Here are three players with low ownership rates who could pay immediate dividends in fantasy leagues:
R.A. Dickey, New York Mets (owned in 1% of Yahoo! leagues)
One of the last cuts during Spring Training, Dickey went to Triple-A Buffalo waiting for his turn to come up. While manager Jerry Manuel was hesitant to use Dickey, the knuckleball pitcher is doing his best to make sure he stays in the rotation. In three starts with the Mets, Dickey is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA. While his FIP and xFIP are higher than his ERA, this is not an unusual think for a knuckleball pitcher. Phil Niekro had a higher FIP than ERA in 19 of his 23 full seasons in the majors. In the eight seasons prior to 2010 for which we have xFIP data, Tim Wakefield has posted a lower ERA than xFIP each year. In addition to the knuckler, Dickey can still throw his fastball in the mid-80s, not too surprising for a guy who was originally drafted in the first-round of the 1996 Draft. John Strubel had some nice Spring Training stuff on Dickey that you can read here and listen here.
Chris Narveson, Milwaukee Brewers (owned in 2% of Yahoo! leagues)
The overall numbers for Narveson are ugly. He has a 5.53 ERA and a 1.667 WHIP. But since moving into the starting rotation, he has put up some better numbers and appears capable of filling in at the back of a rotation or as a pitcher to use with the right matchups in NL-only or deep mixed leagues. In six games as a starter, Narveson has 3 Wins with 30 Ks and 12 BB in 32.1 IP. The ERA (5.01) and WHIP (1.454) are still nothing to get excited about but at least they are moving in the right direction. Narveson has a .365 BABIP so he still has some room for improvement in his ERA and WHIP.
Justin Smoak, Texas Rangers (owned in 9% of Yahoo! leagues)
When a high first-round pick makes the majors two years after he is drafted, he carries some high expectations. Smoak has yet to meet those with a .175 AVG in 114 ABs. But he is still someone to be excited about because even though he is struggling, Smoak does not appear overmatched. His K% of 21.1 is respectable and his BB% of 14.2 is very good. Additionally, Smoak carries a 25.3 LD%, which does not jibe with his .184 BABIP. The Dutton-Carty calculator thinks Smoak should have a .297 BABIP with his current stat line. Smoak is hitting in some bad luck. Grab him now and have him on your roster when the hits start falling in.
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