Delayed Gratification

Brandon Webb could give you 22 starts and win 14 games.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - One of the things which separates humans from the animal world is our ability to delay gratification. While most players will begin their 2010 major league baseball season during the first week in April, there are a number of players, some valuable, who will either spend that first week on the disabled list or in the minors.

Just because they can't be in your Opening Day lineup, doesn't mean you should ignore them. Here are 10 players, who won't be ready to play on April 5th, but could still help you this season.

Brandon Webb, SP, Arizona (ADP 137.5) - He's a former "ace" who is being drafted in the 11th or 12th round. If he's healthy, and he says his arm is feeling good, that's a great spot to take a chance on a guy who could give you 22 starts and win 14 games.

Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pittsburgh (ADP 232) - The current Pirates third baseman, Andy LaRoche, is merely a "place-holder" until Alvarez is ready for "the show." LaRoche, who was once a top prospect but is now just suspect particularly defensively, might be shipped to Oakland sometime before the trade deadline. By then, Alvarez, who hit 27 HR last season between Lynchburg and Altoona, might be ready.

Carlos Beltran, OF, New York Mets (ADP 118.2) - Beltran won't be back until sometime around mid-May, but if he comes back at 100% he could still give you 20 HR and 75 RBI. However, don't expect him to run much anymore.

Brad Lidge, RP, Philadelphia (ADP 487) - Lidge hasn't been sharp in spring training, but if he is healthy (knee, elbow) he could return to his 2008 form (41 save in 41 chances). He is the definition of "low-risk, high-reward" since his ADP is in the free agent area (a normal draft is 25 rounds x 12 teams which equals 300 players).

Russell Martin, C, Los Angeles Dodgers (ADP 140.6) - He will likely miss a couple of weeks at the beginning of the season, but Joe Mauer proved that you can still be valuable even missing the entire month of April. More importantly, Martin has to return to his 2007 batting form when he hit 19 HR, knocked in 87 and hit .293. He brings the ability to steal double-digit bases from a position where that is rare.

Buster Posey, C, San Francisco (ADP 1425) - He's a longshot to make the Giants after the team re-signed Bengie Molina, but should San Francisco fall out of the race, he could be the first call up. He batted .321 at AAA Fresno and has yet to hit less than .273 in his career. Has a quick release and threw out 41% of attempted base-stealers.

Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets (ADP 32) - Reyes will remain in New York over the next few weeks and have his thyroid levels tested regularly. He won't be able to exercise normally until his levels return to normal, and the timetable is two-to-eight weeks for that portion. He is definitely "high-risk, high-reward" because he's still being drafted in the third-to-fourth round despite the illness.

Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland (ADP 227) - He'll likely start the season in AAA Columbus, but given the quality of catching on the team's roster could easily be up by June 1st. He hit 23 homers and knocked in 97 at Akron last year. Think of a "Matt Wieters type" rookie season.

Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington (ADP 187) - He's thrown five scoreless innings in spring training, but all indications are that the team will send him to the minors after his next start. This has all the makings of a "financial decision." They'll keep him in the minors just long enough to delay his arbitration/free agency ability by a year (June 1st). If you are in a keeper league, you don't care when he comes up, you'll wait patiently.

Chien-Ming Wang, SP, Washington (ADP 1050) - Like Lidge he'll be a free agent on Draft Day. He three his first 25 pitches on Monday and was pain free. Still, his return is a while away, probably late May at best. His upside, however, is that he was a 19-game winner in 2006 and 2007 and a solid fantasy value if healthy.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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