Fantasy Baseball: Diamond Market - Falling

by Tim Heaney and Nicholas Minnix on May 16, 2008 @ 12:04:17 PDT

 


Fantasy baseball waivers and discarded fantasy baseball players 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. When is it time to give up on your fantasy baseball sleepers? Which players are worth retaining? KFFL.com's Diamond Market series gives you the fantasy baseball tips and advice you need to sort through the masses quickly.

Key

Discard - Drop player (in most circumstances)

Stash - Hold player if roster space is available; consider dropping if trend continues

Hold - Do not drop player (in most circumstances)

Catchers

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Texas Rangers

Salty's .194 batting average in 31 at-bats has burned the wounds of those who spent a middle-round draft pick on him before this season. His home runs column remains empty, and he has just three RBIs this year. A 2-for-20 slide amplifies the fact that he is playing in a time split with Gerald Laird, who has five hits in his last three games. The 11 combined home runs Saltalamacchia blasted with the Atlanta Braves and Rangers last season haven't even shown a glimmer of happening at this point; it might be time for shallow leaguers to hydrate themselves with a more reliable starting catcher if there's a more promising option on the waiver wire.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Stash

AL-only: Hold

First Basemen

None

Second Basemen

None

Third Basemen

None

Shortstops

Edgar Renteria, Detroit Tigers

Some key fantasy players in the Tigers lineup have been coming alive, but lately Renteria certainly hasn't been one of them. May has not been kind to Renteria, who is mired in a 4-for-36 (.111) slide with just one RBI and hasn't homered since April 21. The 32-year-old received the day off Thursday, May 15, seemingly in an effort to clear his head. Renteria has mostly hit seventh in the order this season but has been showing up in the eighth slot as of late. It wouldn't be wise to cut Renteria in most formats, but you might want to put him aside for the time being until he rectifies his slump.

Shallow mixed: Hold

Deep mixed: Hold

AL-only: Hold

Outfielders

Willy Taveras, Colorado Rockies

The fluctuating outfield situation has hurt Taveras as of late; he hasn't started the team's last two games after compiling just three hits in 21 at-bats in his four previous games, including 11 straight hitless trips to the batter's box. Outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, meanwhile, has cut into Taveras' time by hitting first, fifth and sixth in starting the team's last four games; the Rockies like Spilborghs' versatility in both the lineup and on the field. After a .320 clip last season, Taveras has mustered a .230 figure so far this year. He already has swiped 15 bases this season, but that's really his only plus category in the fantasy world. However, he should be retained in deep formats if possible because of his potential to single-handedly keep you competitive in the steals category. Speed-hungry shallow teams could justify keeping him around for the occasional boost. Keep an eye on the starting lineup before each game and be ready to have an alternative if you need help in the steals category.

Shallow mixed: Stash

Deep mixed: Hold

NL-only: Hold

Felix Pie, Chicago Cubs

The Cubs optioned the young outfielder May 15, halting at least for the moment an unsuccessful start to what was to be the 23-year-old's first full big-league season. A .222 season average and 5-for-23 stretch (.217) in his last 10 outings didn't help his cause. He had been in a platoon with outfielder Reed Johnson, and his spot looks to be going to new addition Jim Edmonds, who was recently released by the San Diego Padres. Pie wasn't showing much promise for this season when he was up, and his demotion allows you to stop hoping for that potential to surface.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Discard

NL-only: Stash

Jacque Jones, Free Agents

After being designated for assignment Monday, May 5, Jones was officially released by the Tigers Friday, May 16. Jones' departure was part of manager Jim Leyland's lineup shuffle, which brought in rookie outfielder Matt Joyce, one of the team's top hitting prospects. Jones would be an ideal option for teams looking to platoon in the outfield, so he's likely to catch on with some team this season as a bench option. Keep an eye on him in AL- or NL-only leagues depending on where he ends up. If you haven't already done so, ignore him in every other format.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Discard

AL-only: Stash

Designated Hitters

None

Starting Pitchers

Brett Myers, Philadelphia Phillies

Sure, he has fanned 48 hitters in 53 1/3 innings this season, but that's just about where the positives end for the starter-turned-closer-turned-starter. Myers has surrendered a jaw-dropping 15 home runs this season, including five games of allowing at least two bombs. The right-hander allowed six runs each to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves in his last two outings. He has allowed just 18 walks, but that doesn't help fantasy owners much if he continues to serve up meatballs, especially if his velocity doesn't show some improvement soon. Hang onto him only if you have the room in mixed leagues, but cutting him in extremely shallow formats for more stable options wouldn't be out of the question.

Shallow mixed: Stash

Deep mixed: Hold

NL-only: Hold

Ian Snell, Pittsburgh Pirates

Snell mixed seven innings of one-run ball Friday, May 9, with four other disheartening efforts in which he gave up at least four runs. His latest debacle was a five-run barrage by the St. Louis Cardinals in which Snell gave up 11 hits in four innings of work. The main selling point for the right-hander coming into the season was his K rate, which hasn't been there since a 10-strikeout performance April 6 against the Florida Marlins; he hasn't struck out more than two hitters in four of his last five trips to the rubber. Snell has not maintained his 2.13 career strikeout-to-walk ratio, with his 22 walks leading to a 1.50 ratio this year. His 5.05 ERA and .308 batting average against provide more reason to explore other options in shallow leagues. He has whiffed at least 169 hitters in each of his last two seasons, though, and he still has a ton of potential. Feel free to keep him around, especially in deeper leagues, to wait for his ratios to stabilize. Hopefully his strikeout rate returns when they do.

Shallow mixed: Stash

Deep mixed: Hold

NL-only: Hold

Relief Pitchers

Manny Acosta, Atlanta Braves

Fantasy owners grabbed the slight (6-foot-4, 170 pounds) right-hander because he was the leading candidate to close games for Atlanta while closer Rafael Soriano (elbow) was sidelined. Alas, it seems that he's more a member of a committee than anything. Reliever Jeff Bennett picked up a save a little more than a week ago; reliever Blaine Boyer nailed one down this week. Boyer, in fact, became the fifth different Brave to score a save this season. Pitcher John Smoltz (shoulder) could return in about a week and a half, so Acosta isn't more than filler at this point. His potential damage (4.00 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) isn't worth absorbing while one hopes that Acosta sees another save chance.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Discard

NL-only: Stash

Santiago Casilla, Oakland Athletics

Casilla had been a big help because he was deflating some fantasy teams' ratios (ERA and WHIP) while increasing their K rates. The nasty right-hander left his appearance Thursday, May 15, early - not because he gave up a solo homer to the lone batter he faced (Cleveland Indians shortstop Jhonny Peralta), but because he felt elbow pain. Red flag. The A's placed him on the disabled list Friday, May 16. Few setup men are worth stashing on the DL, particularly those with elbow injuries, whether the injuries are initially determined to be serious or not. Some view him as a closer down the road, although Joey Devine has been equally as effective and has a similar outlook.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Discard

AL-only: Stash

 

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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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