KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market gives you candid reviews and ratings of fantasy baseball players making MLB news in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball leagues. Are they trade bait or worth your FAAB dollars in your fantasy baseball games?
C.J. Wilson, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Last night, he was massacred by the Boston Red Sox. Since the All-Star break, Wilson carries a 6.79 ERA with a 1.66 WHIP, harkening back to his rough days as a closer. In the first half, he was dancing around a shaky command ratio.
He had been living on the edge for most of the season with his sharp drop in empty hacks induced (7.6 percent now, lower at earlier points in the season). The 8.30 K/9 he posted last year didn't fully jive with the 8.3 swinging-strike percentage he simultaneously logged, and he had his doubters heading into 2012. He's lost more than half of a fan per nine so far (7.72), and his work in the strike zone hasn't proven as effective.
J.A. Happ-enin' north of border
Oddly enough, he's shown better velocity. But as noted by Marcia C. Smith of the Orange County Register, Wilson has a tendency to do the tango with opposing hitters, using his diverse arsenal to try pitching them to death instead of attacking the strike zone. Mike Scioscia and Mike Butcher have been trying to cure him of that all season, telling the pitcher to focus on getting ahead in counts and limit the pitches in each at-bat. Wilson's cutter and slider have been dicey (per Fangraphs and Brooks Baseball, he throws both); those offerings lifted him to elite heights last year.
His correction has been harsh. It's hard to think the Angels would kick him out of the rotation in the middle of a playoff race given what he means to the team and the recent woes of fellow hurlers Zack Greinke and Dan Haren. But given this point in the season, Wilson is likely droppable in shallow leagues; a benching is a better option outside of those formats.
Bench him for his next start (a rematch with Boston, this time at home), but he has a possible Safeco Field trip to go with that. Maybe that's worth testing the waters and having him earn status as a matchup play the rest of the season. Can your pitching standings take the potential hit?
A.J. Griffin, SP, Oakland Athletics
Griffin's Wednesday outing was a bit shaky (2 2/3 innings, 3 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K on 60 pitches), but he came away clean, from the sound of it. If he makes another work-up start, he'll go 80 pitches or six frames, whichever comes first.
The suspended Bartolo Colon's next turn in the rotation comes up next on Monday or Tuesday (depending on how Oakland views their unique Sunday off-day). Dan Straily can't return to the bigs until Aug. 30 unless there's a DL placement. Griffin has a better shot at getting the first go-round.
Though the 86.1 percent left-on-base percentage he posted should drop, and that .226 BABIP is primed to rise, Griffin ran off a spectacular eight-start stretch before being placed on the DL with a strained right shoulder Aug. 5. Hardly a flamethrower, the control-based, crafty righty pounds the zone but also possesses a knee-buckling deuce.
He remains in an ideal environment for pitching, making at least his home starts attractive. Did someone in your league drop him?
10-tm mixed: Consider
12-tm mixed: Consider
15-tm mixed: Acquire
J.A. Happ, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Happ has spurts of utility, and he's in the middle of another: In his last three starts since joining Toronto's quintet, he carries a 2.84 ERA with 19 K's and only four free passes in 19 frames. He stymied the Texas Rangers at home and the Detroit Tigers on the road. The New York Yankees touched him up because was trying to eat outs with a 10-1 lead; he probably should've exited sooner.
The southpaw was mildly disgruntled over his bullpen duty and has been showing Toronto he can do the starting gig. He worked on his curveball this past offseason, and of late it has helped in conjunction with his fastball and slider. He's all but ditched his changeup. The vet has logged a career-best 9.2 swinging-strike percentage and is notching a strike first 64.0 percent of the time, his best in a full season.
Happ deserved more trust when he was showing flashes in the National League, but he's crafty enough to get by in a hitter's environment; he did so as a Philadelphia Phillies starter. In August, his opponents' liner rate has spiked to 22.7, so maybe that's an area where he'll come crashing down. He's a fly-ball pitcher, for the most part, as well.
His next three probable starts are risky: at Yankees, versus the sizzling Tampa Bay Rays, at the Boston Red Sox. Tread carefully, but he's showing more reasons to command optimism.
10-tm mixed: Watch
12-tm mixed: Consider
15-tm mixed: Consider
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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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