Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Bryce McRae on May 20, 2009 @ 01:01:05 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)

Second basemen

Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers

Second baseman Rickie Weeks' (wrist) season is over. The Brewers appear to be content staying inside the organization for Weeks' replacement. Counsell, who has a .256 career average, has surprised with a .324 average and 14 runs in 68 at-bats and should see the majority of playing time. He still possesses a solid batting eye (0.91 career BB/K), but his average should still drop. The vet is mainly valuable because of his at-bats, but be mindful of a platoon with Casey McGehee. Speedy recent call-up Hernan Iribarren and top prospect Alcides Escobar could also factor in.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Clint Barmes, Colorado Rockies

Manager Clint Hurdle has been using infielder Ian Stewart to replace the benched Garrett Atkins at third. This in turn has opened up playing time for Barmes at second. He's hitting just .240 with four homers (only one since April 26) and 13 RBIs (four this month) this season. And he's streaky. Atkins should be given another chance, too, so don't buy too heavily into Barmes.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Mat Gamel, Milwaukee Brewers

The kid can hit; he smoked a three-run jack in his first major league start Monday, May 18, after posting a .336-8-31 line in 119 at-bats with Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers don't appear ready to look outside the organization for any help with their injury-hit infield, either. Interleague play is on the horizon, which should open up more at-bats for Gamel, and he might receive the odd start at third. He needs to improve on his defense, though.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Rick Ankiel, St. Louis Cardinals

Ankiel (shoulder, neck) will likely be activated from the DL in a few days. If a hasty owner dropped him, he's a decent pickup for those that need power help. Just check to make sure he's back starting before putting him in your lineup, and you should avoid using him against southpaws.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Matt LaPorta, Cleveland Indians

LaPorta has found his name penciled into the lineup card more often of late; he started five straight games last week. His numbers aren't impressive, though. He's hitting only .206 with a .324 slugging percentage, and he has just a .414 on-base-plus-slugging percentage against righties. He hasn't been great, but given his potential, he should be stashed on all deep mixed rosters until he begins performing.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks

Something needed to be done in Arizona; Parra has proven to be just that something. He has seven hits in his 17 at-bats with one homer and six RBIs. He's batting second, too, so there should be plenty of opportunities to score (if only the D-backs' young bats would start hitting). He hasn't shown much power in the minors, but he has hit for a decent average and flashed some speed.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Willie Harris, Washington Nationals

Outfielder Elijah Dukes (hamstring) was placed on the DL, and Austin Kearns (hand) had been relegated to frequent pinch hitting because of a sore hand. Harris could receive some regular at-bats, though Justin Maxwell should receive some consideration. The latter was starting in center Wednesday, May 20. The 30-year-old Harris is hitting just .250 (.248 career average) and has minimal power, but his clip was at .182 as of May 8. Harris has plated at least one RBI in five of his last seven games; he has displayed good wheels in part-time duty and clubbed 13 homers in 367 at-bats last year. There's enough here for a rental, at minimum.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Brian Anderson, Chicago White Sox

The White Sox activated Anderson (oblique) off the 15-day DL Tuesday, May 19. Apparently he's a fan of David Ortiz; Anderson went 0-for-4 with one strikeout in his first game back. Outfielder Carlos Quentin (heel) remains sidelined, so there should still be a spot for Anderson in the outfield. Scott Podsednik (.269 average and two steals) hasn't taken the White Sox outfield by storm, either. Anderson is hitting just .268 with six runs in 56 at-bats.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Wilkin Ramirez, Detroit Tigers

Ramirez, one of the Tigers' top prospects, received the call from Triple-A Toledo to replace Tuesday, May 19, and will DH the following day. He could contribute across the board in the future (.316-5-13 with 14 stolen bases in 30 games for Toledo), but he might not have much of a chance now. Outfielder Magglio Ordonez is expected back Thursday, May 21, and Ramirez might find at-bats hard to come by ... if he remains in the majors.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Watch

Starting pitchers

Dontrelle Willis, Detroit Tigers

If he's not already rolling, the D-Train is at least pulling out of the station. He allowed only one hit in 6 1/3 innings Tuesday, May 19, and walked just two batters while striking out five. The only hit came in the first inning as he retired the side in order for five straight innings. He had command of his pitches, mixed up the speed of his pitches and kept hitters off balance, per former Texas Rangers general manager and current television analyst Tom Grieve. Add Willis to your roster in deep mixed leagues; don't make him an everyday start just yet.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

J.A. Happ, Philadelphia Phillies

The Phils moved starter Chan Ho Park to the bullpen and will send Happ to the mound for a start Saturday, May 23. His relief appearances this year have been solid (2.49 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 17 K's), and he has decent career numbers as a starter (3.58 ERA and 1.30 WHIP). Philadelphia should give him plenty of run support, too. You should probably avoid him for his first outing if you can avoid it; he's on the road against the New York Yankees, who crush lefties.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Edgar Gonzalez, Oakland Athletics

The A's will use Gonzalez out of the bullpen this week; if he isn't needed, he will start Saturday, May 23. The bullpen was taxed Monday, May 18, after Oakland starter Sean Gallagher lasted just 2 1/3 innings. Gallagher (8.16 ERA) has been terrible this year, so a rotation spot could be up for grabs. Tough to say Gonzalez will be that guy, though, with a 5.97 career MLB ERA, uninspiring stuff and poor Triple-A numbers.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Watch

Relief pitchers

Brian Bruney, New York Yankees

Bruney (elbow) was activated off the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, May 20. "He was our eighth-inning guy before he got hurt, and then we kind of had to go by matchups," Girardi said. "It affected us a little bit. I think it's important to get him back." If you are looking for someone to handcuff to Yanks closer Mariano Rivera, Bruney is the guy to grab; he also makes for a decent LIMA reliever candidate.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.


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