Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Rising

by Bryce McRae on June 3, 2009 @ 01:01:02 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

Mike Fontenot, Chicago Cubs

Almost one month after Aramis Ramirez (shoulder) hit the DL, the Chicago Cubs have finally settled on their starting third baseman. Lou Piniella has decided Fonty is their best option at the hot corner. Injuries to Ryan Freel (hamstring) and Aaron Miles (shoulder) helped secure Fontenot's job. He has even started to improve at the plate, too. He has 11 hits in his last 28 at-bats (.393 average). Fontenot's eligibility at second base makes him a useful addition for middle infield help.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Jamey Carroll, Cleveland Indians

Asdrubal Cabrera (shoulder) dislocated his shoulder Tuesday, June 2; X-rays came back negative, but he still might be headed for the DL. Carroll, who is hitting .297 in 37 at-bats this year, could be the immediate replacement for him, though Luis Valbuena (.196 average and seven runs in 51 at-bats) might also get consideration. Carroll is the pickup, though, if you want to be proactive and get his at-bats in your AL league. He won't bring much more than a decent average, however.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Acquire

Shortstops

Tony Pena Jr., Kansas City Royals

Pena (hand) returned from the DL Tuesday, June 2, along with closer Joakim Soria (shoulder). The former was starting at shortstop, recording one hit in three at-bats, but manager Trey Hillman isn't sure how often Pena will be starting. Hillman likes Pena's lateral range, but he wants to see how well Pena holds up; the latter hadn't played a full nine innings until Tuesday night. Is he of any value to your fantasy team, though? His .234-4-65 line in 792 career at-bats would suggest no. He doesn't even steal that often (eight career stolen bases).

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Watch

Outfielders

Marlon Byrd, Texas Rangers

Outfielder Josh Hamilton (ribcage) hit the DL Tuesday, June 2, and Byrd will remain the primary center fielder, possibly until September if Hamilton undergoes sports hernia surgery. He's hitting .302 with four dingers and 24 RBIs in 162 at-bats; Byrd has been a streaky hitter in the past (.393-4-20 in August 2008), so he's one to ride when he gets hot. Outfielder David Murphy (.237-2-10 in 97 at-bats) is another option, and Andruw Jones should also see at-bats versus lefties, albeit they're not as strong as Byrd.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Acquire

AL-only: Acquire

Elijah Dukes, Washington Nationals

Dukes (hamstring) returned Tuesday, June 2; he has been a lucky hitter this year (.346 BABIP), yet his average is only .276. He's a talented hitter, but he can be streaky. He could also be heading to jail if he doesn't pay some outstanding legal fees by Friday, June 5. If you have the room on your bench, he's worth stashing, pending his legal issues.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Acquire

NL-only: Acquire

Matt Joyce, Tampa Bay Rays

Joyce has homered in both games since his call-up Sunday, May 31; he also has five hits and five RBIs in just seven at-bats since then. An offseason acquisition, Joyce received 242 at-bats for the Detroit Tigers in 2008. Lefties were his Kryptonite last year (often keeping him off the lineup card), but he said he worked hard to improve against them this winter, which has paid early dividends (one two-run double). The sample size is still too small, and he might not remain here for long, per skipper Joe Maddon, but he makes a fine speculative pick in AL leagues based on his power potential.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Reed Johnson, Chicago Cubs

Manager Lou Piniella shouldn't have much trouble finding room for Johnson (.296-3-14 in 81 at-bats) in the lineup. Why? Milton Bradley (calf) is injured (again). Johnson should be starting in center Wednesday, June 3, and he could be the regular center fielder if Bradley is out for an extended period. He hit .303 with six homers and 50 RBIs in 333 at-bats last year, so there is a bit of a track record; he mashes lefties, too (.345 clip in 29 at-bats this year).

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

NL-only: Acquire

Gregor Blanco, Atlanta Braves

Blanco is back in the majors. The Braves called up and started the streaking outfielder Tuesday, June 2, sending struggling outfielder Jordan Schafer back to Triple-A Gwinnett. The Venezuelan was hitting .349 over the last two weeks for Gwinnett. He has been the recipient of some good luck hitting, and he isn't the long-term option in center for the Braves. Still, go after him if you are chasing at-bats in single-universe setups.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Starting pitchers

Vincent Mazzaro, Oakland Athletics

Mazzaro, the third option in the A's talented trio of young starters, earned the win Tuesday, June 2, with 6 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. He was shaky early (two hits and three walks in the first two innings), but he settled down and ended the night with only seven baserunners allowed.

Here's Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on Mazzaro: "This guy's got some of the best stuff. He's got good stuff, the ball moving a lot, throws big-time changeups and he threw strikes."

As Guillen stated, the 22-year-old Mazzaro has great stuff. He can reach 95 mph on the radar gun with good movement. Pick him up in deep mixed if you are in a prospecting mood. There might be a few shaky outings given his age, though, and the wins could be tough to come by with the A's subpar offense.

Shallow mixed: Watch

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market - Falling

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.


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