Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, more

by Nicholas Minnix on June 13, 2013 @ 12:48:31 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

SP Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

New York Mets SP Zack Wheeler
Stealers Wheeler

Word has spread quickly enough that Wheeler should be owned in more leagues than not by the time he makes his major league debut, on what's expected to be this coming Tuesday. If you're looking for the next big thing and the right-hander is still available in your space, go get him.

Don't judge Wheeler by his 4.14 ERA at Triple-A Las Vegas (where major league equivalencies prove to be kind to pitchers). Don't second-guess because the Muts decided to have him make one more start on the farm following his lackluster 4 2/3 frames of eight-hit ball, with four runs allowed, last Friday.

There are a lot of similarities between Matt Harvey and Wheeler. This isn't to say that fantasy owners should expect a repeat of Harvey's 2012 debut stint (a 2.73 ERA and 10.62 K/9), but it's something to shoot for, and Wheeler may come close.

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Boston Red Sox

The switch-hitting backstop has provided the expected level of power production (eight home runs in 176 at-bats), but he's also batted .278, helping him to drive in runs in other ways. Already he has 28 RBIs, nearly half of his career-high total, set in 2012. In his last 10 contests (41 at-bats), the backstop has hit .366 with three bombs.

Alas, Salty has whiffed in approximately one-third of his plate appearances, which is par for his course, and his 63.1 percent rate of contact (PITCHf/x) would easily be the worst of his career; he's typically around 70 percent. When pitchers begin to throw him fewer strikes, Saltalamacchia is likelier to come up with hits, perhaps considerably, less often.

OF Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres

A modicum of good health is surprisingly beneficial to a player's statistical output. Quentin has batted .260 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in his 154 at-bats of 2013. This month, in 11 games (40 at-bats), he's hit .400 with a pair of dingers. Hey, it took the guy a bit to get into the swing of things, what with discomfort in his surgically repaired knee limiting him in March as well as the usual nagging ailments and a suspension slowing him in April.

You know what you're getting here: an acceptable batting average, at best, in the long run, plus the penchant for power. Quentin is a great depth piece in a deep mixed league, as long as he's healthy. He's a must-own in OBP formats (because of his great walk rate), too.

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

SP Dillon Gee, New York Mets

New York Mets SP Dillon Gee
Gee's stock clarified

An awful start to this campaign prompted a warning from his skipper about his tenuous hold on his job in the rotation. Gee possessed a 6.34 ERA after 10 starts. Jeremy Hefner, the Johan Santana fallback plan, was making Gee expendable once the Metropolitans promoted their next prized pitching prospect.

Gee has likely flipped the table on Hefner by allowing only one run in each of his last three starts (21 innings), including his 6 2/3 superb innings on Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He's fanned 26, with only three walks, in that span.

The righty reported that he's been dealing with tendonitis near his wrist all season, but apparently he's learned to deal with it. He may not be the best long-term solution. He certainly isn't Wheeler. But Gee throws strikes -- plenty of them -- and his marks are due for some more improvement.

2B/3B Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

The excitement surrounding his promotion last week was no doubt muted by a few factors. Among them may be the uncertainty about his stay, his solid but unspectacular marks (six hits, including a double, in 25 at-bats, with an RBI and five walks) in his initial exposure to big-league pitching and his lack of experience above Class AA ball.

Rendon, 23, wields a major league-quality bat and a more than MLB-ready understanding of the strike zone. He's posted a .307/.452/.575 in the minors this season. He's in D.C. as a potential part of the solution to the Nats' offensive woes. And if he doesn't have eligibility at second base yet in your league, he will in a few days.

Since his return to the parent club (six games, 24 at-bats), he's collected nine hits, including four doubles. If Rendon keeps hitting, Danny Espinosa's health and performance won't matter much.

SP Shaun Marcum, New York Mets

Avert your eyes from his 4.96 ERA. An inflamed nerve in Marcum's neck and shoulder didn't allow him much of a spring training. He returned to an MLB mound relatively quickly, so it's no surprise that he was off for a few weeks to open his 2013 campaign.

In his last five games (four starts, 34 1/3 innings), Marcum has posted a 3.41 ERA, with 33 strikeouts and four walks. Citi Field's fences have moved in, but the fly-ball pitcher's current home environs are still a better place to call home than Miller Park was. Now, all he needs is some run support.

In the long run, Marcum should turn out to be a better fantasy addition than Gee, for however long he doesn't end up on the disabled list in the near future. Marcum is probably a little closer to his top form than his results suggest. This is a pitcher who should be owned once it's clear that he's healthy, for however long that lasts.

Seriously, did you ever think you'd see three starting pitchers from the Mets qualify as good fantasy pickups ... especially at the same time?

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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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