Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey could be a key contributor to a fantasy… (Peter Morgan / Associated…)
Fantasy owners may build their teams around superstars like Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw, but success often lies in the performance of an unknown commodity.
From a minor leaguer about to show off his tools at the next level, to a career backup who finally gets everyday playing time, players ignored on draft day often wind up in pivotal roles.
Times staff writer Tim Hubbard takes a weekly look at players, teams and trends that are constantly evolving over baseball's regular season:
TIME TO STEAL
SP | New York Mets
The 24-year-old right-hander has the ability to anchor a staff for years. He was a solid performer after his call-up to the Mets in 2012 — 70 strikeouts in 591/3 innings — and had an impressive spring. In his first start, Harvey manhandled the Padres, allowing no runs and one hit and striking out 10 in seven innings. The Mets' pedestrian lineup will likely cost Harvey some wins, but the rest of his numbers should be top shelf.
OF | Cincinnati
Heisey's value took a major jump on opening day at the expense of teammate Ryan Ludwick, who sustained a shoulder injury that is expected to keep him out for three months. Heisey stole a base and scored a run in his first start, and hit a two-run homer in his second. Heisey has average talent but is in a great situation. He should be able to do some damage in a potent lineup that plays in a hitter-friendly home ballpark.
TIME TO DEAL
OF | Miami
If you had Stanton in a keeper league and couldn't bring yourself to trade the young slugger during the winter, you might need to rethink that position. An off-season exodus of talent has left Stanton stranded on an island of misfit banjo hitters, surrounded in the lineup by the likes of Donovan Solano, Placido Polanco and Greg Dobbs. Unless Miami deals him, it's a good bet Stanton won't see a good pitch to hit all summer.