Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Kevin Kouzmanoff, Logan Morrison, more

by Nicholas Minnix on August 24, 2011 @ 11:48:07 PDT

 


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.

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

Kevin Kouzmanoff, Colorado Rockies

The hot corner hasn't been so hot in Colorado, but the Rockies continue to test new heating methods over there. Kouz is the club's latest experiment - claimed off waivers from the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, called up and in the starting lineup on Wednesday.

Florida Marlins OF Logan Morrison
LoMo can show mo' in roto

Kouzmanoff, 30, has a thoroughly impressive minor league resume that never translated to the bigs. Perhaps that's in part because he's spent the overwhelming majority of his MLB career in hitting wastelands - the San Diego Padres' PETCO Park for three seasons and Oaktown's O.co Coliseum for most of the last two. Coors Field, so they say, ain't too shabby for sticks.

In his career, Kouz hasn't exactly displayed top-notch plate discipline, so it can't be presumed that the Rockies' environs alone will help his career rebound. The third baseman's BA has declined in each of his four seasons since his rookie campaign, in 2007, when he hit .275 with 18 home runs. He swatted 23 bombs in 2008 while hitting .260, but things have gone downhill slowly - until this year - since.

Kouzmanoff hit .302 with 13 dingers and 58 RBIs at Triple-A Sacramento this season. He still has some power and may be worth the add because of his new home.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Middle infielders

Kelly Johnson, Toronto Blue Jays

On Tuesday, Toronto acquired the Arizona Diamondbacks' disappointing keystone man for Aaron Hill and John McDonald. Johnson's .209/.287/.412 slash line pales in comparison to his killer .284/.370/.496 set of marks from a year ago. This year, he has slugged 18 homers and has stolen 13 bases, but they've come at a price.

Perhaps the change of scenery will do him some good. Statistically, there isn't much reason to believe that his fortunes will suddenly change. Each of the teams involved in this deal plays in a hitter-friendly park, but the Rogers Centre isn't quite as kind to left-handed batters as Chase Field is.

Maybe hitting guru Dwayne Murphy will discover a quick-fix solution to Johnson's 2011 struggles. Johnson has walked less often than he did in last year and struck out more often than he has in any other year of his career, minors or majors. The Jays preach a patient yet aggressive style that may suit him.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks

On Tuesday, Arizona acquired the Toronto Blue Jays' disappointing keystone man, plus utility infielder John McDonald, for Kelly Johnson. Hill's .225/.270/.313 slash line pales in comparison to his killer .286/.330/.499 set of marks from two years ago. This year, he has slugged a mere six homers but has stolen a career-high 16 bases, although they've come at a price. Hill drilled 26 homers in 2010, although his slash line finished like so: .205/.271/.394.

Perhaps the change of scenery will do him some good. Statistically, there isn't much reason to believe that his fortunes will suddenly change. Each of the teams involved in this deal plays in a hitter-friendly park, but Chase Field isn't quite as kind to right-handed batters as the Rogers Centre is, at least in terms of power.

Maybe hitting guru Don Baylor will discover a quick-fix solution to Hill's 2011 struggles. Hill is posting the highest contact rate of his career, but while many of his peripherals look similar to those from seasons past, he's connecting with far more offerings outside the strike zone and making weaker contact as a result. The Snakes have become more patient but love to let their batsmen swing away, which may suit him.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Consider

NL-only: Acquire

Justin Sellers, Los Angeles Dodgers

When Dee Gordon (shoulder bruise) hit the DL, the Blue recalled Sellers, who wasn't expected to play often. Instead, the 24-year-old has started in 10 of the club's last 12 games. He's hitting .268 with a home run, five RBIs and a stolen base. He has batted near the top of the lineup in his past five starts. On Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, he hit leadoff and was 3-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs.

The Dodgers liked the energy that Sellers brought with him from Triple-A Albuquerque. Given the way that he's performed, they'll have a hard time removing him from the lineup once Gordon returns, which could be fairly soon.

Sellers has played some keystone in the minors, too, so will LA consider benching stalwart Aaron Miles in order to make that happen? It'd seem like a good idea for the going-nowhere organization to continue playing the youngster who, in 666 plate appearances at the Class AAA level, posted a .294/.385/.516 slash line, even if it took place in the PCL.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Logan Morrison, Florida Marlins

The Fish recalled the frequent tweeter after the minimum required stay in the minors, where Florida had demoted him for what they called poor performance. Whatever the reason, he's back and brings a top-notch plate presence despite a .249/.327/.464 slash line in the bigs this season.

Morrison has ripped 17 homers and has driven in 60 runs in just 410 at-bats. The left fielder, who'll be 24 on Thursday, has the goods to up his average noticeably while providing support in the other cats, minus stolen bases, in the season's final month-plus.

Shallow mixed: Consider

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Pitchers

J.A. Happ, Houston Astros

Houston demoted promising starter Jordan Lyles because the club is looking to curb his innings total by transitioning him to the bullpen for the rest of the year. He'll probably be back up in September. The club recalled Happ, the 28-year-old who did more damage to fantasy lines than opposing lineups for the majority of the season, to replace him.

In three farm starts (18 innings) since his demotion near the beginning of this month, Happ went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 16 strikeouts. The numbers look pretty encouraging for a left-hander who was quite a value in his 87 1/3 frames in 2010, when he posted a 3.40 ERA and a 7.21 K/9.

The problem with those three outings, though, is that he walked a total of nine. Free passes have been problematic for him throughout his time spent in the upper minors and the majors. Oh, right, you noticed, with his 4.75 BB/9 and 6.26 ERA in MLB this season. The 7.54 K/9 of 2011 looks nice, and you're welcome to put stock in his recent farm swing, but it doesn't come recommended because the underlying issue remains.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

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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