Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Ryan Raburn, Brandon Belt, more

by Tim Heaney on May 2, 2013 @ 13:40:00 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

Ryan Raburn, 2B/OF, Cleveland Indians

San Francisco Giants 1B Brandon Belt
Don't make me take off my Belt

What the.... He's 11-for-13 -- not a typo -- over a three-game span with four homers (a twosome of two-tater turns) and nine RBIs; the versatile vet also rides a five-contest hitting streak. Thanks to his keystone qualification, fantasy owners are increasingly willing to tag along on the opportunity he's received while Michael Bourn's lacerated right index finger heals. Raburn may box Drew Stubbs out of work after Bourn returns if he keeps raking.

Three-game samples don't define a player, though, nor do they hide flaws that Raburn still shows in plate discipline. Nothing radically different stands out in his indicators to justify even remotely a ridiculous .457 BABIP, save for slightly better restraint in hacking at bad pitches.

Picking him up for free or a minimal investment justifies taking a chance, yet throwing noteworthy bucks at this hyped but miniscule window -- many deep-mixed purchasers might because of that "2B" -- hardly provides security.

Russell Martin, C, Pittsburgh Pirates

Another scorcher, Martin has clubbed four homers over his last four contests and continues crushing right-handers. He's boosted his clip by more than 100 points in a few weeks. The .211 he posted in 2012 was ripe for a positive correction this season, and he's wasting little time showing why.

The 39 homers he registered in his two New York Yankees seasons weren't Bronx-bloated; 18 came in other locales. Given PNC Park's hitter stinginess, it helps that five of six fence jumps this year have come on the road. He hits ample grounders but makes the most of his flies, so he should approach 20 again on the year. A chunk of his dollar returns elsewhere relies on his in-play fortune, which fluctuates annually, seemingly.

Two-catcher buyers should be happy with his line even after he cools. Single-backstop players shouldn't remain loyal if a downturn sinks him.

Travis Wood, SP, Chicago Cubs

A start against the San Diego Padres typically creates seismic streamer skirmishes, but the southpaw has performed as better than a substitute. His predictive sabermetric formulas, including an 82.7 left-on-base rate, don't forecast a bright future, but some tangible alterations could help him buck the expected trends.

The soft-tosser's diverse cache has taken a step forward because his slider has become his best strikeout pitch, and he's establishing more 0-1 counts. Calling Wrigley Field home makes this more important: A smidge of a grounder boost and line-drive drop coincide with him recording safer fly balls, a lack of which has held him back since his prospect days.

Dub it Paul Maholmian progress with similar risks of regression. Though he'll likely return to being a matchup play as the summer hits, owners in leagues of more than 12 teams should show more patience through struggles considering his new foundation. He's been a "one skill away" type.

Some good ones out there: Belt, Garza, Liriano

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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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