Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Junior Lake, Alex Wood, more

by Tim Heaney on July 25, 2013 @ 11:02:21 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

3B/OF Junior Lake, Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs OF Junior Lake
Dive into Lake at your own risk

Theo Epstein's plan to sell potentially Alfonso Soriano, but seemingly at least one fly-catcher, gives the 23-year-old a legit shot to hold down an outfield job. Lake has bolstered his immediate security with a 14-for-27, two-homer, five-RBI, one-swipe start to his MLB career -- a Yasiel Puigan display, indeed.

Now that Lake probably isn't destined for infield leather (he was quite the butcher), he'll have a better chance at sticking. His power ceiling doesn't compare to Jorge Soler's, and solid numbers against low-level competition hid his shoddy plate discipline. His toolsy makeup, for better (power and potential thievery) or worse (looping, busy, overly aggressive swing), indicates a thick aura of none other than Soriano.

An incomplete version of that will give owners alternating awe and frustration, with a more likely trend of pitchers catching up to his weaknesses as the summer drags on. Though his eligibility adds to the intrigue, stay cautious over a hacker with 156 Triple-A at-bats.

SS Jonathan Villar, Houston Astros

Owners seeking a middle-infield boost have targeted the Astros' new starter. (More on him in our latest Player Prospecting.) He'll strike out often, but the former fringe top-100 prospect will enjoy a long leash to try securing this gig for these basement dwellers. Villar, 22, could do enough across the board to fulfill deep-mixed desperation at-bats.

OF Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres

Guessing picker-uppers waited to see if Quentin came out of his latest injury OK. He returned from wrist soreness Wednesday, going 0-for-4. Despite that, he's .280-3-14 for the month, and makes a fine fourth or fifth outfielder for power-starved, dual-universe clubs.

OF Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins

The same Prospecting rundown that featured Villar gives plenty of time to Yelich, as well. Suffice to say that he's not going to rattle off his debut numbers every contest, and you should plan for the 21-year-old to scuffle. But now that he's back on track after an injury-laden spring, there's a better chance of him tapping the surface of his talent.

RP Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Sports Illustrated cover jinx claimed one more victim in Jason Grilli. Luckily, it's a forearm strain; it was feared to be a much worse injury. Melancon, meanwhile, closed out the Buccos' Wednesday victory and, though he won't K folks at Grilli's level, his shiny profile and Pittsburgh's deep setup corps should give him free reign on fireman duties for as long as Grilli is out. Even if it's a short stay, Melancon is worth owning in many mixed leagues as a setup man anyway.

RP Jim Henderson, Milwaukee Brewers

The Brew Crew started selling by shipping out Francisco Rodriguez. Henderson is the likeliest to run with the gig, and fantasy owners have accurately followed this course. Still, Ron Roenicke said John Axford and even lefty Mike Gonzalez are options, as well, and that's the same order you should follow if you missed out on Henderson.

OF Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers

He's finally playing up to his best attributes: cutting down on whiffs, getting on base, and producing a sound clip via a high rate of in-play success. Matt Kemp's (ankle) return to the DL opens up full-time work once again for Ethier in center field, which'll open up time for him to build on his .361-2-12 line this month.

His smidge of improvement versus left-handers (.250-2-10 in 108 AB) seems to be helping, too. Now that this lineup is clicking, there's little to complain about as long as you don't base his 2013 ceiling on his 2009 numbers.

Who's being overlooked?

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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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