Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Rafael Betancourt, Brian Matusz, Salvador Perez

by Nicholas Minnix on August 12, 2011 @ 13:24:25 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)



Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

Baltimore Orioles SP Brian Matusz
Take chance on healthy Matusz

KC keeps its minor league pipeline wide open. Who can blame them? Perez is unlikely to make a fantasy impact like the club's other called up batsmen have made this season, though. He's a stellar defender, with a quick, plus arm and nimble feet behind the dish. He hasn't done a whole lot of damage with the stick on the farm. However, he'll play often, as manager Ned Yost noted; Brayan Pena has returned from the paternity-leave list but will serve as the backup.

It's certainly conceivable that the 6-foot-3, 230-pound backstop will develop into a more dangerous hitter. In 2010, in 396 plate appearances at advanced Class A Wilmington, Perez batted .290 with a .322 OBP, seven home runs and 53 RBIs. This year, at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, he hit .283 with a .329 OBP, nine jacks and 43 RBIs in 309 plate appearances before the organization promoted him to Triple-A Omaha. In 49 plate appearances (48 at-bats) before his call-up, Perez notched a dinger among his 16 hits (.333 BA) and drove in 10.

Perez didn't draw a walk in his short Class AAA stint and whiffed in 12.2 percent of his ABs. That's an exaggerated but nonetheless noteworthy sign of the potential pitfalls of owning a 21-year-old catcher with minimal upside and little upper-level experience. Perez possesses a solid track record as a contact hitter, and he's 3-for-8 (all the hits singles) in the bigs thus far. He's a solid AL addition and should develop power down the road, but it's highly unlikely that he'll make an impact in mixed leagues this year.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire


Brian Matusz, Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles will call up Matusz to replace the repeatedly disappointing Chris Tillman in the rotation. That spot comes up next on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum. Yum. Baltimore optioned Matusz to Triple-A Norfolk at the end of June because he'd struggled in his first month-plus (25 2/3 innings, 8.77 ERA), thanks in part to diminished fastball velocity. He began the campaign on the DL because of a muscle strain in his side.

Matusz's return to the bigs was delayed because he took longer to heal than expected. In his rehab outings, although he gradually progressed to greater pitch counts and more innings, he didn't go too deep into any of his starts. While he may have been healthy at the time of his activation, it's possible that he wasn't in the shape required to be an effective MLB hurler. There's a good chance that the O's have seen him to that point this time around.

The southpaw doesn't have a screaming fastball, anyway, but the low-80s is no good, especially because he sets up his sick changeup and the rest of his arsenal with the 1. Matusz labored in his first handful of starts or so and wasn't adding anything back to it. He began seeing a rise in his velocity to the upper-80s in late July, and his rate has very slowly but very steadily risen since. He was touching 91 in his last outing, in which he tossed a complete-game shutout, with eight K's.

Matusz probably won't be as sharp as soon as he steps back onto an MLB mound, but he could be pretty close. It took four and a half months, but, for the stretch run, roto owners may finally get to see why the 24-year-old was a fairly popular sleeper this past spring.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Consider

AL-only: Acquire

Rafael Betancourt, Colorado Rockies

Huston Street hasn't seen much improvement in his sore triceps this week, so he could soon end up on the disabled list. These types of minor ailments aren't unusual for the right-handed closer, and sometimes he misses more time than the forecasted length of his absence.

The news makes the club's reliable setup man, Betancourt (2-0, one save, a 3.61 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, a 10.65 K/9 and a 1.52 BB/9), an obvious short-term play in fantasy baseball leagues. The right-hander picked up his lone save while filling in for Street earlier this week. Nasty rookie southpaw Rex Brothers (1-2, 4.38 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 12.77 K/9, 5.11 BB/9) might step in to douse a matchup-related fire, but it seems unlikely that Colorado will have much reason to go away from Betancourt.

If Matt Lindstrom (2-1, two saves, 2.89 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 6.18 K/9, 2.27 BB/9), on the DL with nerve pain in his right arm, returns when he's eligible (Aug. 21) or soon after, he could easily factor into the saves equation. Prior to hitting the shelf, he was considered the alternative in the event that Street wasn't available, and in the past, the Rockies have preferred to keep Betancourt in the eighth inning. It'll depend on how soon Lindstrom is at full strength, how well Betancourt has performed and how serious Street's injury turns out to be, though.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Consider

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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