Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: J.D. Martinez, Sean Rodriguez, more

by Nicholas Minnix on August 2, 2011 @ 14:20:19 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

Jimmy Paredes, Houston Astros

The Astros have clearly gone youth movement. They called up Paredes, 22, to fill the hole at the hot corner created when they optioned opening day third baseman Chris D. Johnson to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Paredes accumulated 406 plate appearances at Double-A Corpus Christi this season, his first above the Class A level. His learning curve will be steep.

Tampa Bay Rays IF Sean Rodriguez
S-Rod lost among trades

Houston may not take statistical evaluation into account much. Paredes is a lifetime .279 hitter in the minors, which is respectable but far from encouraging, especially considering that he displayed no growth in controlling the strike zone this season. Although he's hit for an average on balls in play well above .300 on the farm, his failure to make contact consistently will hurt him in the long run.

That BA outlook is more disconcerting because his whopping nine home runs this season are something of a breakout. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder should project to add power within the next few years, but his lone demonstrable skill has been his speed (29 steals this year, 50 combined at two levels last year). Although he might be promising and he plays a position with fewer and fewer options all the time, he's a good distance from fantasy reliability.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Middle infielders

Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays

Since the Rays demoted Reid Brignac, S-Rod has started regularly at shortstop. In fact, he's started the club's last 15 contests. In that stretch, he was 12-for-53 (.226), on par with his 2011 season as a whole.

In Rodriguez's eight straight starts at the 6, he's 8-for-24 (.333) with a dinger, four RBIs, nine runs and two stolen bases, though. He seems like a fit in the nine-hole, where what he does is a bonus and the expectations aren't great. The 26-year-old hasn't yet performed for long stretches in the bigs, but his multiple-position eligibility and recent opportunity could result in solid counting-cat contributions.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Consider

AL-only: Acquire

Felipe Lopez, Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers made low-grade swaps for both Lopez and Jerry Hairston Jr. in an attempt to patch up their hole at the keystone while Rickie Weeks (sprained ankle). Either of the newbies can play short and third, too, giving the club options should they tire of the play of Yuniesky Betancourt and Casey McGehee.

Lopez has started in four straight since joining Milwaukee; he's 3-for-15 (.200) with a couple of runs scored in those contests. Will the Brew Crew remain content with what Lopez brings to the table? His BA skills have declined notably, and he can no longer provide reliable power or speed. He's also ended up on the naughty list of at least a couple of the managers at his most recent stops.

Hairston has appeared only as a replacement since his addition, but he offers similar flexibility, a more reliable bat and the prospect of a much better attitude. If you're desperate for PT in deep leagues, either of these players might do. The one who's getting the at-bats initially may not be the sounder of the two choices, however.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Consider

Outfielders

J.D. Martinez, Houston Astros

Martinez, 23, is also benefiting from the Astros' recent liquidation of its few notable assets. He's expected to play every day. Thankfully, for his fantasy prospects, he's played roughly the equivalent of a full season at Double-A Corpus Christi (between last year and this).

Like Jimmy Paredes, Martinez hasn't played at the Triple-A level. Unlike Paredes, Martinez appeared to mature considerably at the dish during his time with the Hooks. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound corner outfielder offers only modest power and minimal stolen-base upside, but his shot at making a legit contribution for fantasy players appears to be significantly greater than Paredes'. Martinez is a career .342 batter in the minors.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Consider

NL-only: Acquire

Pitchers

Blake Beavan, Seattle Mariners

Another of the pieces that Seattle received in the 2010 Cliff Lee deal, Beavan has rejoined the M's rotation because of the recent vacancies that the club's deadline deals created. Seattle removed him temporarily - so temporarily that he never actually made a relief appearance - after he'd made four starts, in which he went 1-2 with a 3.04 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 12 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.

The right-hander's fifth start, on Monday against the Oakland Athletics, began poorly, but he escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first inning without a dent and ended up tossing 6 2/3 frames. He gave up seven hits and three runs, with two walks and three K's, in the victory. The result of good fortune? Maybe. His weak minor league rate of K's per nine backs up the 4.05 MLB K/9 he's posted thus far, and his minor league record suggests that it's more about surviving than excelling for him.

As few have noticed, however, the 6-foot-7 strike-zone pounder brings a mound game similar to that of the man he replaced, Doug Fister: no gimmes, a diverse repertoire honed for situational pitching and durability. It took awhile for fantasy players to buy into Fister, and many still haven't. Beavan is no lock to repeat his predecessor's success, but he shouldn't be dismissed, either.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Charlie Furbush, Seattle Mariners

The M's wasted little time deciding to move this left-hander into their rotation. He'll start on Wednesday, against normally tasty but recently spicy Oakland. The elevation shouldn't do much to entice a roto player, especially considering the results of his two-start trial with the Detroit Tigers (7 1/3 frames, 14 hits and 12 runs - seven earned allowed, with three walks and seven strikeouts). He pitched well in relief, which helped him post a 3.78 ERA overall, but his 1.56 WHIP suggests that worse things were in store.

Of course, it'd be no fun if the story ended there. In Motown, Furbush was neither as bad as he seemed while starting nor as good as he seemed while relieving. His defense played poorly behind him. He walked 4.05 per nine innings, but on the farm, his BB/9 never exceeded 3.00 at any stop. He has the ability to fan six or seven hitters per nine in the bigs.

It's clear that his stuff doesn't play as well in MLB as it did in MiLB, but a big drawback was his propensity to yield the long ball. For his home starts, at least, that won't be nearly as much of a concern. There's - cautiously - slightly more reason to be hopeful here than many will assume.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Consider

Esmil Rogers, Colorado Rockies

The Rockies replaced Ubaldo Jimenez in their rotation with Rogers, the man who filled in after the traded pitcher appeared for only one frame in his last start while wearing purple and black. Rogers went five innings, yielding only one hit, one run and one walk while fanning four. That strong appearance was similar to his first MLB start of 2011, which came on April 7.

Between those two outings, Rogers, 25, has pitched ugly, dealt with injury issues and spent time in the minor leagues. He's a talented right-hander whose modest rates of strikeouts per nine in the bigs as well as the minors belie his mid-90s velocity. In the majors, he's also struggled to limit walks consistently, and his ability to generate grounders hasn't bailed him out.

Rogers is raw and, although he has flashed serious potential, is a highly risky fantasy commodity, despite the fact that he'll be given a legit opportunity. The upside may not even be great enough to make the gamble, at least in single-year leagues.

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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