Fantasy Baseball Diamond Mining: Roy Halladay, Michael Pineda, Nick Markakis, Ryan Howard

by Nicholas Minnix on March 15, 2012 @ 13:00:56 PDT

 


Ready to update your fantasy baseball cheat sheets? Before Diamond Market can sell the players in your rotisserie league's free-agent pool, Fantasy Baseball Diamond Mining polishes them for fantasy baseball drafts. It's time to dig for fantasy baseball sleepers and toss the busts.

According to The Associated Press, Roy Halladay seemed to take offense at the notion that he's hurt, a rumor which surfaced amidst reports that his fastball velocity is still quite a bit down and his off-speed stuff hasn't had much bite. In 7 2/3 spring frames, the 2011 runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award has yielded 13 hits, including five round-trippers, and nine runs. He's walked one and struck out 10.

New York Yankees SP Michael Pineda
Pineda pinpointing pitching?

It's far too early to reduce your expectations for the Philadelphia Phillies' ace of aces, although you've taken note of his workload in the past six years. Halladay, 34, says that he's struggled greatly to get a feel for his changeup, and he's had problems locating his cut fastball. Well, let's get that worked out, huh? You've been in camp for weeks.

He has much to do, and that's his focus - not the results. Doc is probably the hardest-working pitcher in the game. The only time fantasy baseball players should be concerned is if he actually has an injury; he's not striking anyone out and walking plenty of batters; or he continues to complain about the same issues while his offerings lack movement.

If you actually like to invest that much in a pitcher, believe that Halladay will be good, at least. Security comes at a price.

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Michael Pineda hasn't been lighting up radar guns this spring, either. He doesn't seem worried, either, but there's a noticeable difference between this year's stuff and last year's. In fact, ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand even wonders if the New York Yankees' hurler will open on the farm.

Pineda's stuff at reduced potency is still good enough to retire major league hitters, which is probably why the outcomes have been fine. The concern here is the extra weight and other implications that his work ethic hasn't been ideal. He might succeed, but how much success will he have?

The news isn't all bad. In New York, this kind of thing has a way of becoming a mountain, especially after Phil Hughes' follow-up to his 2010 breakout. Pineda's case doesn't seem to be that extreme. Tim discussed the encouraging reports about the right-hander's changeup. Just be aware of the smoke and don't reach or be willing to go above market. There's risk here.

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The Baltimore Orioles got Nick Markakis into a spring game on Wednesday, a bit earlier than originally projected. He was 0-for-2 with a walk, but he experienced no difficulties with his surgically repaired abdominal muscles. He expects to be ready for opening day.

Good sign, for sure. Keep in mind that the O's are still taking it very easy on him. He won't play in the field until next week, and he acknowledged that such a task will be his biggest test, per MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli.

It's probably going to be weeks before Markakis is at something close to full strength. He's a candidate to start slowly, especially in his ability to hit for extra bases. Don't downgrade him much, though; he's such a steady performer, even with middling power and reduced prowess on the base paths. If his comeback seemed too aggressive, it might be a different story.

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Charlie Manuel and Jimmy Rollins may seem less optimistic about Ryan Howard's recovery from surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon than the big slugger himself is. The infected wound is nearly healed and the Phillies' first baseman is close to picking up his rehab where he left off.

Little is certain about this situation, which is what roto players should take away from it. A return at the beginning of May just seemed too hopeful. It's hard to imagine that Howard will be at full strength when he does come back, either. Paying for anything more than three solid months of the RBI machine seems pretty risky.

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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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