Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on June 10, 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)

Catcher

Chris Iannetta, Colorado Rockies

A 0-for-4 showing graced Iannetta's return from the DL. The power bat was showing improvement (.276-5-13 in 58 May at-bats) before he hit the sidelines. Check to see if he was dropped in your league - more likely it happened in shallows - but beware that Yorvit Torrealba could cut down on Iannetta's time upon returning from his family emergency. If you're rotating backstops and he's somehow still out there, pounce.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

First basemen

Lyle Overbay, Toronto Blue Jays

The smooth-swinging vet is lacing the rawhide with a .455 month (10-for-22), which includes a current seven-game hit streak and nine RBIs. Always the under-the-radar corner infielder, Overbay has improved his batting eye ratio by leaps and bounds this year (1.17 BB/K), and it's not like his .319 BABIP is outside his norm (career .327). It's a good time to rent him, at least: Although his average is favorable at home, Overbay will take cuts inside Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and Citizens Bank Park within the next week.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Second basemen

Kevin Frandsen, San Francisco Giants

First baseman Travis Ishikawa's bereavement list placement opened up a spot for the versatile infielder, who started in place of second baseman Emmanuel Burriss Tuesday, June 9. San Fran plans to use Frandsen at least to spell shortstop Edgar Renteria for a game, and the new arrival may stick around afterward. Burriss hasn't exactly endeared himself at the plate recently, and Frandsen's defense offers some hope for playing time.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Watch

Outfielders

David Murphy, Texas Rangers

This Dropkick has played the wild rover, hitting .318 since April's page was flipped. With Josh Hamilton (groin) out at least another month, Murphy's left-handed stick will stay in the lineup most of the time against the majority pitching handedness. He's also reminding fantasy owners of his moderate basepath ability with two swipes this month.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Rajai Davis, Oakland Athletics

This steals specialist's fantasy value has often been hindered by playing time. Athletics outfielders Ryan Sweeney (knee), Travis Buck (oblique) and Aaron Cunningham (head) have checked out due to injury. Davis' steals potential can be met with more at-bats, but don't count on anything long term or anything besides speed in the short term. Tortoise teams should rent him, at least.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Brian Tallet, Toronto Blue Jays

This really should be labeled "Brad Arnsberg." The Blue Jays' arms guru has done it again. Tallet threw his seventh quality start in eight outings Tuesday (two hits in seven scoreless frames). The lefty has in fact shut down righties to the tune of a .199 clip. Tallet has trouble breaking 90 mph on his heat, but he has employed a cutter this year. At the pace Arnsberg has transformed journeymen hurlers this year, it's hard not to drop by the party, even if you're a bit tardy.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Sean West, Florida Marlins

After carrying a no-no into the seventh frame Monday, June 8, against his boyhood hero and fellow tall twig, the San Francisco Giants' Randy Johnson, West now has a quality start in two of his last three games. The 6-foot-8 rookie southpaw still allows a bit too many walks and flyballs (22 air-outs compared to seven groundouts this month), and the K's (5.5 per nine in his MLB time) haven't arrived yet. Expect him to come down from his cloud a bit, but he's worth taking a shot on.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Jose Contreras, Chicago White Sox

Back in the bigs after a self-demotion, the 37-year-old (we think) surrendered only one hit in eight scoreless innings during his June 8 return. Great timing, considering Bartolo Colon (knee) was just placed on the 15-day DL June 9. The Sox have tabbed Contreras to start Saturday, June 13, and take Colon's rotation spot. Contreras' comeback from his Achilles' tendon injury was quick, and he spent his minor league time regaining his strength and rediscovering his splitter. You know there's risk with the old man, but the adjustments offer hope for AL owners.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Brad Bergesen, Baltimore Orioles

This worm killer tossed an eight-inning gem June 9 against the Seattle Mariners for his third straight quality effort. His 30 K's in 62 1/3 innings don't deserve acclaim, but he has the fourth highest groundball percentage (56.1) among qualifying MLB starters this year. Bergesen's dirt denting has allowed him to excel at hitter-friendly Camden Yards (3.62 ERA in 37 1/3 frames), but opponents have hit .305 against him there. Play the matchups with Bergesen.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Aaron Poreda, Chicago White Sox

One of the White Sox's top prospects will report to the big league bullpen, but there's hope for him to join the starting rotation at some point this year with Jose Contreras, Bartolo Colon and Clayton Richard in tow. At Double-A Birmingham, he flashed potential with 69 K's in 64 1/3 frames; his 2.38 ERA wasn't bad, either. His deceptive windup and mid-90s-grazing sinking fastball work in his favor.

Shallows: No rush here; he needs a role first. Deeps: He's a potentially friendly setup reliever. A rotation spot would make him a flier, at best.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Ryan Madson, Philadelphia Phillies

In case you just woke up to find a baby, a Bengal tiger and Mike Tyson in your hotel suite, Brad Lidge (knee) succumbed to a DL stint, satisfying fantasy saves speculators, with Madson temporarily assuming the save chances. Madson's peripherals (31 K's, nine walks) make him a worthy property even after Lidge returns. The Phils insist Lidge won't lose his closer role while he's out. Still, you can't let go of Madson immediately once that happens. If Lidge's head is still in the wrong place....

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Kevin Jepsen, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Halos sent down one struggling reliever, Jose Arredondo, and called up an arm that hasn't proven much at any level this year. Jepsen is considered one of the club's better prospects thanks to his mid-90s fastball, sharp curve and ability to coax grounders. Strikeouts have been his big plus this year. Unfortunately, walks (8.00 per nine) and homers (2.00 per nine) have hindered his progress. Outside maybe southpaw Darren Oliver, no Angels setup man is worth owning.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-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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