Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Tim Heaney on July 13, 2009 @ 01:00:01 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)

Second basemen

Alexi Casilla, Minnesota Twins

Alexi Casilla, Minnesota Twins
A second chance for Casilla....

The Twinkies will allow Casilla another chance to rebound from a disheartening first half (.180-0-5 with eight runs scored in 111 at-bats); he was called up from Triple-A Rochester yesterday. He worked on cleaning up his approach and showed signs of life with the Red Wings (.340-2-17 with nine steals in 156 at-bats).

He is expected to be rewarded with a move back into the No. 2 lineup spot and, they hope, regain the confidence he showed in a 50-RBI 2008 season. It'll help if he carries his farm speed to the bigs.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Shortstops

Cesar Izturis, Baltimore Orioles

Izturis returned from the DL Friday after recovering from an appendectomy and went 1-for-5 with two runs over the weekend. He probably won't suit up every day immediately for the near future.

His biggest asset is steals; he swiped 24 in '08 and ran off nine thieveries before he went down. If you bring him aboard, you won't be getting much else.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Outfielders

Josh Willingham, Washington Nationals

A lot has fallen into place for J-Will to succeed, but that doesn't mean he should be ignored any longer. Willingham, in everyday time, is hitting .366 (15-for-41) in July for his third straight .300-plus month. He has been more patient but has seemingly hit more solo homers than anyone in the bigs.

You'll have to look out for when he starts to dip (including his .338 BABIP); he's torching both mound hands, something he hasn't shown he could do in the past. The Nats may also dangle him around the trade deadline, which could affect his playing time.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Laynce Nix, Cincinnati Reds

With Jay Bruce (wrist) out for six to eight weeks, Nix stands to gain the most playing time in his place. Chris Dickerson has been playing nearly every day all over the outfield, and since Nix is lefty, he should play more than hypothetical platoon mate Jonny Gomes.

Playing time can be a fantasy asset, but Nix hasn't shown much other than posting all eight of his yard exits against righties. His batting eye remains stuck in the mud (54 K's, 13 walks), and he's hitting .167 in 24 July at-bats. Gomes was hot in June but has since come down to earth with reduced playing time. The Reds also have Jerry Hairston Jr. to fill in somewhere in the outfield.

Cincy carries too many options for you to put too much stock into Nix, though he's a good bet to play against the majority handedness.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox

Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox
The Buch is (almost) back....

It's what speculators have been waiting for ... sort of. The phenom will start in Boston's contest Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays in a chance to show what many have been missing (7-2, 2.36 ERA in 16 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket). He's worth a shot if you need a brief spark and you're streaming starters, especially since Toronto's offense has slowly declined in effectiveness this year and carries a .713 July OPS, which ranks 22nd in the league.

The bad news: The Sox have Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett on the All-Star roster, so the team's plan is for the youngster to merely give the rotation a spell. The Buch may stop there - but the Sox may ship out one of their starters, so if you can tuck him away....

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Sean Gallagher, San Diego Padres

Cue the watermelons. The righty wound up as the PTBNL in the trade that sent outfielder Scott Hairston to the Oakland Athletics. Gallagher (knee) made an unsuccessful bid to claim a rotation spot this year and has been a disaster overall (8.16 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, .350 opponents' clip).

That being said, any mildly competent pitcher that heads to America's Finest City receives a modicum of value upgrade. The Pads' rotation is decimated, and Gallagher could assume the seemingly vacant No. 5 spot. Tread lightly; an opportunity can only take him so far.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

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 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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