his doppelganger in Brandon Woodruff, who boasts similar stuff, is built like a horse and struck out 20 in 14 2/3 innings this spring. The 26-year-old is overdue for this opportunity, honestly.
Just by striking out at a Jose Altuve-like rate during his time in the majors last year, Jeff McNeil is probably deserving of more attention than he has gotten, particularly in points leagues. But when you combine his major- and minor-league stats, he blasted 22 homers and went 13 for 14 on stolen bases last year. His best-case scenario is something like a speedier Scooter Gennett.
Once players start officially going on the IL, no longer forcing you to stash them on your bench, rostering someone like Didi Gregorius, who could return from Tommy John surgery in two months' time, becomes more palatable. Even if you think you're set at shortstop, things happen, and he may well be must-start when he returns.
Even as basically a two-pitch pitcher last year, Trevor Richards' changeup was dominant enough to give him more than a strikeout per inning over 25 starts. The best of those 25 were his final two, when he first featured a curveball, and his continued use of it this spring made him next to unhittable (seriously — eight hits in 19 1/3 innings).
Between Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel, Brad Peacock, Collin McHugh and, shoot, even Justin Verlander, the Astros have demonstrated their magical pitcher-maximizing capabilities time and time again, so why wouldn't we listen when they snatch up Wade Miley and anoint him one of their starting five over exciting in-house options like Josh James and Framber Valdez?
It amazes how little attention Brandon Lowe is getting as a guy who destroyed the minors last year and had a strong September showing in the big leagues. He was the Rays' best hitter this spring, prompting them to give him a six-year contract despite his limited MLB experience, and he may well be eligible at three positions before the end of April.
Fact is the Brewers don't have Craig Kimbrel — not yet, anyway — and their intended closer, Corey Knebel, is getting multiple opinions on an elbow that seems destined for season-ending surgery. Jeremy Jeffress, then, is the obvious choice to close once he's recovered from a minor shoulder issue, which is a big deal seeing as he had a 1.29 ERA last year, combining elite ground-ball tendencies with newfound swing-and-miss potential.
The Greg Bird hype is getting a little tiresome, especially now that the Yankees have an exciting first base alternative in Luke Voit. But there's no denying that, on the rare occasion he has been healthy, Bird has flashed considerable OPS potential, like this spring when he reached base at a .500 clip. If he goes off against Orioles and Tigers pitching to open the season, he might be bumping Brett Gardner from the lineup when Aaron Hicks is healthy.
Caleb Smith was beginning to make a name for himself last year, averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings as a full-time starter, when a lat injury shut him down for the year, but he came back strong with 19 strikeouts 13 1/3 innings this spring. He boasts one of the best swing-and-miss fastballs in the game thanks to its elite spin rate.