Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Bryce McRae on May 1, 2009 @ 01:00:00 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)

First basemen

Kendry Morales, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Morales has five two-hit games in his last six and is driving in runs like they are goin' out of style. He has 11 of his 14 RBIs in his last nine games. This is the time to grab him, too, with three favorable matchups at Yankee Stadium this weekend. Don't give up too much for him, though - he is prone to streaks, especially given his atrocious batting eye.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Ryan Garko, Cleveland Indians

Travis Hafner (shoulder) was placed on the disabled list earlier this week and plans to visit Dr. James Andrews next week. His move to the sidelines opens up more at-bats for Garko. The 28-year-old slugger is riding a six-game hitting streak, though it's peppered with one-hit games. Still, he's hitting .291 with six homers and has demonstrated a solid batting eye.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals

It might be tough to find another player more disappointed than Butler that the Royals' series with the Toronto Blue Jays is over. Butler raised his average 69 points over the final two games and more than doubled his season RBI total, with five. He also smoked his first two homers of the season as his slugging percentage nearly doubled. There is a history of strong hitting for Butler, too; he posted a .305-9-36 line in the second half last year.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Andy LaRoche, Pittsburgh Pirates

It took LaRoche 18 at-bats to get his first hit. Since then, he has a hit in 12 of 13 games, and his average has climbed to .254. He has yet to hit a home run, although he demonstrated 20-homer power in the minors. He's driving the ball at an unsustainable pace, so the real question is whether he can remain patient enough and keep up a high contact rate.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Matt Diaz, Atlanta Braves

At-bats were sporadic for Diaz during the first week. An injury to outfielder Garret Anderson (calf) cleared up that problem quickly. He isn't hitting particularly well (.216-2-10) and doesn't have a great history to make him worth adding in mixed leagues. However, regular at-bats make him relevant in NL-only leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox

Outfielder Brian Anderson (oblique) was placed on the disabled list Friday, May 1. The recently recalled Podsednik figures to benefit with a bump in at-bats. He'll contribute little in the way of average, RBIs and homers, but if you need a cheap steals option, Pods is one to consider.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Scott Richmond, Toronto Blue Jays

You have to hand it to pitching coach Brad Arnsberg. With a full rotation on the disabled list, Arnsberg and manager Cito Gaston have done a great job getting quality outings from their staff. Richmond is one of the pitchers who has stepped up. He has a solid K rate (7.71) and is not giving up a ton of flyballs. His control still needs to improve (3.86 BB/9 this year), but he has shown he can keep the walks down in the past (2.15 career BB/9). He's worth a look, but don't be too attached to him.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Brian Bannister, Kansas City Royals

Bannister was the recipient of the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde award last year because of his dramatic home/road splits. This year it has been a different story. He has allowed just one earned run in 13 innings at two different locales. There are some warnings signs, however. He issued six free passes in his last outing and has only struck out three batters over both starts. He's throwing his high-80s fastball more than 84 percent of the time. Don't buy into him just yet.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Huston Street, Colorado Rockies

Manager Clint Hurdle has returned Street to the closer's role. Street credits a change in his position on the mound for his recent improvement. By moving over to the third-base side of the rubber, Street says his slider stays in the zone longer before diving away from hitters. It seemed to work Wednesday, April 29, as he struck out the side. We are still wary of his high flyball rate, especially at Coors Field, but don't wait to grab him if a hasty owner dropped him earlier.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Jeff Weaver, Los Angeles Dodgers

The former first-round pick gave the Dodgers four scoreless innings of relief work Thursday, April 30, after he was called up earlier in the day. Manager Joe Torre has no plans to move him into the rotation just yet. But given Torre's love for experienced hurlers and his young starters' troubles pitching late in games, a move wouldn't surprise anyone. Still, for now, Weaver is only a watch-list option in single-universe leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Watch

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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