Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Nicholas Minnix on July 22, 2009 @ 01:01:04 PDT

 


Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

Fantasy baseball waivers and the acquisition of fantasy baseball free agents can make or break a season. You may have adjusted your fantasy baseball cheat sheets over and over during spring training. If your team remains the same after opening day, though, you will probably have trouble competing in your rotisserie baseball league.

Do you need to add players to replace your fantasy baseball busts? Which players can you ignore? KFFL.com's Diamond Market series gives you the fantasy baseball tips and advice you need to sort through the masses quickly.

Key

Acquire - Add player (in most circumstances)

Watch - Track player; consider adding if trend continues

Pass - Do not add player (in most circumstances)

Catchers

Rob Johnson, Seattle Mariners

M's skipper Don Wakamatsu is pleased with the way Johnson has handled the staff - specifically, Felix Hernandez, Jarrod Washburn and Erik Bedard. It's safe to say that Johnson will probably be in the lineup when one of those arms is on the hill. Last year a Ken Rosenthal report stated that several hurlers weren't comfortable working with catcher Kenji Johjima.

Johnson, 27, is hitting just .209 with a homer and 19 RBIs in 153 at-bats; he's the proud owner of a six-game hitting streak and this month is 10-for-33 with that lone dinger. He doesn't scream upside, but Johnson was a .270 hitter in the minors and has - for a backstop - moderate power and speed. He's unlikely to have mixed value.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

First basemen

Adam LaRoche, Boston Red Sox

The BoSox's trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday netted them the notorious second-half streaker LaRoche. Theoretically, Fenway Park is an advantage to hitters, particularly left-handed thumpers, but it hasn't played that way in recent years.

LaRoche may also be in a bit of squeeze for PT: corner infielder Kevin Youkilis is a fixture, but the club will also juggle third baseman Mike Lowell and perhaps designated hitter David Ortiz. Still, trade talks appear relatively quiet, so LaRoche could easily be the biggest bat to hit the Junior Circuit. Coming close to a top-dollar bid may be worth it.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

John Bowker, San Francisco Giants

San Fran called up Bowker a couple of weeks ago and planned to play him fairly frequently. The left-handed bat is 5-for-25 with a bomb and three RBIs since the promotion; he has played in eight of nine games, with a mix of appearances in left and right field as well as at first base.

The lukewarm prospect hit .255 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs in 326 at-bats with los Gigantes in 2008. He was hitting .347 with 17 jacks and 63 RBIs for Triple-A Fresno this season and could easily be mixed relevant.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Daric Barton, Oakland Athletics

The A's placed Jason Giambi (quadriceps) on the disabled list at the beginning of the week. Manager Bob Geren said he'd prefer to have infielder Nomar Garciaparra's stick in there as much as possible, but Garciaparra isn't certain that his body can handle more than limited PT.

Barton has started thrice (including Wednesday) since his recall. He was hitting .261 with nine homers and 48 RBIs at Triple-A Sacramento. In his last 15 games with the River Cats, he hit .321 with six round-trippers, 16 ribbies and a .463 on-base percentage. Barton, 23, is a relatively uninspiring former prospect who hit a mere .226 in 446 at-bats in the bigs in 2008.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Second basemen

Matt Downs, San Francisco Giants

Manager Bruce Bochy said the move to call up Downs for a second go-round came because the offense is struggling. Odd choice, then? Downs was 7-for-36 in his major league initiation. They'd also like to evaluate Downs, though. Infielder Juan Uribe hasn't hit lately; his swing is looking pretty ugly. Bochy would prefer the veteran fill more of a utility role.

Downs was 18-for-57 (.317) with two dingers and 12 RBIs since his demotion to Triple-A Fresno. He went 1-for-4 with a two-bagger and a run in his first game back with the parent club.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Carlos Guillen, Detroit Tigers

Carlos Guillen, Detroit Tigers
I bring multipositional eligibility

The Tigers could have Guillen (shoulder) back as soon as this Friday. His rehab assignment has advanced him to Triple-A Toledo; he was 3-for-12 with three runs for Class A Lakeland. Guillen was experiencing pain in his injured right shoulder while batting from the right side.

Guillen had shown signs of declining power, so this injury has likely only made the matter worse. The Tigers have also made extremely mild efforts to add a bat via trade. Nevertheless, if he's healthy, Guillen, who is eligible at the corners and outfield in many formats, could still hit for average. Los Tigres' lineup makes him worth sniffing.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Lastings Milledge, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Washington Nationals castoff received another fresh start at the end of June. Since joining Triple-A Indianapolis, he's 14-for-35 (.400) with five RBIs and two steals. Last week he was named the International League Batter of the Week; he hit .529 during the period. Milledge made comments recently that hint he has gained some much needed maturity.

The trade of first baseman Adam LaRoche (Boston Red Sox) indirectly opens a spot in the outfield, which Milledge could fill in the very near future. Expect Garrett Jones to play first base - he started there today - perhaps for the balance of the remainder of the season. Delwyn Young and Brandon Moss had been playing somewhat regularly and will probably benefit marginally in the short term, but Milledge and his speed should be the real winner. He wasn't in the lineup for Triple-A Indianapolis Wednesday, meaning he could be on his way soon.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox

Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox
How long will Buch stay up this time?

He's right back up thanks to an injury to Tim Wakefield (back). Buchholz was effective in his first 2009 major league outing (5 2/3 innings, four hits, one earned run and three walks allowed, with three K's). He's obviously brimming with talent and should receive the nod two or three times. Wake doesn't expect to be on the disabled list for more than a couple of weeks.

The first start comes today, at the Texas Rangers, who have one of the best home offenses in the majors and against right-handers. The outing against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway next week appears more attractive.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Tim Stauffer, San Diego Padres

In the bigs, Stauffer, a former first-rounder, has tasted success infrequently, with most of his major league innings coming in 2005. Shoulder surgery eliminated 2008 from his logbook. An offseason workout program with the Padres' strength and conditioning coach put him on the right track, though. He was outstanding as a reliever for Double-A San Antonio and was 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 16 K's in four starts (23 innings) for Triple-A Portland.

In two outings with the Friars, Stauffer is 0-1, but he has yielded only three earned runs, seven hits and three walks while fanning 11 in 13 innings. Manager Bud Black said he has noticed more velocity on Stauffer's heater and better break from Stauffer's slider. PETCO Park can make any improved pitcher worth a stab.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Rick VandenHurk, Florida Marlins

The right-hander apparently earned the No. 4 spot in the rotation after he lasted six innings and gave up five hits, two runs and two walks, with four K's, against the San Diego Padres Monday. Reportedly, VandenHurk's breaking ball is tighter that it used to be. He doesn't throw hard but has exhibited strikeout capability. He's a total flyball hurler, so Land Shark Stadium and certain road outings may make him appealing, so long as his control doesn't do him in.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Watch

Relief pitchers

C.J. Wilson, Texas Rangers

Frank Francisco (pneumonia) is back on the DL, although this stint shouldn't be long. Wilson has done the job before, and he's doing it again. Those scouring for saves know the drill. Wilson isn't a bad reliever to stash if you're in that position.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

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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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