Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Rajai Davis, Jacob Turner, more

by Nicholas Minnix on July 1, 2013 @ 13:51:57 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

OF Rajai Davis, Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays OF Rajai Davis
Ragin' for Rajai

The Jays placed Melky Cabrera on the disabled list near the end of last week because he developed tendonitis in his left knee. Davis began to benefit from Cabrera's ailment two days prior, when it first appeared, because the switch hitter filled in at DH while the uber-speedster played in left. Naturally, Davis will continue to fill in regularly.

As long as Davis has playing time, he should be owned. His ridic speed and ability to hit for a solid average make him the ideal fourth-outfielder type for just such occasions, depending on the depth of the league. For instance, in 15- and some 12-team mixed leagues, he, rather than a number of other fringe players with regular PT, belongs on roster because of his impact in one category when he plays and his continuous proximity to that state.

Not convinced? Davis is 8-for-19 with five stolen bases in his last five games, all since Cabrera has been dealing with the knee injury. He swiped two more on Monday.

SP Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds

This just in: Johnny Cueto's latissimus dorsi hates Cueto's fantasy owners. Cingrani, the intermittent heir of the 27-year-old's rotation spot, is a decent consolation prize for them, if they can get it. Dare they handcuff the southpaw to the right-hander? Blasphemy.

Cingrani, who turns 24 on Friday, has posted a 3.42 ERA, a 10.84 K/9 and a 3.23 BB/9 in 47 1/3 big-league innings this year. He's 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA, 10.35 K/9 and a 2.25 BB/9 in his seven starts (40 frames). So, yeah, get him if he's still out there.

The Reds plan to proceed quite cautiously with Cueto this time around, so this absence should extend well beyond the break. Cingrani ownership is at least a month-long proposal.

OF Ichiro Suzuki, New York Yankees

Last week, Keith used Page 2's space ("Best Available") to urge fantasy owners to hop on this golden oldie. Now that Vernon Wells has settled down, and with Curtis Granderson (fractured pinkie) still on the shelf for a while, Ichiro is in a good place.

Lately, that good place has been the two-hole, quite frequently. Ichiro's average has steadily been on the rise since late May, and in his last 12 games, he's 14-for-48 with three home runs and three stolen bases. He's cooled a bit in the past half-week, but in mixed leagues of 12 teams, and any formats deeper than those, he should hang around as a solid depth piece, at least.

SP Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles

Ownership of the O's right-hander has been on the rise substantially. He's 10-2 with a 3.68 ERA, a 7.27 K/9 and a 3.41 BB/9 in his 17 starts (100 1/3 stanzas). His 2013 campaign got off to a rough start, but since April 17, he's allowed three earned runs or fewer in all but one of his 14 outings. In June, the 25-year-old went 6-0 with a 2.68 ERA, 29 strikeouts and 16 free passes in six appearances (37 innings).

Tillman has been pretty solid following a breakthrough 2012 in which he posted a 2.93 ERA in 15 starts in the majors. Understandably, skepticism was high in the spring, but so far, he's ensured that his increased control rate and problem with the long ball (1.61 HR/9) in 2013 haven't hurt him notably. Will Tillman endure some correction to his left-on-base rate without a huge hit in ERA? His schedule makes that a difficult task, but his talent is finally apparent again.

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

SP Jacob Turner, Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins SP Jacob Turner
Turnering things around

His peripherals aren't overly impressive, beginning with his 5.93 K/9 in six starts (41 innings) since his call-up. Turner has walked 2.63 per nine frames and, thanks to the fact that he's allowed only one home run since his promotion, has registered a 1.76 ERA, however, so he's quickly become difficult to ignore.

Is this right-hander really one of the best pitchers available? He's produced grounders on more than half of the batted balls against him, a positive that wasn't on display in previous trips to the majors despite his reliance on a heavy sinker. Perhaps it's because, in South Florida, that sinker is a little heavier: its average velocity has risen by more than a 1 mph.

This past spring, Turner was a mess, residual no doubt from his last two seasons as a member of the Detroit Tigers' organization. His command was awful, and his confidence shattered. Under his original franchise, he never exhibited a high-K profile, but dips in his velocity and questions about his health eroded his prospect stock.

Perhaps the Marlins cast their line at just the right time. They pushed him to the farm to begin this campaign in order to reshape his mechanics. On Saturday, Turner fired the first complete game registered by the Fish this season, putting an exclamation point on what has been a triumphant month for the 22-year-old.

Will his ERA remain below 2.00? Of course not. Will he fan 100-plus men in the season's final three months? Extremely doubtful. But Miami may have unlocked the potential that made Turner a favorite of scouts high and low because of his hard, heavy stuff that should produce a pretty low WHIP and ERA.

2B Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles

Unless your league features unlimited DL space, it's virtually impossible to make a case for keeping Roberts on your roster once he sustains an injury. When he's healthy -- for however long that'll be -- however, there's not much of an excuse to leave him in the free-agent pool.

The O's activated him from the DL on Sunday, when he played his first game since the season's opening series. Roberts missed nearly two months -- twice as long as expected -- because he sustained a ruptured tendon in the club's third contest and it required surgery.

This season -- four games, anyway -- the switch hitter is 6-for-14 with a stolen base. Buck Showalter will likely continue to give him breaks by batting him at DH and giving him occasional days off. Baltimore no longer has to rely on Roberts in the top spot, but their lineup is good enough that the player in the nine-hole will contribute often. That's especially true if it's Roberts, who still has solid on-base skills and decent speed.

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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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