More than three weeks into the season and the panic level for fantasy baseball players is high. Carl Crawford owners forgot about his consistency because of a putrid start. The questions of adding Kevin Correia for Wandy Rodriguez are serious.
The player causing tremendous panic is Rangers catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli. The departure from the Angels was supposed to free up Napoli for more at-bats, but there are too many players trying to get at-bats in Texas.
Through 19 games, Napoli has started just 10, causing people to drop him or at least consider it. This is a huge mistake, and some good news for those that have Napoli happened this past week. It didn't make major headlines, but the Rangers recently called up catcher Taylor Teagarden. How can another catcher boost Napoli?
Keep in mind with Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba as the only catchers on the roster previously, starting Napoli at designated hitter meant if Torrealba was injured during a game and if Napoli needed to go behind the plate, the Rangers would lose the DH. Manager Ron Washington doesn't have to worry about that, so expect Napoli to begin getting more playing time.
Regardless, Napoli has proved he doesn't need a lot of at-bats to help fantasy teams. He has at least 20 home runs in three consecutive seasons and the at-bat totals were 227, 382, and 453. Here are some other players drawing attention.
Lance Berkman (Cardinals, OF): The concern with Berkman was health now that he is playing the outfield full-time for the first time since 2004. Hitting behind Colby Rasmus, Albert Pujols, and Matt Holliday will lead to many chances to drive in runs. In his first 16 games, Berkman is batting .339 with six home runs, 15 RBIs and 15 runs. A health risk and the inability to hit lefthanders make him a sell high.
Daniel Hudson (Diamondbacks, SP): After a terrific second half last season, Hudson is 0-4 with a 5.92 ERA. Outside of 12 walks in 24 1/3 innings, Hudson has looked good with 26 strikeouts. An extremely low 53 percent strand rate indicates some bad luck and a fielding independent pitching (FIP) ERA of 3.55 shows it's not as bad as it looks.
Carlos Quentin (White Sox, OF): Injuries the past two seasons caused him to be a discount in drafts. The power is legit. He hit 36 home runs in 480 at-bats in 2008 and 47 the last two seasons spanning 804 at-bats. If healthy the whole season, 35-40 homers is possible.
Mike Stanton (Marlins, OF): He missed time in the spring and while he will strike out a lot, the power will come.
Wandy Rodriguez (Astros, SP): The 5.48 ERA is a fluke. The peripherals look good. Buy low.
Clay Buchholz (Red Sox, SP): The peripherals showed Buchholz was due for regression, but a 6.20 BB/9 and 4.43 K/9 are worrisome.