Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Jose Valverde, Lucas Duda, more

by Tim Heaney on April 25, 2013 @ 12:00:00 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

Jose Valverde, RP, Detroit Tigers

New York Mets OF Lucas Duda
Cowabunga, Duda!

Nearly a month after being a hot waiver-wire item, he reappears after he's named closer and registers a 1-2-3 closure in his 2013 debut Wednesday. Whether they were proactive or reactive, his owners should enjoy the happy medium of his perfect 2011 and putrid 2012. Recent reports of his stuff said he was back to near-peak form; farm numbers validated it, to a degree.

Bruce Rondon, as Closer Hot Seat noted Tuesday, may still represent the ultimate option for Detroit saves this year, but a successful Valverde will delay that move. Jim Leyland is just happy to have a familiar face that may once again lock things down most of the time, even through his WHIPlash performances.

Brandon Crawford, SS, San Francisco Giants

Picker-uppers have caught up to his early run. In turn, Crawford, with his four homers, has matched in 75 at-bats the total he posted in 435 last season. His bombs this season have more closely resembled lasers. He's not a true power specimen.

But his shots are carrying, thanks in part to some plate alterations that have helped him discover some innate thump. He's more likely to carry over his improvements into a year-long clip breakthrough, so, don't overrate his fence-clearing ability, but he's not just a leather-focused player anymore.

Yuniesky Betancourt, 1B/2B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers

That eligibility trio makes many willing to acknowledge his 12-for-38 stretch (three taters, 14 plated tallies) while the 31-year-old subs for knee rehabbers Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez. Betancourt's power has progressed with age, but his other offensive components haven't followed.

Note his drop in pop-ups and bump in squared connections. Adding more authority to his typically high contact frequency helps. He's approaching a career-high swing rate, though, and that'll hurt later on if he keeps his frantic pace of hacking at outside-the-zone offerings. Yuni should start for Milwaukee for at least another month, but most mixed leaguers should move on quickly if negative signs pile up and he no longer fills a need.

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

Lucas Duda, OF, New York Mets

Arizona Diamondbacks SP Patrick Corbin
Corbin a charming Snake

Duda has not abided consistently. His production has come in bunches, highlighted by a pair of two-homer contests. Ignoring him, however, shows unchecked aggression, and it will not stand ... man. Terry Collins shows he believes the not-so-little Duda can be an Urban Achiever by slotting him in the Queens cleanup spot.

The 27-year-old has walked 17 times in 70 plate appearances, tempered his hacking ways and displayed competence versus southpaws. Whether these trends continue shouldn't matter for owners seeking power production, where he isn't out of his element.

Patrick Corbin, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

The southpaw ranks second only to Shelby Miller so far in first-strike percentage with a gaudy 72.8. Sure, sound the sample-size alert (it's only four starts), but correcting the flaw he had in that department last year should go a long way to sustaining his two-seamer-, control-fueled success. The smidge of across-the-board velocity uptick doesn't hurt, either.

He won't replicate the K/9 or K% figures from his farm days, nor will he sustain his 85.9 left-on-base percentage. Improving his homer suppression, on the other hand, in conjunction with his steady peripherals elsewhere could make him one of the surprise SP gems of 2013.

Jesus Montero, C, Seattle Mariners

One-catcher players are seemingly bailing, but he's 7-for-23 over his last six games with his first homer of the season and four ribbies. Can Montero avoid a demotion? Seattle seems committed to Justin Smoak. Kelly Shoppach is steady. Most importantly, Mike Zunino looms for a summer call-up, if not sooner.

Montero's issues rest in recognizing pitches and his drop-off in strong contact, particularly toward the opposite field. He's failing to replicate his in-play, same-side success from 2012 and missing out on Safeco Field's improved left-field dimensions.

Still, these issues may require merely a simple tweak, and he clicked in the second half last year, after all. If you need backstop help, don't let playing-time concerns hide the 23-year-old's potential. It's not going to cost much to try catching a wave from a former top prospect with at least another month of rope.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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