Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on June 19, 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)

Catchers

Ronny Paulino, Florida Marlins

Are you in a two-catcher league and stumped on who should serve as your second option? If you're playing matchups and riding the hot bat, Paulino rakes against lefties (.333-3-10 in 60 at-bats against them this year), and although John Baker (eye) has returned from time off, the scorching Paulino (.419 in 31 June at-bats) should keep receiving time to build on his success.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Taylor Teagarden, Texas Rangers

Manager Ron Washington wants to incorporate Teagarden into the lineup more often. However, it looks like Teagarden's brief tease in the bigs last year (.319-6-17 in 47 at-bats) may have been a true fantasy. The Tea party hasn't shown much patience at the plate, and his defense has actually regressed. Are they trying to build up his trade value? It's too risky for mixed owners to find out unless Teagarden shows some life in the box.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Jake Fox, Chicago Cubs

That heading may sound stomach-curdling for glove purists, but the Cubs are throwing Fox into the hot corner fire. "The young man swings the bat," manager Lou Piniella told reporters. "We've got to find a place for him. We're going to put him at third base against left-hand pitching and see what he does."

Beat the rush if you have room for an impact player that hit .357 in 14 MLB at-bats this year and had hit 17 homers in 149 at-bats for Triple-A Iowa before his first call-up. Don't label him as your savior, though, since this is an experiment that could go horribly wrong. 

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Kyle Blanks, San Diego Padres

This redwood (6-foot-6, 270 pounds) was summoned from Triple-A Portland Friday, June 19, and will presumably see time in left field. Could this lead to a permanent job - maybe through a trade of third sacker Kevin Kouzmanoff and a switch of outfielder Chase Headley to his natural position at the hot corner? Is it just that the Pads play six road games in AL parks next week?

The Pads probably will find a way to fit Blanks' righty power bat (.283-12-38 in 233 Portland at-bats) in the lineup. He has become more comfortable in left, so there's long-term potential here. Starting today, the Pads are slated to face four consecutive lefties, so he'll play.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

John Mayberry Jr., Philadelphia Phillies

With Raul Ibanez (groin) landing on the DL, Mayberry returns to the bigs. The Phils play six games in AL parks next week, and Mayberry should see plenty of time in the lineup. He may yield to utility man Greg Dobbs if it's a tough righty, but the extra DH hole gives him a chance to contribute.

Ibanez doesn't have a solid return timetable yet, so there's a chance Mayberry could stick after the next round of AL-NL battles concludes. Mayberry struggled to make contact with a .257 clip at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he hit eight homers with 31 RBIs and 30 runs scored in 183 at-bats. Pick him up knowing that his time may be limited.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Ryan Sweeney, Oakland Athletics

Sweeney (knee) made his return from the DL Thursday, June 18, but he will probably be eased back in slowly because of the heavy schedule of lefty pitchers the A's will be facing. Sweeney was having an uninspiring season (.245-2-15), with his minimal bright spot coming in his four steals.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Brett Cecil, Toronto Blue Jays

Lined up to start Saturday, June 20, Cecil makes his second trip to the bigs this year with ace Roy Halladay (groin) latched to the DL. Cecil started out strong in his first three outings (four earned runs, 15 K's in 20 innings) but was blown up in his final trip against the Boston Red Sox. That five-homer outing unfairly skewed Cecil's numbers.

Cecil's numbers at Triple-A Las Vegas should give you pause (5.69 ERA and a 32:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 49 innings), but the hopes rests in his 2.36 groundout-to-air-out ratio there. His 52.6 percent turf-tickling rate with the Jays this year means the trend should continue.

Though Halladay should return soon, Toronto's rotation has been in flux all year, and Casey Janssen's (shoulder) absence and ineptitude means Cecil could keep a spot long term.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Alfredo Figaro, Detroit Tigers

Any replacement for lefty Dontrelle Willis (anxiety) has been a welcome sight for Detroit this year, and closer Fernando Rodney's cousin will be the latest to earn an opportunity. The twig-like Figaro (6-foot, 173 pounds) will be called up to take the hill Saturday, June 20, and has had mixed results this year at Double-A Erie: 5-2, 4.10 ERA, 59 K's and 17 walks in 68 frames.

His unswerving delivery and persistent strike zone attack impressed Detroit in Spring Training. Manager Jim Leyland and the team's farm evaluators like Figaro's arsenal. The Tigs plan on keeping Figaro in the rotation past this outing, too.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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