Here are three players with low ownership rates who could pay immediate dividends in fantasy leagues:
John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers (owned in 4% of Yahoo! leagues)
He hit 96.9 on the radar gun in his last outing, struck out the side and picked up a save. That’s enough to make Axford interesting all by itself. But he is also a guy who transferred from Notre Dame to Canisius and went undrafted out of college. Axford spent time with the Yankees but was released after the 2007 season, when he had 45 BB and 67 Ks in 63 IP. The Brewers signed him and he began to improve his control. Last year he walked 38 batters and fanned 89 in 68.1 innings before making his major league debut at age 26. If Axford can keep the walks down, he has a chance to become Milwaukee’s new closer.
Roger Bernadina, Washington Nationals (owned in 1% of Yahoo! leagues)
A fractured ankle ruined Bernadina’s 2009 season after he had a strong campaign in both Double and Triple-A (OBPs near .400) in 2008. He had excellent speed before the injury and has good pop despite his thin frame. Bernadina has been a starter for most of the month of May and has a .295-2-12-7-2 fantasy line in that time frame. At worst he is in a platoon role with Justin Maxwell and as a LHB will get the majority of at-bats. He also can play center if Nyjer Morgan struggles or just needs a day off.
Hisanori Takahashi, New York Mets (owned in 6% of Yahoo! leagues)
A veteran of the Japanese League, Takahashi came to this country this season and began the year in long relief. He did an excellent job in long relief and got a shot in the rotation when the Mets banished Oliver Perez. In his first outing as a starter, Takahashi shut out the Yankees over six innings. He is not overpowering, but he changes speeds well and has a nice 34.6 O-Swing%. Takahashi needs to sharpen his command but he should provide very nice strikeout numbers (10.69 K/9) and a solid ERA for a guy available on the waiver wire.
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