Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on July 24, 2009 @ 04:03:40 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

Chris Coste, Houston Astros

His catcher eligibility will come in handy; the vet will probably be the full-time replacement for DL occupant Lance Berkman (calf) at first base. Note that Berkman might be eligible to come back in early August soon after his inactive stint is over.

Playing time is Coste's main attribute for acquisition, and he should be added in NL leagues if you haven't had the chance to do so. Just don't expect revelations from the career .281 hitter despite his mildly serviceable .263-9-36 line last year.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

First basemen

Steve Pearce, Pittsburgh Pirates

With the dispersion of first baseman Adam LaRoche to Beantown, Pearce will receive yet another chance to prove he can be a regular. Pearce was hitting .333-2-11 with a .429 on-base percentage in July for Triple-A Indianapolis.

He wasn't so hot in his last MLB go-round earlier this month, serving mainly as a pinch hitter when he went 1-for-12 over nine games. Also, the Bucs have reborn slugger Garrett Jones to handle the picking duties if needed, and he hits left-handed. Jones has found a near-permanent spot in left field, though, so Pearce will get his shot.

Pearce has hit just .259 in his MLB career, but the organization has cited improved plate discipline from him. Beware: If Pearce doesn't fly, they could reshuffle the lineup and bring in Lastings Milledge. Handle this one cautiously.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Shortstops

Brendan Harris, Minnesota Twins

Well, a Joe Crede (shoulder) injury has thrown a wrench into his team's plans. Surprised? You shouldn't be. The human medical report isn't slated to go on the DL for now, but he has an inflamed AC joint in his right shoulder and will be re-evaluated Sunday. He probably won't play for the near future.

The Twins have not been shy about shuffling their non-Justin Morneau infield spots between Crede, Harris and Nick Punto, but the recent callup of second baseman Alexi Casilla has removed one cog from this carousel. Harris would probably be in the everyday lineup for as long as Crede is sidelined. Harris hasn't done much this month, though, hitting 12-for-63 (.190) with a homer and five RBIs.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Watch

Outfielders

Rajai Davis, Oakland Athletics

The trade of Matt Holliday to the St. Louis Cardinals leaves a hole in left field that would presumably be filled by the speedy Davis. Davis is 8-for-20 in July with six RBIs and has swiped four bags during limited action in each of the last three months. With an increased workload, he can help you catch up a bit with his feet. They may still give outfielder Aaron Cunningham a shot, but go with Davis first.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire 

Relief pitchers

Rafael Betancourt, Colorado Rockies

RB will probably be next in line for saves on his new club, also, behind Huston Street. He came off the DL recently, but his absence hasn't stopped him from regaining his 2007 skills: He has 21 strikeouts with nine walks while posting a 2.61 ERA in his last 20 2/3 frames. NL speculators should go after him first, but they should remember he has plenty of competition in the hierarchy if he falls off again.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies

Chacin, the Rox's top arm prospect, skips Triple-A to join the big boys. He was a starter for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers and fanned 86 while walking 35 in 103 1/3 frames.

He's primed for long relief duty, and it's hard to think he ranks highly on their save hierarchy; they have enough experienced relievers that they can let Chacin gain his legs in middle-inning situations in the Mile High heights. Ratio help could be his best gift; don't believe it's guaranteed, though.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Drew Carpenter, Philadelphia Phillies

He was summoned to Philly after DL placements for Chad Durbin (back) and J.C. Romero (forearm). This lesser-known Carp was a starter for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, going 8-2 with a 2.75 ERA with 84 K's and 32 walks in 108 frames. He'll be used in long relief and, like Chacin, could be helpful in ratios as a rental, but he doesn't command waiver wire urgency.

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 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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