Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Mike Trout, more

by Nicholas Minnix on July 8, 2011 @ 13:56:24 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

Rob Johnson, San Diego Padres

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim OF Peter Bourjos
Bourjos down, Trout up

This isn't the first time that the uninspiring Johnson, 28, has benefited from a Nick Hundley absence. The Friars' starting backstop is still experiencing issues with his right elbow and will have arthroscopic surgery on Friday. He'll miss at least four or five weeks, probably more.

Johnson has hit .177 with a couple of ding dongs, seven RBIs and a couple of stolen bases in 113 at-bats this season. The moderate increase in PT he'll see may make him attractive to someone in deep two-catcher leagues desperate for a contribution (despite the rough batting average) from those spots.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Consider

Corner infielders

Sean Burroughs, Arizona Diamondbacks

At the beginning of the week, Kirk Gibson proclaimed that Burroughs would see more time at the hot corner and seemed to suggest that it'd become a platoon arrangement with Ryan Roberts. The right-handed swinger Roberts has cooled off, and the lefty-swinging Burroughs is on the good side of this opportunity. Melvin Mora is no longer with the club.

The majors hadn't heard from Burroughs, 30, in about five years, but he may actually have something to offer fantasy owners in his second 2011 go-round with the D-backs. At Triple-A Reno, he posted a .412/.450/.618 slash line, with two homers, in 110 plate appearances. In 39 big-league at-bats with Arizona, he's hit .308 with three RBIs.

Burroughs was never a beastly commodity and doesn't project to be in his potential career renaissance, but the third-base pool isn't pretty. He's highly unlikely to have mixed league value, but he could be worth a look elsewhere as a PT fill-in and batting average aid. The ballpark ain't bad.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Middle infielders

Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds

The Reds demoted dull-hitting Paul Janish and will keep Edgar Renteria in the back seat after promoting Cozart from Triple-A Louisville. Cozart, 25, isn't by any means an elite prospect - an MLB.com columnist labeled the transaction "a bold move" - but is considered a solid player.

Last season, the right-handed hitter batted .255 with 17 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 34 attempts for the Bats. Evaluators seem to agree that he's more of a 10- to 15-homer hitter in the bigs (although Great American Ball Park could change that). Cozart hasn't walked too often in his pro career, and his .310 average with Louisville is out of character, judging from his unusually high .348 BABIP. He doesn't project to be a BA maven, in other words. And his stolen-base total in 2010 is more of an outlier; Marc Hulet notes that Cozart is a smart base-runner, not a true speedster.

But, once someone finishes criticizing his game, Cozart doesn't look like a bad player. He's made some strides as a hitter. And, for the foreseeable future, he has a big-league job at a shallow position in a quality lineup. He might prove to be worth your time (or FAAB).

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels will be without Peter Bourjos (hamstring injury) for this weekend and perhaps longer, which would likely require a DL stint. The club decided to go to the jewel of its system a little earlier than expected in order to replace its regular center fielder.

Trout, as most fantasy owners know, is considered one of the top two prospects in baseball. He has blazing speed and raw, developing power (so the scouts say). In fact, according to reports (and judging from some of his numbers), he's a bit raw as a hitter, period, but he's an incredible talent, especially when compared to his competition. At Double-A Arkansas this season, he's posted a .324/.415/.534 slash line, with 12 doubles, 11 triples, nine home runs and 28 stolen bases in 341 plate appearances. He's consistently posted otherworldly BABIPs - we're talking in the .400s. It's not certain that he'll make an impact, but it's definitely possible, particularly in the BA and SB columns.

Bourjos might not miss much time, and when he returns, there's a good chance that Trout will head back to the minors. If the 19-year-old phenom is holding his own, however, the Angels will be tempted to keep him around. While the odds aren't greatly in the acquiring owner's favor, the potential reward is too tempting to let it end up on someone else's roster in most formats. It's not the ideal time to dump a big chunk of FAAB dollars, but a somewhat strong bid could prove to be worth it.

Shallow mixed: Consider

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Pitchers

Dontrelle Willis, Cincinnati Reds

Cincy optioned Edinson Volquez earlier in the week. The team has since revealed that the D-Train will make his return to the bigs this Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers on the road. As you might recall (although probably blocked from your memory), the left-hander made some atrocious comeback attempts in each of the last three years with four different teams - two that actually let him pitch in the majors.

The Reds' rotation has been pretty inconsistent this season. Willis, 29, seems like an unlikely answer, but don't completely dismiss him. He seems to have kept longtime problems with walks at bay with Triple-A Louisville this season, posting a 2.39 BB/9 in 75 1/3 frames. That's pretty encouraging. The rest of his marks: a 5-2 record, a 2.63 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, a 8.00 K/9 and a 0.60 HR/9.

Obviously, you shouldn't drain the budget for the D-Train, but have an open mind. If you're the only person to drop a buck or two on him, and it pans out, won't that be neat?

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-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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