Fantasy Baseball: Diamond Market - Falling

by Tim Heaney on April 23, 2008 @ 12:51:55 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

Mike Napoli, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Napoli's playing time continues to be sliced by fellow backstop Jeff Mathis, who is hitting at a .379 clip this year and has four RBIs in his last two games. Napoli, on the other hand, has struck out six times in his last three contests; his batting average was never considered a helpful part of his fantasy game, but if he can't put the ball in play, the Angels would be hard-pressed not to ride the promising Mathis. Napoli can still help a two-catcher team for power from the position, but if he's your No. 1 guy, you might want to start generating a contingency plan.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Stash

AL-only: Hold

Chris Snyder, Arizona Diamondbacks

Once considered a sleeper at the position heading into 2008, Snyder has been dormant following his first game of the season. His average hasn't touched the Mendoza Line since April 15 and despite nine RBIs this year he hasn't reached the home run column on the stat sheet. Young catcher Miguel Montero (finger) is expected to be activated from the disabled list Wednesday, April 23. He split time behind the dish with Snyder last season and likely will factor into the lineup sooner rather than later with Snyder struggling. Snyder's slump and expected decrease in playing time are enough reason to let him go in mixed leagues.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Discard

NL-only: Stash

First Basemen

Ben Broussard, Texas Rangers

The former platoon player is hitting an abhorrent 1-for-23 over his last eight games. In another ugly trend, he hasn't recorded a home run or an RBI since April 6. The Rangers do have some hope at the position, though, as they are working to try to give more at-bats to designated hitter/first baseman Jason Botts. Broussard once again has struggled to maintain a full workload, and those who picked him up expecting a full-time option have to reassess their first base alternatives. Toss him away in mixed leagues until he shows signs of life.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Discard

AL-only: Stash

Second Basemen

Tadahito Iguchi, San Diego Padres

With just three RBIs on the year, Iguchi isn't doing much to situate himself in Southern California. He hasn't had an RBI in 10 games and has one hit in his last 29 at-bats. Iguchi was moved from second down to eighth in the order for the last two games with outfielder Paul McAnulty taking over in the two-hole while utilityman Callix Crabbe has also been eating into a few of his at-bats. Iguchi is pretty much a fill-in for the Padres until top prospect Matt Antonelli is ready, but his feeble numbers and lack of fantasy consistency should prompt his owners to drop him if they haven't already.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Discard

NL-only: Hold

Third Basemen

Kevin Kouzmanoff, San Diego Padres

The Padres' cleanup hitter has now become a product of the majority of his surrounding offense; he hasn't hit a home run since April 3 and hasn't had an RBI in his last seven games. A 2-for-9 effort in the Pads' 22-inning marathon April 17 preceded a 4-for-20 schneid. His lineup placement should still give him plenty of RBI opportunities, but if you don't need to have him in your starting lineup, you might want to give him a rest until he regains his stroke.

Shallow mixed: Stash

Deep mixed: Hold

NL-only: Hold

Shortstops

Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

Tulo continues to plague his drafters with an empty home run column and a .163 batting average; he has one hit in his last 17 at-bats. He was benched in favor of fellow infielder Clint Barmes Tuesday, April 22, and there was no indication as to whether he would play the following night. He hit just .244 last April, but he wasn't facing the grandiose expectations that he has in front of him for 2008. It still would be wrong to drop Tulo in any format, but keeping him out of your lineup until he clears his head would be the best course of action here.

Shallow mixed: Hold

Deep mixed: Hold

NL-only: Hold

Luis Hernandez, Baltimore Orioles

The light-hitting Hernandez wasn't much help in mixed leagues to begin with, and his .216 clip in his first 17 games has the team considering removing him from the starting post if veteran infielder Alex Cintron starts to post more than a .250 average at Triple-A Norfolk. The career .277 hitter is more experienced than Hernandez, whose main selling point is his glove. If you were forced to pick up Hernandez, feel free to cut him loose.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Discard

AL-only: Discard

Outfielders

Andruw Jones, Los Angeles Dodgers

The original question at the start of the season was how would the team's other three outfielders align outside of Jones. Well, that question needs to be altered now that Jones is involved in the Dodgers' outfield shuffle with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre. Jones was dropped to eighth in the batting order Monday, April 21, and was left on the bench the next night. He hasn't done much to silence the doubters from last year, hitting .156 with just one dinger and three RBIs in 64 at-bats. Jones has too much potential to completely cut ties with, but you should be concerned about his start. Find a temporary replacement for your lineup and wait to see if he can restart his bat.

Shallow mixed: Stash

Deep mixed: Hold

NL-only: Hold

Rick Ankiel, St. Louis Cardinals

The slugger is just 3-for-21 over his last six outings and hasn't had a homer or RBI in his last seven. Like Jones, Ankiel could start to fall into the outfield rotation if he continues to struggle; outfielders Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker and Brian Barton have been clicking as of late, so the Cardinals might not be afraid to sit Ankiel once in awhile. Don't unload him in any format, but shallow leaguers could probably find a suitable temporary stand-in until Ankiel gets rolling again.

Shallow mixed: Stash

Deep mixed: Hold

NL-only: Hold

Designated Hitters

None

Starting Pitchers

Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Weaver has given up 13 runs (12 earned) over his last three starts and hasn't lasted longer than six innings in any of those outings. He has already allowed four home runs this year after surrendering just 17 all of last year. He is being dropped in shallow mixed leagues, but that's a rash move at this point. He had a 5.40 ERA last April but would drop that figure to 3.82 and 2.01 in the May and June, respectively. He's still a quality fantasy starter that sits in front of an excellent offense, and his early issues still have time to be corrected.

Shallow mixed: Hold

Deep mixed: Hold

AL-only: Hold

Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

Much of what was said about Weaver's early difficulties also can be shifted over to Cain, although the Giants hurler has had more significant issues with his control. He has 15 walks in 20 innings, and he has been lit up in half of his four outings this season for at least four earned runs in each. It might be wise to sit Cain for a bit, but don't let him go; his ERA was just 3.24 before he allowed nine runs April 18. Chances are that outing is an anomaly for the normally efficient right-hander.

Shallow mixed: Hold

Deep mixed: Hold

NL-only: Hold

Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants

Zito has allowed at least three earned runs in four of his five starts this season, and he has 12 walks compared to just 10 K's. Zito hasn't had a start of longer than six innings and has taken the loss in each one. Starting the southpaw is a risk in shallow leagues; there are plenty of other options that can give you more strikeouts and less frequent headaches. Those in deeper leagues could still keep Zito on roster if the matchup seems proper. Be selective when playing him.

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Stash

NL-only: Hold

Justin Germano, San Diego Padres

The right-hander was shelled in his last outing, surrendering 10 runs on the road against the Houston Astros in just 3 1/3 innings of work. Germano had given up just three earned runs combined in his previous three starts. Given that he has just seven strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings, anything that takes away from his ratios makes his value that much smaller. He struck out just 78 hitters in 133 1/3 innings in 2007, and if the contact pitcher is struggling with location, that often spells disaster. His strikeout rate isn't made for mixed leagues, but NL-only owners could ride with him, especially when he pitches his home games in PETCO Park. 

Shallow mixed: Discard

Deep mixed: Discard

NL-only: Hold

Relief Pitchers

Manny Corpas, Colorado Rockies

Corpas has failed to convert two of his last three save chances, including a blown save in the team's April 22 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. The presence of Brian Fuentes - the Rockies' closer for the first half last year - has people fearing a change at the back end of Colorado's bullpen. However, Fuentes hasn't been extremely efficient, either, picking up blown saves of his own in his last two outings. Team management has not hinted at moving Corpas out of the role just yet, and you shouldn't do anything to remove him from your fantasy bullpen.

Shallow mixed: Hold

Deep mixed: Hold

NL-only: Hold

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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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