Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Brandon Belt, Jose Altuve, Chien-Ming Wang
Your fantasy baseball cheat sheets are no longer of use. KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market series gives you candid ratings of fantasy baseball players making MLB news in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league. If they're available in any of your fantasy baseball games as free agents, on waivers or for your FAAB dollars, you'll know whether they make the cut.
The Gigantes did plenty of roster shuffling, and even pulled off a trade for a second baseman Tuesday, but perhaps the biggest news in San Fran was the promotion of Belt from Class AAA Fresno. The 23-year-old prospect was a disappointment when he opened the season on the big league roster, going 12-for-57 (.210) with one home run and four RBIs. He was sent down April 20 and returned May 26, but was mostly used off the bench by manager Bruce Bochy until he hit the disabled list with a fractured left wrist. Belt was hot with Fresno, hitting .324 with seven homers and 29 RBIs in 142 at-bats.
Bochy previously stated that Belt wouldn't return from the minors unless he could give him more consistent PT, so it appears that the former Texas Longhorn will be a lineup regular. One of the main reasons Belt was recalled: Aubrey Huff (lower back tightness) is expected to rest until at least Friday. Huff is struggling with the bat, too; he's hitting just .232 and is 10-for-57 (.175) in July.
In his first game back against the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday, Belt went 2-for-4 with a double, homer and three RBIs. He gained some confidence in his trip back to the minors, and Bochy saw a more aggressive approach from the youngster during his bases-loaded double in his last AB. Belt should hit for a high average and can supply 20- to 25-homer power over a full season. Huff may return soon, but Belt can also play the outfield. If he continues to hit, Bochy will find a spot for him.
Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Consider
Jeff Keppinger was shipped to San Francisco Tuesday - possibly the first of many trades this summer for Houston - leaving an opening at second base. Altuve, 21, will get the shot, making the jump all the way from Double-A Corpus Christi. He'll make his debut and hit second against the Washington Nationals Wednesday. The Venezuelan native led all minor leaguers with a combined .389 average between Corpus Christi and Single A Lancaster.
At 5-foot-7, 170 pounds, Altuve doesn't possess exciting upside at the major league level. He has been a very productive hitter at the lower minor league levels, but temper your expectations now that he's in The Show, especially since he didn't spend any time at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He comes from the David Eckstein mold: His defense is one of his biggest assets, and he could help out in stolen bases.
Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
The remarkable comeback story for Wang is very close to becoming a reality. He tossed 5 2/3 frames with Triple-A Syracuse Tuesday and will make one more rehab start before being placed in the starting rotation before the end of the month - the Nats are targeting July 29 versus the New York Mets. It will be his first start in the bigs in over two seasons after he underwent right shoulder surgery in July of 2009.
Reports on the 31-year-old right-hander's rehab assignment have been encouraging; he has hit 94 mph with his fastball and appears to be getting stronger. In five rehab outings over 23 2/3 innings, he has allowed five earned runs and 20 hits while walking three and striking out 12 for a 1.90 ERA.
Wang, who won 19 games for the New York Yankees in both 2006 and 2007, uses his mid- to low-90s fastball effectively with his hard-diving splitter to induce ground-ball outs. He was never much of a strikeout pitcher (4.70 K/9 in '07), but if he can recapture any of his pre-injury form, he's worth rostering. Stay tuned.
Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
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. Follow @keithdez27
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