Anybody that’s seen him pitch knows that Fernando Rodney isn’t a great ninth-inning option. Manager Mike Scioscia wasn’t ready to give Rodney another chance at a ninth-inning meltdown and instead has turned to Jordan Walden, who looked dominant in picking up his first save of the season on Wednesday. Walden is the closer of the future in Los Angeles, and the future is now. At 46 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, he’s continuing to fly off the shelves as owners react to the changing of the guard. He’s the first must-add of the season for the Wide World of Waivers.
Russell Martin, NYY (49 percent owned). The former Dodger has seen his ownership numbers rise after hitting a homer and stealing a couple bags in the first few games of the season. He has sneaky speed and is capable of producing 15-20 SBs this season. Remember, he has a 19-HR, 21-SB season to his credit and was an elite catching option as recently as 2008. Only 28 years old, Martin could flourish in the Bronx.
Also: Chris Iannetta (14 percent), Nick Hundley (4 percent).
Juan Miranda, ARI (1 percent). The Diamondbacks are looking to give Miranda a majority of the playing time at first base this season. He posted excellent numbers in Triple-A over the last few years while in the Yankees organization, but he’ll have to curb his strikeout rate to have any success in the majors. NL owners should grab him now.
Also: Lance Berkman (33 percent), Kila Ka’aihue (17 percent).
Maicer Izturis, LAA (12 percent). The utility infielder plays virtually every day while shifting around the diamond, and he’s already picked up appearances at 2B, 3B and SS this season. He’s on a roll at the plate, sporting a .318 average with one HR and two SBs. Hitting leadoff, Izturis is sure to help run totals as the season progresses, and his position flexibility can work wonders for teams with short benches.
Also: Freddy Sanchez (28 percent), Danny Espinosa (9 percent).
Orlando Cabrera, CLE (8 percent). He’s not going to finish the year with fantastic numbers, but Cabrera has been hot out of the gate, picking up hits in his first four games, including one home run. He’ll also pick up 2B eligibility quickly, making him a nice target for teams looking for a bench middle infielder.
Also: Izturis, Jason Bartlett (8 percent), Angel Sanchez (2 percent).
Alex Gordon, KC (34 percent). Gordon looked awful in his first game of the season, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Since then he’s been on fire, including picking up seven hits in 11 bats over his last two games as well as his first homer of the season. A guy with his pedigree will fly off the FA list, so don’t sit on the fence too long if you’re thinking about the add.
Also: Izturis, Alberto Callaspo (8 percent), Kevin Kouzmanoff (1 percent).
Josh Willingham, OAK (14 percent). On a per-AB basis last year, Willingham was pretty good, totaling 16 HRs and eight SBs in 370 at-bats. He already has two HRs in 2011 as well as a hit in every game thus far. I’m loving him as my fifth OF in the Roto Arcade Pro-Am.
Also: Gordon, Ben Francisco (20 percent), Brennan Boesch (16 percent), Melky Cabrera (5 percent).
Michael Pineda, SEA (33 percent). The elite prospect held his own making his first start against Texas, allowing five hits and a walk through six innings while striking out four. Unfortunately, three runs crossed the plate and now he’s 0-1. Welcome to the Mariners. He’ll be a great option at home this year and is worth using for most of his starts regardless of location.
Also: Brandon Beachy (24 percent), Aaron Harang (6 percent), Chris Tillman (5 percent), Jeff Francis (4 percent).
Sean Burnett, WAS (38 percent). Walden should come off the wire first thanks to his upside, but don’t overlook Sean Burnett, who has earned the closing role over Drew Storen, at least to start the season. Two walks and a hit led Storen to collect the loss on Tuesday, making Burnett’s job just a little bit safer.
Also: Walden, Joel Peralta (4 percent), Koji Uehara (34 percent), Jake McGee (36 percent), Wilton Lopez (3 percent).
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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