Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on May 29, 2009 @ 00:00:00 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

Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles

Wunderkind Wieters gets to eat at the adults' table with his MLB debut today. Throw him in your lineup; you stashed him for a reason.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Jesus Flores, Washington Nationals

The Nats backstop is expected to be activated from the disabled list today after a recovery from a right shoulder contusion. Flores (.311-4-15 this year) was a boon in two-catcher formats, hitting .385 in May before heading to the sidelines. You should revisit him if your No. 2 is uninspiring or you're cycling catchers.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Shortstops

Ramon Martinez, New York Mets

This is purely an opportunity gain with Jose Reyes (calf) on the DL. The slow-healing stud gives Martinez a chance to "shine." With a .121 showing in his first 33 at-bats this year, you can't expect much from this hollow stick besides PT in NL leagues. 

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Watch

Outfielders

Nolan Reimold, Baltimore Orioles

Despite an unexciting .264 clip, Reimold has a three-game homer streak. He has a hit in all but three of his 14 big league contests. The rook is by no means smoking the ball like he was on the farm (7.0 line-drive percent compared to 22.4 at Triple-A Norfolk), and more than half of his contact winds up on the ground. Still, he's making the most of his flyballs (five dingers on just 39.5 percent lofts); if the result and impact of his hits normalize, Reimold may see his average improve, too. It's worth finding out with him as your No. 5 outfielder.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Gary Sheffield, New York Mets

Why isn't he owned more? It's time to put aside the anti-geriatric bias here. While his hits have killed more worms this year (50.7 groundball percentage), his batting eye (1.47 BB/K) reflects back to his elite years. He seems happy in a Mets uni, which is often the catalyst for his success. He'll continue to see playing time with Ryan Church (shoulder) sidelined and Carlos Delgado (hip) out until at least late July. Sheff's wrists have lost some speed, but don't lose out on his hot bat.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Luke Scott, Baltimore Orioles

It's another apex on the roller coaster for Scott, who has gone 4-for-8 with three taters and seven ribbies in two games since returning from the DL. He's hitting .441 in 34 at-bats this month and is smoking the ball (20.5 percent line drives). Being a streaky addition is the core of Scott's fantasy worth. Pick him up with the understanding that he'll go back in the tank in a matter of time. 

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Xavier Nady, New York Yankees

The X man went 2-for-5 with a dinger while serving as DH in extended Spring Training action yesterday. He's slated to work more on his throwing Monday, June 1. Given the slumping ways of Yanks outfielder Nick Swisher, Nady will presumably be thrown into the fray upon his return for his righty power bat. His return date is still undetermined, but he's worth a pre-emptive pickup, especially since he's still DL-eligible.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Jake Fox, Chicago Cubs

Fox, who led all minor leaguers with a .423-17-50 line in 149 at-bats, was tapped to come up to the big leagues. With Ryan Freel (hamstring) on the DL, Fox should see some more outfield time along with the ability to play first, but they're also trying to fit him into the lineup at third, where he has been taking grounders. This recent development multiplies the intrigue here. 

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Fernando Martinez, New York Mets

The Mets' top prospect was called up this week and was playing in the absence of Carlos Beltran (knee) and with Ryan Church (shoulder) on the DL. The baseball baby is 0-for-7 and didn't make a good case for himself when he didn't run out a popup that eventually fell fair. Expecting Martinez to be a game-changer at the ripe age of 20 may be asking a bit too much; fantasy owners should have the same feeling. If you're desperate in NLs, tuck him away, but Angel Pagan may be the better long-term option while Church is on the sidelines. 

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Watch

Designated hitters

Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians

Pronk aims to return from the DL this coming Monday. He has excelled during his shoulder rehab at Triple-A Columbus, going 11-for-25 (.440) with one homer and five ribbies. The big man was delayed by rib soreness during his recent efforts, but he's expected to continue playing through the weekend. If he was dropped, you could do worse than take a chance that he regains his 2006 pop.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Carl Pavano, Cleveland Indians

Maybe he thought Pinstripes hurt his wardrobe. Pavano has made the most of his comeback season, regaining the dominance he flashed as a member of the Florida Marlins (46 K's, 13 walks) and leading the majors with five May wins. Since a one-inning, nine-run disaster April 9, his ERA has gradually dropped from 16.71 (after April 14 start) to 5.50 (after May 26). The former "American Idle" has improved his groundball impact, too. You should join him in relishing his change of scenery.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Kelvim Escobar, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The comeback buzz died down after a setback, but Escobar (shoulder) is dealing again. He retied 18 of the 19 hitters he faced at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Wednesday, striking out eight and displaying efficiency with 76 pitches in six frames. His scheduled June 1 outing will probably be his last rehab effort if he keeps this up. Jump on board before anyone else notices.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Ricky Nolasco, Florida Marlins

Nolasco was a hard-luck loser in a "that's more like it!" start for Triple-A New Orleans Wednesday: an eight-inning complete game, seven K's, two walks and just three earned runs. There's a chance he could come up to start Tuesday, June 2, to fill the Fish's open rotation spot. Keep tabs on his status, and although you can't overreact to one start, he's a good flier pickup; most of his problems have come from pitching from the stretch, which can be easily corrected.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Jeremy Sowers, Cleveland Indians

The lefty will be the latest driver on the Indians' rotation roundabout. His next start will come June 1 against the New York Yankees. He held the Tampa Bay Rays scoreless on three hits in five innings, which has been a long outing for the Indians rotation this year. Sowers' 31 innings at Triple-A Columbus (2.03 ERA, 25 K's, seven walks) show encouragement, but don't buy into that yet.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Watch

Relief pitchers

Edward Mujica, San Diego Padres

The presumed understudy should closer Heath Bell succumb to injury, Mujica has already proven useful. He hasn't allowed a run since April 30, he has walked just one batter in his last 10 games, and he has 28 K's in 24 1/3 innings. Rent him while he's dealing, but the promising righty also has season-long potential.

Shallow mixed: Watch

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 the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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