Fantasy Baseball Diamond Mining: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ryan Dempster, Jed Lowrie
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The New York Mets placed Andres Torres (strained calf) on the disabled list. The club's leadoff man aggravated an injury he suffered in ST and from which he'd just returned. Such a strain can take weeks, at least, to clear up, especially if the player and staff push it, so even if the Mets learned their lesson, Torres is likely to miss a decent chunk of time.
New York recalled Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Triple-A Buffalo. It seems likely that the left-handed outfielder will play regularly; the organization believes that he could eventually be the everyday center fielder and wants him to get at-bats. He has some issues making contact, but he has a little pop and speed. He should be an NL-only pickup-and-stash, at least.
The Mets could also use the right-handed Scott Hairston in center, but they probably wouldn't have called up Nieuwenhuis, a left-handed hitter, if they'd planned to do so, so Hairston is likely a fallback plan. If the youngster does enough to satisfy the Mets, considering the direction of the franchise, Torres, 34, may have a difficult time reclaiming his job when he's healthy.
Ryan Dempster's opening day line was impressive (7 2/3 IP, two hits, one run, three walks, 10 strikeouts). It was a good bet that he'd bounce back to some degree, but the right-hander's Thursday performance suggested that the rebound could be better than anticipated. As Curt Schilling noted, on Baseball Tonight, Dempster's splitter was extremely effective in the outing.
Don't expect him to look like an ace every time out, primarily because of his eroding control rate, which was on display. Dempster's veteran know-how pushed him to challenge bats more often than he usually does, and he worked while ahead in the count a lot. Still, this is a positive sign, a reason for mixed leaguers who have an opportunity to put him on their roster.
The Houston Astros placed Jed Lowrie (sprained right thumb) on the DL. The stint is backdated. He's eligible to return next Friday, April 13, and should ... but you never can tell with Lowrie. It takes him a month to shake indigestion.
Marwin Gonzalez is expected to receive the majority of PT at shortstop in Lowrie's absence. The club's Rule 5 pick this past winter brings little besides possible PT to the roto table. The club purchased Brian Bixler's contract from the minors. Matt Downs could also factor into the mix, and he has the most fantasy upside, although it's not much. Only those desperate for a shot at a PT bonus in NL-only leagues should monitor how this plays out.
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. Follow @NicholasMinnix
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