Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on May 18, 2009 @ 01:01:04 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)

Outfielders

Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays

With Pat Burrell (neck) on the disabled list, Zobrist has an opportunity to improve on his already solid utility role. He has hit .289 in each month so far, with relatively consistent numbers across the board. Keep in mind, Willy Aybar will probably prevent much of an increase into Zobrist's already versatile workload, but Z's multipositional eligibility makes him intriguing.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Gary Sheffield, New York Mets

Sheff has returned to his kitchen. His dish patience has resurfaced, he's hitting cleanup, and he is in the lineup against righties, too. Before a 0-for-4 performance Sunday, May 17, he ran off a 9-for-18 performance in his previous four games. Though the quadragenarian will probably be rested a bit more in the future, the bat-wagging slugger stands to gain more time with Carlos Delgado (hip) on the DL indefinitely and interleague play on the docket.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Designated hitters

Willy Aybar, Tampa Bay Rays

A recent eight-game stretch (10-for-23) compounds his increased value with "No Bat" Pat Burrell (neck) on the DL. Aybar has been hitting fifth often, and he has often made the most of his opportunities in the past, including 10 dingers in 324 at-bats last year; the upcoming interleague schedule will help him find some time. Don't count on batting average help, though, and Ben Zobrist will also be worked into the mix to replace Burrell.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers

With just two earned runs allowed in his last 18 frames, Porcello is bringing the future to the present - including his groundball tendency (53.6 percent of opponents' batted balls wind up smacking the infield). Caveat: He has walked at least two batters in each of his last five appearances. His rotation spot will likely survive the eventual return of Jeremy Bonderman (shoulder), but keep in mind his mere 20 years on this planet when he struggles.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Kris Medlen, Atlanta Braves

Tommy Hanson? Sorry, but K-Med has been just as impressive at Triple-A Gwinnett: 5-0, 1.19 ERA, 44 K's and just 10 free passes in 37 2/3 innings. The baby-faced, pint-sized righty usurps Jo-Jo Reyes in the rotation, and there's ample strikeout potential here. He'll have Hanson in his rear view, though, so keep abreast of his rotation status as the calendar turns.  

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Shairon Martis, Washington Nationals

With two home starts coming up this week, Martis earns some consideration. His 2.11 ERA at Nationals Park makes him an environmental play (6.20 elsewhere). Negatives: He hasn't shown too much dominance (4.54 K/9 in '09), and he still suffers from control issues. The good: 2.11 ERA and 14 K's in May, and he gave up four runs in his last 12 1/3 innings (back-to-back road starts). A brave venture in shallows, Martis should at least be on your "potential" list in deeps.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Randy Wells, Chicago Cubs

Wells' two turns in place of Carlos Zambrano (hamstring) are all but prompting the Cubs to send Sean Marshall to the bullpen and keep Wells on the turnstile with Big Z's scheduled return Friday, May 22. Wells' 11 straight scoreless innings have gone to waste, though, as the Cubs' flailing O hasn't helped. Still, with proven command on the farm (3.01 career), the 26-year-old isn't a throwaway minor leaguer. Manager Lou Piniella plans to make a decision on which pitcher will remain in the rotation after Marshall's Thursday, May 21, start.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Jeremy Bonderman, Detroit Tigers

With the struggles of Armando Galarraga and the uncertainty of Dontrelle Willis, Bonderman (shoulder) could find himself back in the rotation upon his return from thoracic outlet syndrome. Bondy is about a few weeks away from returning, but he threw 94 pitches in a solid outing at Class A West Michigan Saturday, May 16; he hit 91 on the gun. It's speculation for the former 14-game winner; if he can regain his above-average dominance, your investment was pretty small.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Joel Hanrahan, Washington Nationals

Nats skipper Manny Acta has returned Hanny to the role he played himself out of a few weeks ago. The righty responded to the demotion with a 2.45 May ERA while also keeping his K's up. You know what to do, but don't bank on him for the rest of '09.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

David Aardsma, Seattle Mariners

With Brandon Morrow out of the saves picture until he can regain his control, Aardsma is the lead member of a committee to replace him. Aardsma had already been replacing Morrow earlier in the year when he was being conserved, and he has allowed just one run in his last 10 frames. He'll help in K's, too.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Dan Meyer, Florida Marlins

The latest setup reliever king (7.00 command ratio) has found a niche after a failed career as a swingman starter/reliever. He's throwing his slider more often, and though his BABIP (.235), control (1.62 BB/9) and strand rate (75.5 percent) appear to be fluky, he has pitched better out of the 'pen in his MLB career. If you're cycling setup relievers to help your ratios, make sure he's near the top of your list. You don't have to make a long-term commitment, either.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

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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