Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Fernando Salas, more

by Nicholas Minnix on May 16, 2011 @ 15:18:36 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

Eric Hinske, Atlanta Braves

Chipper Jones has a tear in the meniscus of his knee. However slight it may be and however much of a relief it is that the injury didn't occur to his left (surgically repaired) knee, it still happened to Chipper Jones. Jones will be absent (and get treatment) for a few days, but the Bravos will need to see rapid improvement to avoid placing him on the DL, one would think. It could easily result in surgery that would sideline the HOFer for a few weeks.

That leads to what is probably Atlanta's most advantageous short-term arrangement: Martin Prado moves to the hot corner regularly, and Hinske mans left. Brooks Conrad may fill in at third, too, but he can play multiple infield spots and presents much less upside, offensively.

St. Louis Cardinals RP Fernando Salas
ABBA is happy

Hinske (18-for-55, .327, four homers) won't keep up his early 2011 pace, but you get the idea as far as his value is concerned: He's a BA grinder with decent pop. He qualifies at first base in just about any league, good for the CI spot, but he definitely fits in the outfield.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Middle infielders

Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners

GM Jack Zduriencik said that the club's most high-profile prospect not in the majors will be up "sooner rather than later." Relative to when, it's not entirely clear, but it's safe to say that if you thought it'd be later this year, well, he might be up sooner than that.

After a slow start to his Triple-A Tacoma campaign, the former Tar Heel is 17 for his last 42 (.405), with a couple of jacks and a swipe. He has walked 31 times and struck out just 24, continuing his improvement in the plate discipline department. Fantasy managers will have to be realistic about what Ackley can contribute, especially on a poor Seattle club that plays half of its games at Safeco. He can hit it out, but hope for - don't count on - double-digit homers. He could approach 20 stolen bases, but he may not be too aggressive after making the jump. In 2011, Ackley might prove to be a BA booster, but he's even more interesting in OBP leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire


Fred Lewis, Cincinnati Reds

This past weekend, Dusty Baker said that he plans to distribute ABs in left field between Jonny Gomes, Chris Heisey and Lewis. Guess which is the left-handed (and therefore, most perceivably lineup-card-friendly)? Baker didn't help the cause of Heisey, who seemingly has a good bit of deep mixed league promise, by grouping him with Gomes and labeling them matchup players.

Lewis has a bit of power that could easily manifest and grow a touch in GABP. He also has 25-steal speed. Baker may have seen something he liked in the 30-year-old's 5-for-16, one-homer start after his activation from the DL. Baker also makes changes on a whim, so don't go nuts, but do deal in upside.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Consider

NL-only: Acquire

Travis Buck, Cleveland Indians

The Tribe recalled Buck when they placed Grady Sizemore (knee contusion) on the DL. They passed each other in opposite directions just a few weeks ago. The injury for Sizemore isn't serious, and it's easy to trust that info since it occurred to his right knee, not the surgically repaired one. However, the pain is lingering, and he remarked that it seems to be in a similar place to where he felt it when he hurt his left knee last year.

Buck had a fantastic spring and was kicking tail for Triple-A Columbus (.333/.432/.583), but he was a mere 7-for-29 in the majors before his demotion and is only a reserve major leaguer. He's likely to appear in some sort of timeshare that involves Austin Kearns, Shelley Duncan and the DH spot (when Travis Hafner isn't using it). Buck doesn't offer much promise in the counting cats, but he's likely overlooked and could be a decent warm body with an outside shot at supplying his pulse in the long term.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Consider


Fernando Salas, St. Louis Cardinals

Round and round she goes; where she'll stop, nobody knows ... but, at least for the time being, she's hangin' out in Salas' corner. Word is that Mitchell Boggs has given St. Lou's crew reason to believe that he's righting the ship, too. If a haste-maker cut him loose, consider stashing Boggs as well.

But Salas is your first target. You know the drill: If you're playing this game, scoop him up. The 25-year-old has been Tony La Russa's most consistent reliever to date (15 2/3 innings, 1.15 ERA, 8.04 K/9, 2.87 BB/9). That might be enough to. ... Awww, forget it, just give him a shot.

Shallow mixed: Consider

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves

The Braves have confirmed that they'll have Teheran fill in for Brandon Beachy (strained oblique) - but only for a spot start on Wednesday.

While it's clear that the kid has nasty stuff and several major league players on the club are excited to see what he can do, many believe that the 20-year-old still isn't ready for long-term big-league action. After the midweek matchup, Atlanta doesn't need a fifth starter until the end of the month, so perhaps they're thinking the same thing.

Beachy may not be far off by then. Mike Minor would've received consideration had he not pitched on Sunday. The Bravos also think of Rodrigo Lopez as more of a long-term band-aid, if necessary. Teheran is an exciting prospect, but don't hitch too much of your hope to his wagon.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Consider

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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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