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Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Jonathan Villar swiping points, Indians pitchers ignored, more

By Tim Heaney
Edited by Nicholas Minnix

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

SS Jonathan Villar, Houston Astros

Four steals in three games: That'll remind even the checked-out players of Villar's blazing speed. September at the dish hasn't been bad, either: .326-1-5 with 10 runs scored in 43 at-bats. He's hit leadoff in the past eight contests.

Robbie Grossman probably won't get that spot back, even after he returns from a strained oblique. Villar lacks plate discipline, but they'd prefer to test him out at the top for the long term.

The 'Stros discount applies and could win the category for you in mixed leagues where they haven't learned to appreciate the 22-year-old, who could challenge for the big-league lead in thefts during a full season.

3B Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox

Cleveland Indians SP Corey Kluber
Kluber: still overlooked

Even after his 0-for-8 performance over the last two contests, WMB has owned September (.361-4-9 over 36 AB). Nice to see people finally listened to Nick. Middlebrooks' .160, homer-less run of eight games to end August probably clipped his ownership percentage.

Fickle, fickle: Even a bottom-third hitter in this order can produce, especially when boasting such raw power.

OF Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Since his batting average sat at .215 after Aug. 19, Calhoun has rattled off a .375-3-18 stretch over 20 games and 64 at-bats. He's .400-1-11 for September (35 AB) while showing patience. As with Middlebrooks, Calhoun probably had to win back many owners.

Despite his (generous?) 5-foot-10, 190-pound listing, he packs a wallop. Coincidentally, he was forced to shorten his swing. (At Triple-A Salt Lake in April, he fractured the hamate bone of his right hand.) The mechanical change has paid off and puts him in consideration for a 2014 lineup spot. His audition deserves a utility spot on competing mixed squads.

SP Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals

Roark silenced the Miami Marlins on Saturday with six scoreless frames for the victory. He was picked up for a Thursday tilt against the New York Mets and, with a solid game, would increase his hold on the final quintet spot over Ross Ohlendorf.

Roark hasn't wowed with his K/9s at the higher levels of pro ball, but he fans enough to complement his promising control. The 24-year-old grazes the mid-90s with his fastball and has come along with his curveball-slider-changeup cache. Renting Washington's back-of-the-rotation arms, even with a spotty backing offense, typically yields cheap, helpful IPs.

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

SPs Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians

Minnesota Twins OF Josh Willingham
Willingham fights with power

You might get some ERA and WHIP blowback from this pair, but if you're chasing strikeouts, you must consider them. Kluber's growth in that realm is for reals, yo; check his opponents' 10.6 swinging-strike percentage. He's back from the DL, too.

An August entry here, Salazar remains unclaimed in many formats. He's fallen short of five innings in three of his last five starts, which probably explains the hesitation. Many mixed-leaguers, however, have overlooked his 10.95 K/9, which is bloated but represents his skills.

If that's not enough, look at the Tribe's remaining series: the Chicago White Sox twice, plus the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins.

OF Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

Did his request to move from cleanup to sixth spark him? Willingham blasted a pair of homers Tuesday, the first time he cleared the fences in 22 games since Aug. 13. He had been hitting .151 since his early-August return from knee surgery.

Hammer's BA ability will always hinder his ceiling if he doesn't hit 30-ish homers, but OBP leaguers know he plays better in those games. For what little is left of the regular season, he has a chance to make up for his health- and slump-related shortcomings with the long ball. Why not grab someone who knows how to pelt a pelota?


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