MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

10 fantasy waiver options to consider

Rasmus could be had for power; Jepsen, Gomez candidates for saves

10 fantasy waiver options to consider

Do not panic.

I repeat, do not panic.

We are barely halfway through the April slate, so your super slugger's slump is not something over which to lose sleep. Still, wise fantasy owners are always on the lookout for an edge, a perk the following 10 players can provide.

Howie Kendrick, second baseman: With zero 15-steal seasons and one campaign (2011) with more than 13 homers, Kendrick is not going to excite fantasy owners. But those in search of steady second-base production should strongly consider this 32-year-old. A lifetime .293 hitter who should regularly bat out of a premium lineup spot, Kendrick can offer a useful blend of five-category production.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Zinkie on buy-low candidates

Aledmys Diaz, 2B/SS: After hitting .278 with 13 homers across two Minor League levels last season, Diaz has been given a chance to show his stuff in the Majors because of the long-term absence of Jhonny Peralta. Although he should not be counted on to steal, the 25-year-old has the skills to hit a few homers with a solid batting average.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Mallex Smith, outfielder: Filling in for injured center fielder and leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte, the 22-year-old could offer mixed-league teams a short-term contribution of game-changing speed. A lifetime .296 hitter in the Minors, Smith has compiled a remarkable 227 steals across 394 games at the developmental levels. The outfielder may return to the Minors when Inciarte makes an expected return by the end of this month, but he deserves a temporary lineup spot in most rotisserie leagues.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Colby Rasmus, outfielder: Rather than trying to find the next great power producer, wise fantasy owners may wish to take the safe route with Rasmus. After hitting 25 homers in his first season with the Astros, the outfielder has already gone deep three times in 2016. Rasmus does not provide the necessary batting average or stolen-base total to warrant consideration in shallow leagues, but his power profile makes him a fine fifth outfielder in most formats.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Nick Tropeano, starter: Fantasy owners may be wary of a hurler with a lifetime 3.78 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP, but those who dig deep will be impressed by his career 2.79 FIP and 8.0 K/9 rate. The Halos have multiple long-term rotation concerns, meaning this 25-year-old could pitch his way into a permanent starting job.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

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Drew Pomeranz, SP/RP: Pomeranz had a solid debut in a Padres uniform, fanning seven across five frames at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Such was no surprise, as the southpaw posted impressive marks (3.08 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 8.5 K/9) between the A's rotation and bullpen during the 2014-15 seasons. Now set to work as a full-time starter in pitcher-friendly San Diego, the hurler could provide helpful ratios and a solid strikeout total for deep-mixed-league owners.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Brandon Finnegan, SP/RP: A first-round Draft pick in 2014, Finnegan has produced a 3.19 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP across his first 67 2/3 frames in the Majors. The left-hander has spent most of his big league time in the bullpen, but he is now getting a full-time chance to start in the Reds' unsettled rotation. Finnegan may not pitch himself onto shallow-league rosters given his inconsistent control, but he should record enough K's to help many squads. In his first two starts this year, he has fanned 14 with just four hits allowed across 12 2/3 frames.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Kevin Jepsen, reliever: Expected to close in place of injured Glen Perkins, Jepsen has notched a 2.62 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and a 9.0 K/9 rate since the outset of 2014. And given Perkins' woes of late (7.32 ERA in the second half of '15), Jepsen could pitch well enough to earn a permanent place at the back of Minnesota's bullpen.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Zinkie on Perkins' injury

Jeanmar Gomez, reliever: With possibly the most unstable bullpen in baseball, the Phillies have floated the names of David Hernandez, Andrew Bailey and Dalier Hinojosa as possible closer options since the outset of Spring Training. But given that all three candidates have struggled at key times, Gomez has been afforded a shot to be the closer du jour in Philadelphia. The righty does not have the swing-and-miss arsenal (career 5.4 K/9 rate) of a prototypical closer, but he should be owned in many mixed leagues for as long as he is working the ninth inning consistently.

The #fantasy411 on all closer situations

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Ryan Madson, reliever: Madson has excelled since returning from a three-year absence at the outset of the 2015 campaign, registering an impressive 2.24 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP across 68 1/3 frames. Signed by the A's in December to pitch in a setup role, the right-hander has instead picked up two saves in his initial five appearances. If Oakland continues to split closing duties between Madson and Sean Doolittle -- who has a 5.79 ERA with a 1.71 WHIP in the early going -- then Madson could collect several wins and saves by consistently working high-leverage frames..

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.