Your fantasy baseball cheat sheets are no longer of use. KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market series gives you candid ratings of fantasy baseball players making MLB news in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league. If they're available in any of your fantasy baseball games as free agents, on waivers or for your FAAB dollars, you'll know whether they make the cut.
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Mark DeRosa, 3B, Washington Nationals
In the increasingly likely event that Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder soreness) ends up on the disabled list, DeRosa looks like the first man up. Davey Johnson stated that Steve Lombardozzi and Chad Tracy are options, too. Tracy has come up with a couple of clutch hits this year but has produced little else and sounds like low man on the totem pole, for now.
Looking grim for Zimm
Lombardozzi, 23, is a middle infielder by trade and is considered a backup at second and short as well as the hot corner. He's hit well to begin the season and is probably likeliest to realize whatever upside comes about from this situation. However, because of his versatility, he probably isn't the manager's initial choice.
DeRosa is a career .271 hitter and hit .279 in very limited PT with the San Francisco Giants last season. This past spring, he claimed that his (multi-time) surgically repaired left wrist was finally free of problems, and there have been no reports since to contradict him. He admitted that he wouldn't be the same hitter anymore, power-wise especially, however. Duh.
DeRosa, 37, probably still offers solid on-base skills; his propensity to draw a walk certainly hasn't waned. His .091 BA in 33 at-bats will assuredly rise, especially if he receives some regular PT. That's probably about all he offers, though. If he continues to struggle and Tracy is no better, Lombardozzi, a solid although unspectacular hitter, may force his way into the lineup. Much depends on how much time Zimmerman will miss.
Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
Jake Westbrook, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Although this right-hander has been a hot pickup, skepticism pervades fantasy baseball leagues. Consider this the PSA: The outcomes won't continue to be this good, but Westbrook is to some degree for real. That's because he's made some changes, and when changes produce tangible results to confirm their effectiveness, roto managers should take notice.
No need to regurgitate the words of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold or The Associated Press. To summarize: Westbrook received a wakeup call, lost weight, improved his delivery and learned to avoid tipping pitches. Westbrook has always been a fairly talented hurler, but he's long been an underachiever. Perhaps this is the start of the rest of his career.
The 34-year-old has a career 5.03 K/9 and has been inducing swinging strikes about as often as he has throughout his career. Westbrook's 4.35 K/9 is likely to rise into the 5.00s, like his full-season marks in his first two seasons in the NL. He was once a sub-3.00 BB/9 hurler, too, so the changes could foretell improvements there. Plus, he's already an extreme ground-ball pitcher who has a strong D behind him.
Westbrook isn't going to start the All-Star Game for the National League, but this is a different pitcher from the one you used to know. On this team, he'll be in position to win some games, for sure.
Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Consider
Chris Schwinden, SP, New York Mets
The Mets are faced with the possibility that Mike Pelfrey (feared partial tear of ulnar collateral ligament in right arm) will miss the remainder of the season. The club has already recalled Schwinden, 25, to replace the pitcher who was off to a nice start to his 2011 season.
Schwinden, another right-hander, posted a 4.71 ERA, a 7.29 K/9 and a 2.57 BB/9 in his 21 big-league innings last year with New York, and his peripherals suggest that he deserved slightly better results. Deserve and earn are two different things, however; Schwinden doesn't have much in the way of stuff. His year-to-year indicators also imply that he's trending downward, so he doesn't take on the shape of a good long-term replacement.
Sandy Alderson reportedly indicated that Chris Young, who's on a minor league deal and whose shoulder has been through the ringer many times, could be ready in mid-May or soon thereafter. Ideally for the Mets, he's who takes over (and lasts) for a good portion of the season. He's worth a bench spot in deep NL leagues.
Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia are eventual options, too, especially the former, who's just a little older and considered more polished. Each is getting his first taste of Triple-A ball and has struggled initially, especially because of control problems. New York would likely prefer to keep them down until the second half.
Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.