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?
Dan Straily, SP, Oakland Athletics
Why not call up one of the game's rising prospects? After all, he leads all of baseball - minors and majors - in K's, 175 in 138 1/3 frames, to be exact, between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento. He's walked just 37, not to mention his 2.60 combined ERA in 22 starts over that time, and he danced around the Pacific Coast League to a ridiculous 1.36 ERA.
It looks like the 23-year-old will make his major league debut at home versus the Toronto Blue Jays, which would be in Travis Blackley's spot. O.co Coliseum is quite the pitcher's haven and can amplify or add skills.
Do Indians have a Kluber?
Straily, luckily, already has some. The 2009 24th-round selection sits in the low 90s with his heat, touching 95. Though Straily's curveball development is still coming along, his changeup and slider have become punchout offerings. The string pull especially has fueled his breakthrough because the righty maintains his fastball's arm angle and pace, per Baseball America. It makes him hard to hit; note the 14.9 percent infield fly rate at Sacramento.
A few years ago, he dropped nearly 40 pounds after improving his conditioning regimen. That weight loss boosted the A's confidence to draft him, and he's been around that weight ever since. His persistence in keeping his shape is mirrored in his thirst for answers to his pitching questions. There's a hint of Trevor Bauer-level dedication on and off the field.
The A's are in the postseason race - yup, helps to take a breath after reading that - and will stick with whatever works. Straily's stuff probably won't play as dominantly in the bigs this season as it has on the farm, but pitchers of his emerging profile without MLB scouting reports often excel in small sample sizes. Home outings should be your basis to use him in most leagues, but he could be something more than that this year.
10-tm mixed: Watch
12-tm mixed: Consider
15-tm mixed: Acquire
Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers
Texas already has an abundance of corner infield and outfield options, but the Rangers have scuffled at the dish lately and needed a jolt. Double-A pitchers looked like cage machines to Olt, who clubbed 28 homers, drove in 82 runs and produced a .288/.398/.579 campaign in 354 at-bats for Frisco. His leather earns wows, too. He balances, to a degree, his K woes with Adam Dunn-like walk rates.
Texas, at least initially, aims to create lineup room for Olt against southpaws. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan speculates the 23-year-old will play more often than the role previously held by Brandon Snyder, the demoted player he replaced. GM Jon Daniels said he'd "anticipate that Mike will get an opportunity to play. Not on an everyday basis, but he'll get an opportunity."
Michael Young, 35, has offered better at-bats of late but has scuffled for most of the season; how long will the contending Rangers put up with him in full-time work if Olt shows more life than him? The recent stumbles of Josh Hamilton, who might be dealing with off-field troubles, and Adrian Beltre could get more breaks than they'd like.
Texas' lineup could explode any second, though, and this summoning might merely be a motivational ploy by Daniels. Olt has the promise to deliver excellent numbers but a potentially small window to do so for 2012. Someone with his strikeout symptoms might be overwhelmed by big-league arms, especially the breaking-ball-heavy AL prototypes. Balance what his upside means to your team and the possibility he'll be up for only a breath, especially if you need power that could thrive in a friendly situation.
10-tm mixed: Watch
12-tm mixed: Consider
15-tm mixed: Consider
Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians
The Tribe finally kicked out Derek Lowe and called on Kluber to take his place. The 26-year-old punched out 128 in 125 1/3 frames while walking 49, which leads the International League. He's also tops with 11 victories and will start tonight at the Kansas City Royals. Manny Acta said the righty will get a "legitimate" opportunity to stick.
He wasn't ranked on any Baseball America prospect lists higher than 26th in Cleveland's 2010 preview, but he's had success this year attacking the strike zone, and his two-seamer has elevated his performance this year. Such a profile doesn't hint that his profile is K-friendly over the long haul, but he's keeping batters off-balance this season. That's all Cleveland is asking for after enduring the tee-ball-style pitching of Lowe and Josh Tomlin.
Unfortunately, mixed-leaguers ask for more than innings gobblers, and despite his standout strikeout performance, they have reason to be skeptical here.
10-tm mixed: Pass
12-tm mixed: Watch
15-tm mixed: Watch
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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