Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - AL
Typically a decent bet for double-digit homers, Olivo's power will miss Coors Field. Luckily, besides last year, he wasn't reliant on his home for pop. You'll be fine dealing with his streaky play as a No. 2 mixed catcher, especially since he'll have little competition for at-bats.
Before Bengie Molina arrived last season, Treanor logged frequent at-bats for a while because no one else claimed the job. That could work under the right AL-only circumstances. Yorvit Torrealba is hardly a guarantee to be effective.
Skepticism of a 2010 repeat may lower his price in some circles; he's heading into his age-35 campaign, after all. Returning to the South Side might boost his ADP in some, as well. Either way, putting the Sox back on sets him up at least to meet his 2009 production (.277-28-88) again - good for a low-end No. 1 mixed option.
A bone bruise on his left wrist and playing in Target Field stripped much of his power in 2010. The streaky 28-year-old bat has renewed deep league intrigue and shallow league upside thanks to his new home. Watch for reports on his wrist.
He'll probably back up Jack Wilson. Even if he lands PT, Ryan's value – centered on batting average and double-digit steals – isn't helped by moving to this offense. Maybe AL owners could rent him during the season.
Izturis will make the club as the backup to J.J. Hardy. Falling into frequent playing time would bring double-digit steals ... but also other ugly peripherals.
He'll compete for a utility spot and has little offensive upside.
By many accounts the top international free-agent talent, the 17-year-old is a dynasty league project. He's a shortstop now but probably will move to second or third. Though Peguero's power hasn't shown up yet, scouts suggest he can grow into it down the road.
The 30-year-old is a cemented first-rounder. Last year he traded some swipes for some more taters - a career-high 19, supported by fly-ball growth. It's hard to expect him to hit many more than that considering his batting average-slanted profile. (Aside, warning sign there: Have you seen his performance against lefties since '07?)
Still, as long as you don't consider Crawford your new homer base, his dominance in the other four categories - buoyed by a dangerous paper lineup - fits his price. Are you willing to pay it?
Frenchy steps into a starting gig and will probably hit in the middle of the order. His last two seasons have shown increases in contact rate and fly-ball percentage, but they won't get help from his new home park. Plate discipline still eludes him.
Francoeur's age (27 in January) hints there's upside left, but his profile doesn't encourage it; if he could hit righties for average, it'd be encouraging. Some might take the chance in deep mixed; you're better off sticking to AL-only.
Another fourth outfielder in starter's clothing, Cabrera doesn't do anything overtly well and isn't worth mixed draft attention - basically KC's new incarnation of David DeJesus. Cabrera would round out an AL-only outfield, at best.
Can he show power in another poor home park? At the outset, he'll get a chance to as the primary DH. Milton Bradley also needs to be appeased, though, so that plan is fluid. Cust isn't outfield-eligible under 20-game rules, so that limits his mixed utility.
Uehara's skills blossomed in the 'pen, and he'll all but certainly stay in relief. He'll probably compete for saves with Mike Gonzalez unless Baltimore finds another stopper type - Kevin Gregg, maybe? Even if that happens, Uehara is the top speculative candidate.
The skilled Downs is a candidate to close and is worthy of speculation. Unfortunately, so are incumbent stopper Fernando Rodney, Hisanori Takahashi, Jordan Walden and Kevin Jepsen in what could be a messy committee. Mike Scioscia plans on paring down his options. Take note.
The 28-year-old has reportedly regained his mid-90s velocity after years of injuries. Will regaining command follow? Deep leaguers seeking LIMA-type arms should keep track of this former saves sleeper.
Jacobson, 24, excelled at Single-A Frederick last year and will probably hone his craft at Double-A. His ground-ball profile hints at long-term intrigue if he can find a role. He's a bit of a project, though.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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