It might surprise you to learn that a catcher was the most added player in ESPN leagues last week. That’s right. A catcher. You’re probably thinking that it’s some hot prospect who looks like the next coming of Mike Piazza. In that case, you’d be wrong. Very, very wrong. It’s actually 30-year-old journeyman catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty’s smacked 6 homers in just 48 plate appearances this season, which has some fantasy owners dreaming of a cheap 20 homers from their recent waiver wire find. He has hit 25 homers in a season before (2012), and power has never been an issue for Salty. What has been an issue is making consistent contact. He’s one of 11 players in MLB history (min 2000 PA) with a 30+% K% in his career, and his 32.4% K% since the beginning of the 2014 season is the 3rd highest in MLB over that span (min 600 PA) behind only Mike Zunino and Tyler Flowers. This season, he has a 37.5% K% and his early power outburst is largely due to a 33.3% HR/FB (career 13.8%). Same old Salty. Enjoy the hot streak but don’t get too attached. Too much Salty will give you high blood pressure.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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Less than a month ago, just a few days prior to the New York Mets regular season opener against the Kansas City Royals, Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey sent a scare through the baseball world when it was revealed that his Opening Day start was suddenly in jeopardy due to an undisclosed medical issue. Uh oh. Maybe all of those extra postseason innings were more than his surgically repaired elbow could handle. Maybe he suffered a knee or other lower body injury by altering his mechanics to lessen the strain on that elbow. Maybe he got a little careless with a new lady friend. Speculation was running rampant over this mysterious ailment. Ultimately, the issue turned out to be a blood clot in Harvey’s bladder, which, thankfully for Harvey, was passed through the urine and led to no further complications.

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We’re just over two weeks into the regular season now, and perhaps things haven’t gone as well as you hoped for on your fantasy team. You’ve fantasized about taking a hammer to Ian Desmond’s fingers since he doesn’t seem to need them for anything anyway. Waterboarding seems too lenient of a punishment for the pathetic numbers that Miguel Sano has produced for your team thus far. If you’ve been thinking along these lines, then you’ve probably been watching too many mob movies recently. More importantly, it’s just mid-April. No need to panic. Depending on your format, there are likely several interesting players available on the waiver wire to help your team during it’s early season funk. One of those players might be St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker (65.9% owned; +57.5% over the past week), who was the most added player in ESPN leagues over the last seven days. The departure of Jason Heyward and an injury to Tommy Pham have finally given the 28-year-old Hazelbaker a chance to play in the big leagues after toiling away in the minors since being drafted by the Red Sox in 2009. He’s made the most of his early opportunity, producing a 7/3/7/2/.394 batting line across 39 plate appearances. Hazelbaker has displayed double digit home run power as well as 30+ steal speed at multiple stops in the minors, so he could just be a late bloomer who needed an opportunity to shine. However, he does tend to strikeout fairly often (25.6% K% this year; 25.4% K% in his minor league career), and his current .424 ISO and .455 BABIP are likely to come crashing down in the near future.  Think of Dexter Fowler as an upside comp and Jake Marisnick as a downside one. Ride the wave while it lasts but be ready to cut bait if and when he comes back to Earth.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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It’s been a rough season for starting pitching in the early going. If you splurged on Clayton Kershaw or pulled the trigger on Noah Syndergaard in your draft, you’re probably sitting pretty on the pitching side at the moment. However, fantasy mainstays Zack Greinke, Chris Archer, Matt Harvey, Adam Wainwright, and Justin Verlander have combined for zero wins, a 7.30 ERA, and a 1.79 WHIP thus far in 2016. Those ratios are as painful to look at as this video is. Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but still pretty awful. Caught somewhere in the middle of all of this madness is Los Angeles Angels ace Garrett Richards. He’s generally not considered to be a #1 or #2 SP in fantasy circles, but a decent #3. Good, but not great K-rate. Middle of the road ratios. Won’t kill you anywhere but probably won’t be a huge asset either. A fallback option. Is this perception of Richards accurate? What can be expected from him this season?

Let’s take a look at a few things that stand out regarding Richards:

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Let me assure those of you who came here to read a fantasy baseball article that you’re in the right place. While the title might conjure up images of Brock Lesnar’s new submission hold (“He has the Brock Lock applied – it’s all over!”) or the latest late night item on your local home shopping network (“Get the Brock Lock for just $19.95”), it actually refers to this week’s waiver wire darling, the Boston Red Sox newly anointed starting left fielder Brock Holt (72.1% owned; +57.3% over the past week). Holt has truly been locked in during the first week of the season, producing a .412/.444/.882 triple slash line including 2 home runs and 8 RBI across his first 18 plate appearances. So the Brock Lock doesn’t refer to a submission hold or a crappy “as seen on tv” gimmick, but a hot schmotato! The good news is that Holt is 2B/3B/OF eligible in most formats, and might even have SS eligibility in a few. He has no split issues to worry about, and actually has a higher career OPS against left-handed pitching (.753) than right-handed pitching (.700). His solid plate discipline has led to solid batting averages of .281 and .280 in the previous two seasons. The bad news is that while he has enough speed to steal a base (21 steals in 289 career games), he’s unlikely to swipe more than a dozen or so bags across a full season. Those two homers that he hit last week represent a quarter of his career total in MLB. I’d be willing to bet that his current 100% HR/FB will come down a smidge, and that homers will be a bit tougher to come by in the future if his 15.4% FB% doesn’t rise significantly. Expect a .280ish average with 6-8 homers and 10-12 steals from Holt if he reaches 500 PA. Definitely useful, particularly considering his positional versatility, but far from indispensable.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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Does anyone else have the feeling that we’ve done this before? A bit of a case of déjà vu perhaps? Don’t worry. I’m sure there’s a nice snug jacket and a comfy padded room somewhere nearby with your name on it. Hey, get away from that bouncy castle! That’s not what I meant. If you have that feeling, it’s because we have done this before. I wrote about Cubs rookie sensation Kris Bryant in this very column at practically the same exact time of year last season. The hype train gained steam during spring training and pushed his preseason ADP up into the 5th/6th round area, or essentially where Miguel Sano has been coming off of most draft boards this season. I was bullish on Bryant last year and he ended up finishing as the #30 overall player on the 2015 player rater after producing a 87/26/99/13/.275 batting line in 151 games (650 PA). Quite an impressive showing for a rookie, or a player of any experience level for that matter.

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The first major injury of the 2016 MLB season occurred last Friday as spring training was drawing to a close, when Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock fractured his right elbow sliding into home plate. Why did he decide to slide head first in a meaningless game with a previously sore elbow that kept him out of preseason action for several weeks? Does GM Dave Stewart finally wish that he could rescind his ill-conceived Shelby Miller trade and bring Ender Inciarte back into the fold? Why does it seem like I’m peeing more frequently as I get older? So many questions! However, the most relevant question in this particular situation is: who is the next man up? The most interesting in-house candidate to replace Pollock appears to be 23-year-old prospect Socrates Brito (11.3% owned; +6.1% in the past week). Brito was a candidate to steal some playing time away from Yasmany Tomas in left field, so Pollock’s injury opens up yet another potential path to playing time for the youngster. In a brief stint in MLB last season (34 PA), he managed a .303/.324/.455 triple slash and graded out well defensively, which helps his case to see some at-bats in the near future. In fantasy terms, a decent comp might be Austin Jackson. With regular playing time, a .260/10/20 type of line looks to be in his wheelhouse. There is some upside here, so he’s worth a gamble to grab and stash to see how this situation plays out.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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Fret not, Razzball nation. The wait is almost over. As of today, we’re now just three short days away before the official start of the MLB regular season. Pretty soon, you won’t be refreshing your fantasy team’s live stats page and wondering why DeShields hasn’t stolen a base yet. They’re coming! In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at one of the most surprising rookies from the 2015 season, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the bear/bull series, here’s the deal. Each week, I’ll be highlighting a different fantasy-relevant player and creating a framework of where that player is trending in fantasy terms. After some background analysis, number crunching, and sometimes even a player comp or two, I’ll reveal whether I’m bearish (pessimistic) or bullish (optimistic) on the near future of the player in question. So essentially a one player buy/sell. Dig it? Awesome. Now let’s take a look at this week’s player under the microscope…

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It’s been a long offseason, but now that we’re less than a week away from the start of the 2016 MLB regular season, it’s time to dust off the trash/treasure column and take a look at a few of the players who have made fantasy owners take notice in recent weeks. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this series, the concept is pretty straightforward: identify a few of the players who have experienced the largest change in ownership percentage over the previous week and determine which of these players are deserving of their sudden gains or declines respectively. The players who I believe carry limited value moving forward will be deemed TRASH while the potential waiver wire gems will have the coveted TREASURE label bestowed upon them. Dig it? Cool. Now let’s take a look at some of the buzzy Spring Training names as Opening Day approaches…

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Howdy Razzballero! Starting next week we’ll dive right into the weekly regular season content (trash/treasure and bear/bull), but I’d like to take this opportunity (since we’re in the thick of draft season) to share a few thoughts on how to approach your fantasy baseball draft. I’ve made my share of mistakes on draft day over the years, and I’d like to share some of the lessons that I’ve (hopefully) learned from those mistakes with you today. Think of me as the guinea pig who’s the first one to cross the explosive pond, and then you swoop in like John Rambo to save the day. Only we’re talking about fantasy baseball, so it’s even MORE IMPORTANT! Sorry, too much coffee. But hopefully you’ll find one or two of these tips to be helpful when preparing for your drafts.

Here are a few things to consider as your draft day approaches:

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