Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Cliff Pennington, more

by Nicholas Minnix on June 13, 2011 @ 13:39:37 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)



Mike McKenry, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Bucs are likely without Chris Snyder (back surgery) for the rest of this season (or at least most of it) and Ryan Doumit (hairline fracture in ankle) until late July. This past weekend, the club designated backup Wyatt Toregas for assignment and acquired McKenry from the Boston Red Sox.

Dusty Brown has provided nothing on offense, as expected. Although the vet might hold an edge initially, Pittsburgh will undoubtedly be willing to let him cede PT to McKenry, who's reportedly a quality defender.

Oakland Athletics SS Cliff Pennington
Pennington more helpful

Although he's not considered a top prospect, McKenry unquestionably presents more offensive upside. He posted a .274/.369/.421 slash line in 29 games for Triple-A Pawtucket before jumping to the 'Burgh. He's never posted a .300 BA, but he belted double-digit dingers in each of his four full minor league seasons.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Taylor Teagarden, Texas Rangers

The Rangers placed Mike Napoli (strained oblique) on the DL on Sunday and recalled Teagarden, 27, from Triple-A Round Rock. Yorvit Torrealba's PT becomes more secure with the move, but Teagarden will spell the club's No. 1 backstop every three or four games. Napoli may miss only a couple of weeks.

Teagarden, once one of the club's better prospects, barely played in two previous call-ups this season. He was hitting .326, with nine homers, a .426 OBP and a .744 slugging percentage, in 24 games for the Express. He's adopted a more sustainable approach, and it shows up in his reduced strikeout percentage. Teagarden will never win a batting title, but if he produces for a few games, there's always a chance that he'll see a few more at-bats.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Consider

Middle infielders

Cliff Pennington, Oakland Athletics

When Bob Melvin took over for the ousted Bob Geren, he made some changes, beginning with the lineup construction. Besides installing Hideki Matsui as the regular three-hole hitter, he moved Pennington from the bottom of the order to the No. 2 spot. The switch-hitting shortstop has gone 6-for-15 with two doubles, two runs and a stolen base in four games since the alteration.

Pennington, 27 on Wednesday, is no stud, but he offers the potential for 20 to 25 more stolen bases. After a slow April (likely related to offseason shoulder surgery), he's picked it up, returning to about the level of production you can expect from this often overlooked commodity. As long as this is Oakland's lineup composition, bump up Pennington's worth a hair or two.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Consider

AL-only: Acquire

Chris Nelson, Colorado Rockies

Nelson, 25, has started in eight of the team's last nine games, with seven of those starts coming at the keystone. He could become a solution (with four games played) at third base, too, although his bat plays much better at second. The former top prospect was overrated, it seems, but he's not toast.

Jim Tracy said that he's noticed a change in Nelson since he first saw the 2004 No. 9 overall pick in spring training 2009. Nelson plays with much more intensity and purpose, Tracy observed, than he used to. Although the right-handed hitter is no more assured of PT than those who preceded him, he obviously holds intrigue because of his position, team and home park.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound infielder once projected to be a 25-25 type posted a .315/.346/.503 slash line in 49 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs before his second call-up. He's 11-for-36 with four doubles and a stolen base for the Rockies this season and has spent most of his time recently in the two-hole.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Consider

NL-only: Acquire

Skip Schumaker, St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Schumaker is playing second base against all right-handers now. He struggled to get going when he returned from a DL stint for a strained triceps. He has played in 11 of the team's 12 games this month and started in seven of them. In his past six games, he's 7-for-19 with three RBIs and two runs.

Schumaker doesn't offer anything flashy, but his career average is more than 50 points greater than his 2011 mark (.236). Now that he's healthy, he's correcting the disparity and could be solid depth in the right format.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-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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