Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 sleeper hitters for Week 1 include Ryan McMahon, Jackie Bradley
The waiver wire shouldn't be the first place you turn when setting your lineup, particularly this early in the season, but Scott White offers 10 sleeper hitters should the need arise.
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And now, for my yearly caveat which is sure to go ignored: Most of you reading right now don't need a sleeper hitter for Week 1 (March 28-31).
The hitters you drafted to be your starters are significantly better than anything you could find on the waiver wire right now — so much so that something as flimsy as matchups, particularly in a sport with so much randomness from day to day, shouldn't weigh too heavily on your thoughts.
But there are exceptions, of course. Maybe you drafted Scooter Gennett to be your starter at second base. Or Aaron Hicks in the outfield. Maybe you play on the deeper side of things and legitimately got squeezed out at a position. It can happen.
And if and when it does to you, you'll know where to turn each week. I try to feature a variety of ownership ranges, but the cutoff is 80 percent in CBS Sports leagues.
Here are this week's favorites:
The most surprising hitter of spring training (thanks to some efforts to shorten his swing this offseason) looks like the primary second baseman for the Rockies and may well get to start every game with the Marlins throwing four righties out there.
The Blue Jays have the best matchups of any team this week, going against the Jordan Zimmermann-led Tigers rotation for four games. Justin Smoak was hit-or-miss last year but offers power and on-base ability when at his best.
Expected to bat in the upper third of the lineup, Randal Grichuk will get plenty of chances to feast on that not-so-ferocious Tigers foursome that also includes Matthew Boyd, Spencer Turnbull and Matt Moore. He hit .271 with 23 homers and an .873 OPS over the final four months last year.
The Angels leadoff hitter has the best lineup protection in baseball with Mike Trout right behind him, and going against the Athletics rotation, the toughest pitcher Calhoun figures to face this week is Mike Fiers.
Francisco Mejia obviously isn't worth the trouble if you're already content at catcher — not like you'd be using him as your utility player or anything — but the top prospect had a terrific spring and figures to start at least two of the team's four games against the Giants.
Aaron Hicks' sore back has opened the door for Greg Bird to start alongside Luke Voit in the Yankees opening day lineup, and matchups against whatever three bottom-feeding righties the Orioles throw out there in the season's opening week could go a long way toward ensuring he sticks this time.
Though shortstop is deeper these days, finding a replacement on the waiver wire can be difficult. Marcus Semien's uncertain ceiling is less of a concern with four games against questionable Angels hurlers like Trevor Cahill, Matt Harvey, Felix Pena and Tyler Skaggs.
Having made an effort to improve his launch angle, Jackie Bradley showed improved power this spring. It'd be better if he wasn't facing so many lefties against the Mariners this week, but having four games, including two against Mike Leake and Wade LeBlanc, is still better than most hitters can say.
The impressive batting eye Jeimer Candelario showed throughout his minor-league career returned this spring, along with some solid power production. We still don't know what the 25-year-old ultimately becomes, but four games against the Blue Jays pitching staff should get him off on the right foot.
Chad Pinder figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Matt Olson's hand injury, shifting Jurickson Profar over to first base for the time being. He has good power, made contact at an impressive rate this spring and could factor with four games against the Angels pitching staff this week.
Best hitter matchups for Week 1
1. Blue Jays DET4
2. Angels @OAK4
3. Athletics LAA4
4. Tigers @TOR4
5. Padres SF4
Worst hitter matchups for Week 1
1. Twins CLE3
2. Mets @WAS3
3. Nationals NYM3
4. Orioles @NYY3
5. Rays HOU4
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