Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Josh Collmenter, Nick Blackburn, Jeff Baker
KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market gives you candid reviews and ratings of fantasy baseball players making MLB news in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball leagues. Are they trade bait or worth your FAAB dollars in your fantasy baseball games?
As Nick noted in this space several weeks ago, Collmenter is in a much better position to succeed in the rotation on his second go-round. This time, the Snakes have banished Trevor Bauer back to the minors, where Kirk Gibson acknowledged he'll have plenty to work on.
Collmenter's outstanding relief efforts (1.05 ERA, 1.75 BB/9, 8.42 K/9 in 25 2/3 stanzas) were enough to convince the D-backs that he deserved another shot at a rotation post. He's sported a 1.30 ERA in 41 2/3 frames since being removed from the rotation in the season's first month, and rediscovering his mechanics has been key.
An extended stay in the rotation this time around seems more likely because Arizona doesn't seem resigned to going back to Bauer anytime soon. It's unlikely that Collmenter will duplicate his 2011 success, but he can easily be serviceable in deep mixed formats in the right matchups.
10-tm mixed: Pass
The 2012 campaign has been a season to forget for Blackburn and the Twinkies. The 30-year-old right-hander has been touched up for an ERA of 8.10 in 63 1/3 innings (13 starts). He's fanned only 30 hitters and walked 22 on the season.
Since Blackburn allowed only one earned run in two starts at Triple-A Rochester recently, Minnesota has decided to move Brian Duensing back to the bullpen in favor of Blackburn, who has made some noticeable tweaks in an effort to turn his season around.
Pitching coach Rick Anderson and Red Wings pitching guru Bobby Cuellar noticed some glaring mechanical problems by watching extensive video of Blackburn. He worked to keep his front side quiet, which has led to better command, most notably with his trademark sinker. In his two solid starts with Rochester, the tweaks also allowed Blackburn to regain a higher release point, further aiding in improved command and movement.
This is encouraging, but we'll need to see a stretch of consistent results to affirm that Blackburn can once again be effective against major league hitters. His lack of swing-and-miss stuff will keep him prone to bad outings, especially if his control deserts him for stretches. He could be a nice surprise and mixed league matchup play if he has indeed figured something out, though.
10-tm mixed: Pass
Baker is working his way into the Cubbies' lineup frequently in the month of July, appearing in 10 of their 14 contests, recently serving in a platoon sitch with Bryan LaHair in right field. LaHair is hitting a putrid .071 against southpaws this year, so expect Baker to continue to be in the lineup somewhere when the team faces a lefty.
Baker's career has been defined by utility roles, and his bat won't offer much power nor his legs many thefts, but his similar BAs against lefties (.284) and righties (.286) this year gives hope for BA stability if you're desperate for roster depth. Baker provides eligibility at almost every infield position but shortstop in some leagues - along with outfield utility - so that helps.
10-tm mixed: Pass
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program. Follow @keithdez27
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