I’ve got two early-season waiver wire adds for you, one to help your outfield and one to help your bullpen…
Jordan Schafer | OF | Astros | Owned: 42% Yahoo! and 43.3% ESPN
The Astros have a surprisingly positive (+2) run differential nine games into the season, thanks in part to their leadoff man. Schafer came over from the Braves in last year’s Michael Bourn trade, and so far he’s hit .242/.405/.333 with five steals in seven chances. His 20.5 BB% is completely out of character, so expect that and his OBP to come down in time. The steals are not a mirage though; Schafer swiped 22 bags in 26 chances in just 82 games last season and has shown 20+ stolen base ability in the past. He appears to be emphasizing that part of his game more in his new role and environment, and although he’ll never replicate Bourn’s stolen base totals, Schafer is on his way to giving fantasy owners 30+ steals, assuming good health. Given his recent track record, health is not a given.
Henry Rodriguez | RP | Nationals | Owned: 32% Yahoo! and 4.3% ESPN
The closer situation in Washington has been a bit up in the air following Drew Storen‘s injury, with both Rodriguez and Brad Lidge seeing save chances. Neither guy has been particularly sharp in the early going, with Rodriguez blowing a tie game to the Mets (thanks in part to his own throwing error) while Lidge blew a two-run ninth inning save in the Nats’ home opener. Both guys miss a ton of bats — H-Rod with the heat, Lidge with his trademark slider — and both guys are prone to the walk, but Lidge is a bit more hittable at this point of his career.
The Nationals haven’t had a ton of save chances in the last week, so we haven’t had the opportunity to see how manager Davey Johnson will consistently use these guys. Both Lidge and Rodriguez have seen a lot of action in tied games, but my hunch remains Rodriguez at the moment. Given Lidge’s health concerns and traditional blow save a few games ago, look for H-Rod to rack up some saves and lots of strikeouts this month.