Well, now that we have a sufficient sample size to go on, let us judge some players!
Potentially available power hitting catchers
Chris Iannetta clubbed a three run homer yesterday and went 2-for-6 overall. While his batting average will never be pretty, he does offer power in a very good Los Angeles Anaheim Angels lineup. Despite the fact that Iannetta hit eighth, he did manage to have three RBIs today — one via his home run and two more with a go-ahead hit in the thirteenth inning. He should see the majority of playing time at catcher, with Hank Conger backing him up, but may not play quite as much as a starting catcher normally would. The reason that Iannetta might have a few extra days off is due to his injury history. Despite playing parts of seven seasons in the majors, Iannetta has logged over 100 games just twice, and never even 120 games in a single season. When healthy, he has the power and on-base skills to make for an attractive option for a second catcher in two catcher leagues. With a deep lineup around him — health permitting — he could surprise with his counting stats. Feel free to grab Iannetta if you need catching help, as he should be available in over 95% of Yahoo! and ESPN formats.
Tyler Flowers also went deep while starting at catcher yesterday afternoon and while that his only time spent on base, he made it count. His solo homer was the only run scored all game. Flowers’ primary asset on offense is his raw power. Granted, the wind was blowing out at 12 mph during game time, but his home runs generally aren’t of the cheap variety. He has popped double digit home runs every year since 2007 except for last season, and even then he cracked seven dingers in just 52 games in the major leagues. Now that he is no longer backing up A.J. Pierzynski, Flowers is primed for a big season in the playing time department, which is directly correlated with his power department. You should be able to grab Flowers in over 90% of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. Between Iannetta and Flowers, I’d lean towards Flowers for now.
Ryan Ludwick hits the disabled list
Following a head first slide into third base in the third inning of yesterday’s game, Ludwick dislocated his left shoulder. He will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of of his injury, but clearly a trip the disabled list is in his immediate future. This move hurts the Cincinnati Reds and fantasy owners everywhere. Ludwick is coming off of a very successful 2012 season where he managed 80 RBIs and 26 home runs. Chris Heisey was Ludwick’s immediate replacement, but with a gap in the starting outfield, perhaps the Reds take a second look at speedster Billy Hamilton. If Ludwick is set to miss a significant amount of time, I would grab Hamilton and cross my fingers. Hamilton should be free to grab in over 80% of Yahoo! leagues and almost every ESPN league.
Jackie Bradley Jr.’s initial impact
Even without recording a hit, Bradley managed to reach base three times (all via walks) and score two runs. He even chipped in an RBI of the ground out variety. Bradley’s minor league career featured plenty of walks, but given his jump from Double-A straight to the majors, it is nice to see him able to work counts against a very good pitcher in CC Sabathia. With David Ortiz on the disabled list, the Red Sox pushed Jonny Gomes to DH and allowed Bradley to roam left field. Ortiz is set to return in mid April, so enjoy Bradley while you can. If he can keep contributing by getting on base and then utilizing his speed, he had 24 stolen bases across High and Double-A last season, then Bradley might stick around even once Ortiz comes back. For now feel safe grabbing and starting Bradley if you need some outfield help. Bradley is available in 60% of Yahoo! and 75% of ESPN leagues.
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