Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Darren Oliver, more

by Nicholas Minnix on April 25, 2011 @ 14:39:50 PDT


Your fantasy baseball cheat sheets are no longer of use.'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.


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

Juan Francisco, Cincinnati Reds

The Reds placed Rolen (strained left shoulder) on the DL. It's not clear when he'll return, although initially it didn't seem serious. However, it's important to note that, in 2007, he had issues with the same shoulder, and he missed most of 2005 after having surgery twice to repair a torn labrum in it. In the interim, Miguel Cairo will probably man third most often.

Washington Nationals OF Mike Morse
Morse's bat: deep league patience

That could easily be a short-term thing, because Francisco has been on the DL for a week with a strained right calf and could return next week. The 23-year-old is 4-for-19 and doesn't have the kind of foundation that suggests long-term success in the BA category. His 25-homer power plus GABP is attractive, though. His addition subtracts some patience from a lineup that hosts its share of strikeouts, unfortunately.

It may not be a high-percentage play, but if you'd rather have considerably more upside from a waiver claim, Francisco is your target. Cairo has been an admirable fill-in in Cincy; he's not the worst PT add in a very deep league.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Middle infielders

John McDonald, Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays placed Jayson Nix (bruised left shin sustained in a knee-on-knee collision) and Aaron Hill (strained hamstring) on the DL this past weekend, once again providing playing time for the reliable McDonald. He's a playing time pickup more than anything; he could bat .250-ish, belt a couple of dingers and steal a base, in a short stretch. Hill has had plenty of leg muscle issues in the past year-plus, so this issue could linger.

Scrappy Mike McCoy should play a bit but isn't a desirable fantasy choice since he's unlikely to sustain his generally empty batting average.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire


Mike Morse, Washington Nationals

In short order, Morse is turning around his slow, whiffing start. In the past 10 days, he's 10-for-24 (without a walk, against five K's, but hey). On Sunday, the 29-year-old issued his first outfield souvenir in a 3-for-4 effort.

Morse's profile lends itself to slumps. Fantasy baseball players are impatient. If those in your league were, consider quickly hopping on Morse, considered a deep sleeper coming for his ability to deliver power numbers in bunches and a huge spring that supported the argument.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Consider

NL-only: Acquire


Ryan Madson, Philadelphia Phillies

You know the drill. The Phils placed Jose Contreras (strained pronator tendon) on the DL on Sunday night. The right-handed Madson inherits the closer's role this time. He converted two save opportunities this past weekend, although they came against the San Diego Padres, of whose woes on offense you're presumably aware.

Although Madson, at times in his career, hasn't been a pillar of strength in save situations, he has done the job and unquestionably has the peripheral numbers to support long-term success in the role. Some of his lack of success in so-called save sitches stems from his work prior to the ninth, too.

Madson is a must-own. Brad Lidge (shoulder soreness) is highly unlikely to be back before July. The Phils will soon know more about how serious Contreras' injury is; before it, the righty stood a chance to remain in the role when Lidge returned. Could Madson not earn the same consideration?

Antonio Bastardo picked up a save on Sunday (on one out) and should be considered an NL must-have simply because of his stellar middle relief work (0.00 ERA, 13.50 K/9). He'll remain a candidate for the occasional matchup or main-guy-unavailable SVO, but Madson retires left-handed hitters, too. Madson likely views this as a chance to prove something.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Darren Oliver, Texas Rangers

Oliver, 40, is widely expected to be the first choice for Ron Washington when a save chance surfaces while Neftali Feliz (rotator cuff inflammation) is sidelined. The southpaw is better against left-handed batters, as expected, but he isn't incompetent versus the other side. The reliable vet has already recorded a save, if you didn't catch it.

Don't blow much on Oliver. Feliz isn't expected to be out for more than the minimum; even if he is, the Rangers would likely change course (with a trade or a rearrangement. Could that involve Alexi Ogando, since the club has a couple of starters making their way back?

Arthur Rhodes may be considered more of a matchup play but retires right-handed batters efficiently. He's also worth consideration in extremely deep leagues. Darren O'Day is off to a rough start and is essentially a right-handed specialist. The club called up 25-year-old Cody Eppley, a righty whose K/9 comes by way of his off-speed stuff and isn't a candidate for significant innings any time soon, to take the roster spot.

Shallow mixed: Consider

Deep mixed: Consider

AL-only: Acquire

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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.

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