Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Matt Carpenter, Jackie Bradley, more

by Nicholas Minnix on April 1, 2013 @ 14:05:02 PDT

 

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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? Are they worth your FAAB dollars in your fantasy baseball games?

Hottest Pickups
Most frequently added in leagues polled

St. Louis Cardinals 3B Matt Carpenter
Active Carp can be difference-maker

Matt Carpenter, 1B/3B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals

This is an astute move for those who are jumping on the Cards' opening day third baseman, who's filling in for David Freese (bruised tailbone) for what's likely a short stretch. Carpenter is a .283/.359/.447 hitter in 359 plate appearances lifetime and projects to be a must-have in OBP leagues, particularly.

The left-handed batter with above-average plate discipline should approach 15 home runs. Such a forecasted total is more desirable from someone who mans second base - where Carpenter will play for St. Louis once Freese returns from the DL.

Jackie Bradley, OF, Boston Red Sox

MLB and fantasy pundits have been buzzing about Bradley for weeks because of his solid all-around game, athleticism and instincts. His superb spring (.419 average, two home runs and two stolen bases in 62 at-bats) turned up the noise. The BoSox couldn't find another excuse to leave him off the opening day roster, especially because they'll be without David Ortiz (soreness in both heels) for a few weeks, maybe longer, to begin the season.

Bradley, who turns 23 on the 19th, has time to make an impression and contribute a few stolen bases while batting near the bottom of the order. He could convince management that he belongs on the 25-man once Big Papi returns. Bradley has no experience above Double-A ball, though, and he'd probably be exposed with regular ABs in the long term. The projected short stay is likely a reason that Boston was willing to carry him. Ride him while you can.

Mitchell Boggs, RP, St. Louis Cardinals

Most fantasy owners should find a way to stash the fill-in for Jason Motte (strained flexor tendon in elbow). Boggs is a hard-throwing right-hander who may muster a modest 7.00 K/9, or a bit better, but he coaxes ground balls off the bat more than 50 percent of the time and doesn't hurt himself often with the base on balls on the long ball.

Motte is expected to miss only a few weeks, but based on the possibility that this injury is the prequel of something more serious, Boggs is a no-brainer to have around.

Joaquin Benoit, RP, Detroit Tigers

The Tigers demoted 22-year-old right-hander Bruce Rondon once he demonstrated that he wasn't quite ready for the task of closing - really, relieving period - at the major league level. Motown is closing by committee for the foreseeable future.

Jim Leyland has professed his desire to stay away from Benoit in the ninth, citing his belief that the right-hander doesn't bounce back well. Statistics dispel the skipper's notion, however; Benoit is probably the Tigers' most dependable bullpen arm. He leads the pack of possible additions (Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel, Al Alburquerque and, perhaps, Brayan Villarreal among them).

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

Jedd Gyorko, 2B, San Diego Padres

The buzz about the Friars' most MLB-ready position prospect died down a bit as opening day neared, perhaps enough so that he wasn't in the queues of the majority of fantasy players on draft day. The 24-year-old's exhibition performance convinced SD's brass that he's ready for The Show, though, regardless of where they stick him.

Philadelphia OF Domonic Brown
What can Brown do for you?

The Padres will stick him at both the hot corner and keystone in the early going, while Chase Headley (fractured thumb) misses the first month or so. Gyorko's .311 average, 30 bombs and 100 RBIs combined at the Double-A and Triple-A levels should give prospective owners an idea of his upside, tempered by roughly one-quarter to one-third. Barring an abysmal showing in April, Gyorko will be around and, for someone, providing intriguing MI depth.

Lorenzo Cain, OF, Kansas City Royals

Last season was supposed to be a "breakthrough" for Cain, who then entering his age-26 campaign would get to play every day for the first time in his career. He suffered a strained groin that, during his rehab assignment, led to a torn hip flexor, which resulted in an absence of two and a half months. A September hamstring strain put the period on 2012 for him.

The injury bug has bitten Cain before, so his health record could be at the forefront of any prospective owner's mind. But he's active, now, and he still boasts the potential to hit 15 home runs and steal 25 bases - and unlike Will Venable, Cain should hit .270 or so. Give it some thought.

Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies

When a potential breakout player, like Brown, has the kind of spring that Brown had (.314 average, seven home runs and four doubles in 99 plate appearances), there should be more roto and head-to-head managers who are interested. Skepticism may abound considering the start to which his career is off, however: .236/.315/.388 in 492 plate appearances.

Brown made some adjustments this past winter to shorten his swing path and reduce his load. Observers both inside and outside the organization have remarked at the difference it seems to be making, both in his comfort level and, of course, the results. Brown, 25, was expected to be a somewhat slowly developing prospect, but he appears to be on the verge of putting it together.

Shelby Miller, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

It may be just a rumor, but it sounds like the Cards named Miller their fifth starting pitcher. Really, it's time. The right-hander spent the entire 2012 campaign at Triple-A Memphis, but he failed to overwhelm (4.74 ERA, 10.54 K/9 and 3.29 BB/9) future fantasy drafters, apparently.

There were people drafting this kid last year, thinking they'd be the smart ones to get the jump on one of the best pitching prospects in the game. One growth year later, the interest has barely increased, but the pitcher is so much closer to delivering. Miller was almost unhittable in the second half for Memphis and delighted St. Louis with his MLB performance in limited exposure. Miller had his ups and downs in ST, but he was clearly the better option than Joe Kelly and, at 22, should deliver 150-plus innings of tasty K's and occasionally dominant outings.

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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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