Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Koji Uehara, Jorge De La Rosa, more

by Keith Hernandez on June 24, 2013 @ 12:30:00 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

RP Koji Uehara, Boston Red Sox

Late last week, another American League squad shifted things around in their bullpen. The Red Sox demoted Andrew Bailey from the closer role in favor of Uehara. Uehara was chosen over Junichi Tazawa because of his former closing experience in Japan and a short stint in the ninth with the Baltimore Orioles in 2010.

Uehara warranted ownership in cavernous mixed leagues already thanks to his sparkling peripherals (2.10 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 12.6 K/9). There's nothing holding him back from being owned everywhere now that he'll be closing out games for Boston.

Durability concerns have been the only real knock on Uehara, but it appears both he and John Farrell are comfortable with the idea of him pitching on back-to-back days as the new closer. This is an open-ended job for Uehara, and while the team isn't ruling out Bailey recapturing the gig, Uehara may not give them any reason to go back to that well if he continues pitching like he has.

OF Ben Revere, Philadelphia Phillies

Colorado Rockies SP Jorge De La Rosa
De La Rosa: year of the boomerang?

Revere has been removed from the leadoff spot in favor of the seventh slot in the lineup, but it's not because he's cold. Philly's center fielder has raised his average from .203 in late May to .276 with a hot June. He just snapped a 12-game hitting streak Sunday and leads the team with 20 thefts after swiping three bags Saturday night.

The former Minnesota Twins outfielder has taken some time to acclimate to a new league. This slappy stick rarely hits the ball in the air (six extra-base hits in 246 at-bats, no homers), but his speed is money in the bank. He'll need to generate more free passes - he's walked only twice this month - to keep his average climbing, though. If you're strictly searching for steals, he's your man.

2B/SS Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners

We knew Franklin could hit down on the farm (.324/.440/.472 in 142 ABs with Class AAA Tacoma), and he's proving to be a quick study at the major league level, albeit over a small sample size. The 22-year-old is hitting .283 with four home runs and three stolen bases and has recorded a knock in 10 of his last 12 games, including three multi-hit performances.

His advanced plate patience and approach are helping him succeed immediately. Franklin's moderate gap-to-gap power plays well with both second base and shortstop eligibility. He can also run a little.

The Mariners have confidence he can hold down the keystone, enough so to consider moving Dustin Ackley to the outfield. There's really no reason Franklin should be available in leagues with extra spots for middle infielders.

SP Eric Stults, San Diego Padres

Believe it or not, Stults has been one of the Friars' most consistent starting arms this year. Maybe his 8-3, 2.91-ERA 2012 season isn't an aberration after all. In his last four starts (two wins) for San Diego, Stults has a 1.84 ERA and is holding opponents to a .210 average.

The key for the 33-year-old southpaw has been control; he's walking only 1.86 batters per nine. The crafty lefty (shades of Jamie Moyer?) doesn't fan many (5.85 K/9), but he's limited his fly-ball allowance, which will always go a long way at PETCO Park. He'll get touched up along the way, but he'll continue to be attractive in the right spots if he continues to pound the zone.

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

SP Jorge De La Rosa, Colorado Rockies

New York Mets 1B Ike Davis
Davis back in NYC soon?

Most folks are probably scared off by De La Rosa because of his Tommy John surgery and history of wildness. But he's completely healthy now and has reduced his walk rate to 8.7 percent, which demonstrates considerable improvement for the lefty.

As a result, he's sacrificed some dominance; his strikeout rate is down to 16.1 percent on the season from 21.2 percent during his pre-Tommy John form. It's not that he's lost velocity, though -- he's consistently in the low-90s and occasionally touches the mid-90s with his fastball.

De La Rosa's ground-ball rates are trending in the right direction, too, keeping him out of danger at Coors Field. Now that health is on his side, he's looking more like the ace everyone thought he could become before elbow reconstruction. As long as he's consistently throwing strikes, De La Rosa is a nice pitching asset to own.

1B Ike Davis, New York Mets

Davis is in the running for biggest fantasy baseball disappointment of 2013 after he slugged 32 long balls and drove in 90 runs after a slow start last season. An even worse start this year (.161/.242/.258 with 66 K's in 207 plate appearances) forced the Metropolitans to demote him.

At Triple-A Las Vegas, Davis has shown signs of life, hitting .310 with four home runs in 42 at-bats. He's also struck out 11 times and taken 12 walks. Things could finally be looking up for Ike. It helps that he's taken time to make adjustments at the plate, and although Las Vegas resides in the hitting-friendly Pacific Coast League, any positive developments for Davis will be welcomed.

Could he be leaving Las Vegas soon? There's a good possibility. Lucas Duda (intercostal) landed on the DL over the weekend and skipper Terry Collins doesn't want to move Daniel Murphy to first base. Davis has been a second-half performer in the past. Can he do it again? It might be worth finding out.

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About Keith Hernandez

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.

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