Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - NL

by Nicholas Minnix on December 10, 2009 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - AL

KFFL delivers the fantasy baseball spin on each Major League Baseball Hot Stove deal that matters in your fantasy baseball league. Check back for frequent updates to the Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove!

Catchers

Gregg Zaun, Milwaukee Brewers (signed)

Zaun signed where he'd have an opportunity to start, so don't expect Jason Kendall to return. Zaun, 38, has decent pop, which isn't uncommon for older catchers. His 2009 batting average was respectable, but expect it to dip. Still, he'll play in another ballpark that's favorable to lefty power hitters and could be a decent No. 2 or bottom-of-the-barrel No. 1 in NL formats.

Henry Blanco, New York Mets (signed)

The Mets signed Blanco to be a backup. He moves to another cavernous park and can't hit for average. He's waiver wire fodder in desperate times for deep NL players.

First basemen

Ross Gload, Philadelphia Phillies (signed)

Meet Matt Stairs' replacement - on the roster. Gload doesn't pack the same punch, but he'll come through in a pinch more often. He doesn't have value in deep NL leagues unless the right Phils hit the DL.

Third basemen

Pedro Feliz, Houston Astros (signed)

St. Louis Cardinals SP Brad Penny
Another slam Duncan?

The 'Stros shored up an abyss. Houston hurlers will appreciate Feliz's sticky mitt, and Minute Maid Park is pleasing to right-handed hitters in terms of power. Indications are that Feliz's power is in serious decline, though, and RBI opps will diminish. Maybe the surface negatives will make him a worthwhile cheap gamble. The move forces Geoff Blum into a utility role, but he'll play more often than most backup infielders.

Shortstops

Bobby Crosby, Pittsburgh Pirates (signed)

In theory this is a mild positive. Crosby's power indicators and line drive rate have plummeted pretty steadily since his debut, and his average hasn't been above .240 since 2005. The Bucs brought in Crosby to push the revelatory Ronny Cedeno, who's apparently much more at home in the NL. Crosby is a dull end-gamer in deep NLs for now.

Outfielders

Matt Spencer, Chicago Cubs (traded from Oakland Athletics)

The Cubs considered Spencer a key acquisition. He has power but not much plate discipline. He's a left fielder and first baseman at best, making him not unlike the departed Jake Fox - except there are more questions about how Spencer's bat will play.

Trent Oeltjen, Milwaukee Brewers (signed to minor league deal)

He caught lightning in a bottle for a handful of contests, but Oeltjen doesn't have the patience or complementary skills to remain a fantasy factor in 2010.

Jerry Owens, Washington Nationals (signed to minor league deal)

Owens, 28, has a gradually improving batting eye but hasn't reached base frequently enough in his limited major league experience. You can't steal first ... but the Nats could use more speed. Just a name to file away.

Starting pitchers

Randy Wolf, Milwaukee Brewers (signed)

The new locale detracts a little from the fantasy warmth Wolf received after a season in which he posted a 3.23 ERA. The lefty pitched to contact more so in 2009 and has relied on his slider a lot more in the past couple of seasons. He posted the second best command rate of his career this past season, too. Wolf should be solid, but he might be a tad overvalued.

Brad Penny, St. Louis Cardinals (signed)

Penny didn't come as cheaply as some of Dave Duncan's other reclamation projects. Nevertheless, the right-hander had a productive 2009, which included a modest rebound in command and an outstanding six-game stint in a San Francisco Giants uni. The Cards were thrilled to sign him, too. As long as your bid doesn't become one of large risk, Penny is a highly intriguing investment.

Carlos Monasterios, Los Angeles Dodgers (traded from New York Mets)

This southpaw posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 3-to-1 in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League this past season and could be among a host of arms to compete for the No. 5 spot in the club's rotation. He's not worth a bid unless he makes it quite interesting.

Relief pitchers

Brandon Lyon, Houston Astros (signed)

Houston Astros RP Matt Lindstrom
Lindstrom remains a speculative target

Houston is attempting to fill Jose Valverde's shoes with modest committee and upside arms plus improved infield D. (Sorry, Miguel Tejada.) Lyon was phenomenal as Fernando Rodney's setup man with the Detroit Tigers. Can he repeat that low hit rate against? He'll be in the mix for saves, making him worth a few bucks, at least. Matt Lindstrom's arrival makes this an interesting situation to watch heading into the spring.

Matt Lindstrom, Houston Astros (traded from Florida Marlins)

The hard-throwing righty gets new life. If he can tone down the velocity consistently in favor of control and movement - and stay healthy - Lindstrom could be a value among the closer ranks. Most others will be aware of that possibility, though, making it unlikely that the gamble will come cheaply. Brandon Lyon is Houston's safer choice for now.

LaTroy Hawkins, Milwaukee Brewers (signed)

Speculators, mount up. The righty is 2010's "pitcher most likely to benefit from a Trevor Hoffman injury or meltdown," whatever that fetches in your market. Hawkins, 38, is no spring chicken himself, and his tasty ERA was aided by a ridiculous strand rate, though. Don't overpay.

Takashi Saito, Atlanta Braves (signed)

Atlanta has turned away from a relatively youthful injury-plagued righty-lefty combo at the back end of the bullpen in favor of one with more ... experience. Billy Wagner is the man here for sure, though; Saito is more fragile and a year older. The righty is decent insurance for the Bravos and NL managers who land Wags. Hopefully the walks per nine rate reverses trend.

Brian Bruney, Washington Nationals (traded from New York Yankees)

The Nats dealt for a Mike MacDougal clone (the power arm and, more notably, the poor control) to supplement MacDougal at the back end. The pair is merely a placeholder for 2009 first-rounder Drew Storen, who hopefully won't pick up any poor habits. Bruney could end up being worth a buck or two.

Jeff Gray, Chicago Cubs (traded from Oakland Athletics)

This righty can bring the heat, although it hasn't translated into a ton of K's. What's more notable is that he doesn't give out many free passes and induces grounders. Warning shot fired across Carlos Marmol's bow. LIMA planners will be on Gray's bandwagon big time come draft season, with reason.

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - AL

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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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