Patience is an oft-forgotten virtue in the opening weeks of the fantasy baseball season. It’s all too human to overreact to extreme performances in the early going, even if the outcome is frequently suboptimal. Nonetheless, whether due to inexperience or simply an itchy trigger finger, some owners are going to feel the need to tinker. If you’re one of them, here are a few lightly-owned players who might be worth a spot on your roster. We’ll use Yahoo for ownership figures and position eligibility – as they say, your mileage may vary.
BRANDON FINNEGAN (25 PERCENT)
Finnegan flirted with a no-hitter on Monday and has 14 strikeouts through his first two starts (12 2/3 innings). There was some uncertainty over whether he’d be successful as a starter, given his lack of a quality third pitch to go with an excellent fastball/slider combo. It’s obviously early, but so far Finnegan’s changeup looks much improved, and his usage of it on Monday suggests he has confidence in the offering. Not only that, he’s added some velocity to the slider.
CHRIS CARTER (18 PERCENT)
At this point, we know who Carter is – he’ll hit homers, strike out a ton, and run hot and cold all season. Despite his flaws, Carter was a useful piece in the two seasons prior to last year’s rough showing, averaging 33 HR and 85 RBI. He’s gone deep three times already in his first seven games, and the Brewers are A) not contending and B) have literally no one else to play first base. If you’re in need of cheap pop and can stomach a batting average around the Mendoza line, Carter is as good of a pickup as anybody.
JAYSON WERTH (17 PERCENT)
Werth has averaged just 111 games per season since 2012 due to a variety of injuries. 2015 was the worst season of his career, and the end is nigh for the 13-year veteran, who will turn 37 next month. That said, Werth was pretty awesome in the two seasons prior to 2015, hitting .304/.396/.491 with 41 homers, 19 steals and 333 R+RBI in 276 games. Even last year, he maintained his typically excellent plate discipline and batted ball profile. The driving force behind his struggles last season, besides the usual injury issues, was a .253 BABIP, 72 points below his career rate. This was only the second time he'd ever posted a mark below .300, and the underlying numbers simply didn't support it.
ADAM CONLEY (7 PERCENT)
Conley’s first start of 2016 didn’t go as he might’ve hoped – he gave up three runs in the first inning and didn’t return after a lengthy rain delay. However, he showed a huge velocity increase over last season, adding nearly three miles per hour to each of his offerings. One inning is about as infinitesimal of a sample size as can be, but that kind of jump is intriguing. If Conley can sustain it, expect his microscopic ownership rate to follow a similar trajectory.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles and Fantasy Baseball Rankings are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.