One meaningful part of the Benchwarmer Baseball salary calculation formula is the number of At-Bats a players tallies in the previous year. Identifying those players that had few At-Bats in the previous year (due to injuries, time in the minors, playing secondary role), but are expected to take a leap in At-Bats in the next year can be a good way to save a few BWB bucks while still yielding strong fantasy value. All else equal, it's more cost-effective to roster a player who had 100 ABs last year and is expected to have 400 ABs this year than to roster a player that had 400 ABs last year with the same expectations going forward.
The largest amount of expected value for money is typically produced by minor leaguers (salary 100) who go from zero to few major league At-Bats to being given an everyday job in the Bigs. Everyone knows this and that is why prospects are stashed away until it's their time to (hopefully) shine. It is also understood that with the higher value-for-money potential offered by prospects comes higher risk that the player will not deliver the major-league level stats needed to help a BWB team (maybe this year is your year Homer Bailey).
A lower-risk play is to look for proven major-league talent that will be afforded a greater opportunity to play in the next year, who I will dub the Bargain Bin players. Given their longer major-league track records, upside potential is easier to estimate and therefore the approach should be less risky. These types of players should not be confused with Comeback Player of the Year candidates. Come-Back players are widely analyzed and well followed. An example for 2009 would be Travis Hafner. The Boston Red Sox, to use a real-world example, have trafficked heavily in this space this off-season. The signing of such reclamation projects as John Smoltz, Takashi Saito, and Rocco Baldelli to short-term, incentive laden contracts makes clear sense and provides a lot of potential value. The upside return from Come-Back players should be better than the Bargain Bin players, but they will rarely be available in the free agent market. I doubt anyone can find Travis Hafner available in their league currently.
So, who are the Bargain Bin players then? They are the cheap players that can potentially add very good value to your roster and are probably still sitting in the free agent pool in your league. To help bring these bargains to light, I will run a feature this off-season called the Bargain Bin (naturally), to highlight these overlooked players for your BWB consideration.