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Stock Watch: Impulse Buying

The first week of the season is always the worst for me. Someone always gets injured (Ryan Ludwick owner here), an ace always gets pounded in his first start (mine was Adam Wainwright), and some closer is always ready to lose his job (John Axford on several teams). When you write expert analysis, it's even worse: might have publicly counseled against drafting Justin Upton, didn't say a word about Chris Davis.

You see, the first week is the worst for me, not just because my teams never fail to have a bad week, but also because you can't trust anything that happened in just one week. Why is Davis tearing the cover off the ball? I don't know. (But I wish he were on any of my teams.) Is Upton's week a sign that he puts it all together into superstardom this year? Maybe. Is Axford doomed to return from whence he came? (I sure hope not.) I can't say any of these things for sure, or even close, but seasons ride on early moves. Every year it seems like an impact player has a killer first week and never lets up, on the way to joining the elite at his position the next year. Think of the fantasy debuts of Dan Uggla, Ben Zobrist, and Jose Bautista. What if you could have snagged Chase Headley off the waiver wire last year. You have to make an impulse buy or three, even if it's just a wild stab in the dark.

Given this--that we're on the lookout for high-upside players at this point--here are some worthwhile buys going into Week 2. I'm not big on trading players this early in the season, so I'll focus on waiver wire pickups here.

Impulse Buys

Gerardo Parra, OF, ARI
Parra is owned in just 32% of Yahoo! leagues and 34% of ESPN leagues, but I'll wager that's about to change. He's running with his chance to impress in Arizona, hitting .458 while two of the outfielders ahead of him on the depth chart (Cody Ross and Adam Eaton) languish on the DL. If he can keep up the hitting, I don't see how they'll keep him out of the lineup.

Jean Segura, SS, MIL
Segura's batting an even .500 for the week, but is only owned in 30% of Y! leagues and a paltry 15% of ESPN leagues. As a prospect with a job, he started the year as a semi-interesting sleeper. Well, he's done about all he can to justify that interest. Any chance to get a shortstop with a live bat is a good idea.

Jose Fernandez, SP, MIA
RotoAuthority's own Peter Karinen wrote Fernandez up last week, so I won't do much more than echo his sentiments here. Fernandez is young and talented, but far from a sure thing, or even a solid bet. He's the sort of guy who is very likely to be dropped off a lot of teams after just a couple weeks...but he's also got the raw stuff to have a real chance of being an impact pitcher. He's worth a try, but don't drop anyone good to get him.

Franklin Gutierrez, OF, SEA
It's been a long time since we've seen him, but a healthy Gutierrez is a pretty decent player. Hitting nearly .400 with a pair of homers, it looks like the guy that gave the Mariners 18 HR's and 16 SB's in 2009 might have returned. He could be better than plenty of drafted fifth OF's.

Bargain Bin

Bartolo Colon, SP, OAK
Colon has finished his suspension and returned to Oakland. Will he be an impact guy? Obviously not. But he does stand a pretty good chance of being decent. In deep leagues, he's actually a pretty safe choice to add. He beat Houston in his debut (not that that tells us anything), and he walked just 23 batters in 152.2 IP last year.

Travis Wood, SP, CHC
Wood pitched extremely well against the anemic Pirates, and he's got just enough history of success to think that he might be useful if you're looking for a pitcher. Perhaps more to the point, he's slated for two starts next week, so owners in weekly changes leagues may be interested.

Luis Mendoza, SP, KCR
Mendoza whiffed seven Phillies in his debut, and that counts for something. Not terribly much, as his track record is nothing to speak of.

Chris Iannetta, C, LAA
Tyler Flowers, C, CHW
Wilson Ramos, C, WAS

These three catchers are all owned in fewer than 20% of Y! leagues, but all have a pair of homers and lofty batting averages. Making things more interesting is that all of them have shown just enough in previous seasons to register as possibly useful going forward. Flowers probably has the best combination of upside and team trust at this point.

Vernon Wells, OF, NYY
The Yankees already found Wells in the bargain bin (well, sort of) and he's off to a hot start. New York has little reason not to play the hot hand right now, so if Wells keeps hitting, he'll find the playing time. Who knows, maybe the Yanks really did like what they saw in Spring Training.

Sell...No One

Sorry, but it's way too early to start giving up on anyone. I'm not going to put anyone on this week's list to shuffle away from your team. Everyone will be too scared to trade for obvious overperformers like Chris Davis, and a single week's worth of data isn't nearly worth giving up on your top sleepers or shipping off struggling stars. Wait till next week for that.


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