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Friday 19th Jan 2018

Here we are a week into the new season, with a first full week of play and of course, a cluster of interesting player possiblities. So, let's hop straight to it and see what is out there.

Where would a better start place be looking at the player pool than with the obviously named Reds pitcher, Rookie Davis? The Yankees drafted Davis in the 14th round in 2011 and as largely a starter, he put together a 29-25, 3.87 mark over 450.6 frames with 376 whiffs and a 1.30 WHIP. So, not bad, but nothing to raise an eyebrow. However, the Reds thought enough of Davis to grab him as part of the Aroldis Chapman swap. Davis got knocked around pretty well by the Phillies his first start, so as tempting as his name might be, at this point leave the rookie alone.

As long as we are talking about the Phillies, I have always been a fan of Howie Kendrick, and as a utility player in Philadelphia, Kendrick is off to a killer start, hitting .444-0-4 thus far. Always underrated, Kendrick has a 162-game average of .290-11-72, with 36 doubles and 13 swipes, and he's still just 33, so he has some go left in his legs. The new Phil also qualifies in the outfield, first, third, and second last year, so he is likely to fill in all over this season. Chances are in your 12-team mixed league, Kendrick is sitting in the waiver pool waiting for the call.

Ariel Miranda is another Cuban import, though more of an under-the-radar guy than say Cespedes and Puig. Miranda went 22-25, 3.78 over 386 frames in his homeland with 274 whiffs. Miranda, 28, signed with the Orioles in 2015 and then was moved to the Mariners last year for Wade Miley. Miranda went 5-2, 3.88, mostly with the M's, over 58 solid innings that produced 44 strikeouts and a 1.121 WHIP. He makes for an interesting selection in AL-only formats and is even worth tracking in mixed leagues.

Pirates third sacker David Freese has certainly had some big moments, particularly with the Cardinals over the years, and though he is now 34, the idea that Freese is brittle is not really so. Freese has played in more than 120 games every year since 2011, and his .275-82-404 mark over that period is pretty good. Now ensconced at the Pittsburgh hot corner, Freese has started off well with a .363-1-1 mark, and as a left-handed hitter makes a nice platoon DFS pick depending upon the matchup. Freese could also be of value in a tight NL format, and is worth mixed tracking too.

Oakland is pretty much relying on young hurlers this season, and though we all know about Jharel Cotton, do we know about Andrew Triggs? Selected in the 19th round of the 2012 draft by the Royals, KC sold Triggs to the Orioles for cash in 2015, and the Orioles then released the right-hander when Billy Beane cleverly snatched him up. As a minor leaguer, Triggs pitched in 168 games (13-10, 2.09, with 52 saves), although the Athletics are pushing him to the rotation, with at least initial success. Triggs whiffed 254 over 253 minor league frames, and held hitters to a .219 average, and after his solid start last week, AL-only owners should indeed have him in their sights.

Second base has been a vortex for the White Sox, and one of the 2017 options worthy of following might be Tyler Saladino, who is hitting .308 with a steal over his first four games. Saladino has just a full season of big league totals under his belt, having appeared in 165 games, hitting .258-12-52 with 20 swipes, though his OBP is a questionable .300 in the bigs (it is .358 in the Minors). Again, in a deeper league, you have to at least consider the possibility of rostering Saladino if you are managing judiciously, so don't dismiss him too readily.

Could there actually be a golden age of Rockies starters in front of us? With Jon Gray, and now Kyle Freeland, could be. Following Antonio Senzatela's strong game (5.2 innings, no runs, six whiffs), Freeland, 23, dazzled with six solid frames that resulted in a win. A former first-rounder in 2014, Freeland went 17-12, 3.49 over 45 starts and 272.6 innings. The Southpaw is not dominant (169 whiffs) but is certainly worth a look to see how his next starts go. And were I to choose between the pair, I would likely pick Senzatela.

Finally, if you are looking for cheap catching help, Red Sox backstop Sandy Leon, who has been a journeyman for the past six years, had a nice 2016 and is establishing himself as the everyday guy in Beantown. Over 612 minor league games, Leon had a .238-24-228 line, while over 157 big league games, the line is .260-9-48, including a solid .310-7-35 last year over 78 games. Leon is hot out of the box this season, going .438-1-5 the first week, making him another desirable selection depending upon your league. 

Don't forget you can follow me @lawrmichaels.

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