Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - AL
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Sanchez is an injury-prone keystone man. He had surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He should again hit for a solid average, again for a bad offense. He'll be 32 next season. Don't invest a lot.
The Rays sent Aki to purgatory, and he wants a long-term deal? Insanity aside, he's a solid midrange, league-only player who should see a few more heaters. NL small ball suits Iwamura, who does the little things. Unfortunately, he'll do it for the Bucs, who'll sap him of much run-scoring potential. Iwamura may need dangerous bats around him to be successful. Don't fork it over for anything more than a reliable player.
The D-backs actually acquired Abreu to complete the trade of starter Jon Garland. The PTBNL will compete with Ryan Roberts, Augie Ojeda and Rusty Ryal for the right to man second on at least a part-time basis. That already makes him an end-gamer; he and Roberts are the serious contenders. The compact Abreu has some pop but needs to learn to take a walk. He should fit right in with the Snakes.
Houston has little going for it on the left side of the infield. Blums enters a situation a lot like the one he faced in 2009. All you need to know: He's a switch-hitter whom the Astros would prefer to platoon. His production from the past two seasons is the ceiling, and he'll likely regress a bit more. He's late consolation for NL players, but at a buck, he should return value.
Meet Mike Cameron's replacement. The Brewers don't seem to preach patience at the dish, so Gomez's hitting prospects don't improve much. Hope because of PT does, though. He'll see more fastballs, and if the Brewers nurture him, he can become an OK leadoff man who can run like lightning. Don't pay for his upside, just hope for it at value.
Milwaukee's trade of shortstop J.J. Hardy paves the way for shortstop Alcides Escobar. Might Escobar be the NL's 2010 version of the Texas Rangers' Elvis Andrus? He's a good bet for a solid batting average, but Escobar has no power, projected or otherwise.
Lee will be overvalued. He pitched 272 innings (including the postseason) in 2009. That's a jump of nearly 50 innings from the previous season; he increased his innings count by more than 125 in 2008. At 31, Lee isn't subject to burnout or injury concerns like 20-somethings are. We saw what happened to Cole Hamels, though, and Lee struggled in a few April starts as well as September.
The right-hander is happy in Atlanta, a plus, and he pitched well in his seven starts. Hudson's offseason progress will be key; he had control problems, common among those who've had Tommy John surgery. Hudson is a gamer and was never a big K pitcher, though. In fact, he has been quite successful in his career despite a poor command rate. Hudson could be a sleeper.
Arizona appears satisfied with the results of Webb's shoulder surgery and progress since. The righty has piled up innings, though. There's plenty of uncertainty here, and we won't know more until Webb is throwing a baseball. A pretty high risk, but a pretty big reward is possible.
The Astros seem content with mediocrity or worse. To be fair, Moehler missed time in April and May with a sprained right knee and underwent surgery for a torn meniscus immediately following the season. The righty can eat innings and put up an ERA of about a run better than he did in 2009. You can pick it up from the waiver wire if so.
This righty intrigued the Fish because of his combined performance at two Class A stops in 2009. Alvarez, 20, struck out 74 and walked just 16 in 107 2/3 innings. He's not on the radar, but he might be in the control tower.
Proctor had elbow ligament replacement surgery in May. With a smooth recovery, he could be a solid setup man in the second half. The Braves don't have a clear-cut closer; Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano aren't expected back.
Jones, a southpaw, reportedly has good breaking stuff and posted a good rate of strikeouts per nine frames in the minors. He's likely nothing more than a LOOGY, though.
Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - AL
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. Follow @NicholasMinnix
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