Andre Ethier – OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
2009 seems like a very long time ago for Andre Ethier. The Dodgers outfielder clubbed 31 homers that season and drove in 106 runs, finishing sixth in MVP voting. He’s declined considerably since then and has looked like the odd man out in the L.A. outfield for a while. Injuries to Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford have led to a resurgence for Ethier in the early part of 2015. He currently sports a .316/.416/.558 slash line along with five home runs and 14 RBI. Even during his best days Ethier never posted a .974 OPS and there’s little reason to think that will happen now. But if you’re an MLB fantasy owner who could use a spark in one of your outfield or utility spots, you might try to ride the Andre Ethier revival for as long as it lasts.
Nathan Karns – SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Rookie starting pitcher Nathan Karns has quietly helped solidify a Rays rotation dealing with the losses of Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly. He is 3-1 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He’s fanned 44 batters in 45.1 innings of work. A major component of Karns’ success so far is a .196 BAA, the eighth-best such mark throughout MLB. It will be difficult for him to maintain that, but you can’t really argue with his results for the time being. Originally from the Nationals system, Karns’ prospects look good in a Rays organization that knows a thing or two about developing young pitching. Right now Karns is pitching his way to the forefront of the AL Rookie of the Year conversation, and he may be pitching his way onto your MLB fantasy squad as well.
Delino DeShields Jr. – 2B, Texas Rangers
The son of the longtime MLB vet was one of the candidates to fill in the gap left by the Texas Rangers’ demotion of Rougned Odor, and he has done surprisingly well in limited chances thus far. In 53 at-bats he is hitting a respectable .283. He’s made his presence known on the base paths as well, swiping 10 bags in 11 attempts. Perhaps most impressively, DeShields has shown some legitimate plate discipline for a young player, drawing 10 walks in 63 plate appearances. For MLB fantasy owners, this is more of a long-range toss of the dice. DeShields’ playing time will be erratic for now, but could increase if he keeps contributing. Still just 22 years old, he’s a wild card that could provide some upside to your fantasy lineup if you have a need at second base.
Kyle Gibson – SP, Minnesota Twins
As the Twins surprise the baseball world, so do several of their key contributors, pitcher Kyle Gibson among them. In this third big league season Gibson has been enjoying a breakthrough of sorts, putting up a 2.98 ERA over 48.1 innings of work. Gibson won’t help you much in terms of strikeouts (3.5 K/9) and the Twins offense hasn’t been the most supportive (3.38 runs/game), translating to an even 3-3 record. He’s shown a knack for keeping the ball in the park (0.6 HR/9), which has led to generally good outcomes in spacious Target Field. If you’re in the market for starting pitching depth, Gibson should be a name on your list.