Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Nicholas Minnix on June 24, 2009 @ 14:00:00 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

Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks

Yesterday the Snakes placed Chris Snyder (back) on the disabled list, opening the door for Montero to receive most of the action behind the plate. Montero is considered a better hitter than Snyder, although you wouldn't know it from Montero's .231-3-10 line in 130 at-bats. He was a .291 hitter in the minors with considerable power and moderate contact ability. The left-handed hitter can drive the ball pretty well, too.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Scott Hairston, San Diego Padres

Hairston, the Padres' second most productive hitter, came off the DL Tuesday after missing time with a strained left biceps. He went 2-for-5 with a ribbie and a run scored in his first game back, and he's hitting .329 with eight homers, 24 driven in and six stolen bases. The key to Hairston's 2009 success: a .297 average, with four dingers, against right-handers. He's an upgrade in protection for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, too.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Fernando Martinez, New York Mets

Manager Jerry Manuel said he intended to experiment with Martinez in center now that Carlos Beltran (knee) is on the disabled list. Martinez, the Mets' top prospect, hasn't impressed (.185-0-5, with two steals, in 65 at-bats) with the big club yet, though.

Jeremy Reed (.288-0-3 in 73 at-bats) has provided a steady bat off the bench, and he's a factor, too - he may play more, especially if Martinez fails to deliver. Manuel seems to prefer giving Martinez a shot initially, though. "With where we are in our lineup, if there's a potential for power, I think we have to check it out."

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Trevor Cahill, Oakland Athletics

The debate about which A's pitching prospect is the best may rage on for years, but Cahill has been the most impressive initially. He has allowed no more than two earned runs in six of his last seven starts and 12 of his 15 total starts this season.

Control remains an occasional problem for him, but he keeps the ball on the ground (48.6 percent groundball rate). That should minimize any damage from a potential correction in opponents' average on balls in play (.261). He won't fan many - his heat sits in the high 80s or low 90s. All his offerings have a ton of movement, though, making it difficult for hitters to achieve solid contact.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Gio Gonzalez, Oakland Athletics

Josh Outman (elbow) was scratched from his start Wednesday, and Gonzalez will get the nod. The latter left-hander has burgeoning talent and nasty stuff, but he hasn't pitched consistently, especially in the bigs, yet.

Gonzalez has been sick (one earned run, 13 hits allowed and 38 K's) in his last 30 1/3 innings at Triple-A Sacramento. If Outman's injury turns out to be more serious than originally thought, perhaps Gonzalez can step through the door.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Watch

Mike Burns, Milwaukee Brewers

This 30-year-old right-hander is replacing Dave Bush (triceps) in the rotation; Bush is probably out through the All-Star break. Burns is known mostly for his efficiency; he has walked a mere 1.77 batters per nine frames in his minor league career.

Burns has a big league ERA of 5.46 in 56 innings, all in relief. He'll make his first major league start Thursday against the Minnesota Twins, who have murdered right-handed pitching (.788 OPS against those arms this year). It's best to take a wait-and-see approach with Burns.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Watch

Relief pitchers

Chris Ray, Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles recalled Ray Tuesday. The organization worked with him on some fundamental changes to his approach, most notably the tempo of his delivery. Reports indicate that his slider is much improved as a result. In seven appearances at Triple-A Norfolk, Ray allowed five hits, three earned runs and four walks in 12 innings. He also struck out 13.

He'll likely work in middle relief early on, but the O's have to be hoping that he'll demonstrate the ability he showed from 2005 to parts of '07, when he was at once the present and future closer. Baltimore may deal George Sherrill, and they'll need a replacement at the back end. Jim Johnson is the only viable alternative right now.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

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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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