Ready to update your fantasy baseball cheat sheets? Before Diamond Market can sell the players in your rotisserie league's free-agent pool, Fantasy Baseball Diamond Mining polishes them for fantasy baseball drafts. It's time to dig for fantasy baseball sleepers and toss the busts.
Though ESPNNewYork's Andrew Marchand believes Michael Pineda will break camp, talk of the New York Yankees sending the burly right-hander to the minor leagues isn't subsiding. Why would it? Phil Hughes is excelling. Freddy Garcia is, in the Yanks' eyes, safe; Ivan Nova, too, even considering all his regression risks.
Pineda has lost some weight and showed fleeting steps in harnessing a changeup; he has, overall if not statistically, improved with each spring performance. But the former Seattle Mariner's overweight camp arrival didn't sit well with the Bronx brass, and he had some scary-low velocity readings. Add that to the likely statistical corrections that you should expect from his new home, and you have reasons to avoid him.
New York has become more conscious of how to handle a young arm properly, having failed in doing so with Hughes and Joba Chamberlain at the outset of their careers. Netting their latest baby Bomber required them to trade Jesus Montero. Being lax with Pineda's development and maturity isn't an option since he's considered a future anchor. His down-the-stretch fade says he needs polishing, even after his elite rookie season.
Morneau: so far, so good
Pineda wouldn't have much to prove at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but if he's demoted for a tune-up, and the rotation keeps them afloat, they'll nurture him a little more. Of course, Garcia is hardly stable, and Hughes must carry his positive March developments through the next six months ... heck, one.
Still, the Yanks are in on Pineda for the long haul, not to appease his 2012 fantasy baseball owners. New York's starter stable, once with a shortage, now has a surplus - yup, including throwback Andy Pettitte. Though he could simply be a motivational piece for the backend competitors, he should readily eat heavily run-supported innings if and when he returns to form.
Of course, if your room lets Pineda drop to being, say, your No. 4 or 5 mixed SP, that's a ticket that won't jeopardize your staff. How much will the pinstriped surcharge be?
Of course, most ALs probably have already filled their rosters. What does the rest of your staff look like? What did Pineda cost you? Any hesitation tells you it might've been too much.
St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is optimistic that Chris Carpenter (nerve irritation in shoulder) will return to action sometime in May. For more background on Carp's injury and how fantasy owners should handle the situation, note Nick's breakdowns here and here. Oh, and catch his handy discount on him in Tout Wars mixed. Jerk.
It looks like, per the Minnesota Star Tribune's Joe Christensen, that Chris Parmelee will be the Minnesota Twins' opening day first baseman. The recovering but brittle Justin Morneau recently said he's more comfortable as the team's designated hitter, and they'll probably accommodate that as long and as often as they can to keep his suddenly simmering bat in the lineup.
This arrangement would eliminate, or at least reduce, the extra at-bats that might have been increasing the price tags on Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit in many fantasy baseball drafts. It also means, however, that Parmelee gains AL-only worth and becomes an increasingly alluring deep mixed reserve trial. Morneau's mixed-league depth value is swelling, but don't get carried away; he's still vulnerable health-wise, even as he teases his MVP form.
The recently released Livan Hernandez signed a major league deal with the Atlanta Braves, further displaying the team's disappointment in the spring performances of prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado and, possibly, concern over the timetable of Tim Hudson (back). Not crazy to think Hernandez would at least be a rotation bridge to bide time while all three lick their wounds.
Teheran and Delgado aren't worth more than cavernous mixed fliers; Delgado was recently considered the favorite to break the rotation first, but Teheran has much more upside. Their NL owners might have to wait a half-season, if not longer, for significant contributions. With a starting gig, Hernandez will provide boring innings for desperate mono-league employers.
Hernandez's departure from the Houston Astros, meanwhile, has some single-universe fallout. Kyle Weiland, Jordan Lyles and Lucas Harrell are competing for two rotation spots in Houston's 2012 rebuilding adventure. All three right-handers carry similar low- to midrange-K approaches, with Weiland and Harrell showcasing more heat than the youngest option.
Lyles developed a new curveball grip this spring, which partly explains his awful spring output. He could use another trip to Triple-A Oklahoma City but, though he was bombed for the most part, already has more major league IP than the others.
Weiland's positive spring puts him in the lead among the trio, most likely. He's quite hittable, though. Harrell, also with sparkling March numbers, has been working on streamlining his sinker, and he had positive results in a recent start. His flexibility to work as a RP, however, puts him at a disadvantage in the race.
At least for 2012, this trio will rely on their infielders and in-play luck to maximize their middling stuff, which won't garner much offensive help. Lyles has the most promise, especially in keepers, but he needs more time to mature. They're warm NL-only bodies and fleeting deep-mixed rentals, at best.
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.