Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Bryce McRae on April 15, 2009 @ 01:00:01 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)

Third basemen

Scott Rolen, Toronto Blue Jays

Rolen made some adjustments to his stance in September 2008 and hit .307-3-11 in the final month. That form has carried over into 2009 as the slugging third baseman is hitting .406 with one dinger, three RBIs and seven runs for the offensively hot Blue Jays. His shoulder appears healthy, too. 

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago Cubs

KFFL managing editor Nicholas Minnix is looking pretty good right now. OK, it's still early and that other guy in Chicago, Alfonso Soriano, is off to a torrid start, but Fukudome is hitting .417 with two homers and five ribbies through games Tuesday, April 14. The import is taking a more aggressive approach at the plate and has reduced the movement in his batting stance.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Elijah Dukes, Washington Nationals

The Nats needed to do something to shake them from their early-season malaise. "Something" turned out to be demoting outfielder Lastings Milledge to Triple-A Syracuse. Dukes is now expected to take over as the starting center fielder. He's hitting .381 so far with one home run and five RBIs in 21 at-bats.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Chris Volstad, Florida Marlins

Volstad turned some heads with his first start (five innings, one earned run and seven K's), and he kept those heads craned after his last start (seven innings, one earned run and four K's). Solid command in the minors suggests he can keep it up in the majors, and the strikeouts he has thrown so far show there's potential to improve his dominance.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays

A win in his first start and eight innings of two-run ball in his second has Romero creeping onto transaction lists. He fanned eight batters per nine innings last year at Triple-A, and it seems to be translating in the early going. Keep in mind: He has thrown just 56 2/3 innings above Double-A ball, so there likely will be some growing pains. Toronto doesn't really have any other options, though, so Romero should be given a long leash.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Zach Duke, Pittsburgh Pirates

With Duke and Paul Maholm leading the way, the Pirates appear to have a solid one-two punch atop their rotation. Pittsburgh has won both of Duke's starts, and his last start was particularly tantalizing. He kept the Houston Astros off the board over nine innings while striking out five. The groundball-friendly Duke doesn't punch out many (career 4.62 K/9), but the investment is small enough for a chance to revisit his breakout 2005 performance.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Aaron Laffey, Cleveland Indians

This one is simple: Scott Lewis (forearm) will miss two to four weeks, and the Indians needed another starter. Laffey is the man to step up in Cleveland. He pitched well in May last year (0.79 ERA in five starts) but has looked shaky in most of his other appearances; he had a solid outing against the Kansas City Royals Wednesday, April 15, but he offers little mixed upside outside of a few possible spot starts.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Justin Masterson, Boston Red Sox

Daisuke Matsuzaka (arm) is on the disabled list, adding further fuel to the argument not to take WBC pitchers. Masterson is his likely replacement in the rotation. His command in the minors was solid and has improved so far (seven K's, one walk); he's worth picking up if you like to roster those high-upside young arms.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Jo-Jo Reyes, Atlanta Braves

Tom Glavine's (shoulder) career could be coming to an end after his latest setback, and Reyes will start in his place Saturday, April 18. He gave up four earned runs in six innings during a Triple-A start Friday, April 10, but rainy weather affected his grip on the ball. Still, his career ERA is 5.94 in 34 MLB appearances (32 starts). About his only value right now is his spot in a rotation, especially since the Braves won't need a fifth starter until April 28.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Mitchell Boggs, St. Louis Cardinals

Boggs is the likely replacement in the rotation with Chris Carpenter (ribcage) on the disabled list. However, make sure he isn't used in the bullpen before Sunday, April 19, so he can make that start. Last year he compiled a 7.41 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in 34 innings in the bigs. This year, he has made one start for Triple-A Memphis, finishing with just one run allowed in six innings. Still, he's strictly an option in NL-only formats for now.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Chris Perez, St. Louis Cardinals

Boggs isn't the only Triple-A pitcher joining the Cards. Perez already has two saves and four K's in just four innings with Triple-A Memphis. He earned seven saves in 11 chances for St. Louis last year with a 3.46 ERA. But first, ask yourself who is managing the Cardinals. Tony La Russa has enough trouble committing to new closers, let alone a 23-year-old hurler with only 41 2/3 big league innings whom he already showed impatience with last year. Perez offers a chance to speculate in saves for those in the mood, but he may not pay off right away.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.


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