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Fantasy Baseball: Don’t Sleep On Matt Dominguez

Eight seasons ago, the Marlins chose Matt Dominguez with the 12th overall selection of the 2007 Draft, hopeful with grandiose visions of Dominguez becoming a cornerstone of the franchise. (Or one that could be traded once it became apparent the penny-pinching Marlins couldn’t afford him long-term).

Neither scenario played out, yet Dominguez — still only 24 — may be slowly tapping into his potential in Houston. The promise that made him a first-round pick could finally be off the scenic route to success, and it could play well for owners in need of need of waiver wire help at the hot corner.

Owned in just 14 percent of polled leagues, Dominguez entered Thursday with a ‘meh’ line of .255-7-20. What’s not seen is that his batting average has climbed 29 points over the past two weeks, as Dominguez has recorded five multi-hit games during this span, including a two-HR outing in a win over the White Sox last Sunday.

Why do I like Dominguez, not only for this week, but for the remainder of the season? His steady fly ball percentage uptick. He put the ball in the air at a poor 27.2 percent rate in his 113 at bat cameo with the Astros in 2012, yet jolted it up to 39.2 percent last season, which resulted in 46 extra base hits (including 21 HR).

Thus far, Dominguez is at a 41.8 percent fly ball rate, and while his 17.2 line drive rate is a drop from last season’s 18.7 percent, the fact that he is only in just his second full big league season tells me the power that the Marlins felt they’d never see is starting to blossom.

I think there’s at least 25 HRs coming from Dominguez this season, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he flirts with 30 bombs. His power potential has to be his calling card for now, as he’s not going to be a plus in batting average or runs scored, but as the Astros continue to improve, Dominguez’s numbers are going to come along for the ride.

Those who are in need of a third baseman in the wake of Juan Uribe‘s (Dodgers) injury and the demotion of Mike Moustakas (Royals) should take a flier on Dominguez, especially those in deeper leagues. He’s a decent bench spot for your roster, and those who play in leagues which lock their lineups for the week on Monday can play the matchups, as Dominguez is a better hitter outside of Minute Maid Park (.286/.305/486 on the road compared to .227/.313.398).

Here’s who else is catching my waiver eye this week:

Stephen Drew, SS, Red Sox: Boston fans envisioned Drew’s return about as much as Donald Sterling could have foreseen the last six weeks of his life. Yet, here comes Drew, re-signed earlier this week. Owned in eight percent of polled leagues, Drew does offer some pop in his bat, which Red Sox fans hope will be more than what they’ve received from current DL resident Wil Middlebrooks and the light-hitting Xander Bogarts. Drew makes his arrival in Boston late next week, which makes him an interesting use of FAAB bucks in both mixed and AL-only leagues. Prorate his 2013 numbers, and your best bet from him would be in the neighborhood of .250-8-45-4.

Michael Choice, OF/DH, Rangers: Prince Fielder could be facing season-ending surgery to repair the herniated disc in his neck, which would open the door for Choice to see extended time at DH, with Mitch Moreland getting the bulk of the at bats at first base. Choice is hitting just .194-2-7 in 93 ABs, yet has shown intriguing power potential throughout his time in the minors. Owned in less than one percent of polled leagues, I wouldn’t say go all-in on Choice right now, but if Fielder is indeed shutting it down for 2014, this kid could be the right Choice to fill a roster spot, especially in AL-only leagues.

James Jones, OF, Mariners: Seattle’s Wheel ‘O Outfielders stops this week at Jones, who is on this list because he offers the one thing that makes Fantasy owners into pure fiends: available speed. Owned in just two percent of polled leagues, Jones came into Thursday with an 11-game hitting streak and sports a .314-1-11-2 line. His bat shows flashes of 10-15 HR power, but Jones has three seasons of 20-plus steals under his minor league belt. He shows no signs of being taken out of the lineup, so now would be a great time to make a stealth move in deeper leagues and pick Jones up.

Eric Campbell, 1B, Mets: I didn’t add Campbell here because we share the same April 9 birthdate; rather, he’s on here because there’s some intrigue in his future. His recent past (.438-1-5 in 16 ABs) hasn’t been too shabby, but the lefty-hitting Campbell could see more playing time, considering that manager Terry Collins has indicated Campbell may see time in the outfield. There’s not much power here, yet Campbell (owned in about one percent of polled leagues) has done a decent Mark Grace impersonation in the minors, showing a solid average and OBP. If you’re in an NL-only league in need of an offensive jolt, Campbell is a name to keep in mind.

Jeremy Affeldt, RP, Giants: The decision to let setup man Santiago Casilla bat on Wednesday didn’t work out quite as expected: a hammy pull while running the bases will leave him out for at least a month. That bumps up the veteran Affeldt to build the final bridge for Sergio Romo, a role that will present the lefty with a few more opportunities. Opponents are hitting just .222 against Affeldt, who also has six holds while striking out 14 in 14.1 innings. He’s a good play in NL-only leagues and a strong buy for leagues that use holds as a category.

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