Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on June 1, 2009 @ 01:00:00 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

Ryan Hanigan, Cincinnati Reds

With first baseman Joey Votto (stress) on the DL, Hanigan will assume starting catcher duties while Ramon Hernandez slides over to first. In limited playing time, Hanigan has shown some offensive sparks, including a .323-1-4 line in 65 at-bats this year. He has a great batting eye (11 walks, four K's in '09), meaning his batting average probably won't hurt much as a second catcher.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Second basemen

Alexi Casilla, Minnesota Twins

The Twins brought Casilla back up with Nick Punto's (groin) DL stint starting. The speedy second sacker won't return to his previously held No. 2 spot in the order, but he rebounded from a slow MLB start with a .316 clip in 20 contests for Triple-A Rochester. With a clear head, Casilla stands to contribute some steals; hitting down in the order may also help him regain the stick effectiveness he flashed last year.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Juan Uribe, San Francisco Giants

The Giants are pretty much forced to keep the hobbled Pablo Sandoval (elbow) at first base until his throwing 'bow heals, and Uribe has assumed hot corner duties. Manager Bruce Bochy has been pleased with Uribe's everyday play so far, and the vet has at least one hit in nine of his last 11 contests while posting a .315 May clip. Thinking he'll keep this up is a lofty wish, but he's getting the playing time.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Edwin Maysonet, Houston Astros

Recalled May 22, Maysonet will see time at second base now that Kazuo Matsui (hamstring) has returned home to the disabled list. Maysonet hit leadoff yesterday and has started hot: .450-1-5 in 20 at-bats, including three multi-hit outings in his last five games. He has modest potential for stolen bases, though not enough to give him much value after he cools down, considering there isn't much power coming from here.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Ryan Roberts, Arizona Diamondbacks

Roberts has been earning time at third base with Chad Tracy (oblique) confined once again to the DL. A 22-for-60 (.367) start to his big-league tenure has been aided by Roberts' current six-game hit streak, but his batting eye ratio (five walks, 15 K's) isn't encouraging. He didn't make effective contact on the farm (14.2 career line-drive percentage), and that .489 BABIP should come down soon. Tread lightly.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox

A banged-up White Sox outfield has led to another invasion of the Pods, who has scorched at the plate to end May on a 6-for-16 run. He hasn't attempted a stolen base in the last eight games, though, which has deflated his value. On the positive side, he isn't striking out as much as he typically does and is sustaining his typically high contact rate (though his 95.5 percent pace will come down). A proven veteran who has dominated the stolen base category in the past deserves another chance if that's what you need.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Clete Thomas, Detroit Tigers

A two-homer game Saturday has highlighted Thomas' solid May MLB output (.282-3-13). He didn't do much in terms of power in the minors (25 dingers in 1,701 at-bats). However, he's a sleeper for stolen bases (29 in 291 at-bats at Triple-A Toledo in 2008) and should continue to see reps with Marcus Thames (ribcage) and Carlos Guillen (shoulder) still ailing. Thomas loses his value when they come back, which could occur within the next few weeks.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Andruw Jones, Texas Rangers

First baseman Chris Davis can't hit himself in the face. Designated hitter Hank Blalock has an aversion to playing defense. Outfielder Josh Hamilton (groin) could return to the DL. Enter Jones, who has been in the lineup for three straight days and has received a taste of first base (a preview for the rest of his career?). There are ample opportunities for Jones to earn more playing time and build on his productive part-time performance this season.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Trevor Crowe, Cleveland Indians

Expected at least to share time replacing disabled stud Grady Sizemore (elbow), Crowe has speed to burn (18 steals in 344 cumulative at-bats in the minors last season). His stick hasn't adapted to the bigs yet, but his career farm batting eye ratio is a solid 0.78. While he may replace Sizemore's basepath presence, he probably won't even approach being a substantial power substitution.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Josh Outman, Oakland Athletics

Outman delivered with quality starts in five of his six May trips to the mound, including a career-high nine K's in his May 29 outing. The former Philadelphia Phillies prospect displays decent velocity but isn't .239-BABIP good; control is by no means a dead issue (21 walks in 47 frames). His home park bolsters his chances to continue this for at least a brief period, though.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Jason Vargas, Seattle Mariners

With aggressiveness early in the count and refined changeup employment, Vargas has yielded only five earned tallies in 23 2/3 starter innings in his first extensive MLB action since 2006. This tends to occur when you post a 98.4 percent strand rate. What could sustain this success: Vargas posted a 9.14 dominance ratio at Triple-A Tacoma, a vast improvement in the category. He'll need to translate that to Seattle to keep a big percentage of future runners from scoring, but he's an effective rental, especially if the schedule is favorable.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Jason Marquis, Colorado Rockies

The innings eater has found ways to work around his dominance deficiencies in the past, and he's having much more success while maintaining many of his career averages of his peripherals. He has seven wins for a ghastly Rockies club, mainly because his groundball rate has spiked to 54.9 percent, his highest pace since 2004. Use him judiciously: He still struggles at Coors Field, but elsewhere he has been outstanding. Of course, he walks a ton of hitters, so keep that in mind if you want to ride this shaky wave.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia Phillies

Who's Carlos Carrasco? This fun vulgar name isn't guaranteed extended innings in Philly this year, but he'll have a chance to prove himself while visiting the San Diego Padres and taking Brett Myers' (hip) first open turn. Bastardo's command has been stifling (51 K's, 10 walks at two farm levels this year), but you should note his flyball tendency. Still, the Phils have utilized young hurlers before who have proven themselves; see: Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and even Kyle Kendrick.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Randy Choate, Tampa Bay Rays

This 33-year-old LOOGY spit on the fantasy baseball world when he recorded back-to-back saves in the Rays' committee setup this past weekend. Take a breath: It was a lot of lefty-on-lefty action. Though the submariner has now proven somewhat reliable, it's possible manager Joe Maddon wanted to throw a fresh arm out there on both occasions. If you're desperate, you can try him, but don't assume this will be permanent.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Bobby Parnell, New York Mets

Manager Jerry Manuel said Parnell could assume eighth-inning duties, bumping J.J. Putz. The skip also said he would be comfortable using Parnell if Putz and closer Francisco Rodriguez were unavailable. The former starting pitching prospect's heat and strikeout ability stand out, but he still has some control issues. NL save speculators should take note, though.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Daniel Schlereth, Arizona Diamondbacks

The son of former Denver Broncos guard Mark Schlereth pancaked the opposition with two scoreless one-inning appearances following his recent call-up. He's a potential closer, and though it seems that move won't happen for a while, he has shown he can do it now (21 K's in 19 frames at Double-A Mobile this year). When you add the fresh Clay Zavada (already with six K's in four MLB innings), the D-backs now have some more backup for closer Chad Qualls.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Watch

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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