Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove: Prince Fielder, Cody Ross, Wilson Betemit

by Nicholas Minnix on January 24, 2012 @ 03:25:12 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.

1B Prince Fielder reaches nine-year agreement with Detroit Tigers

Well now, there's one way to fill a hole in your lineup. Los Tigres lost DH Victor Martinez (torn ACL) for a year but gained Fielder, 27, for nine, so, no big whoop.

New Boston Red Sox OF Cody Ross
Kinda useful, sort of

Miller Park has been distinctly more advantageous to left-handed power hitters than Comerica Park. But Fielder doesn't fire a tater gun; he launches bombs. The venue change shouldn't affect his output much, especially since he's just entering his prime years.

Detroit has a quality lineup, so Cecil's little boy will remain in a primetime spot for fantasy baseball players. In a mixed league, anyone who "settles" should feel pretty comfortable about it this development.

NL-only players should take a looooong took at the player pool and come to terms with the fact that, yep, first base is a scarce position. This should dramatically impact your attack. Pay a ransom for Joey Votto, or spread the cash to include - possibly - an undervalued target or two like Aubrey Huff, James Loney and Adam LaRoche? What to do, what to do. ...

Meanwhile, in AL leagues, it's like these cats are a dime a dozen! Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Fielder. ... The field becomes noticeably thinner in the bottom half of the top 12, however, so it's not a bad idea to invest in one of those AL first baseman considered reliable.

Boston Red Sox agree to contract with OF Cody Ross

Ross, 31, is a favorite for at-bats in right field, ahead of Darnell McDonald certainly and in a battle with left-handed-hitting Ryan Sweeney. Ross is a platoon candidate, but he figures to play more often than the right-handed-hitting batter in a typical platoon would.

How he bounces back from a season that disappointed the San Francisco Giants, who took a leap based largely on his September 2010 and postseason heroics will help to determine how much more. In the regular season that year, Ross posted a .269/.322/.413 slash line, and he followed up with an equally mind-numbing performance in 2011.

Ross deserves rotisserie attention because of his fresh opportunity and new locale - he escapes AT&T Park after spending much of his time in the old Pro Player Stadium. He's increasingly been settling for weaker contact outside the strike zone, however. He remains a dead fastball hitter, and he may not see that pitch as often as he did in the Senior Circuit.

It's conceivable that Ross has value in very deep mixed leagues if he rebounds to his form of a couple of years ago. That's for a FAAB period sometime, though. He could turn out to be a worthwhile, low-cost pursuit in AL-only formats, but this news may serve to make Sweeney the better deal.

INF Wilson Betemit agrees to deal with Baltimore Orioles

The O's don't have the most impressive lineup, but they have some decent pieces - which just so happen to have glaring flaws. Although B-more signed Betemit to serve as DH, the switch-hitter could've appealed because he can serve as insurance at the corner infield spots or play there in a pinch.

At DH, the Orioles could also stand to plug in other defensive liabilities, like Mark Reynolds and Nolan Reimold. Just like he did with the Kansas City Royals for the past couple of seasons, Betemit, 30, will come up with at-bats, however, especially if he's also getting consideration at DH.

It's a good park. He's a decent source of power in AL leagues with only moderate risk that the BA will be a drag. Nothing new for Betemit.

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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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