Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove

by Tim Heaney on January 16, 2009 @ 01:00:01 PDT


Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove archive

KFFL delivers the fantasy baseball spin on each Major League Baseball Hot Stove deal that matters in your fantasy baseball league. Check back for frequent updates.

Gregg Zaun, C, Baltimore Orioles

Meet the seat warmer for catcher Matt Wieters. Before last year, Zaun had three straight years with double-digit homers. Until the wunderkind Wieters is ready for the majors, Zaun should serve as a low-end No. 2 catcher in deep mixed leagues and a low-end No. 1 option in AL-only.

Jason Giambi, 1B, Oakland Athletics

For in-depth analysis on this acquisition, check out Impact Analysis: Jason Giambi, Oakland Athletics.

David Eckstein, 2B, San Diego Padres

If your fantasy baseball league only counts grit and scrappiness as categories, make Eckstein the top overall pick. In leagues that reward statistical performance, the Pads' starting second sacker should be saved for the post-draft waiver wire.

Pablo Ozuna, IF, Philadelphia Phillies

A potential extended absence from stud second baseman Chase Utley (hip) makes for the bulk of interest in Ozuna, who could compete for starting time during Utley's leave. Depending on how long that absence lasts, Ozuna could be useful in deep NL-only games.

Alex Cora, IF, New York Mets

Only the NL-only fantasy world should care if they need a last-resort middle infielder with a .245 career batting average. Cora isn't much of a threat on the bases, either.

Derek Lowe, SP, Atlanta Braves

For information on this acquisition, please read Atlanta Braves ink SP Derek Lowe. For in-depth analysis, check out Impact Analysis: Derek Lowe, Atlanta Braves.

John Smoltz, SP, Boston Red Sox

For in-depth analysis on this acquisition, check out Impact Analysis: John Smoltz, Boston Red Sox.

Bartolo Colon, SP, Chicago White Sox

Another fresh start in another hitters' park was given to the 35-year-old, who has fought through back and shoulder problems since winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2005. Colon made just seven starts for Boston last year but posted respectable numbers. Though he still has a modicum of upside (he has barely thrown in the last three years), don't feel compelled to draft him outside of the late rounds in deep mixed and AL-only games.

Kenshin Kawakami, SP, Atlanta Braves

As chiefly a starter in Japanese baseball, he went 112-72 with 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 1,642 1/3 frames after posting a 2.30 ERA in 117 1/3 frames for the Chunichi Dragons in 2008. The righty, 33, should fit in the middle of Atlanta's rotation but is more applicable for deep mixed and NL-only fantasy games.

Russ Ortiz, SP, Houston Astros

He's up for a rotation spot. That's the only reason you would give the human ratio balloon a hint of interest in deep NL-only leagues.

Fu-Te Ni, P, Detroit Tigers

The Taiwanese prospect led the Chinese Professional Baseball League with 132 strikeouts in 145 1/3 innings as a starter last year, but the Tigers see the southpaw as a bullpen contributor. He'll probably start 2009 at Triple-A Toledo and shouldn't be a concern anywhere on draft day. Given the Tigers' chaotic bullpen, though, keep a casual eye fixed to Ni during the season.

Takashi Saito, RP, Boston Red Sox

Being the setup man for elite closer Jonathan Papelbon makes Saito (elbow) a no-go until the last round of a shallow mixed draft. On the other hand, in more robust setups he could be grabbed in the last few cycles if your league values non-closer relievers - especially since he'd be the likely replacement if Papelbon were to miss time. Pay attention to Saito's rehab.

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove archive

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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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