Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on July 17, 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)

First basemen

Josh Whitesell, Arizona Diamondbacks

The D-backs went back to the corner well, tapping Whitesell for the third time this season Thursday. He has taken all he can from Triple-A Reno (.313-7-45 with a .422 on-base percentage in 176 at-bats). Whitesell has been smoking the ball on the farm (26.4 line-drive rate in '09). Power from past years hasn't been there, though.

He started a bunch during his previous two trips to the bigs. He improved during his second go-round, hitting .330 with nine RBIs in 11 games, much better than his previous 3-for-26 stint.

Manager A.J. Hinch will have a rap session with Whitesell and infielder Chad Tracy to discuss plans about the position, but Whitesell is pretty much assured of some playing time; he'll also receive a fair audition for the 2010 job.

It's safe to say the D-backs may be frustrated with Tracy's lack of production. Though Hinch will probably reveal the playing time split soon, Whitesell offers a better chance to make a fantasy impact.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals

We noted he was on track for this back on July 2, but Gordon (hip) was activated from the DL yesterday and will be in the lineup Friday. He hit .350 in 40 rehab at-bats, with a homer and three ribbies, across three levels.

Gordon played through the tear in his right hip labrum and went 2-for-21 before his DL stint. Expect the blue bloods to ease him back into regular duty. "I don't anticipate him being in the lineup more than two or three days in a row at first," Royals general manager Dayton Moore told reporters. "It might be a month or so before we see him running at his accustomed level. Or we may not see it until next year. We'll be conservative with it."

Kansas City Royals 3B Alex Gordon
Nothing to lose: Add Gordon

As cautious as they may be with Gordon, this low-risk fantasy investment could yield dynamic results. He may have been cast away in your setup; with the upside he provides, it's definitely worth a look.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Seth Smith, Colorado Rockies

He isn't a regular, but when he's on the slab, Smith has produced. He's 25-for-69 (.362) with four homers and 14 RBIs since May. He also has displayed appealing plate discipline this year (30 walks, 28 strikeouts).

The Rox have been slotting Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler the majority of time, but the lefty Smith would be in a good spot if Gonzalez continues to swoon; he has a better chance of overtaking the rawer Gonzalez than Fowler, presumably.

Colorado remains in playoff contention and could use the patient and sometimes quick Smith as a part-time spark, but they may find it hard to keep him down if he keeps this up.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

B.J. Ryan, Chicago Cubs

The lefty found a suitor in an already solid bullpen, but Ryan will have to wait until he rebuilds arm strength and regains control at the team's spring training complex in Mesa, Ariz.

The Cubbies need a lefty to take some pressure off Sean Marshall or allow them to slide Marshall back into the rotation. This isn't exactly a prime location for Ryan to regain save chances, with stopper Kevin Gregg performing well and Carlos Marmol and Angel Guzman taking on setup duties.

Speculating for saves with the big southpaw will leave you wanting more, but you can't completely ignore someone with this much strikeout talent attempting a fresh start.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Watch

Kevin Mulvey, Minnesota Twins

Meet one of the unheralded pieces acquired in the Johan Santana trade. Mulvey has presented mixed results at Triple-A Rochester this season (3.93 ERA, 2.13 command ratio and a 1.43 WHIP in 103 frames). The starter will be asked to eat bullpen innings for a struggling Twins middle and setup corps.

The midlevel prospect induces groundballs (51.1 percent this year, 49.1 percent career on the farm) to go along with his decent command. He still needs to work on his curveball and, like seemingly every other Twins pitcher, seems to be around the strike zone a bunch, which he needs to add some worth to his low-90s heat.

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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