Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Chris Carpenter, Jenrry Mejia
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?
The nerve irritation that afflicted Carp in spring training seemed like it wasn't going to keep him from pitching at some point this season. When he ended up opting to have surgery in late July for thoracic outlet syndrome, however, it seemed virtually certain that the 2005 Cy Young Award winner wouldn't appear in a major league game in 2012.
Less than two months later, Carpenter seems virtually certain to defy expectations yet again. The 37-year-old completed a 70-pitch simulated game on Monday, before the Cards' contest at PETCO Park with the San Diego Padres and, judging from his remarks, is very close to game-ready. Although Mike Matheny is hesitant to commit to the vet pitcher's return date, Carp is much more assured.
Conveniently, thanks to an injury to Jake Westbrook (strained right oblique), the club has an opening in the rotation. Starter-turned-reliever Lance Lynn will fill it initially by making a spot start on Thursday, and after some adjustments he's made since moving to the bullpen, perhaps he'll prove capable of holding it down. St. Louis has also been mildly concerned about the right-hander's workload, though, since he was a reliever in 2011 but in the spring stretched out to take ... Carpenter's spot to open this campaign.
If the Cardinals are pretty confident that Carpenter won't hurt his chances of pitching in 2013 (and perhaps beyond) by returning, you can bet that he'll be active. He could make his 2012 debut as soon as late next week. And the three-time All-Star has a history of performing well right out of the gate, with minimal time put in to prepare. It's hard to ignore a quality arm like Carp's, even if it's this late in the game.
10-tm mixed: Consider
One of the Mets' best pitching prospects just a couple of years ago has made it back to the bigs after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2011. He'll join the rotation by making a start on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Mejia, 22, has a hard mid-90s heater (or high-90s when he pitches in relief) that he features prominently in his effort to induce ground-ball outs. He also tosses a decent curveball and changeup.
Mejia's smoke has generated a high rate of strikeouts at the lower levels of the minors and in a short spell at Triple-A Buffalo before 2011, when he underwent the elbow-ligament replacement. In 73 2/3 frames this season, he posted a 3.54 ERA, a 4.76 K/9 and a 2.93 BB/9 for the Bisons, after a couple of short stints at lower levels to open this season.
There are no discernible signs that his strikeout rate was back on the rise, but that's not a major concern considering that his previously displayed K ability was going to translate to MLB anyway. The encouraging sign is that Mejia's control, which was often a problem pre-TJS, has been pretty good.
Mejia may be destined for the bullpen in the long run, but his arsenal is diverse enough that he can be a successful starter. This has been a positive year for the young righty. Those in deep leagues who choose to wait and see should consider pouncing at the first sign of positive outcomes, in case he continues his steady upward rise. Those in NL leagues don't have to put him in the lineup, but it would be a good idea to snag him.
10-tm 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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