Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Eric Young Jr., more

by Nicholas Minnix on May 27, 2011 @ 13:24:49 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

Steve Pearce, Pittsburgh Pirates

Clint Hurdle has been giving Pearce, 28, an opportunity to help jump-start the Bucs' offense, at least the club is facing a southpaw. Thanks to the struggles and then absence of Pedro Alvarez (quad strain), Pearce has also been playing some third base. At this point, he might have earned eligibility there in your league. Given the state of the position these days, this kind of pickup may be invaluable.

Boston Red Sox OF Josh Reddick
Reddickulous to write him off

More good stuff: He's 15-for-50 (.300) with a homer and seven RBIs on the young year. Lifetime in the minors, he posted a .292/.367/.519 triple-slash line, with a .281/.355/.478 in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level. He's almost certainly not a threat to gain PT versus righties, but the Pirates have rarely given him a real opportunity to be a contributor.

Hurdle is New Pittsburgh and likes the kind of at-bats that Pearce puts together, however; he slotted Pearce in the two-hole Thursday, and the right-handed hitter went 3-for-5 and his lone 2011 bomb. Pearce has 20-homer power, solid BA skills against lefties and possible third-base eligibility. Not a bad depth piece, and if he starts playing against and hitting righties, he's a Watch.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Middle infielders

Eric Young Jr., Colorado Rockies

The Rockies designated Jose Lopez for assignment and are expected to call up Young from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Young spent the majority of his time in the outfield, but he also played some keystone and seems likeliest to play that position for Colorado, given their roster makeup.

Young, 26, was hitting .363, with 13 doubles, eight triples, 17 stolen bases (in 18 attempts), 32 walks and 27 strikeouts on the farm. He has nothing left to prove in the minors, but he must prove that he can hit big-league pitching consistently, particularly on the road, where he has struggled (.194 career average). Of course, he warrants attention because he can be a high-end source of speed-related stats.

Shallow mixed: Consider

Deep mixed: Consider

NL-only: Acquire

Eric Patterson, San Diego Padres

Orlando Hudson ended up back on the disabled list with strained groin, about a week after he came back from a strain in his hamstring. Patterson, 28, is a likely beneficiary during O-Dawg's absence, although Alberto Gonzalez and call-up Logan Forsythe are also possibilities.

Neither Patterson nor Gonzalez has hit well this season (each has a sub-.200 BA in fewer than 100 plate appearances). The former is the left-handed hitter and offers more counting-category potential, however, making him a better roto target. Patterson hit .300 with two homers and three thefts in 35 plate appearances from May 3 through May 18, essentially the period Hudson missed the first time.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Consider

Outfielders

Josh Reddick, Boston Red Sox

Pundits and fantasy owners began to write off Reddick because he struggled last season in making adjustments to pitchers who took advantage of his aggressiveness. He seems to be improving his approach (26 walks, already one more than last season, in 195 plate appearances) at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was hitting .248 with 12 homers. The line-drive swinger's average on balls in play showed definite room for improvement, too.

The 24-year-old has 25-homer power and in the short term will get a little playing time, at least against right-handers. If J.D. Drew (strained hamstring) needs a DL stint - would you be shocked? - it will be for a longer stretch, since he's taking the roster spot of spare outfielder Darnell McDonald (quad strain) for now. Reddick could also be trade bait at the deadline, something to file away for AL-only players.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Pitchers

Aaron Cook, Colorado Rockies

Colorado will welcome back the right-hander from shoulder inflammation and then a broken finger after he makes what's expected to be his final rehab start on Saturday. Although the ERA doesn't reflect it, that stint has gone pretty well.

You know what you're getting from Cook - a sub-5.00 K/9 and an ERA around 4.00 - so it's likely that no one is stashing the 32-year-old. He still specializes in ground-ball inducement, a requirement in the Mile High City, and seems poised to return his solid control-rate ways. With just a little correction from last year's numbers, he could again be solid.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Rodrigo Lopez, Chicago Cubs

The Cubs acquired Lopez from the Atlanta Braves and then purchased his contract. He's expected to serve as a swingman and will be available out of the bullpen for their Friday contest. Left Casey Coleman, who has struggled mightily as a rotation fill-in, is also available as a reliever; his days as a starter are numbered.

Randy Wells (forearm strain) returns on Saturday, and Matt Garza (bone contusion in elbow) will be back in early June. Chicago is relying on veteran southpaw Doug Davis to eat innings right now, and when Andrew Cashner (shoulder issues) returns, it'll be as a reliever.

Lopez, 35, was 6-1 with a 2.59 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP, a 6.71 K/9 and a 2.14 BB/9 in 59 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett and figures to make some starts for the Cubbies. He doesn't offer much in the way of promise, given that he has a career 4.85 ERA and posted a 5.00 ERA for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 200 innings last year. The home run ball should be a real issue for him on hot days on the North Side. But he's a vet and has put together some solid stretches, so if you're desperate, maybe he'll serve a roto purpose.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Watch

Zach Duke, Arizona Diamondbacks

The Snakes will send Duke (broken hand) to the mound on Saturday for his first outing in their uni. Arizona outrighted Armando Galarraga to Triple-A Reno and temporarily replaced him with Micah Owings, who was keeping the seat warm for the southpaw.

Duke's results in his two official rehab starts were a complete mix. In his first, he went five frames, allowed no runs, struck out four and walked no one. In his second, he went 5 1/3 innings, allowed five earned, struck out two and walked one.

It's hard to be optimistic about the 28-year-old's prospects in Arizona, after he put up sub-par numbers for much of his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who play in a much friendlier park to hurlers. He has yielded nearly a home run per nine innings in his career, and that number could easily rise in the desert.

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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