Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick was owned in only 10 percent of Yahoo leagues exactly two weeks ago, but thanks to his red-hot start, that number has climbed all the way up to 78 percent as of Thursday morning. That's higher than the likes of Gregory Polanco, Matt Adams, Jean Segura, Adam LaRoche, and Melky Cabrera, among others. Do I think Marisnick can keep it going? Check out my thoughts in this week's "Buy, Sell, or Hold" video, during which I also dig into a couple of names you'll find in this Waiver Wired column.
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Coco Crisp OF, Athletics (Yahoo: 35 percent owned)
Crisp began the season on the disabled list after undergoing surgery in early April to have a bone spur and chips removed from his left elbow. While the initial timetable called for him to miss 6-8 weeks, he recovered more quickly than expected and made his season debut Wednesday against the Twins. The 35-year-old isn't a good bet to stay healthy, even with the move to left field, but he's capable of providing some speed and pop and could score a bunch of runs if he sticks at the top of Oakland's lineup.
Yasmani Grandal C, Dodgers (Yahoo: 25 percent owned)
I recommended Grandal in the first Waiver Wired of the season, but he got off to a very quiet start with the bat. However, things have turned around quite nicely of late, as he has eight hits in his last 19 at-bats to go along with one home run and three doubles. He recently told the Los Angeles Times that a minor shoulder problem compromised his swing for the first few weeks of the season, but it looks like he's past that now. According to Baseball Savant, he's among the league leaders in tracked exit velocity. I was optimistic on Grandal's power potential coming into the year and he's well worth picking up in most mixed leagues with high-profile catchers like Jonathan Lucroy, Yan Gomes, Devin Mesoraco, Matt Wieters, and Travis d'Arnaud ailing.
J.J. Hardy SS, Orioles (Yahoo: 35 percent owned)
Hardy suffered a left shoulder strain toward the end of spring training, but he's finally ready to make his season debut. The 32-year-old went 4-for-12 (.333) with a double over three minor league rehab games with Double-A Bowie and is expected to be activated for Thursday's season opener against the Yankees. Hardy had an odd power outage in the early part of last season and finished with a disappointing .268/.309/.372 batting line to go along with just nine home runs and 52 RBI, but the shortstop position is so weak right now that he's definitely flier-worthy.
Carlos Rodon SP, White Sox (Yahoo: 43 percent owned)
Jeff Samardzija dropped the appeal of his five-game suspension, so Rodon will make his first major league start this Saturday against the Reds at U.S. Cellular Field. It's only a spot start and this isn't the easiest matchup, but the 22-year-old southpaw is someone I'd take a chance on depending on roster flexibility and the depth of your league. It might not be long before he gets a rotation spot for good and the upside is considerable. His fastball-slider combo is nasty.
Trevor Plouffe 3B, Twins (Yahoo: 23 percent owned)
Plouffe quietly had a strong finish last season and he has carried that into 2015 so far by batting .267/.351/.446 with five home runs and 17 RBI across 27 games. The 28-year-old batted third Thursday with Joe Mauer out of the lineup, but he has been Paul Molitor's cleanup hitter for the past couple of weeks. I like his chances of reaching 80 RBI again if he sticks there and don't forget that we've seen a 24-homer season from him in the past. He's a good pickup if you need a corner infielder.
Blake Swihart C, Red Sox (Yahoo: 19 percent owned)
If you didn't watch the video above, just know that I like Grandal more than Swihart in mixed leagues. Still, I see Swihart having appeal in two-catcher formats and deeper one-catcher formats given all the injuries at the position right now. The 23-year-old switch-hitter has demonstrated an ability to hit for average in the minors and has a bit more speed than your average catcher, but I'm not expecting much power right out of the gate.
Jon Niese SP, Mets (Yahoo: 17 percent owned)
Niese isn't all that exciting to me in mixed leagues, as his strikeout rate has fallen steadily since 2011, but I'm on board for a matchup against the Phillies this weekend. The southpaw has allowed one earned run in four out of his five starts this season and already beat Philadelphia back on April 15. This lineup isn't scaring anyone these days and I'd even consider using Dillon Gee against them if you need another streaming option in the coming days.
Kelly Johnson 1B/3B/OF, Braves (Yahoo: 16 percent owned)
I thought Johnson had the chance to be useful in fantasy leagues last season, but it didn't really work out that way, as he batted just .215 with seven home runs and a .659 OPS over 106 games during stints with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Orioles. The 33-year-old was a forgotten man over the winter and had to settle for a minor league deal with the Braves, but his return to Atlanta has gone pretty well so far, as he already has six home runs in just 73 plate appearances and is making a lot of hard contact. The opportunity for at-bats should be there, as Chris Johnson will be out for a while with a left hand injury. Johnson is multi-position eligible and can provide some pop and speed, so I like him as a short-term pickup in deeper formats.
Carlos Correa SS, Astros (Yahoo: 10 percent owned)
Could Correa's major league debut be approaching? Well, maybe. We know that Jed Lowrie will be out through the All-Star break after thumb surgery and Correa is on the verge of a promotion to Triple-A with a .382/.457/.706 batting line over his first 25 games with Double-A Corpus Christi this season. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman wrote on Wednesday that he's hearing Correa could be in the majors in the next few weeks. If he gets off to a strong start in Triple-A, look out. You obviously can't stash everybody, but this is someone who is worth taking a chance on, especially if he's still out there in a keeper league.
Shopping at the five-and-dime:
(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Rafael Betancourt RP, Rockies (Yahoo: 9 percent owned)
With Adam Ottavino likely headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery, John Axford is getting the first crack at the Rockies' closer job. The 32-year-old has enjoyed some success in the past, but he owns a 4.18 ERA (95 ERA+) dating back to 2012 and has had some issues with the home run ball and his control. Coors Field is a tough place to hide flaws, so I could see this job changing hands at some point. Betancourt would likely be next in line. The 40-year-old has looked good in his return from Tommy John surgery, posting a 2.31 ERA with a 14/1 K/BB ratio in 11 2/3 innings. It's hard to get excited about this situation, but you always have to be searching for saves where you can.
Colby Rasmus OF, Astros (Yahoo: 9 percent owned)
I'm a bit surprised to see Rasmus owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues right now. I understand that he's a flawed player. He struck out 33 percent of the time last year and has actually upped that to an alarming 40.7 percent so far this season. That's not good. But he also has five home runs already and we know he's capable of 20-25 home runs with regular at-bats. Even with the likely drag on batting average (his .256 batting average is being propped up by a .395 BABIP right now), power like that shouldn't be sitting on the wire in deeper formats.
Billy Burns UTIL, Athletics (Yahoo: 3 percent owned)
I was interested to see what the Athletics were going to do with Coco Crisp coming back from the disabled list, but they ended up sending the struggling Craig Gentry to Triple-A Nashville while keeping Burns in the majors. It might only be temporary, as the A's are hopeful that regular at-bats in the minors will get Gentry back on track, but Burns will share playing time with Sam Fuld in center field for now and he should be on your radar in deeper formats if you need speed. The 25-year-old has swiped 184 bases over 406 games in the minors.
Editor's Note: STOP! You've done your research. The best thing you can do for your FanDuel lineups now is to leave them alone. Learn more about the upside of this strategy - as well as a few key stats and pitchers to zero-in on this week - in this RotoGrinders' column: "Start Trusting Your Research and Stop Stressing."
Jose Pirela 2B, Yankees (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
Pirela began the season on the disabled list after suffering a concussion during spring training, but he was called up by the Yankees on Wednesday after proving his health during a rehab assignment and went 2-for-4 with a double against the Blue Jays. Yankees manager Joe Girardi is standing behind Stephen Drew despite his struggles, but the 25-year-old could threaten for the job soon. Pirela batted .305/.351/.441 with 10 home runs, 60 RBI, and 15 stolen bases in Triple-A last year.
Preston Tucker OF, Astros (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
George Springer was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after he collided with the outfield fence while making a fantastic catch on Tuesday, so the Astros have called up Tucker to replace him on the active roster. The 24-year-old hit 49 homers between 2013-2014 in the minors and was batting .320 with 10 home runs and a 1.028 OPS over his first 25 games in Triple-A this season. He'll likely share playing time with Robbie Grossman until Springer is cleared to return, but his power is interesting.
Justin Bour 1B, Marlins (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
The Marlins had big expectations for Michael Morse when they signed him to a two-year, $16 million contract over the winter, but he has disappointed to the tune of a .193/.253/.284 batting line through 23 games this season. He has been benched four times in the past five games, with Bour filling in at first base. The 26-year-old did well in his first stint in the majors last year and he's 9-for-18 (.500) with a homer and a double so far this season. The Marlins surely aren't going to bail on Morse yet, so this is likely just a short-term thing as they try to get him right, but Bour should at least be on your radar.
Zach Lee SP, Dodgers (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
We have already seen a long list of pitchers make starts with the Dodgers this season due to injury, including Scott Baker, Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger, Joe Wieland, and David Huff, but it's probably just a matter of time before Lee gets a shot. The 23-year-old right-hander has fallen off the radar over the past year or so, but he owns a 2.79 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 over his first five starts this season with Triple-A Oklahoma City. His last two starts haven't been as good as his first three, but tuck him away if he's still out there.