Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - NL
Like power from your second catcher spot? Barajas has the foundation and will have the playing time to replay some of his late 2010 run (five homers in 64 Dodgers at-bats). Just don't count on a repeat of that .297 BA in Blue.
Can the intriguing yet plagued Flores finally recover from his devastating shoulder injury and supplant Ivan Rodriguez and Wilson Ramos? It's not a bet you should take. That's what the waiver wire is for.
Replacing Mark Reynolds, Mora is expected to share time - maybe in a platoon - with Geoff Blum. Mora had a revival season playing the three bases and outfield for the Colorado Rockies. His latest hitter's park could preserve some of the 38-year-old's potential as a deep-league waiver wire rental or more; he might be eligible at second base in some leagues.
Widely considered the Red Sox's best offensive prospect before the Adrian Gonzalez deal, the lefty-hitting Rizzo had a breakout 2010 at High A and Double-A. He's San Diego's future at first. He boasts notable power but struggles against southpaws; an expected 2012 MLB arrival adds dynasty league intrigue.
Kyle Blanks (elbow) will probably hold down the fort when healthy and has the pop to enter deep league fantasy hearts whenever he returns from Tommy John surgery rehab. All he needs to go with it is ... the rest of his offensive profile.
The streaky Wiggy is probably Colorado's new Melvin Mora. Is that a bad thing, with injury-prone first sacker Todd Helton and the unproven lot plus Jose Lopez at second base? NL managers will value his versatility. Mixed? His increased playing time last year also exposed his weak spots and his shaky draftability.
Despite leaving the friendly Citizens Bank Park, Werth's value doesn't take a big hit, save for a likely drop in runs scored. His on-base and plate skills are steady, he can still approach 30 homers, and the Nats' aggressive base stealing should keep him a 20-swipe threat.
Speed. The Pads have wisely started building their outfield around it. Fuentes, 20 in February, is an athlete first and developing baseball player second. He's a long-term upside project that won't see MLB time for a few years.
Will his new infield - ahem, Rickie Weeks - counter his pristine control? His command, strong performance at Rogers Centre - a ding-dong haven - and arrival in the non-DH league should ease your concerns and solidify his mixed No. 4 starter value.
In Chitown, Putz returned to his peak self - top-level dominance and control with ample grounders induced. Health issues aside, his profile and Arizona's two-year commitment to him reeks of a shot at saves. Highlight his name on your cheat sheet.
Can PETCO Park salvage a useful skill set plagued by flies, taters and, last year, back spasms? The 32-year-old will enjoy leaving Great American Ball Park. Hold on: His stuff - especially his not-so-fast fastball - is hittable, but maybe his dominance rebounds with health. Given his command's track record, he's worth a cheap gamble, but beware PETCO fiends overpaying to negate a potential value buy.
The deal-clincher in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, Kelly, a former shortstop-pitcher combo, is still fine-tuning his velocity and mechanics. His upside trumps polish at this point, but dynasty players will place him near the top of pitching prospect boards; he's on track for Triple-A sometime in 2011 and a major league debut likely the next season.
Will his new environment be as beneficial as the San Diego Padres'? Correia's dominance and grounder inducement rate have increased in each of the last two seasons, but his control remains spotty. It's hard to think he won't win a spot in this rotation given his workable skills, and that will be worth NL-only attention.
Struggling to regain effectiveness following shoulder injuries, the southpaw gives Pittsburgh rotation depth. Positive sign: His heat is creeping back up to what it was. There's talent and groundball ability hidden beneath his rough stats, and sometimes those commodities help off the waiver wire.
Hernandez might be Arizona's top backup starter as he works in the 'pen. His fastball turns heads, and he boosted his MLB dominance in his second season. His struggles with free passes and unproductive role aren't worth mixed consideration, though NLs might find him useful on occasion.
The J.J. Putz signing cancels Mickolio's saves upside, but Putz has a long injury history, and Mickolio's K profile and sinking, high-octane fastball might play as an NL-only reliever. You can wait for him elsewhere.
The vet posted useful mixed-league stretches last year with improved dominance and control, even after arm and neck injuries. He'll be their No. 6 hurler, though, and can be ignored on draft day. Maybe he springs to life again if he falls into starts during the year.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
Don't miss these great reports....
Recent KFFL releases
Fantasy Football Sleeper: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Fernando Rodney, Brandon League, more
Five drivers to watch in the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race
Fantasy baseball closer depth charts - AL