Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Bryce McRae on June 17, 2009 @ 14:01:04 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

Casey Kotchman, Atlanta Braves

Kotchman (calf) returned from the DL Tuesday, June 16, going 2-for-3 in of the sixth spot of the lineup. A 2001 first-round draft pick, he can help you out in average (.284 this year; .271 career BA), and he'll slightly help your RBIs. He has just four homers in 328 at-bats with Atlanta dating back to last year, though, and it isn't like the Braves offense is going to give him much help (23rd in runs).

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Second basemen

Kazuo Matsui, Houston Astros

Another DL returnee, Matsui (hamstring) was activated off the 15-day DL Tuesday, June 16. The 33-year-old from Osaka, Japan, struck out once in his three at-bats Tuesday. He has speed (20-plus steals in each of the last two seasons), and he should hit for a better average than he has this year (.215 this year; .293 last year; .272 career). It might take a few days for him to feel comfortable with his hamstring and at the plate, but he's a solid steals option in deep mixed leagues. Just remember that he's good friends with the injury list.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Matt Downs, San Francisco Giants

The Giants purchased the contract of Downs Wednesday, June 17, and plan to make him the everyday starter at second base for now. The 25-year-old had a respectable .288-6-38 line with seven steals in 212 at-bats for Triple-A Fresno this year. He has decent power-speed potential, but this'll be his first taste of big-league hitting.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Shortstops

Khalil Greene, St. Louis Cardinals

Greene (anxiety) wasn't in the lineup with Triple-A Memphis Tuesday, June 16, and the Cards could be prepping for his return. He won't be returning as a shortstop, however. The Cards plan to move him to third base. The 29-year-old has decent power (he hit 27 homers for the San Diego Padres in 2007), and he's finally exhibiting a decent batting eye. The time off might have helped clear him of the anxiety issues that have plagued him for the last couple of seasons, too. His potential extra positional eligibility makes him a bit more attractive.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Jason Pridie, Minnesota Twins

Outfielder Denard Span (ear) has been placed on the 15-day DL; outfielder Delmon Young should see most of the playing time. Pridie should be used as the No. 4 outfielder for Minnesota, so a few extra at-bats could be coming his way. He has a .255 average this year at Triple-A Rochester and 15 stolen bases in 18 attempts, making him mainly an AL-only steals option.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Watch

Mitch Jones, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Freeway Series will kick off this weekend; Jones should be the one to benefit from the switch to AL rules. His numbers with Triple-A Albuquerque: .292 average, 21 homers, 50 RBIs and 37 runs in just 192 at-bats. He might not stick with the Dodgers past June 25, but feel free to grab him in NL leagues if you need to pick up some cheap at-bats.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays

After a few bumps in the road, Romero appears to have finally found his groove. He has a 3.10 ERA with 20 strikeouts in three starts this month, which includes a nine-strikeout performance Tuesday, June 16, against the Philadelphia Phillies' powerful offense. He appears to have finally settled into a rhythm after struggling with his mechanics upon his return from an oblique injury last month. It's easier to forget that Romero went 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in April before his injury, and he was a top-10 draft pick in 2005.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Phil Hughes, New York Yankees

Starter Chien-Ming Wang's job is on the line when he takes the mound Wednesday, June 17. Hughes, who has been used out of the bullpen, would probably be the first to step in. The 22-year-old righty doesn't have great numbers as a starter this year (5.45 ERA and 1.50 WHIP), but he had pitched better in that role before his move to the 'pen.

He allowed only three hits in eight scoreless innings May 25 against the Texas Rangers, but his main problem was lasting past five innings in his other May starts. Still, be proactive if you have the room and add him now in deep leagues.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Brad Mills, Toronto Blue Jays

Mills, a fourth-round pick in 2007, is slated to start in place of injured hurler Casey Janssen (shoulder) Thursday, June 18. Just two starts ago, Mills struck out 11 in seven innings against Triple-A Tacoma. That was his lone win this year, though. He is 1-8 with a 4.48 ERA. Even with the magic of pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, though, Mills' prospects aren't great against the Philadelphia Phillies, one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NL, at their home park.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Watch

Brandon Backe, Houston Astros

Backe will take over for Mike Hampton (groin) in the rotation after the latter returned to the DL for the umpteenth time in his career. Backe has allowed 12 runs in nine innings of long relief work this year. He has struck out 10 batters to only five walks, but that hardly qualifies him as a viable fantasy pitcher in mixed leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Jason Frasor, Toronto Blue Jays

Closer Scott Downs (ankle) will hit the DL Thursday, June 18, opening up the door for fantasy owners to speculate on saves. The team hasn't named a replacement, but we feel Frasor is the top option; he has allowed only five earned runs (four in one appearance) in 23 2/3 innings this year.

B.J. Ryan is another name in the mix after his improved play (no runs since May 27). The same goes for Brandon League and Jesse Carlson. Proactive owners in very deep leagues could grab these guys. However, Frasor should still be your first target.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Nick Masset, Cincinnati Reds

Looking for a ratio booster? A former starter, Masset has a 1.07 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 24 K's in 25 1/3 innings this year. His strand rate (85.7 percent) is well above the league average, but he has improved in that category since moving to the bullpen full time and has become a valuable piece of Cincy's late-innings relief. He won't see any save chances as long as closer Francisco Cordero stays healthy, but Masset is a solid option if you can afford a non-saves reliever.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

Facebook Twitter Google +

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.


Don't miss these great reports....

What do you think? Sound off!



Recent KFFL releases