Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove: Chris Heisey, Wei-Yin Chen, Aaron Cook, Ronny Cedeno

by Nicholas Minnix on January 9, 2012 @ 13:25:52 PDT


Your fantasy baseball draft isn't far off.'s Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove surveys free agency, trades, salary arbitration and injuries that will affect your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league. You're cleared for your MLB offseason program: The Arizona Fall League, Baseball Winter Meetings, Rule 5 draft and more will shape your fantasy baseball rankings.

OF Chris Heisey to compete for a starting job with Cincinnati Reds

This seems a little overdue. Roto players should find this proclamation encouraging, but keep in mind that Dusty Baker also seems to have some distrust in Heisey's ability to handle a full-time role or something close to it. Cincy may still be in the market for someone like Kosuke Fukudome or Ryan Ludwick.

Baltimore Orioles SP Brian Matusz
Matusz, others in crowded flock

Heisey, 27, is interesting for fantasy baseball players because he has 20- to 30-homer power, which shades toward the greater end of that range because he plays half of his home games at Great American Ball Park. He can also chip in with double-digit stolen bases. The right-handed hitter doesn't have great BA skills, but he hits the ball hard. The big concern about him has been how he'd handle righties, but he's actually enjoyed much more success against them than southpaws.

If the Reds follow through, and Heisey's performance versus right-handers holds up, he could prove to be a bargain in NL leagues and a decent fifth outfielder in mixed leagues. Keep tabs on the Queen City's outfield.

P Wei-Yin Chen agrees with Baltimore Orioles for three years

The signing is pending a physical. If you smell what the Roch is cookin', you've already discovered that the Taiwanese left-hander's fastball sits in the low 90s and peaks at about 96 mph, and he also throws a slider, a changeup and work-in-progress forkball.

Chen is expected to slot into Baltimore's rotation right away. The club's starting five is pretty close to set, with Jeremy Guthrie, Tommy Hunter, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton the other four members. Tsuyoshi Wada, another Asian import whom the Orioles signed this offseason, is likely headed to the bullpen because of this development.

That leaves former prospects Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman, who still have much promise, on the outside looking in. It's conceivable that one of the youngsters, Arrieta and Britton, could lose his spot to one of the other candidates, which also include Brad Bergesen and Dana Eveland. Dan Duquette has ensured that there will be plenty of competition in ST this year.

Chen posted a 2.48 ERA in four seasons in the Japanese Central League. He struck out 7.13 per nine innings, walked 2.18 per and yielded 7.38 hits per. His K/9 dipped to 5.14 in 2011, but it's uncertain whether this is cause for concern, considering that he reportedly dealt with a knee injury last year.

As is often the case with pitchers venturing across the Pacific, they're to be approached with caution. The O's new southpaw is intriguing if favorable reports on his stuff check out. A hard fastball-changeup combo is one secret to success in the AL East. How he holds up to pitching every fifth day is TBD, however. Baseball Reference's bio infers that his slider is nothing special, too.

Consider Chen a low-dollar AL investment. He could prove to be no more than that, or he could end up being a mixed-league commodity. Monitor his progress in spring training.

Boston Red Sox ink SP Aaron Cook to minor league deal

Cook's shoulder woes in the past couple of years have prevented him from putting together a full season's worth of innings and have robbed him of the modest effectiveness he often displayed with the Colorado Rockies. His grounder-inducing arsenal gives him a sliver of hope in Beantown.

The righty's fastball has lost a little of its juice, and it was already an offering without much pulp. He's struggled with his control rate for two seasons, when he's been available. He doesn't strike out even 5.00 dudes per nine, so he must rely on his defense to succeed, and he can't afford to let many men reach base without working hard enough to earn it.

Cook will be a dark horse for a rotation spot. If injuries arise, he proves to be healthy or both, AL-only players may find that he was worth a reserve slot. They shouldn't hold their breath, however.

INF Ronny Cedeno hooks up with New York Mets

This happening provides NL-only players with nothing more than a potential end-game acquisition or reserve round stab for upside in playing time. Cedeno, 29 in February, is a lifetime .246/.286/.353 performer in the majors. Without a job, he's not worth anything. He can back up at second base, third and short.

Ruben Tejada is expected to start at the 6 for the Metropolitans, but his ability to hit big-league pitching is still a bit questionable. The 22-year-old hasn't received extensive exposure to it. Daniel Murphy, the likely second sacker, has also endured his fair share of injuries. Cedeno may not need much to go his way in order to contribute softly in a couple of counting categories.

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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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