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News » Diamond market: Saltalamacchia returns


Diamond market: Saltalamacchia returns


Diamond market: Saltalamacchia returns
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'll 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

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Texas

The Rangers released catcher Adam Melhuse on Friday after he suffered a broken right hand that would keep him sidelined two to five weeks. The move allowed the team to bring up Saltalamacchia from Triple-A Oklahoma, where he began the season. Many felt Salty should've remained with the club coming out of camp, but the Rangers felt he needed regular playing time. In 15 games for Oklahoma, he hit .291 with two home runs and 13 RBI. However, he isn't slated for a full-time role with club just yet. He and Gerald Laird are slated to split time behind the plate, alternating spots every two games. Laird hasn't been bad this year, but Saltalamacchia is the future at this position, so grab him in AL-only and deep mixed leagues.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire

Jose Molina, New York Yankees

With Jorge Posada landing on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, Molina joins his brothers Bengie and Yadier as the third starting catcher from the family. Jose, however, doesn't have the offensive upside of Bengie or the defensive presence of Yadier. His career average sits at .244, which doesn't normally register on fantasy radars. He should pique your interest, because he's batting in one of the top offenses in the league. This won't be enough to get much attention in shallow mixed leagues, but look at him in deep leagues, especially if you're required to start two catchers. AL-only players should pick him up without hesitation.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
AL-only: Acquire

First Basemen

Jason Giambi, New York Yankees

The Giambino's average is on the rise. On April 15, it sat at .094, but he's since brought it up to .177 with three multi-hit games. He's still posting too many O-fers, but his potential is such that he should register in deeper leagues if he continues to hit. At his best, he has the potential to drive in 80 runs and hit 20 home runs, which when coupled with a solid offense around him, could make him a solid pick in deep leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
AL-only: Acquire

Second Basemen

Alberto Callaspo, Kansas City

The smooth-swinging infielder has posted one of the top averages on the team. Over his 37 at-bats, Callaspo has a .351 average, which is more than 100 points higher than his career average. He doesn't bring any power (no career home runs) and isn't a speed threat (one stolen base). If you need RBIs, he likely won't have the chance in a poor Royals offense. However, if you're looking for someone to boost your average, riding his streak could help you. Grab him in any AL-only leagues if you have the room, but be aware his value only extends until Mark Grudzielanek returns. If Grudzielanek ends up on the DL, add Callaspo in AL-only setups.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
AL-only: Watch

Third Basemen

Ramon Vazquez, Texas

Vazquez has moved into the starting lineup on a part-time basis. He's expected to form the right-handed option in a platoon at third base, at least until Hank Blalock (hamstring) returns. Blalock's set to be evaluated this week, so the team should know more then. Vazquez has just a .249 career average and has never been a power or speed threat, so he shouldn't be on your fantasy radar in mixed leagues. However, if you're in an AL-only league, keep an eye on him to see if his can wrestle a full-time job away from infielder German Duran.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
AL-only: Watch

Shortstops

Brandon Wood, Los Angeles Angels

Wood, one of the team's top prospects, was raking for Triple-A Salt Lake, hitting .273 with eight home runs, 18 RBI and six doubles in 21 games. With Howie Kendrick (hamstring) on the disabled list and Maicer Izturis (back) struggling to hit and now suffering from back spasms, the team recalled Wood. He hit just .152 with 12 strikeouts for the Angels last year, but he has a talented bat and could contribute. It remains uncertain how the team will use him, but keep an eye on him and be ready to grab him if it looks like regular at-bats are in his future.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
AL-only: Watch

Outfielders

Mike Cameron, Milwaukee

The long wait is almost over. Cameron's slated to return from a 25-game suspension Tuesday, and the Gold Glove outfielder will likely be back patrolling center for the Brewers. Last year, he hit only .242, but had 21 home runs, 78 RBI and 88 runs. Those numbers came in a notorious pitchers venue, PETCO Park. He has just 14 at-bats at Miller Park in the last two years, posting a .143 average. Still, his value is too high to be left on the waiver wire. Grab him if an impatient owner dropped him in leagues of any type.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Emil Brown, Oakland A's

Brown has a minor hit streak going (four games), but just once in his last 10 games has he gone without a hit. That stretch includes 13 RBI, nine runs and four multi-hit games. He might not be a household name, but the former Royal could help you in the average and RBI departments. Grab him in any deep mixed leagues.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire

Shane Victorino, Philadelphia

Victorino (calf) is scheduled to come back from the disabled list Tuesday after making his final rehab appearance for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He's expected to get the start in center field. However, Jayson Werth's done a solid job replacing him. Victorino didn't have the start to the season many expected, but he's still a solid speed option for those who need stolen bases. He might not be available, but if he is scoop him up.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire

Designated Hitters

Milton Bradley, Texas

His anger problems aside, Bradley's still a talented hitter when on the field. In 22 games (79 at-bats) with the Rangers this year, he has a .316 average with two home runs, 10 RBI and nine runs scored. Last year for the Padres, in the aforementioned PETCO Park, he hit .313 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI, until a bizarre late-season blowup left him with torn knee ligaments. He's worth picking up in deep mixed leagues due to his ability, but don't look to him in any shallow mixed leagues. Just be prepared to move on whenever the injury-prone outfielder's next malady springs up.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire

Starting Pitchers

Ted Lilly, Chicago Cubs

Three straights starts allowing five earned runs have given way to just three runs over the last 12 innings for Lilly. He even struck out a season-high seven batters in his last start. This is closer to the stats owners were hoping he'd put up. However, that start came against the Nationals, who aren't exactly a bastion of offensive talent, and it still resulted in his fourth loss in five decisions. It's too early to add him in shallow leagues, but pick him up in any deeper leagues.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Carlos Villanueva, Milwaukee

Dave Bush appears to be the odd man out in Milwaukee. The Brewers optioned the righty to Triple-A Nashville on Sunday, leaving Villanueva as the fourth starter. He's yet to win a game since April 4 - his first start of the season - but has been better over his last two appearances (13 innings). There's no guarantee he'll remain in the rotation all season, but he is four years younger than Bush and has a higher ceiling. Look for him to get a potentially lengthy run in the rotation, making him worthy of consideration in any deep leagues.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Watch
NL-only: Acquire

Manny Parra, Milwaukee

Fantasy owners should be looking at Parra for the same reasons as they would Villanueva. Parra sported a 3.07 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over his 105 minor league appearances (102 starts) and has the final spot in the rotation at least temporarily locked down with the demotion of Bush. He gives the team their only left-handed pitcher in the rotation. However, he isn't a lock for fantasy stardom just yet. He hasn't pitched past the sixth inning and has just one win on the season. His ERA also sat at 5.40 before he probably saved a rotation spot with his most recent start. When he does get things together, he could be a solid starter (3.76 ERA, 26 K's in 26 1/3 innings last year). Monitor him in all deep leagues.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Watch
NL-only: Acquire

Jonathan Sanchez, San Francisco

The strikeouts have already been there (131 in 120 innings), but it was the rest of his game that was the biggest question mark. If his start to this year is any indication, things could be turning around for Sanchez. He's allowed just one run in his last two starts (13 innings), and if you discount his first start of the year, he's allowed only four earned runs in 24 innings. There might be some growing pains with him, but go ahead and grab him in any deeper leagues.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Max Scherzer, Arizona

The Diamondbacks promoted the former first-round draft pick Sunday, and he could take the place of Edgar Gonzalez down the road. He's made four starts for Triple-A Tucson this year, posting an ERA of 1.17 while striking out 38 with just three walks in 23 innings. He was impressive during spring training, but the team wanted him to work on his secondary pitches in the minors. One should note, he has a high-stress delivery that had some scouts thinking he's better suited for the bullpen. He'll pitch out of the bullpen for now, but grab him up in any deep leagues if you have the room based on his potential.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Paul Maholm, Pittsburgh

The southpaw's now registered wins in his last two starts (15 innings), giving up just two runs in the process. If you're in any deeper leagues, and looking for pitching, this should be enough to get you interested. He has a decent strikeout rate (6.23 per nine innings), but could find wins tough to come by playing for the Pirates. Grab him in any NL-only leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
NL-only: Acquire

Brian Burres, Baltimore

His April 13 start aside, Burres put up solid numbers in each of his four other appearances (three starts). The most recent came Saturday when he gave up just three hits and no runs over eight innings. He doesn't strike out many batters, with a rate right around 4.50, but three of his four starts this year have resulted in wins. He isn't worth picking up in many mixed leagues at this moment unless you need the ERA and WHIP, but grab him in any AL-only leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
AL-only: Acquire

Sidney Ponson, Texas

Yes, you're reading that right. The Aruban-righty made his first start of the season on Saturday, giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings. Only one of those was earned, however. He did allow seven hits and one walk. Ponson hasn't been a relevant fantasy starter since 2003, and it's too early to judge him just yet. Keep him on your fantasy radar for now, especially if you're in AL-only leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
AL-only: Watch

Pat Misch, San Francisco

Kevin Correia (oblique) landed on the 15-day disabled list, and the Giants are weighing their options with Barry Zito — the one with the $126 million contract — who could wind up in the bullpen. With all the activity, Misch looks to be the one to benefit. He's made just four starts in his career (20 appearances), posting a career 3.99 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. His six-inning appearance this year was solid as he allowed two runs in six innings and had four strikeouts. He doesn't figure to be a candidate for a many wins on the Giants, but look at him if you are in deep NL-only leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
NL-only: Watch


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2008

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