Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - AL

by Tim Heaney on January 7, 2010 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - NL

KFFL delivers the fantasy baseball spin on each Major League Baseball Hot Stove deal that matters in your fantasy baseball league. Check back for frequent updates to the Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove!

First basemen

Casey Kotchman, Seattle Mariners (traded from Boston Red Sox)

A better real-life player, Kotch will probably start at the scoop spot. He has long provided an OK batting average despite his .268 number last year splitting time with the Atlanta Braves and Boston. His line drives are becoming more frequent, but good luck with 20 homers. Don't be too proud if he's your corner infielder in deep mixed; he's a low-end first baseman in ALs.

Third basemen

Adrian Beltre, Boston Red Sox (signed)

The BoSox probably targeted his glove first. That Green Monstah should help the pull-happy Beltre's lofts count for something, but beware. His power was sapped last year, and his flyball rates have tanked in each of the last three years.

You should still expect a sizeable fraction of his 2006-2008 stats; 2009's cataclysmic drop was too big and too injury-related. You'll have to deal with random injuries (big ouch from last year) and streaky play, but he has the upside of a value starter at the hot corner in deep mixed leagues as long as you have a backup plan.

3B Adrian Beltre join Boston Red Sox
Beltre takes his act to the East Coast

Bill Hall, Boston Red Sox (traded from Seattle Mariners)

Hall will be a plug-and-play option at the corner infield and outfield spots, with a dash of keystone thrown in. He has displayed OK power when given the chance but remains far less effective against right-handers. Of course, any injury that opens up time for him in this lineup and park would give him deep-league value during the year.

Outfielders

Jack Cust, Oakland Athletics (re-signed)

Oakland brought back the bargain version of Adam Dunn. Cust has clubbed at least 25 homers in each of the last three years. You know the average won't be there, but his on-base skills will help him despite his OBP decline. He's a suitable low-end corner infielder and an OK No. 5 outfielder in deep mixed drafts.

Austin Kearns, Cleveland Indians (signed to minor league deal)

Potential? Still a hint of 20-homer bang there. Health? Not so much in the last two years. This former can't-miss has done just that of late. He'll probably compete for left field work; the Tribe want more balance, and the right-handed hitter played for manager Manny Acta in Washington for roughly three seasons' worth of games. Matt LaPorta (hip, toe) is hurt, too.

Shelley Duncan, Cleveland Indians (signed to minor league deal)

Another piece of righty bat insurance, the Quad-A giant was the International League MVP last year. Kearns is the more likely inhabitant for playing time. Duncan will give you some pop with some ugly accompanying numbers, if he plays.

Pitchers

Victor Payano, Texas Rangers (signed)

This raw, lanky southpaw has an average arsenal and decent command; Payano is regarded as a mid-level talent, at best. Shoulder issues halted his progress, and it's unclear where he'll fit long-term in an organization already stacked with pitching.

Noel Arguelles, Kansas City Royals (signed)

This 19-year-old probably won't have an MLB impact for a few seasons - heck, the Royals' rebuilding efforts aren't short-term. The athletic lefty reportedly has a noteworthy changeup but still needs to refine his control. No rush to make him a fantasy option.

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - NL

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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