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Opening Day pickups for impatient fantasy baseball managers

Andy Behrens
·3 min read
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Hey, remember that fantasy baseball roster you just drafted, like, a couple of days ago? 

Yeah, it's getting stale. Time to make changes. Let's add a player or two because opening day is a time for renewal. Here are six names of interest, all available in a majority of Yahoo leagues.

Jonathan India, 3B, Cincinnati Reds (28% rostered)

India made the absolute most of his alternate site experience in 2020, then followed with a stellar spring training performance this year. He slashed .313/.441/.604 with three homers, five doubles, and two steals in 59 plate appearances during exhibition play. The 24-year-old is starting at second and batting seventh for the Reds in the opener; in a week or so, he'll have 2B and 3B eligibility in Yahoo leagues. He's a power/speed threat who should do his hitting behind Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel, in a sneaky-fun Reds lineup.

Willi Castro, 3B/SS, Detroit Tigers (23%)

Castro is another player who raked throughout the spring (.306 AVG, 3 HR) and he's batting third for Detroit in the opener. Like India, he offers positional flexibility along with pop and speed. Castro swiped 16-20 bags in every minor league season from 2015 to 2019. He's a clear breakout candidate for 2021, hitting in a prime spot in the order.

Jake Diekman, RP, Oakland Athletics (27%)

The A's hit us with some unpleasant opening day news, placing Trevor Rosenthal on the IL with shoulder inflammation. So that's not ideal. In Rosenthal's absence, Diekman and/or Sergio Romo should see save chances, with the former the presumptive favorite. Diekman was terrific in last year's mini-season, posting a 0.42 ERA and 0.94 WHIP while striking out 31 batters in 21.1 innings.

Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies (30%)

It really seems wild to me that Colorado's leadoff hitter — a guy who hit .321 with eight steals last season — is somehow available in over two-thirds of Yahoo leagues. I'm fairly sure I have more shares of Tapia than any other player this year, so I'm propping up that roster percentage. Tapia is openly gunning for the NL batting title, which isn't so far-fetched considering his home park and his history. Assuming good health, he's a great bet to help us in runs, stolen bases, and batting average. Tapia had four minor league seasons with 20-plus steals, so his wheels are legit.

Josh Rojas, 2B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (20%)

Rojas is playing short and batting atop Arizona's order in the opener, coming off a massive spring: .347/.405/.583, 4 HR. He was a monster in the high minors in 2019, launching 23 homers and swiping 33 bases while slashing .332/.418/.606 across two levels. Rojas hasn't made much noise in the big leagues just yet, but he's still only 26. Obviously, we shouldn't read too much into a hot spring, but Rojas earned himself a privileged spot in the lineup. Add as needed.

Alex Reyes, RP, St. Louis Cardinals (14%)

Some of us were banking on ninth-inning roles for either Giovanny Gallegos or Jordan Hicks, but that's suddenly not looking like the best plan...

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Reyes, of course, has the stuff necessary to thrive in a closing role, and the Cards are gonna create plenty of save chances. Add as needed.