Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Jurickson Profar, Kendrys Morales, more

by Tim Heaney on May 20, 2013 @ 13:00:00 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

2B Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers

Seattle Mariners DH Kendrys Morales
Time to find Morales?

Ian Kinsler's DL placement (right intercostal strain) clears the way for the nearly consensus top MLB prospect, who'll play Kinsler's spot. Profar has manned second base and shortstop on the farm. The beyond-his-years 20-year-old was posting a rate of numbers in his first Triple-A Round Rock action similar to his output at Double-A Frisco last season.

Barring another Texas injury, however, the switch-hitter might have only Kinsler's absence to convince them he should stick after the incumbent's activation. A slump would justify a demotion.

In most leagues with 12-plus teams, however, he deserves to be stashed for the long-term game, lessening the pain of a quick demotion while giving you ease of mind that a deep-league competitor won't benefit if Profar forces his way into the everyday lineup (outfield, perhaps?).

SP Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates

Thanks to 16 K's and two wins in his first two starts of the year, he's in high demand a few weeks after being listed as a "Best Available." The Pirates may have another success story with a talented but troubled arm that benefits from moving to a favorable Senior Circuit home park.

His WHIP will continue lashing his owners, notably from his walks column, but his new overhand delivery stands to streamline both the downward snap on his breaking stuff -- a trademark of his past dominance -- and Liriano's command. The likelihood of rough spots shouldn't prevent you from trying out his new ceiling, which should look more like 2010 (3.62 ERA, 9.44 K/9) than his ugliness from '11 and '12.

SP Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays

Overshadowed by Profar's return was the Saturday announcement of this 23-year-old joining Tampa's rotation Monday. He wound up going five innings, allowing three runs, five hits and one walk while fanning six Toronto Blue Jays, in his debut on Monday.

Odorizzi may wear this uni only a few weeks, depending on how long David Price (strained left triceps) must rest. The stand-in has the upside of a No. 2 starter but more comfortably fits as a middle-of-the-rotation piece. Despite his 47 punch-outs in 44 2/3 frames at Triple-A Durham this year, he doesn't break many radar guns, more often relying on guile and sequencing with his variety of breaking balls.

Homers have been a problem at Triple-A with TB and with his former organization, the Kansas City Royals. His precision-based work will probably sustain this problem throughout his career, but his potential for an above-average K/9 means he deserves a rental in redraft formats and ownership in most deep keepers. Remember, though, that Tampa has numerous young alternatives if he falters.

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

1B Kendrys Morales, Seattle Mariners

Arizona Diamondbacks SP Brandon McCarthy
McCarthy plays with numbers

With a 3-for-4 effort through eight innings Monday, Morales has at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games, over which he's hitting .333 with two homers and eight RBIs. Both taters came after he was moved to cleanup on May 12.

Though an increased slugging percentage in May has corrupted his walk-rate and strikeout-rate improvements, Morales' fly-ball rate is at its highest pace since 2009. Lineup position doesn't always matter, but he boasts extensive experience hitting in slots four through six. Comfort should help him regain power that'll play in all environments, even Safeco Field.

SP Brandon McCarthy, Arizona Diamondbacks

During a May 4 interview with AZCentral.com's Nick Piecoro (a sabermetrically inclined MLB beat reporter), the statistically analytical McCarthy explained that poor luck and execution were contributing to his poor start to the season. He said he needed to pitch lower in the strike zone and refine the grip on his two-seamer.

In three outings since that chat, he's posted a 1.16 ERA with 13 K's and three walks in 23 1/3 frames. Surely he didn't mind facing the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins, who hold three of the lowest OPS ratings in the bigs.

Still, in May, he's eliciting fewer dangerous flies, and on the year, the control artist has walked just 1.26 batters per nine. Much of his profile relies on his defense, but he's looking more likely to trend toward his FIP (3.57) than to keep slipping in ERA (4.74). Your competitors may not notice.

OF Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres

Between his eight-game mound-charging suspension and various absences (injuries, paternity leave), Quentin has been left off many mixed rosters. His .184/.298/.391 line hasn't urged fantasy owners to target him, either.

Whenever he plays, however, he's a legit threat to leave the park, even his home digs, which despite their overall rep for pitcher-friendliness often ease up on righty bats. He's had issues with infield flies over the last few seasons, and this year's percentage of 26.5 in a small sample says not much has changed. Turning more of those into productive bombs could only require a slight tweak to his swing, or just getting comfort back without frequent pauses to his season.

Continuity may be paying off: He's hit two homers with five RBIs in his last six contests. Five-outfielder players cycling low-end filler could do worse than hop on board before he heats up even more.

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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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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