Yasmany Tomas was optioned to Triple-A Reno at the end of spring training despite signing a six-year, $68.5 million contract with the Diamondbacks over the winter. Still, it looked like the right decision for all involved, as the 24-year-old Cuban defector reported to camp out of shape and simply didn't appear ready either offensively or defensively. Meanwhile, new Arizona manager Chip Hale already had plenty of options in his outfield even without him. There wasn't a real sense of urgency to bring him up, but the Diamondbacks did it anyway on Wednesday.
It's not like Tomas was stinging the ball in Triple-A. In fact, he was just 4-for-21 (.190) with a homer and a double over five games. However, the Diamondbacks think that he can provide value as a bench bat and will be better off learning in the majors rather than on the farm.
Tomas exclusively played right field during his time with Reno, so we likely won't see him at third base again anytime soon. With this outfield logjam, there's just not much room for him to make an impact in the short-term. His contract surely played a part in the quick promotion, but it feels like the Diamondbacks aren't doing him any favors here. Needless to say, he's not someone I'd be rushing to pick up off the wire.
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Adam Ottavino RP, Rockies (Yahoo: 43 percent owned)
It was obvious for quite some time that LaTroy Hawkins was living on borrowed time in the Rockies' closer role and Walt Weiss finally made a change this week after the veteran right-hander blew two out of his first three chances. While Weiss initially indicated that he would go with a committee approach, he officially named Ottavino as the closer prior to Tuesday's game. The opportunity is well-deserved, as the Brooklyn native has quietly transformed into one of the game's most effective relievers, posting a 2.97 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 over 131 appearances dating back to the start of 2013. Pitching in Coors Field is a challenge for any pitcher, but the opportunity is there for him to run away with this gig. Scoop him up in all formats.
Jimmy Nelson SP, Brewers (Yahoo: 27 percent owned)
I targeted Nelson as a sleeper this spring and he proved worthy of the hype in his season debut last Saturday against the Pirates by tossing seven scoreless innings. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out nine batters. His curveball showed a lot of promise in the outing and will be a key to neutralizing left-handed batters. I had to drop him in the Yahoo Friends & Family league early last week amid the early-season closer scramble and it's a move I'm pretty sure I'll regret. He has a chance to emerge in a big way this season.
Steven Souza OF, Rays (Yahoo: 42 percent owned)
The Rays surprised the baseball world during the offseason by trading Wil Myers to the Padres in a three-team deal. Souza, who came over from the Nationals in the swap, could provide immediate dividends in all formats. He turns 26 next week, so he's a little old for a prospect, but he put up a 1.022 OPS in Triple-A last season while amassing 18 home runs and 26 stolen bases. Strikeouts could be an issue for him, but he's been the Rays' primary right fielder and No. 2 hitter thus far and I dig the power/speed combo and the patience that he brings to the table. Check out this blast against the Blue Jays from earlier this week. Impressive.
Jesse Hahn SP, Athletics (Yahoo: 44 percent owned)
If you purchased the Rotoworld Draft Guide, you would know that I included Hahn among my "Under the Radar Hurlers" in February. Acquired from the Padres in the Derek Norris deal over the winter, the 25-year-old right-hander had a 3.07 ERA and 79/32 K/BB ratio in 73 1/3 innings during his first stint in the majors last season. He induces ground balls with his sinker and gets plenty of whiffs with his excellent curveball. His changeup is the missing piece, but the early signs this season are promising and his fastball velocity is also up a tick from what we saw last year. His injury history is a concern and the A's have some other pitchers (A.J. Griffin, Jarrod Parker) coming back eventually, but I like him just as much as I did prior to spring training.
Oswaldo Arcia OF, Twins (Yahoo: 43 percent owned)
Another favorite of mine this spring, Arcia was pretty quiet over the first week of the season prior to hitting his first home run on Wednesday night against the Royals. I think things will only get better from here. The 23-year-old outfielder dealt with a wrist injury for part of last season, but he still managed to amass 20 home runs in 410 plate appearances, including 13 over his final 45 games. He hits a lot of fly balls and his raw power is obvious, so it's easy to see how a breakout could happen. Arcia owns a 31-percent strikeout rate in the big leagues and hasn't shown that he can hit lefties yet, but there's reason to pick him up and be patient.
Jed Lowrie SS, Astros (Yahoo: 14 percent owned)
The Astros haven't been doing much of anything offensively in the early going, but Lowrie is in a good position to be a fantasy asset again. Not only is he back in the place where he smacked a career-high 16 homers in 2012, but he has batted third in each of the last five games. Assuming he can stick there, he should get a lot of RBI opportunities. Sure, Lowrie is coming off a lousy year and has a lengthy injury history, but I'm surprised he's still available in so many leagues. He can be a useful middle infielder.
Brandon Morrow SP, Padres (Yahoo: 15 percent owned)
Injuries limited Morrow to just 87 2/3 innings in the majors between 2013-2014, but he looked good in spring training and it has translated to the regular season thus far, as he has a 1.29 ERA with a 12/4 K/BB ratio in 14 innings over his first two starts with the Padres. It would be silly to count on him to stay healthy for the long haul, but you have to like the move to the National League and PETCO Park is a great place to attempt to reestablish his value. The 30-year-old has averaged more than a strikeout per inning (9.4 K/9) in the majors, so he's absolutely worth the gamble in most formats.
Denard Span OF, Nationals (Yahoo: 49 percent owned)
The Nationals have had a rough start to the season, but they are slowly getting back to full strength. Jayson Werth was activated from the disabled list on Monday while Span began a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday and could be activated as soon as this weekend. The 31-year-old had surgery for a sports hernia in December and a core muscle repair surgery in early March, but he's coming off a great season where he batted .302/.355/.416 with 31 steals and 94 runs scored. He should be owned in most leagues in anticipation of his return.
Nick Castellanos 3B, Tigers (Yahoo: 26 percent owned)
After Jake Lamb's hot start last week, I received a few questions about whether I preferred him or Castellanos as a corner infielder in standard mixed leagues. I replied with Castellanos every time. He held his own as a 22-year-old rookie last season by batting .259/.306/.394 with 11 home runs and 66 RBI across 148 games. The plate discipline wasn't great, but he's young enough to expect some improvement with more experience. I also expect more power this year. Interestingly, only Atlanta's Freddie Freeman had a higher line drive rate among qualified hitters last season. Castellanos has had a bit of a slow start so far this season, but he's a good upside play if you lost David Wright to the DL this week.
Bobby Parnell RP, Mets (Yahoo: 21 percent owned)
Jenrry Mejia landed on the disabled list last week with elbow inflammation before receiving an 80-game PED suspension, so Jeurys Familia is handling save chances for New York, but don't forget about Parnell. He just began a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday and could make his way back to the majors around the start of May if all goes well. The 29-year-old had a 2.16 ERA with 22 saves and a 44/12 K/BB ratio in 50 innings in 2013 prior to going down with a neck injury and could eventually reclaim his old gig if he proves healthy and effective. If you have some roster flexibility, he's a decent DL-stash if you want to speculate on future save chances.
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Shopping at the five-and-dime:
(Players owned in under 10 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Jarrod Dyson OF, Royals (Yahoo: 5 percent owned)
Alex Rios suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch on Monday and is expected to miss between 3-6 weeks, so the Royals plan to go with a platoon of Dyson and Paulo Orlando in right field during his absence. Dyson should get at-bats against right-handers and is a recommended pick-up if you need speed in deeper formats. He's a .257/.323/.336 career hitter in the big leagues and figures to hit ninth when he's in the lineup, but he has swiped 100 bases in limited playing time over the past three seasons. Only six players have more stolen bases in the same timespan. I shouldn't need to say much more.
Arquimedes Caminero RP, Pirates (Yahoo: 1 percent owned)
In case you haven't noticed, Mark Melancon's velocity has been down sharply so far this season. He's mostly sitting in the high-80s after averaging 92.8 mph on his fastball last year. He has downplayed any concern over his health and expects for the velocity to return, but fantasy owners should consider getting ahead of this situation just in case. Tony Watson (2.68 career ERA) is the obvious stash in mixed leagues, but Caminero is an interesting darkhorse. Acquired from the Marlins in February, the 27-year-old averaged 11.0 K/9 in the minors and has been throwing in the high-90s so far under the tutelage of pitching coach Ray Searage. He's intriguing.
Carlos Peguero OF, Rangers (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
Ryan Rua suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right heel and a severe ankle sprain last Friday, so he's looking at a pretty lengthy absence. Peguero now figures to get most of the at-bats in left field, with Delino DeShields, Jr. and Jake Smolinski also in the mix. The 28-year-old hasn't produced good numbers in the majors so far and his plate discipline is pretty bad, but it's worth taking a chance on his power if you need an outfielder.
Jerry Sands UTIL, Indians (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
Sands briefly had some hype when he came up with the Dodgers in 2011, but he has bounced around to a couple of organizations since while mostly playing at the Triple-A level. Now 27 years old, he's getting the chance to provide some insurance in the Indians' outfield while Michael Brantley deals with a back injury that has been bothered him dating back to spring training. The hope is that Brantley will be able to return to the lineup on Friday, but Sands should be on your radar if the issue lingers. He has some pop, especially against southpaws.
David Phelps RP/SP, Marlins (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
The Marlins placed Henderson Alvarez on the disabled list this week due to right shoulder inflammation and Phelps has been tasked with replacing him in the starting rotation. He'll take his first turn this Friday against the Mets at Citi Field. Phelps, who was acquired from the Yankees along with Martin Prado in the Nathan Eovaldi deal, had a 4.21 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 during his time in New York while bouncing from the bullpen to the starting rotation. His outlook improves with a move to the National League, so he could have some short-term relevancy.
Eric Campbell 1B/3B/OF, Mets (Yahoo: 0 percent owned)
David Wright tweaked his hamstring on an awkward slide into second base on Tuesday and is expected to miss around three weeks, so Campbell should see regular playing time at third base in the coming days. The 28-year-old batted .263 with three homers and a .680 OPS in 211 plate appearances as a rookie last season, mostly in a utility infielder role. I don't have high hopes for him, but the at-bats will be there and he's multi-position eligible.