Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - AL
Brendan Ryan isn't a lock to keep second base warm for Dustin Ackley. Kennedy, inked to a flier farm deal, failed to build on his career season in 2009. There's no excitement here, but with playing time he could help Junior Circuit swipe scroungers.
Thome will piece together at-bats even if Justin Morneau comes back completely from post-concussion recovery. Thome succeeded when pressed into regular duty last year, and his growth in BB/K could keep his average around .280 again, even if he has to face lefties. His work isn't steady, but at least he could be a decent plug-in for ALs.
Though they declined, Farnsie's K/9 and grounder rate remained useful last year. But his control improved - product of a rotation trial, perhaps? He might have an opp to close if Tampa doesn't add someone else. The heat-seeking vet registered 16 saves combined in 2005 with the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers. This sitch is mixed league poison, but he's worth a flier if you're scraping the barrel bottom.
He's Mariano Rivera's understudy, no matter your opinion of his contract. His fly-ball rate won't thank Yankee Stadium, but that effect isn't as prominent for relievers. Can he stay healthy again? He's ownable in mixed leagues, but draftable? How deep is your league? Even with Rivera's age, it isn't a priority speculation.
A low-risk move for a rotation that needed ... something. Francis incurred more shoulder injuries last year, but in between he regained velocity, kept his pristine control and took his ground-ball aptitude to another level. He's in line for a strand rate rebound and now has a great home park. Francis' low K/9 and hittability limits his payoff, but there's some profit potential here, and he might have use at times in mixed formats if he can stay healthy.
He lands in setup duty, but he isn't a given to be the backup for saves; Michael Wuertz did that job well. Without save chances, Fuentes is merely AL-only depth.
Balfour's giant control rebound helped counteract his dipping average fastball velocity and more hittable stuff. Rent him off your waiver wire.
Chen is Francis without the control or ground balls, which makes him less enticing and undraftable, despite what his long stretch of AL usefulness last year says.
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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