Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market

by Nicholas Minnix on April 11, 2011 @ 22:07:28 PDT

 


Your fantasy baseball cheat sheets are no longer of use. KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market series gives you tips on fantasy baseball players available as free agents, on waivers or for your FAAB dollars in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league. It's time to replace your fantasy baseball busts.

Key

Acquire Add player (in most circumstances)
Consider Add for speculation or because of need
Watch Track player, consider if trend continues
Pass Do not add player (in most circumstances)

 

Corner infielders

Casey Kotchman, Tampa Bay Rays

Since Manny Ramirez hung 'em up, and for at least as long as Evan Longoria (oblique) is out, Kotchman, 28, will be the club's primary first baseman. The Rays, now more than ever, will lean on their depth and flexibility; Dan Johnson will still get a good number of at-bats (unless he continues to tank it), and Sam Fuld and Felipe Lopez remain factors.

Tampa Bay Rays OF Desmond Jennings
Get a Jennings-like jump

Kotchman isn't an ideal rotisserie target, unless you're just in need of depth or at-bats at a corner spot. But he had a very good spring; if his bat proves to be a more reliable alternative to Johnson's by the time Longo is ready, the purchase could turn into a solid one, in the right format.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Middle infielders

Cesar Izturis, Baltimore Orioles

The O's finally seem to have a clear idea of how much time - two to three weeks - J.J. Hardy (oblique) will miss. They probably didn't do themselves any favors when they thought he was ready to return to the lineup on Saturday after missing a few days with tightness in his ribcage. As you're aware by now, strains in this region tend to linger rather than heal quickly.

In the meantime, the O's say they'll fill the spot on the diamond with a combo of Izturis and Robert Andino. Expect Izturis to hold a distinct advantage here for the PT; he was the club's primary choice at short last year and is a very good defender. Andino batted .295 in 66 plate appearances in 2010, but that's well above his head. Izturis has some room to improve and could chip in with a few thefts while Hardy is on the DL.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Jerry Hairston Jr., Washington Nationals

The Nats have several ways to solve the riddle involving Ryan Zimmerman's absence. While he recovers from an abdominal strain, initially, the going theory is that some combo of Hairston and Alex Cora is a good bet. D.C. is hurting on offense as it is, so it seems unlikely that Cora will benefit most. Not that Hairston brings a ton of O to the table, but he can hit .250 with a few homers and stolen bases.

Mike Morse, who won the left-field job in ST, is off to a horrendous start, but the club talked of making him the backup at the hot corner coming in. If he moves to third, the club could play Laynce Nix, he of many strikeouts, poor batting average and big-time power - you know, Rick Ankiel.

They could then call up Roger Bernadina. There's some speculation that the Nats probably wouldn't because he hasn't yet played for Triple-A Syracuse (family issue). But considering Morse's poor start and Bernadina's modest upside, which made him a deep sleeper as well, that may not matter. Consider anticipating in daily NL leagues. Brian Bixler is another option, although not a fantasy one. Hairston shouldn't be the worst fill-in you can find.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Consider

Outfielders

Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays

Now that Manny Ramirez is doing cross stitch, one fewer player stands in Jennings' path to MLB roto activity. Sam Fuld has played some inspiring ball, and Casey Kotchman and Dan Johnson combine to form one first baseman who takes up two lineup spots. Johnny Damon can probably still pass for a big leaguer, and the Rays could easily decide that he does that best by being the DH regularly. This lineup has been awful. Tampa isn't one to scrap a year, at least so quickly, and it won't be much longer before Jennings can prove absolutely nothing else by remaining in the minors.

You know the deal: Jennings, 24, has solid BA skills, great on-base ability and speed to burn. He could still swipe 30 bases for you if he plays regularly for four months. He's an electric player, a bit of a difference-maker, and Tampa doesn't have many of those.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Consider

AL-only: Acquire

Pitchers

Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers

On second thought, it's time to jump on the bandwagon. On Saturday, Harrison dominated the Baltimore Orioles - you'll note their hot start to the season and improved offense - by going seven innings, allowing just two hits (one a homer), a walk and one run. He fanned only three, but the O's struggled to keep up with him all night.

Harrison has always had the ability (95 mph heat, a solid slider and a good changeup), and now it appears that he has put a lot of time into understanding how to use it efficiently. He spent the offseason drastically improving his mental approach - notably, understanding the big picture and focusing on how to attack hitters inside - and it could be paying off.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim SP Fernando Rodney
That didn't take long

As past performance suggests, you probably cannot count on him for a large number of K's, but given his talent and arsenal, he could exceed expectations in that category. Above all, consider that the Rangers have had incredible success in the past couple of seasons developing pitchers, whether they're retreads, converted starters, former Japanese leaguers or elite prospects. Harrison certainly fits one of those bills. It's worth finding out if he's the Rangers' latest reformation project.

Shallow mixed: Consider

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Fernando Rodney, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Mike Scioscia seems to have stuck by his word, likely quite a bit sooner than Jordan Walden owners had hoped. Rodney pitched in all three games of the club's series with the Toronto Blue Jays and allowed only one hits in three innings.

Walden bearers observed, with a frown, the club's former closer save the Halos' victory in the Sunday affair. Walden was almost certainly unavailable after throwing 25 pitches in the club's wild extra-frame affair the night before. However, it's clear now that the skipper trusts Rodney in those situations again.

How long with Rodney remain effective? We all know the answer to that one. He could keep this up for four or five months, or he could go in the tank again before it's May. Regardless, he represents possible saves.

Shallow mixed: Consider

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Sergio Santos, Chicago White Sox

Ozzie Guillen may not entirely understand the definition of committee, but he has declared his arrangement one of them nonetheless. Matt Thornton's struggles are well-documented, but the southpaw still has dibs on days he's available. Chris Sale notched a save (but gave up a run) over the weekend when he wasn't.

Jesse Crain (2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, two K's in 4 1/3 innings) and Santos (0.00 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, six K's in 5 2/3 frames) have both been effective and are both possibilities. The relatively inexperienced Santos will get in trouble by issuing walks, but his stuff is nasty, allowing him to post a K/9 of 9.00-plus. Plus, it's interesting to note that Ozzie mentioned him by name when he was unplugged with the media over the weekend.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Tyler Chatwood, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Judging from this right-hander's resume, you'd disagree with Mike Scioscia's assessment that he's ready for the challenge to pitch in the bigs. Chatwood, 21, walked nearly four batters per nine innings in 2010, all but 5 2/3 stanzas of it spent below Class AAA. That was actually quite an improvement, so we can say that he's making big strides. He also has strikeout stuff but fanned only 6.31 per nine last year. His line across three levels: 13-9, a 2.84 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. The skipper cited the kid's impressive spring (11 innings, 15 hits, nine earned runs, three walks, nine K's) as part of the convincing argument.

After all that, don't write him off entirely. He has two quality pitches, particularly a high-end hook, and induces plenty of grounders. One future comp made has been Tim Hudson. He'll have the benefit of a lack of familiarity, and the club may keep him around for a bit if performs acceptably. Joel Pineiro (back) is close to a return from the DL, but the Angels can't be in any hurry to get Scott Kazmir (back) back. Matt Palmer isn't a suitable starter. Trevor Bell remains an alternative, but Chatwood gets a chance to show his stuff, and the staff loves his fearlessness. Don't break the bank, but think about taking a chance.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Consider

Facebook Twitter Google +

About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

Don't miss these great reports....


What do you think? Sound off!



Recent KFFL releases