Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Brad Eldred, Jordan Lyles
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.
The Tigers, of all teams, sound like they're looking for ways to jump-start their lineup, per Jim Leyland. Motown hasn't been O-town at only 4.16 runs per game - in the middle of the AL pack - to begin the season. Hopefully, your league grants him first-base eligibility.
Detroit dumped Brandon Inge and is calling up Eldred, a 31-year-old right-handed hitter from Triple-A Toledo. Leyland said of Eldred, "We have the hottest hitter in all of minor league baseball." The skipper is right; check out Eldred's .388/.444/1.013 start in 90 plate appearances. He's mashed 13 home runs and driven in 35 in just 20 games.
You might recall that Eldred used to be somebody's mediocre prospect, but in 284 career MLB plate appearances, he's put together a .204/.259/.419 slash line. No one seems to know if the 6-foot-6, 270-pound minor league journeyman has discovered something that has changed his fortunes. Judging from his track record and his 23.3 percent strikeout rate, not much has changed other than his fortune.
Those in very deep leagues may catch lightning in a bottle here, but they shouldn't expect it to last for a long time. They shouldn't drop anything with possible long-term value to take this chance, either.
Shallow mixed: Pass
It seems like a good time to anticipate a call-up of Lyles, 21. The Astros placed Kyle Weiland (bursitis in right shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list on Friday, and they'll need a starter next Tuesday, at least.
Although Weiland's results have been horrific and he doesn't have much upside, he showed improvement in his last start and his problem is probably not serious. It may become a question of whether Houston would make a switch so quickly.
In four starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City, a Pacific Coast League team, Lyles has pitched 26 innings (four starts) and has gone 4-0 with a 3.46 ERA, an 8.31 K/9 and a 1.38 BB/9. In his most recent outing, on Tuesday, he allowed four runs in seven-plus frames, but he took a no-no into the sixth inning.
Lyles' 94-inning MLB stretch in 2011 went pretty poorly (5.36 ERA), which may have turned prospect hounds off. The righty-hander isn't frontline-starter material, but his smarts, varied arsenal and ability to locate give him distinct upside in the long run. Improvement of his developing curveball was his primary objective on the farm, as it had been in ST, and early results suggest that he's making rapid progress.
Even if Houston tries to go with a spot starter or two until Weiland returns, Lyles will get a shot sooner or later this season. Odds are good that his second time around won't be as bumpy, making him a potential asset in very deep leagues.
Shallow mixed: Pass
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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