Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on April 29, 2009 @ 01:01:03 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

Kenji Johjima, Seattle Mariners

Ji-Joh is on track to return from the disabled list Friday, May 1, after running, swinging a bat and crouching behind the plate without pain in extended Spring Training action Tuesday, April 28. He was on a four-game hit streak in which he drove in four runs before hitting the sidelines. In two-catcher leagues, it's worth finding out if he can pick up where he left off. 

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Second basemen

Bobby Crosby, Oakland Athletics

Already logging time at every infield position except shortstop this year, Crosby will slide in to take Mark Ellis' (calf) place after the starter was placed on the 15-day DL. His multifaceted defense hasn't translated to the fantasy world, though, so mixed owners aren't gaining much by adding him.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Melvin Mora, Baltimore Orioles

Mora's travel arrangements to a rehab assignment fell through ... so the O's activated him from the DL to play Tuesday, April 28. He didn't seem too worried, driving in two runs during a 3-for-5 evening. The O's kept him out of the starting lineup during their daytime affair Wednesday, April 29. They'll probably be careful with his on-field scheduling early on, but the streaky vet is once again worth a rental if he was cut loose.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Jerry Hairston Jr., Cincinnati Reds

The struggling Edwin Encarnacion (wrist) hit the DL, and Hairston will probably assume the majority of hot corner action in the meantime. Hairston, who can chip in the occasional stolen base and short-term statistical boon, is in line to add another eligible position to his already diverse background. Note: Call-up Adam Rosales may receive a chance to play there, though, so Hairston probably won't be handed the time.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Shortstops

Cristian Guzman, Washington Nationals

He's back from the DL. The Guz logged six multi-hit efforts before going down with a hamstring strain, and he has been known to go on hitting binges. Give him a look if you need a middle infielder.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Julio Lugo, Boston Red Sox

Lugo returned to major league action Tuesday, April 28, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. With Jed Lowrie (wrist) rehabbing from surgery, Lugo regains the starting shortstop spot he was fighting for in Spring Training. He can help in thievery when healthy; be more urgent to pick him up if you're hurting there.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Marlon Byrd, Texas Rangers

With a potential DL stint looming for stud Josh Hamilton (ribcage), Byrd will serve as the center fielder for as long as Hamilton is out. Byrd already had deep mixed value as Texas' No. 4 fly chaser - he typically has runs of decent pop during a full season. Increased PT makes him a solid fifth fantasy outfielder.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Joel Pineiro, St. Louis Cardinals

The latest Dave Duncan reclamation project has thrown a quality start in three of his four 2009 outings, which have all been victories. Like last year's St. Louis re-breakout star, Kyle Lohse, Pineiro doesn't throw hard and can't strike out a match (2.05 K/9 so far this year, 4.90 in '08); but, he's keeping the ball on the ground more often to make up for that. Warning: Opponents are making contact off him at an alarming rate (91.1 percent), which may result in opponents breaking through or Pineiro correcting that stat. You might as well ride the wave for now if you need a spark.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Jeff Niemann, Tampa Bay Rays

Though he has yet to throw beyond six innings in a start this year, the skyscraper has posted a 2.65 ERA in three starts since a blowup in his first appearance. He still allows a bit too many flyballs, and he has walked 11 in 22 1/3 innings, but he's doing his best to keep prospects David Price and Wade Davis on the farm. The only runs he has allowed have come on dingers, so if he cuts down on those....

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Joe Beimel, Washington Nationals

Now that Joel Hanrahan has been deported, reports say Beimel (hip) will see at least the majority shot at closing once he returns from the DL. The southpaw has been very lucky in his career since he isn't a dominant pitcher, but the Nats are high on him. He's eligible to come off the DL sometime next week; Julian Tavarez and Kip Wells will be holding down the fort until then. Make Beimel an immediate speculative stash if you need closures.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Ryan Madson, Philadelphia Phillies

Closer Brad Lidge (knee) is overcome with inflammation on his right knee, which has gone under the knife twice in the last 20 months. Though the team is saying that a DL stint isn't likely, you can't trust team speak. It'd be wise to grab Madson, who has resumed his solid command and has improved his dominance so far. His stuff makes him more than capable of filling in should Lidge be deactivated.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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