Fantasy Baseball Diamond Mining: Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Mike Carp, more

by Nicholas Minnix on March 29, 2012 @ 13:30:23 PDT

 


Ready to update your fantasy baseball cheat sheets? Before Diamond Market can sell the players in your rotisserie league's free-agent pool, Fantasy Baseball Diamond Mining polishes them for fantasy baseball drafts. It's time to dig for fantasy baseball sleepers and toss the busts.

Seattle Mariners OF Mike Carp
Carp hooked

Rotisserie baseball players are prepared for Carl Crawford (arthroscopic wrist surgery) to begin the season on the disabled list. Bobby Valentine told the media that his outfielder's wrist "is no problem at all."

But the skipper wants no official timetable so that he avoids putting pressure on Crawford, who's expected to need roughly 50 makeup at-bats, to return. Since Crawford isn't swinging a bat yet, most of, if not all, those ABs are going to come on a rehab assignment. That puts his activation somewhere near the end of April, likely.

Crawford is probably going to miss most of the season's first month, cutting anything from one-eighth to one-sixth of his value from a full season's projection. There are two ways to look at this, if you haven't drafted yet: (1) His performance was already a concern, and now I won't have him for a few weeks, or (2) The Boston Red Sox are diminishing the risk I'll take on because they're ensuring that he's healthy and reducing his cost a bit.

The track record says to side with numero dos. Also, those in very deep leagues could do worse than Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross as fill-ins.

***

When two running people collide unawares, the result can be somewhat equivalent to a low-impact automobile accident. That's what B.J. Upton (back problems) is finding out. The incident between Desmond Jennings and Upton took place on March 14, but Upton still hasn't returned to spring action and on Wednesday revealed that he'll begin the season on the disabled list.

The Tampa Bay Rays are playing this cautiously. When he's ready to play, he'll do so in minor league games so that the club can backdate his DL stint. His injuries aren't serious. But neither he nor the club can put a timetable on this thing.

If you're still counting down to your fantasy baseball draft, this shouldn't drop Upton much on your cheat sheets. He's still a top-75 player, at least. Just let this serve as a reminder that you shouldn't make assumptions about injuries based on what the team and player say, especially when they don't know and are quite vague about it.

If Upton happens to miss extended time, Jeff Keppinger may be the primary beneficiary, with Ben Zobrist playing in right field.

***

Prior to their second regular season game of the 2012, the Seattle Mariners placed Mike Carp on the disabled list because he sprained his right shoulder on an attempt at a diving catch in the soft opener. It's unclear how long he'll be out.

To fill the roster spot, the M's recalled Carlos Peguero, who despite his trouble making contact has succeeded in his limited big-league time (including exhibition games) to pound the ball over the fence. In deep AL leagues, he could be worth a stab.

This development probably just means more consistent PT for Chone Figgins in the short term, with Kyle Seager receiving regular at-bats at the hot corner. Seager had a great spring, and his power seems to be developing. He's an interesting AL commodity, at least.

***

Felipe Paulino's flexor pronator strain, which is reportedly the source of his elbow discomfort, isn't believed to be serious. He's had some control issues (more so than usual) this spring, and this pain may have contributed. For some, he was kind of a sleeper in very deep leagues, but this news should temper that a bit.

In a related story, the Kansas City Royals will fill the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in their rotation with Danny Duffy and Luis Mendoza. The former has more upside, but the latter may prove to be pretty reliable. If both perform adequately, Paulino will have a hard time convincing Ned Yost that he deserves to re-enter the rotation picture.

Duffy still appears to be maddeningly erratic. He can strike 'em out, though, and he'll be nasty if he learns to repeat his occasional brushes with brilliant outings. He could even be useful in deep mixed leagues this year.

It's still difficult not to be skeptical of the success Mendoza had last year in a couple of major league starts and has had this year in ST. But his Triple-A results in 2011 were nearly as impressive, lending validity to the notion that he's come close to perfecting the art of grounder coaxing. Don't buy into (at all) the K's he's piled up this spring, but he could be a sneaky deep league play because he should cost virtually nothing.

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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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