Tampa Bay Rays' James Loney rounds third base on his way to score a run… (Dustin Bradford / Getty…)
Staff writer Tim Hubbard takes at look at some not-so-likely assets that can help fantasy owners fill the gaps in their lineups.
1B | Tampa Bay
Dodgers fans may not have noticed, or my not want to notice, how productive Loney has been for the Rays. After a mostly disappointing seven years with the Dodgers in which he averaged 10 home runs and 60 RBIs, Loney is leading the American League in hitting at .385. Loney still has low-wattage power, but he has provided solid protection for cleanup hitter Evan Longoria.
RP | Arizona
After parlaying an impressive three-year run as San Diego's closer into a fat free-agent deal with Miami, Bell became one of the poster boys for the Marlins' 2012 implosion. Now back in the National League West, Bell has returned to the closer's role after an injury to J.J. Putz. Bell's numbers are far from eye popping (4.40 ERA, 1.39 WHIP), but he's averaging a career-best 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings. With Putz not expected to return until late in the season, it'll be interesting to see if the 35-year-old Bell can hold on to his new gig.
OF-2B | Tampa Bay
Like Loney, Johnson is just another one of Tampa Manager Joe Maddon's moves that has panned out. Johnson, whose average was in the .220s for three of the last four years, is hitting .423 this month, with two home runs and 10 RBIs. Surprisingly, he has played mostly in the outfield. Couple that with his carry-over eligibility at second base, and you've got yourself a versatile and valuable commodity.
SP | Cleveland
Two starts ago there was no reason to endorse Kazmir, whose arm woes and ineffectiveness had kept him winless in the majors since 2010. But the 29-year-old left-hander, who led the AL in strikeouts in 2007, may finally be back among the desirable options. After pitching well enough to pick up a win over Minnesota last week, Kazmir dominated Oakland on Thursday, striking out 10, with no walks and one earned run in six innings. He may be worth a flier.