Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: James Loney, Ubaldo Jimenez, more

by Nicholas Minnix on May 13, 2013 @ 13:06:35 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

1B James Loney, Tampa Bay Rays

Cleveland Indians SP Scott Kazmir
Moving through Kazmir

This past weekend, Loney homered twice to push his total to ... three. The left-handed hitter has driven in 20 in 120 plate appearances, though, thanks to a .376 BA and .560 slugging percentage. In fact, he's locked up playing time to gain qualification for the batting title.

The Los Angeles Dodgers theorized, experimented and pushed in order to attempt to make Loney more of a power hitter. In fact, they turned him into less of an asset. The Rays are letting Loney be who he is. Oh, and lookie there! He's posting by far his best ISO (.183) in six years and driving in runs. Crazy. It's miraculous what Tampa Bay does, smart management and all.

Loney is unlikely to be an asset all year in shallow mixed leagues, but he'll occupy a spot in 15-team mixers and AL-only leagues for the rest of 2013.

SP Scott Kazmir, Cleveland Indians

When a strained muscle in his rib cage delayed this southpaw's comeback attempt, which then began with a shellacking at the hands of the Houston Astros, this feel-good story seemed like it might already be finished. In three starts since, he's been electric (2-1, 2.65 ERA, 15 hits, five runs, three walks and 21 strikeouts in 17 innings).

Seriously, is this for real? Last year, Kazmir didn't even latch on with an affiliated club. It seemed as if he'd never get past nagging injuries and a serious loss of pitch speed. Time away and simplified mechanics seem to have resolved all that. His heater is back in the mid-90s with regularity, even late.

Kazmir may be a better pitcher for the struggles. Despite some improved control, he still doesn't have the foundation to get deep into games often, but the ratio and K upside is worth space just about anywhere.

OF Vernon Wells, New York Yankees

The story about Wells' resurgence spread quickly in April, but, clearly, many fantasy owners didn't expect the good times to last. The right-handed hitter keeps lettin' 'em roll, though, and he feels just like one of the Bronx Bombers: On his team's current road trip, he's nine for his last 21, with three getty-goners and a stolen base.

Wells has, in fact, impressed Joe Girardi enough that the skipper professes that he plans to play the outfielder as often as he can when Curtis Granderson returns. The Grandy Man is back this week. Let's see what happens. Perhaps folks were just geeked to use the hot bat in Monday's twin bill.

SP Jorge De La Rosa, Colorado Rockies

This could be a smart move, roto owners. DLR has accumulated a 4-3 record, a 2.98 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in eight starts (45 1/3 stanzas) -- in spite of the fact that two starts (his first and sixth) went horribly awry. In his latest effort -- seven shutout frames against the St. Louis Cardinals -- he took a no-no into the seventh.

Keep expectations realistic, however. De La Rosa is nearly two years removed from Tommy John surgery (awesome), but he hasn't recovered his pitch speed and is instead adapting. He's compensated with improved control, but for him, the rate still isn't great. Cautious optimism (or hopeful pessimism?) is the Rx for such a hurler, who makes half of his starts at Coors Field.

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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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