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?
Most frequently added in leagues polled
1B/OF Kyle Blanks, San Diego Padres
No longer firing Blanks
Blanks' avenue for more playing time opened up when the Friars realized Yonder Alonso had a fractured bone in his right hand two Fridays ago. At the time, it was believed Alonso could miss four-plus weeks, although he was hoping to return in a month. There is no timetable for his return, and now Cameron Maybin (knee) is back on the DL, meaning Blanks will be playing every day.
He's earned it, too, hitting .294 with four dingers and 10 RBIs in 34 at-bats since Alonso landed on the DL. He's shown better plate discipline in his fifth MLB season, and his power stroke remains (eight home runs this year in 135 at-bats).
The additional outfield eligibility makes him that much more attractive in deep mixed leagues. The Padres can't sit him now, and with a DL stint for Carlos Quentin (shoulder) possible, Blanks could continue to see regular at-bats when Alonso returns.
SP Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds
Johnny Cueto is back from his shoulder injury, but Leake is in no danger of being shipped to the bullpen. That'll fall upon Tony Cingrani, if he's not sent back to the minors. Leake has the best ERA of the team's starters (2.76) not named Cueto.
After a rough first month, Leake has been exceptional since mid-May, going 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 31 K's in 40 innings (six starts). He's allowed three runs or less in each start since May 8.
Dusty Baker had confidence that Leake could hold down the back of the rotation early this season, and that patience has paid off. The key for Leake has been consistency; he's inducing over 50 percent grounders with excellent control, which is important while pitching at Great American Ball Park. As long as his command remains sharp, Leake will be good, but not elite.
2B/SS Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies
Shocker: Troy Tulowitzki (fractured rib) is back on the DL. Rutledge was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs and immediately delivered with a home run Friday night. He started at shortstop both Saturday and Sunday after playing the keystone Friday.
DJ LeMahieu and Jonathan Herrera can be mixed and matched in the middle infield alongside Rutledge with Tulo on the shelf, but Rutledge provides you with a better mixed league option that is eligible at both short and second.
More plate patience will help out his BA, but Rutledge has pop that can be dangerous with enough PT, as his six homers in 171 at-bats attest. He can also run a little, stealing seven bags in 73 games last season. Rutledge will be at least middle infield depth in deep mixed universes with Tulowitzki out, and he has the potential to be more.
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled
1B/OF Mike Carp, Boston Red Sox
Catch Carp while you can
A frustrating 2012 season for Carp with the Seattle Mariners was marred by injuries. Throw last year out the window. After an 0-for-21 stretch early this year, Carp has rebounded to hit .324 with eight long balls and 25 RBIs in only 105 at-bats.
It's been tough for John Farrell to get him in the lineup consistently, but a recent illness to Mike Napoli has allowed Carp to settle in. In June, Carp has a ridiculous slash line of .405/.469/.833 with five homers and 12 RBIs, reminding us all of the power he possesses when healthy.
With an improved plate approach, Carp can be deadly, because his power isn't going away anytime soon. Playing time will continue to be his problem, especially with Napoli expected back sometime this week. It'll be hard for Farrell to completely ignore Carp the way he's swinging, though, making him worth owning in deep mixed leagues if he can get over his reportedly minor hamstring injury, which he's supposed to in time for tomorrow.
SP Hector Santiago, Chicago White Sox
Santiago is quietly becoming one of the team's most reliable starters behind Chris Sale. Jake Peavy's non-displaced rib fracture could keep him out for another four weeks or so, too, so Santiago will remain in the rotation for at least the next month.
His experiment as closer ended last year, and he proved to be much more effective in a starting role late last season. That's carried over into 2013, where he's gone 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA and 45 K's to 20 walks in 39 innings (seven starts).
Santiago's dominance (9.4 K/9) can't be ignored as long as he's starting. His innings total will likely become a factor in the second half, though. He's currently at 57 1/3 frames after throwing a career-high 70 1/3 innings last year. Worry about that later. For now, he deserves your attention.
C Jason Castro, Houston Astros
The former first-rounder is finally healthy and is putting up solid numbers for a backstop. He currently ranks first in slugging percentage (.486) and second in doubles (18) and home runs (10) in the American League among catchers. Castro's solid plate approach gives him upside as a BA contributor at a position that rarely yields production in that area.
Although he's struggled against southpaws early in his career (.182 in 44 at-bats), he homered on back-to-back days against lefties over the weekend and is becoming a threat at his position, even if he does play for the Astros. He should be owned in all two-catcher formats.
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.