Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on April 9, 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

Jeff Mathis, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The 26-year-old suited up for the first two games of the MLB season, earning favor over slugger Mike Napoli, who struggled to catch up this spring after missing time rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Manager Mike Scioscia hinted that Napoli is the backup. The defensively superior Mathis struggled to make contact last year but has moderate offensive potential.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Koyie Hill, Chicago Cubs

His value is affixed to the health of Geovany Soto (shoulder), who injured his throwing shoulder while trying to throw out a baserunner. There are whispers of a possible DL stint, meaning Hill would become the default starter. His bat doesn't offer much (.189-3-25 in 233 career at-bats), but if you're looking for playing time from a No. 2 backstop, at least you know he's available.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Brandon Inge, Detroit Tigers

Well, you knew he's good for one thing: dingers. He has left the yard in each of the Tigs' first three contests. He's on the rising side of his typical roller coaster of production. His catcher eligibility makes this a more intriguing rental, as long as you don't lock yourself in - and plan for the impending big drop from the career .237 hitter.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Shortstops

Julio Lugo, Boston Red Sox

His recovery from right knee surgery continues, and he has traveled down to Florida to strengthen his quadriceps. He's on schedule to do about a week of baseball activities before stepping into game action, probably sometime around late April. His playing time may be in question when he comes back if Jed Lowrie holds the six down, but he's a sneaky stash for a DL spot if you want to horde steals potential.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Chris Duncan, St. Louis Cardinals

Though the masher is still stuck in a slightly cramped outfield, he's making a case for extended PT with a 2-for-6 start, including a jack. It's reasonable to think he'll bat cleanup against righties if his current arrangement sticks, but he'll probably see time off or drop in the order against southpaws. Beware: Colby Rasmus looms if the big man shows his true platoon colors. If you need an occasional power boost, though, call Duncan.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Alfredo Amezaga, Florida Marlins

The versatile Amezaga is expected to come off the DL Saturday, April 11, after rehabbing at Single-A Jupiter. The Fish employed him at four positions last season and enjoy using him as a plug-and-play accessory. Though his stolen base totals have declined in each of the last two seasons, he still has thievery potential for cavernous leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Micah Owings, Cincinnati Reds

If your league counts pitchers' offensive stats, bully for you. If not, there's still hope for you with this 2008 early-season stud. He was overlooked in most drafts despite an outstanding spring, and many mistakenly think he lost all his potential after a rough drop-off and a late-season shoulder injury. He faces the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday, April 11, so he's worth a test drive for that contest alone. If he shows reminders of his start to 2008....

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Yusmeiro Petit, Arizona Diamondbacks

With workhorse ace Brandon Webb (shoulder) scratched from his start April 11, Petit slides into the gig. The latter would be the D-backs' first choice if a rotation spot opens up, and if Webb needs to visit the DL, Petit would have a chance to revisit his hot two-month performance (2.48 ERA and 32 K's in 40 frames over July and August).

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Joel Zumaya, Detroit Tigers

No matter how straight Zumaya's (shoulder) blazing fastball is, his presence is vital to the Detroit bullpen. He threw 43 pitches in extended spring training action Tuesday, April 7, and didn't report any hitches. With Brandon Lyon showing his flawed fantasy value, current stopper Fernando Rodney's spotty history and manager Jim Leyland's reluctance to tab a long-term solution, Zumaya would have an opportunity if he makes it back to the field soon.

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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