Scott Cullen takes a look around the fantasy waiver wire for nine players to keep an eye on early in this major league season:
J.P. Arencibia, C, Toronto - Not unlike Reynolds in that Arencibia struggles to hit for average (.224 for his career), but there aren't a lot of catchers that provide his power. Over the past two seasons, Arencibia is tied with Boston's Jarrod Saltalamacchia, for fifth among catchers with 41 home runs and that is despite playing only 102 games last season. If Arencibia plays a relatively full slate of games, hitting 25-plus homers isn't a reach.
Gerardo Parra, CF, Arizona - Getting a chance to play every day, and hit leadoff, while prized rookie Adam Eaton is injured, Parra has stolen 15 bases in each of the last two years while playing the fourth outfielder role for the Snakes. There is the small matter of what happens once Eaton is ready to return, which could still be a month away, but in the meantime, Parra can be a useful addition.
Jed Lowrie, 3B, Oakland - He may not have corner infield power, especially moving from Houston to a pitcher-friendly park in Oakland, but Lowrie slugged 16 homers in a career-high 340 at-bats for the Astros last season and has four doubles (and a homer) in the first four games this season. Hitting second for the A's, he could have a breakout season, simply by virtue of playing time.
Mark Reynolds, 1B/DH, Cleveland - Mr. All Or Nothing, Reynolds has struck out more than anyone in baseball since 2008 (997 Ks in 745 games), but is also eighth with 166 home runs in that span. He crushed a pair of homers in the first series against Toronto, so if you can afford the batting average hit that is likely to come from a career .235 hitter, Reynolds still does what he does.
Chris Heisey, LF, Cincinnati - Set to play regularly after Ryan Ludwick dislocated his shoulder, Heisey showed some pop in 2011, belting 18 home runs in 279 at-bats. There is some pressure, in that speedy minor leaguer Billy Hamiltopn could be knocking on the door for a job in Cincinnati, particularly if Heisey doesn't hit enough, but Heisey gets first crack.
Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, Pittsburgh - Since 2009, Rodriguez has an entirely respectable 1.27 WHIP and while wins didn't come easily in Houston -- and may come only slightly more easily in Pittsburgh -- his consistency alone makes him a useful part of your rotation.
Paul Maholm, LHP, Atlanta - 30-year-old southpaw was effective (4-5, 3.54 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 59 K, 68 2/3 IP) last season for the Braves after he was acquired from the Cubs. Pitching for a contender, in a pitcher-friendly park with an improved strikeout rate could have Maholm poised for the best year of his career.
Andy Pettitte, LHP, N.Y. Yankees - One of the last vestiges of the Yankees' old guard, 40-year-old Pettitte isn't as durable as he once was and wins figure to be more difficult to achieve in the Bronx this year, but he was impressive (5-4, 2.87 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 69 K in 75 1/3 IP) in a dozen starts last season, so he's worth a try for as long as he stays on top of his game.
Kyuji Fujikawa, RHP, Chicago Cubs - 32-year-old making his major league debut saved 202 games (posting a 1.32 ERA) over the last six years in Japan, and now he waits for every-shaky Carlos Marmol to surrender the closer's job for the Cubs.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.