Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on August 7, 2009 @ 14:00:00 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)

Second basemen

Eugenio Velez, San Francisco Giants

Outfielder Nate Schierholtz's (hip) DL stint opened the door. In 10 games since his callup in late July, Velez has given the G-men a spark atop the order, hitting .419 with a dinger and eight RBIs in 43 at-bats. Tracing back to his MLB time in May, he has a 12-game hitting streak.

Though this is probably too good to be true (0.18 batting eye ratio in the bigs this year), Velez has been noticeably more patient at the dish in his second go-round this season despite his continually growing K column. You're better off not looking at the season stats and taking his recent improvements with a grain of salt. Best of all, his eligibility at both second and outfield allows you to cycle him in and out. If he starts to run, his pickup urgency will spike.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Ryan Roberts, Arizona Diamondbacks

Though he homered three times in a span of two days, Roberts will get an even better stat when his wife gives birth to their first child. He has left the team for the near future, but that shouldn't halt your interest. Another dual-eligibility target (second and third), Roberts is 10-for-21 this month. If all goes well, Roberts should return sometime over the weekend.

Roberts, 28, does a little bit of everything - a few taters, some steals and some runs scored. The minor league journeyman is relishing a power burst, and he's smoking the ball (21.5 percent line-drive rate). He has shown suitable patience (12.1 percent walk rate), but be sure to recognize he's probably performing over his head, and monitor his contributions.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Angel Pagan, New York Mets

Pagan's value rests solely on the timetable of injured stud Carlos Beltran (knee). The former has established himself as the interim leadoff option in the last 24 games (.293-2-15 with two steals). Pagan is hitting .391 with 11 RBIs since the calendar flipped, too. Though he doesn't take many walks, his .271 career MLB clip is serviceable, and he makes some noise on the basepaths (eight steals this year, four since his return to the bigs). His shelf life may not be long, though, so be quick with the trigger when he hits earth again.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Toronto Blue Jays OF Travis Snider
Snider is clamoring for another shot

Travis Snider, Toronto Blue Jays

It pays to be a step ahead of the competition. One big way to do this for 2009 would be scooping up Snider, who will probably be called up to fly with the big birds for the rest of the season. With the way Toronto is playing, this is a good time to give him some more MLB reps.

Snider missed most of June with a back injury but has hit .302 in 139 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas this year. During his comeback from the sidelines he worked with various Jays hitting coaches to tweak some of his plate mechanics. In a less pressurized atmosphere for the lowly Jays, the 21-year-old phenom has a chance to finish strong for your fantasy squad. He's worth a pre-emptive stash for deep rosters.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Trent Oeltjen, Arizona Diamondbacks

Though outfielder Alex Romero may also benefit from Justin Upton's (oblique) DL stint, the intriguing Oeltjen made a big case for PT by homering and swiping two bags in his big league debut Thursday. This was quite reflective of his minor league line for '09: .300-10-61 with 19 swipes, 14 triples and 74 runs scored in 414 at-bats.

What also stands out was his disturbing 95-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio at Triple-A Reno, but given the D-backs' aggressiveness along the paths, his legs may circumvent that hindrance. Though Upton isn't expected to be out that long and veteran outfielder Eric Byrnes (hand) is slowly working his way back, cavernous steal-hungry owners should have a bit more urgency with Oeltjen if they need a rental.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Julio Borbon, Texas Rangers

Borbon is traveling with the Rangers and is expected to be activated Friday in some fashion, either by Texas sending down a pitcher (maybe Doug Mathis) or placing someone on the DL, potentially catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (shoulder) or outfielder Nelson Cruz (ankle).

Borbon's biggest asset comes in the 25 steals he netted in 96 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but he also has hit .307 with 71 runs scored in that time. With Andruw Jones (hamstring) also banged up, there's ample room for the lefty-swinging Borbon to see time.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Josh Reddick, Boston Red Sox

A banged-up Red Sox outfield necessitated the prospect's return to Boston. Jason Bay (hamstring) and J.D. Drew (groin, ticking time bomb) are on the mend. Though stud infielder Kevin Youkilis played left field Thursday, Reddick (.277-13-29 line with five steals and 47 runs at Double-A Portland) has an opportunity to see some PT here and there. Reddick's previous MLB stint went well: 5-for-16 with a homer and two ribbies in four games.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Watch

Starting pitchers

Washington Nationals SP Jordan Zimmermann
The Nats may call on Zimmermann soon

Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals

Get a jump on your opponents, Part 2. Zimm will throw a 'pen session today to test his elbow and will be re-evaluated. He may even start for the big club Sunday or Tuesday; he hinted he's ready despite being hit in the calf with a line drive during a rehab spot. The 23-year-old has displayed elite command (92 K's, 29 walks) and is probably on a ton of waiver wires.

Warning: He still might make another farm start before his return, and the Nats plan to cap his innings this year, so he may not pitch through the end of the season. Still, don't wait until his activation to scoop up this mature-beyond-his-years righty.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Gio Gonzalez, Oakland Athletics

Now, the strikeouts are coming WITHOUT a blown-up earned runs column. The talented southpaw has allowed four runs and 10 hits in his last three starts (18 2/3 frames). Of course, he walked 10 in that time, but 21 K's speak volumes of his potential. If you're wondering about the matchups, these stats came against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers, including games at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.

Gonzalez says he has worked with catcher Kurt Suzuki on simplifying his approach. His curveball remains a work in progress but is improving. The dominance should be there as he develops; expect some control issues (5.32 BB/9 this year) if you take the plunge. It's safest to go with him during his home outings. He faces the Kansas City Royals next. Have at 'er.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Bobby Parnell, New York Mets

The Mets are moving Parnell into the rotation, and he's starting for the first time tomorrow at PETCO Park. He started 92 of his 94 minor league appearances. Enticing spot play? Yes, but it comes with some caveats. Parnell's dominance (7.49 K/9) and velocity (95.2 mph average fastball on average) have been negated by his control (4.34 BB/9) during his time as a setup man.

The trouble here is how Parnell will adjust to using his full arsenal of pitches instead of the fastball-sinker combo he has become used to as a reliever. Still, if you're desperate, give Parnell a guarded try in his debut.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Sean West, Florida Marlins

Though manager Fredi Gonzalez won't name Saturday's starter until sometime today, West looks to be that option. He was the victor in his last three outings with Double-A Jacksonville, during which he yielded seven runs and two walks with 12 K's in 18 frames.

West started strong but faded during his Marlins stint earlier this year, but the Marlins need another solution at the back end of their rotation. The 6-foot-8 southpaw is more of a project than immediate commodity, especially with the awful command he showed. Be careful. If he's tabbed, he would first face the Philadelphia Phillies, who hit the ball wherever they play.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Watch

Joe Martinez, San Francisco Giants

Martinez's first major league start Wednesday produced a five-inning, three-run, four-strikeout victory in which he didn't walk a batter. The righty came back after being hit in the head with a liner earlier this season. The groundball-heavy Martinez (5.73 K/9 in the minors this year) relies on contact. Still, Martinez has a good shot to stay in the rotation since the pickings for San Fran's No. 5 spot are slim. Feel free to contain your excitement for what could be the next Ryan Sadowski.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Watch

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

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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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