Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: J.J. Hardy, more

by Keith Hernandez on May 11, 2011 @ 12:12:11 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)

 

Catchers

Ronny Paulino, New York Mets

The Mets gave Josh Thole some time off late last week to clear his head after several defensive lapses. In the meantime, Ronny Paulino has slid in for some more PT. Now, Terry Collins is even considering Paulino as the personal catcher for Mike Pelfrey. The team thinks Thole developed bad habits while stabbing at R.A. Dickey's knuckleball in order to catch it. Paulino started behind the dish with Dickey on the mound for the first time this year Sunday.

Baltimore Oriols SS J.J. Hardy
Hardy returns with a bang

Thole remains the primary backstop, but the team clearly sees a benefit in utilizing their two catchers' contrasting styles. Paulino is the better game manager, but Thole knows the pitching staff better. Thole's slow start (.239-0-9) has also been a reason to rest him more often. The streaky Paulino has smashed lefties over his career, and his catcher at-bats could help in some leagues, especially if Thole continues to struggle.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Consider

Middle infielders

J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles

Hardy returned from the DL Tuesday after a month-long absence with an oblique strain. He made his presence known immediately, going 4-for-5 with his first homer of the year. The 28-year-old shortstop won't be challenged for playing time, it's just a matter of if he can remain healthy over an extended period. Hardy was hurt by returning prematurely from injury in the past, but it looks like the O's took reasonable precautions with his latest ailment.

He was 3-for-15 before his big game, so you should expect a batting average of around .270, but Hardy is streaky and can give you decent power numbers (playing in Camden Yards won't hurt). Positional scarcity at shortstop makes Hardy that much more attractive in deep leagues.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Consider

AL-only: Acquire

Pitchers

Clayton Mortensen, Colorado Rockies

Esmil Rogers (lat) landing on the DL last weekend paved the way for a spot start for Mortensen Saturday against the San Francisco Giants. He fared well, allowing just one earned run in six stanzas. Now that Rogers fears his injury could be worse and related to his rotator cuff, Mortensen is in line to stick around in the Rockies' rotation. Rogers is eligible to return May 17, but chances are highly unlikely that he hits that target.

Mortensen's next start will be skipped due to an off day, but he will return again May 17 to face the Giants once again. This lanky righty won't give you strikeouts; he has just six in 14 innings and hasn't flashed much growth potential in the majors or high minors. He relies on his heavy sinker and changeup to induce ground balls, which is key at Coors Field. A prolonged absence from Rogers would benefit Mortensen. Keep in mind Aaron Cook's (finger) return is also on the horizon, but Cook is hardly a picture of health, and you might be able to squeeze a few starts out of Mortensen in the meantime.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Consider

Vin Mazzaro, Kansas City Royals

Mazzaro finally finds himself in KC's rotation after he lost out on the No. 5 spot to Sean O'Sullivan to begin the year. Instead, he was sent to Triple-A Omaha, where he has gone 1-0 with a 4.97 ERA in five starts. With Bruce Chen (strained lat muscle) on the pine, Mazzaro will make his first start of the year against the New York Yankees.

Since his first start with Omaha (seven walks), Mazzaro has settled down with his command, which was the big reason why he began the year in the minors. Location is key for the New Jersey native with his average fastball. His slider can be devastating, and there are rumors that he worked to develop another off-speed pitch down on the farm.

Mazzaro might not have long to prove he deserves to stay in the Royals' rotation; Chen is eligible to return May 21. You shouldn't use Mazzaro against the New York Yankees Wednesday, either. However, Mazzaro could easily steal the spot from O'Sullivan, who has been largely underwhelming as the fifth starter; he's currently displaying career-worst strikeout and walk rates.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Consider

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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