Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Ricky Nolasco, Carlos Villanueva, more

by Tim Heaney on July 8, 2013 @ 13:25:00 PDT


Pages 1 | 2 | all'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 Ricky Nolasco, Los Angeles Dodgers

Fantasy owners must've read Keith's recent entry in droves. The subsequent trade to the Dodgers affirmed Nolasco's intrigue with a change of scenery -- plus, in this case, an offense that has exploded in recent weeks. Yay, run support. He'll make his Blue debut Tuesday against the middling Arizona Diamondbacks.

Chicago Cubs P Carlos Villanueva
Villanueva back in rotation, style

Nolasco has dodged high rates of liner allowance over much of his career because he's typically around the strike zone. He's been dancing around the plate a bit more this year, though, and hitters have actually helped him with more outside-the-zone whiffs. In turn, he's punched out more batters; his per-nine rate of 7.21 sits at its highest level since 2010. His much-improved slider and two-seamer/sinker have been leaving chasers empty.

The 30-year-old should remain comfortable working home contests in another pitcher-friendly NL domain while offering useful, not outstanding, depth innings. He has a better chance of yielding occasional brilliance, though, in his new threads.

1B/OF Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins

Nolasco's former teammate joins him. He's back to showcasing his high-walk ways and, more importantly with four homers in 70 at-bats since returning from the DL, teasing the power that made him a breakthrough candidate in recent years.

The worm-burner frequency that has kept him from the next power level partially stems from his penchant for contact, which so far has prompted him to connect on more pitches he's supposed to avoid (a whopping 79.2 percent). Getting back in a groove will help him lay off settling for dinks and pick his spots for slam dunks; his eye will help him eventually once the eagerness wanes.

He'll turn only 26 in August; talk about having time to develop thump from a 6-foot-3, 245-pound framework. Morrison will rest that bulky build here and there to stay fresh and avoid certain left-handed hurlers, but (especially in OBP leagues) he's a versatile upside piece for this season and might be one of the draft steals of 2014. You'll simply have to absorb the dense cloud of injury risk that comes with him.

1B/3B Juan Francisco, Milwaukee Brewers

With an 11-for-37 (.297) run, including four homers and eight RBIs, over his last 10 contests, Francisco continues to seize the playing time offered by knee injuries at the corner-infield bags to Corey Hart (season-ending) and Aramis Ramirez (potential DL stint).

Though he'll offer spectators ample breeze, Francisco has boosted his walk rate to a respectable (for him) 7.9 percent, which will at least preserve his PT. One area of concern is the number of infield flies he's accumulated and its combination with his increasing grounder rate, which make his 26.2 percent HR/FB all the more tenuous.

Still, the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder has enough natural oomph to overcome that, especially on mistake pitches, and yield CI value in deep mixed leagues the rest of the way. Though he'll probably stall in every other column, he should reach 20 homers by October and could easily top that.

Windy City offers good pickups -- one from each side of town

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

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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