Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on June 12, 2009 @ 13:00:00 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

Miguel Olivo, Kansas City Royals

The streaky vet is on another run with a dinger in three straight games. With double-digit homers in each of the last three seasons (and he's on pace for a fourth), Olivo has proven to be a reliable pickup for two-catcher setups. DL inhabitant John Buck (back) still has an undetermined timetable for a return. The valley should come in his bat work soon, so be wary, especially of his batting average.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Second basemen

Brendan Harris, Minnesota Twins

Even with Nick Punto returning from the DL, the Twins are content with keeping Harris at shortstop, where he has been replacing Punto and developing a comfort zone in the field. Minnesota can place him all around the infield, and fantasy players can, too, at every infield spot except first base. Harris' hot bat (.325 in June) helps. Not much run production or speed comes with Harris' batting average success, but having a steady stream of hits can help at your middle infielder spot for a brief period.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Pedro Feliz, Philadelphia Phillies

Peter Happy (isn't translating fun?) has quietly been allowing his select club of owners to reflect his English last name with a .351 June average. Even more impressive is his .322 clip against right-handers, whom he mustered a .231 output against last season. He's sacrificing his midrange power for this improvement while limiting the need for lefty-hitting third sacker Greg Dobbs.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Pat Burrell, Tampa Bay Rays

Maybe The Bat's time on the DL will cure his woes from earlier this year (.250-1-17 in 108 at-bats). Burrell's swing is reportedly still rusty, and he had an unproductive rehab stint. Still, tater-starved squads could do worse than throwing him into their lineups for his scheduled return Friday, June 12, or stashing him if he's still on the wire.

Shallow mixed: Acquire

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Koji Uehara, Baltimore Orioles

Though he surrendered four runs in five innings to the Seattle Mariners Thursday, June 11, Uehara's return from the DL alone puts him here. The righty offered some ace-like performances this season and was the hottest O's starter for a while. (Does that mean a lot, though?) Still, his 3.42 command ratio doesn't earn enough attention, and he has walked only seven batters in 45 2/3 innings since allowing four free passes April 13. He'll make batters earn a hit, in which case he's relying on his defense. Results will vary.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Russ Ortiz, Houston Astros

Remember when you would deal with his shoddy peripherals, but he'd still win 14-plus games? Let's not rush in, but Ortiz has resurfaced on the fantasy radar (3.48 ERA, 33 K's in 44 frames in mixed work this year). With Felipe Paulino (groin) sentenced to the DL, Ortiz, coming off 5 1/3 innings of two-hit, scoreless ball June 11, should have a spot in the rotation for some time.

He's keeping the ball on the turf, too (48.9 groundball percentage), fighting off his former homer-happy flaw. Caution abounds here, but it's worth a shot if you're grasping for straws.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Matt Palmer, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

With Kelvim Escobar (shoulder) moving to the bullpen, the 30-year-old rookie re-enters the rotation with another shot at making Disney movie magic. Let's not get caught up in the fairy tale being told by his opponents' .228 BABIP and Palmer's fastball that's averaging 88.2 mph this year. The soft tosser has the sixth highest run support (9.95 runs per nine innings) for MLB hurlers with at least 40 innings of work. He'll need this help to continue his run.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Sean White, Seattle Mariners

With 17 straight scoreless frames, White is KFFL's latest underappreciated ratio-boosting reliever. Though his only career save came this year when both David Aardsma and Mark Lowe weren't at the team's disposal, White has earned the trust to enter late-game situations.

This past offseason, White adjusted his arm angle and body movement to give more sink to his fastball. Strikeouts still aren't coming, and fluky numbers (.192 BABIP, 90.1 percent strand rate) will probably come down, but he's worth a try.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-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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