Yasmani Grandal, C - SD
After losing most of his 2013 season to knee surgery, Grandal returned with authority last year, batting .225/.327/.401 with 15 homers and 48 RBI in 128 games. While that production was roughly average for an NL catcher, it was certainly nice to see from a 25-year-old returning from what was essentially a ruined season.
A former first-round draft pick out of the University of Miami, Grandal was a highly rated prospect before making his auspicious debut for the Padres in 2012, when he put up an 863 OPS in 60 games. He's been quiet since then, with the 2013 knee injury derailing him considerably.
However, now that Grandal is healthy and 26, he's looking to regain his previous form. One thing that's also been interesting about him is his patience and discipline at the plate, which has helped him achieve a .352 on-base percentage in the majors despite a lowly .247 average. His strike zone control has been as good as ever this season for Los Angeles, as he's taken 12 walks against 17 strikeouts in 81 plate appearances for a .370 OBP.
Grandal has moderate power, as demonstrated by last year's 15 homers and 19 doubles. He's a good bet to come close to those numbers again this season, making him a solid asset with eligibility at catcher and first base. Early on it appeared that he might need to share time with A.J. Ellis behind the plate, but as Grandal has quickly established himself as the superior offensive option, his playing time has grown increasingly steady; he has appeared in 14 straight games for the Dodgers, starting 11. He has an 871 OPS during that span and has frequently found himself batting fifth in the lineup.
It's curious that Grandal is available in more than 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues. If walks or OBP are factors in your league, he needs to be owned.
Chris Colabello, 1B - TOR
One of the most notorious Triple-A crushers in baseball is getting yet another shot at the majors. Fresh off being named International League Player of the Month for April, Colabello was called up by the Blue Jays this week and will once again try to establish himself as a legit big-leaguer.
It's been quite a journey for the 31-year-old. He spent nearly a decade in independent ball before latching on with the Twins in 2012. His huge production in the minors with Minnesota earned him a couple chances in the majors, but he's been unable to gain traction.
Last year, he made the Twins roster out of spring training and got off to an incredible start, batting .346 with a 962 OPS and 26 RBI in his first 20 games before falling off a cliff. Overall, he has managed to hit just .214/.284/.380 in 400 MLB plate appearances and at his age that might cause some to write him off. There's no doubt that the offensive ability is there though.
Colabello earned his latest call-up with a ridiculous first month at Class-AAA Buffalo, where he hit .337/.421/.554 with five homers and 18 RBI in 23 games. Overall, he has a 967 OPS at the Triple-A level. He has mastered it. Now he just needs to figure out the next level.
He's in a favorable position to do so. Toronto's home park has a reputation for aiding power hitters, and the Jays lineup is a potent one. It''s not clear where Colabello will get most of his time but he can play first and the corner outfield spots, both of which have been somewhat in flux due to injuries and performance.
He's off to a sizzling start, with six hits in his first eight trips, so Colabello should have no trouble finding regular tread. Perhaps this is the time he finally sticks, in which case homers and RBI could come in bunches.