Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on April 8, 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

Travis Ishikawa, San Francisco Giants

He's already showing maturity and a diverse spray chart in his first few games as the starting scooper. Ishikawa boasts a spot in the middle of a young but improving Giants lineup; he clubbed 16 bombs in just 171 Triple-A at-bats in 2008 and has the glove to maintain a full-time gig.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Second basemen

Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays

He appears to be thinking clearly. A concussion-clouded 2008 kept Hill from building on his 2007 success, and a three-run blast Tuesday, April 7, reminded us that he has pop potential from a middle infield spot.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Mark Teahen, Kansas City Royals

The already versatile option will earn another eligible position this season. Though he may still be locked into a platoon with the fear-conjuring Willie Bloomquist, Teahen has grown sea legs after being thrown into the lagoon this spring. Luckily, most rotisserie leagues don't grade defense, so you need only concern yourself with his sometimes useful bat.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Emilio Bonifacio, Florida Marlins

The fantasy MVP during the first two days of action, Bonifacio showed a solid stick to complement his electric wheels. His inside-the-park homer reminded us his speed is for real, but that's probably his best shot at a dinger. Cycle him in when you need steals or ride him while he's hot - just don't consider him a full-time mixed starter.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Nyjer Morgan, Pittsburgh Pirates

Like Bonifacio, Morgan can thieve bags in abundance but lacks the track record at the dish. Starting the season 4-for-9 is a nice step, especially after a rough spring showing. Sure, it's the Pirates, but Morgan is leading off, meaning there's some potential for modest gains in runs, also. He's not cemented in left field yet, so it's best to handle him carefully.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Endy Chavez, Seattle Mariners

The perennial backup is hitting leadoff in the absence of Ichiro Suzuki (stomach), which is only expected to last until Wednesday, April 15. Chavez presents a small upshot for a few steals in that time, but he doesn't offer you anything beyond that long term besides a flashy glove.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Edwin Jackson, Detroit Tigers

The latest Wild Thing showed his softer - and better - side during his start Tuesday, April 7: 7 1/3 frames, two hits, four K's and one walk. He has plus stuff but could never harness it until a fortunate situation with the Tampa Bay Rays last year earned him ample wins. He's worth a flier on raw talent alone. 

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Joe Saunders, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Most fantasy drafters were skeptical of Saunders repeating his 2008 performance. Lack of dominance aside, the lefty opened this season by hurling 6 2/3 shutout innings. If he slipped through the cracks of your draft, swipe him and ride him for as long as his pristine control doesn't betray him; at least this way, you don't put too much stock into him.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Kevin Millwood, Texas Rangers

Mike Maddux's juju wasted no time surfacing; Millwood showed how much he enjoys Texas' new pitching coach with a seven-inning, one-run, five-strikeout performance. He improved his conditioning and workout program this past spring. He has posted solid dominance in the last few years, and any improvement to his ratios would make him a waiver wire gem.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Relief pitchers

Ryan Franklin, St. Louis Cardinals

He was slated to close things out Tuesday, April 8, if the Cardinals needed someone to tie a bow. Although manager Tony La Russa said Jason Motte will get chances to improve on his disastrous Opening Day save opportunity, Franklin's presence here shouldn't be ignored, especially given his relative effectiveness in the interim role last season.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-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 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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