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Fantasy Picks | April 12-18

Here are my fantasy picks for the week of April 12-18. Enjoy!

Dos

There are several players who surprise the baseball world with hot starts every season. Some are for real…others are not.

While you won’t get much more than average out of these guys, I think Atlanta’s Martin Prado and Philadelphia’s Placido Polanco are for real.

Prado (.600, 0 HR, 1 RBI) has hit .300+ in his two big league seasons prior to 2010. He also carries a .300 lifetime average in the minor leagues. Unfortunately, Prado doesn’t bring much more to the table (14 home runs, 94 RBI, and four stolen bases in 263 career games) than that.

Polanco (.542, 1 HR, 8 RBI) is now 34-years-old, but he still plays like he is 25. He is a lifetime .304 hitter and is bound to have a good season in a loaded Phillies lineup. On top of a .300+ average, I think Polanco is capable of driving in plenty of runs (if eight RBI in the first week wasn’t enough). He drove in a career-high 72 runs last year in Detroit. I expect him to surpass that if he can stay healthy (which he usually does). 

Prado (1B, 2B, 3B) and Polanco (2B, 3B) are also solid because they are both qualified at multiple positions.

Keep in mind, my “dos” list is not for the superstars (they should always be in your lineup). This is meant to give you a look at some players who might be on your bench who should be considered for your starting lineup.

Here are some other position players who have started well that should get some playing time (or at least be on your roster):

Texas’ Nelson Cruz, Baltimore’s Matt Wieters, Los Angeles’ Russell Martin (if he’s in the Dodgers lineup), Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez, Detroit’s Magglio Ordonez, Arizona’s Kelly Johnson, and Detroit’s Brandon Inge.

Don’ts

Like I mentioned above, there are some players who start out hot that aren’t for real as well. Two players that immediately jump out at me are Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones and Toronto’s Vernon Wells.

Jones (.263, 3 HR, 6 RBI) just doesn’t make sense to me. He was drafted by the Braves in 1999 and was released in 2002. He then signed with the Twins and never got much of a chance in Minnesota either (he hit .208 with two homers and five RBI in 31 games in 2007).  When that didn’t work out, he joined the Pirates. Thankfully they suck, so he was thrust into playing time. He hit 21 home runs in 82 games last year. He’ll hit for power again this season, but that’s all you’ll get from him. There isn’t even enough in Pittsburgh’s lineup to believe he’ll drive in a lot of runs.

I’ve always really liked Wells (.412, 4 HR, 7 RBI), but his start is a fluke. You can chalk up his four early home runs to the hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington. He hit 32 jacks back in 2006, but his numbers have declined every season since. Wells hit .260 with 15 home runs and 66 RBI last year. I’d expect similar figures in 2010. One bonus…Wells has some speed. He stole 17 bases for the Jays last season.

Here are some other players who started hot that I just don’t believe in right now:

San Francisco’s Edgar Renteria, New York’s Jeff Francouer, Colorado’s Ian Stewart, Kansas City’s Rick Ankiel, New York’s Jorge Posada, Milwaukee’s Casey McGehee, and Oakland’s Rajai Davis.

Sleepers

I’ve already spotted a few sleepers early in the season. Both of these guys you can likely find on your waiver wire.

You might call me crazy, but I think Minnesota’s Delmon Young (.294, 2 HR, 7 RBI) is ready to flash some (not all) of his potential. His best season came with Tampa Bay in 2007 when he hit .288 with 13 home runs and 93 RBI. Only 24-years-old, I think it’s time for Young to match or exceed those numbers this season.

I also think Detroit’s Brandon Inge (.368, 0 HR, 3 RBI) is ready for a bounce back year. It’s weird to say a “bounce back year” after he matched his career-high with 27 home runs and drove in 84 runs last year. He just can’t hit for average. It would be a joke if I told you that he floated around .300 all season (he’s never topped .288), but I don’t think .275 with some pop is out of the question.

Waiver Claims

Like I mentioned, Inge and Young are likely free agents in your league. If you have room on your roster, it doesn’t hurt to take a flier on them.

Here are a couple other players who are waiting to be picked up that I think have some potential in 2010:

Oakland’s Daric Barton, Detroits Magglio Ordonez, Seattle’s Franklin Guttierez, San Diego’s Chase Headley, Atlanta’s Kelly Johnson, and Florida’s Cameron Maybin.

Rookie Watch

Obviously, Atlanta’s Jason Heyward (.300, 2 HR, 7 RBI) is the next coming of (fill in the blank), but there other rookies to keep your eyes on.

Florida’s Gaby Sanchez (.333, 1 HR, 4 RBI) and Washington’s Ian Desmond (.267, 1 HR, 4 RBI) are playing OK so far. Of the two, Sanchez has a brighter fantasy future this season. He’s hit 33 HR and drove in 147 runs the past two seasons in the minor leagues. He also stole 21 bases the past two years combined.

Another youngster (not a rookie) you might want to pickup is St. Louis’ Colby Rasmus (.385, 2 HR, 3 RBI). I think he’s ready for a breakout season.

That’s it for my fantasy picks for this week. If you have any questions, please fell free to email me at tim@timlewissports.com and ask me on Twitter @lewissports. You can also leave a comment below.

Good luck!!!

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