Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on June 29, 2009 @ 00:00:00 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

Josh Bard, Washington Nationals

With Jesus Flores (shoulder) remaining on the DL for at least another month, Nationals manager Manny Acta noted Bard will be the starting croucher for as long as he sustains his recent plate success. A .383-1-9 line in 47 June at-bats has been accentuated by his 7-for-14 week with four RBIs.

With Wil Nieves being the main competition, things are looking up for Bard, who posted back-to-back 40-RBI seasons with the San Diego Padres in 2006 and 2007. He makes a lot of contact, something you can't say about many waiver wire catchers; two-backstop leaguers should give him a look.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Second basemen

Mark Ellis, Oakland Athletics

The vet returned from a two-month DL stint Sunday, going 1-for-4 with a double and two whiffs. Sure, he's an everyday player, but he was once again having trouble capturing his 2007 magic before hitting the sidelines this year.

Ellis has felt fine for the last few weeks and claims his farm numbers (.162 clip in 10 rehab games) don't show how well he's seeing pitches. His defense will keep him in the lineup regardless, making him an AL asset for the most part.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Third basemen

Geoff Blum, Houston Astros

The lefty bat's return from the DL returns the Astros to their original platoon of Blum against righties and Keppinger against southpaws. Blum stands to see more time given the handedness breakdown in the bigs, but only NL managers should care.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Kyle Blanks, San Diego Padres

One of five players stuck in a four-position rotation, Blanks still stands to see a bunch of playing time despite the end of San Diego's interleague schedule. Blanks used time at first base to produce a 4-for-8 stretch, including a three-RBI game Saturday.

His improved outfield defense has shown itself during his MLB debut, and his right-handed power bat is too valuable to send down if the Fathers are willing to play matchups. You'll have to watch his playing time if you retain or add him, but Blanks has the type of upside you don't always find on the wire. Blanks should also gain outfield eligibility in many leagues to add to his first base status.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Chad Gaudin, San Diego Padres

The latest Pads pitcher to emerge, Gaudin didn't allow a hit after surrendering a first-frame single Sunday in eight frames at the Texas Rangers. His last three starts, in fact, have seen him allow three earned runs or fewer. In fairness, though, two of those outings came against the Seattle Mariners.

Either way, the righty has also posted a jaw-dropping 28-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in that time. He has also been prone to blowup outings, too, having allowed five or more runs four times since April.

Pads pitching coach Darren Balsley has already helped transform Kevin Correia into an intriguing option. Gaudin has incorporated his slider a bit more often and taken some oomph off it.

The soft tosser's next start comes at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday - the day Manny Ramirez is scheduled to come back from suspension. We're not saying avoid trying Gaudin, but be careful if you want to use him this week.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Felipe Paulino, Houston Astros

Paulino returned from the DL with a bang Saturday, fanning nine Detroit Tigers in seven frames. The injury-prone righty flashed potential earlier this season despite suffering several disaster outings in May.

He's likely to receive at least another start to showcase his mid-90s gas and improving slider. Paulino's next turn will come on the road against the San Francisco Giants, who rank in the bottom third among home offenses in the bigs.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Luke French, Detroit Tigers

The Tigers ended the Alfredo Figaro experiment and replaced him with the lefty French, who will start Friday at the Minnesota Twins. The 23-year-old doesn't fan many hitters (5.95 per nine innings for his farm career) but has run off a scorching June: 1.98 ERA, 35 K's and six free passes in 36 1/3 frames.

The Tigs plan to use French out of the bullpen early this week to prep him for his start. His statistical track record doesn't suggest major league success, and he may not be up for long, so tread lightly; despite their moderate bat attack versus lefties, the Twins have a top-10 home offense.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Watch

Relief pitchers

Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians

The Tribe received the erratic Perez from the St. Louis Cardinals for the do-it-all Mark DeRosa. Cleveland now has a potential successor and replacement for stopper Kerry Wood; Perez should be considered next in line for Indians saves speculators.

The shaggy-haired righty has faltered (7.88 ERA in June) after a strong start to the year. That being said, he has walked only two hitters this month and will be counted on to improve a sluggish Tribe 'pen.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

Facebook Twitter Google +

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.


Don't miss these great reports....

What do you think? Sound off!



Recent KFFL releases