Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Mitch Moreland, Roberto Hernandez, more

by Nicholas Minnix on May 16, 2013 @ 12:13:12 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 Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland
More power for Moreland

The evolution of Moreland: .259/.320/.414 (2011) ... .275/.321/.468 (2012) ... .290/.344/.565 (2013). Not a lot has changed about this left-handed hitter, from a peripherals point-of-view. His plate discipline has improved ever so slightly through the years. His power rates have climbed.

But beneath those numbers lie Moreland's understanding and control of the strike zone as well as comprehension of how the best pitchers in the sport want to attack him. For the less gifted, this type of ability arrives only with a good deal of experience. The 27-year-old's 6-foot-2, 240-pound frame is designed to generate this kind of power.

By the end of 2013, his BA/OBP/SLG slash line might not be much different from that of 2012, when he was coming off wrist surgery. Last season's numbers prorated for 550 to 600 plate appearances, rather than the 357 he accumulated, however, would've generated a lot more draft interest than he did this past spring. This is a good hitter, against lefties or righties now.

OF Jon Jay, St. Louis Cardinals

Jay was a DM Best Available entry a week and a half ago precisely because of the upward mobility of his BA and other roto contributions resultant. From May 2 through May 15, the left-handed batter raised his average from .204 to .276. He belted two home runs and drove in 12 in that time. Whether he hits just after the heart of the order or at the top of it, he'll be an asset because of the potency of this O.

Jay has maintained a pretty good peripheral profile this year, the kind that would likely lead a stats evaluator to conclude that corrections were inevitable. This turnaround was improbable without the extensive work the outfielder did in the cages, however, to tune up a perceivably excessive load. Jay is back on track and should be a deep mixed asset, at least, for a while.

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

SP Roberto Hernandez, Tampa Bay Rays

People, let us continue to behold the awesome power of this franchise. With the wave of a magic wand, a tip of the top hat and a decision-making process that is clearly far from intuitive for most of the rest of the league, the Rays save careers. They are MLB messiahs.

OK, this is plainly exaggeration. But this organization gives excellent individual instruction. Take Hernandez. As DRaysBay pointed out last month, the righty is throwing an above-average changeup more often than he did with the Cleveland Indians (mostly while going by the moniker Fausto Carmona), among other changes, some more intangible.

Carm- errr Hernandez is generating more swings and misses than at any point in his career. Same goes for his 22.3 strikeout percentage (career rate of 14.1 percent). He's posted an 8.65 K/9 against a 2.74 BB/9 while continuing to produce a grounder rate of 50-plus percent. The lone problem has been the bomb: Compare his 2013 HR/9 (1.48, on 20.6 HR/FB) to his lifetime rates (0.89, 11.7).

Boston Red Sox SS Stephen Drew
Dreeeeewwwwwww

There will probably be more rough moments. This isn't an overnight process. But Hernandez has clearly, with help, discovered a better way to do things, setting himself up for more success -- and more improvements to his ERA like those that have gotten him to 4.43 in that category this year.

SS Stephen Drew, Boston Red Sox

The last couple of years haven't been kind to Drew, mostly thanks to his health, but with the exception of his concussion in spring training, his ordeal is related entirely to the broken ankle he suffered in July of 2011. The BoSox took a one-year shot on the 30-year-old and are seeing dividends.

From April 27 through May 15, Drew raised his average from .136 to .245, with three round-trippers and stolen base in that time. He's a fixture at the bottom of Beantown's lineup, but it's a pretty good lineup, so don't complain.

An active Drew remains no guarantee, but a healthy one -- a completely healthy one -- should be owned in most leagues. He could end up with 15-plus homers and double-digit steals and cost you nothing to acquire. He's playing for the chance to secure a multi-year deal this coming offseason.

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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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