Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Frank Francisco, more

by Nicholas Minnix on August 17, 2011 @ 10:49:03 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

Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners

The M's promoted Seager not long after they demoted him because he had such a sluggish beginning to his MLB career. Chone Figgins (hip flexor strain) hit the DL, and initially, Seattle seemed content with other assorted infielders manning the hot corner while the disappointing third baseman was sidelined. Adam Kennedy and Jack Wilson have been unavailable for short stretches because of nagging injuries, and Seager appears to be taking advantage.

Baltimore Orioles 3B Josh Bell
Does Bell have ringing left?

The left-handed hitter collected only three hits in 22 at-bats before his demotion, so his BA remains sub-Mendoza since his call-up. He has started seven of the club's last 10 games and in his last seven (six starts, another that he entered in the second inning), he's 7-for-25 (.280) with a couple of RBIs. He'll be slapping it from the bottom of the lineup.

He's unlikely to have value in mixed leagues, but remember, Seager, 23, has an approach similar to his old college teammate Dustin Ackley's. He doesn't have much power or speed, but he's a sound hitter who just needs experience.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Josh Bell, Baltimore Orioles

First baseman Chris Davis (slight tear in right shoulder) will probably miss the rest of the reason, which means the O's will push third baseman Mark Reynolds across the diamond and slot Bell at the hot corner. Bell's track record with the bat isn't encouraging, so it's uncertain how long the arrangement will last, but B-more doesn't have many alternatives.

Just a couple of seasons ago, Bell was thought to have much promise as a power-hitting third baseman. He's struggled to control the strike zone above the Double-A level, and pitchers in the bigs in particular have exploited the holes in his swing. In 198 MLB plate appearances in 2010 and 2011 combined, the switch hitter has a .207/.227/.280 slash line.

This season at Triple-A Norfolk, Bell, 24 - with his .254 BA, 16 home runs, 47 RBIs and four stolen bases - hasn't given much reason to believe that he's on the right path. His rate of strikeouts has gone up - he's whiffed in more than a quarter of his ABs this year. If you take a shot on Bell, it wouldn't be wise to stick him in your lineup unless there are signs of life.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Pitchers

Frank Francisco, Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have placed off-again, on-again closer Jon Rauch (appendectomy) on the disabled list and will replace him with on-again, off-again closer Frank Frank. Rauch has been far from special, so Francisco could lay claim to the role for the rest of the season - again, sort of, maybe.

To do so, Francisco needs to keep doing whatever he did in his past nine appearances (nine frame), a stretch in which he allowed six hits, one walks and no runs while striking out eight. Or, he at least needs to avoid frequent blow-ups. Francisco has reduced his season ERA to 4.17, and if he's healthy, he's a better pitcher than that mark indicates.

Shallow mixed: Consider

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Joel Pineiro, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Pineiro gets the dubious honor of replacing the MLB first-timer (Garrett Richards) who replaced him in the rotation and made a whopping two starts before ending up on the disabled list with a strained adductor muscle. Pineiro will go on Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium.

The right-handed veteran is 5-6 with a 5.34 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP, a 3.72 K/9 and a 2.51 BB/9 in 21 games (18 starts, 111 1/3 total frames), but he didn't fall on particularly hard times until after the All-Star break. No one would mistake Pineiro for a strikeout pitcher, but his 2011 mark is considerably lower than his career rate. He found success in the past two seasons by focusing on keeping the ball down and pitching to contact, but this season, his ground-ball rate hasn't looked much different from his rates in his other uninspiring campaigns.

Since his relegation to the bullpen, Pineiro has worked extensively with pitching coach Mike Butcher to shorten his stride. Mike Scioscia noticed distinct improvement in the 32-year-old's last appearance but seemed to acknowledge that it's still a work-in-progress. In that game, Pineiro went three innings in relief, allowing three hits, no walks and no runs while fanning three. It's little to go on, so proceed with caution, but it's encouraging nonetheless for someone who should ordinarily have some AL value. If he gets back on track, the Halos will probably stick with him.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-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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