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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Wading into the Marsh

Fantasy ripple effects from Albies' injury
Eric Samulski and Scott Pianowski review where fantasy managers should turn in the wake of Ozzie Albies' toe injury, assessing how it impacts Orlando Arcia and Jarred Kelenic and others.

I’m featuring three bats this week. It’s not really the way I’d prefer to do it, but I have mixed feelings about Jack Leiter and the available pitchers I like more have some matchup issues in the short term. Let’s get on with it.

Brandon Marsh - OF Phillies - Rostered in 38% of Yahoo leagues

A hot and also fascinating start has gotten Marsh moved up in the Phillies lineup. In spite of a 37 percent strikeout rate, Marsh is batting .288 with four homers through 18 games. Thanks to a .394 batting average on balls in play, nearly two-thirds of his plate appearances have concluded with a hit or a strikeout.

The excellent BABIP is nothing new for Marsh. He’s at .384 for his career, the highest mark among active major leaguers. In fact, he’s 35 points ahead of anyone else with 1,000 career plate appearances. And his BABIP especially makes sense this year, what with his 60% hard-hit rate.

Even though Marsh was quite productive in compiling an .830 OPS last year, the Phillies had him locked into the eighth spot in their batting order coming into the season. They did say they planned to give him more time against lefties than they had in the past, but the late signing of Whit Merrifield complicated things there, and Marsh has been on the bench against four of seven left-hander starters. Perhaps that will start to change as a result of Merrifield’s awful start, and now that Marsh has moved closer to the middle of the Phillies order, hitting sixth of late, he seems like a solid enough play in mixed leagues. A 20-homer season is likely in the cards.

Andy Pages - OF Dodgers - Rostered in 18% of Yahoo leagues

Between Jason Heyward’s back injury and Chris Taylor’s extreme struggles at the plate, the Dodgers needed another outfielder this week and brought up Pages to make his major league debut. Pages, a 23-year-old out of Cuba, beat out Miguel Vargas for the nod after going 8-for-17 with two homers this spring and opening up at .371/.452/.694 in 15 games in Triple-A.

It’s been an incredibly strong comeback for Pages, who, after an impressive start in Double-A, suffered a torn labrum in his very first game in Triple-A last May. He underwent season-ending surgery the next month, but his power seems all of the way back now.

With an approach geared towards homers and walks, Pages will likely have some strikeout issues and struggle to hit for average in the majors. There’s a good chance he’ll return in Triple-A if Heyward is able to overcome his back issues. Still, it’s not a bad use of a roster spot to see if that the early Triple-A breakthrough, which featured just an 18% strikeout rate and a much higher average than usual, was legit. That he’s in one of baseball’s best lineups would add to his fantasy upside if he can force the Dodgers to keep him around.

Junior Caminero - 3B Rays - Rostered in 35% of Yahoo leagues

Although the 20-year-old Caminero made his major league debut last September and got at-bats in both of the Rays’ postseason games, he wasn’t provided with any chance to make the team out of spring training this year. Sent down on March 11, he wound up suffering a quad strain and missing the start of the minor league season. However, he’s excelled in five games since returning, going 7-for-22 with two homers and three walks. Last year, he hit .324/.384/.591 with 31 homers in 117 gamed between high-A and Double-A.

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The problem now is finding room for Caminero. He still played a fair amount of shortstop at the beginning of last season, but the Rays have settled on using him at third base; it’s where he’s played in all five of his appearances for Durham this season. There was some talk about the Rays possibly trading Isaac Paredes over the winter, but nothing materialized there and he’s been the team’s best player in the early going. Once Caminero is deemed ready, the play could be to use Yandy Díaz more at DH and Paredes at first base. Harold Ramirez has been the primary DH thus far, but he’s not much of an obstacle.

Odds are that Caminero’s arrival is at least a few weeks away. The Rays still want to give Jonathan Aranda a shot; he was supposed to get most of the at-bats currently going to Ramirez, but he suffered a broken finger late in spring training. Unless someone else gets hurt, there probably isn’t a way to work Aranda and Caminero in at the same time, so Caminero might have to wait. Still, he’s someone who could be a real difference maker over the final three or four months of the season.

Quick Hits

- Byron Buxton’s horrible start has gotten him given up on in quite a few leagues, just not quite enough to get him a featured spot here. It’s worth wondering if he’ll get fixed before the inevitable injury strikes, but he still has too much upside to be sitting in free agent pools.

- José Soriano (2% rostered) is one of those arms that I’m tempted to take a shot on, but he’s pitching in Cincinnati this weekend. If he comes through that OK, he’s intriguing for the short term. He’s destined to return to the bullpen at some point, because of workload concerns, but there’s also the chance he’ll finish out the season as the Angels’ closer.

- The schedule makers were unkind to those of us who like to stream Rockies in weekly leagues by having them split home and road series each of the first three weeks. This is the first time they’ll be fully at home, and though it’s not a great schedule facing the Padres and Astros, Charlie Blackmon (14% rostered) seems like a worthy play this week. Brenton Doyle (10% rostered) is solid as well. I’d also like to recommend Sean Bouchard, but I can’t do that yet, because the Rockies somehow came to the conclusion this spring that Michael Toglia was the better player.