Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Scott Downs, more

by Tim Heaney on April 30, 2012 @ 13:42:06 PDT

 


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.

Acquire Add (in most circumstances)
Consider Add for speculation or because of need
Watch Track player, consider if trend continues
Pass Do not add player (in most circumstances)

Batters

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Trout's Friday call-up was likely already addressed in your league. Despite Trout's 0-for-7 stretch since arriving, you should be more confident in his ability and window to contribute this season than Bryce Harper's, given that this is Trout's second go-round in the bigs.

Washington Nationals
Can Harper stick around?

Can he avoid repeating his slow initiation from last year? His scorching stretch at Triple-A Salt Lake (.403/.467/.623 with 21 runs and six swipes) showed palpable plate growth that could very well continue atop a Halos lineup that has to awaken soon. (Doesn't it?)

Prepare for an iffy batting average, but the chance for contributions in homers (acceptable), runs (solid) and stolen bases (potentially game-changing) if he remains with the club until October should have you giddy.

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

Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals

Whoever acquired Harper in your league has a few more concerns than whoever grabbed Trout. Despite an impressive all-around debut Saturday, he's hardly a sure bet to stay with the big club after Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder) returns, whenever that will be. He still must work on becoming more consistent versus left-handers and streamlining his high-effort swing.

He'll have to perform somewhere near his hype to remain in control of his roster fate, but fantasy owners in command of his must prepare for the likelihood of a demotion and what it'll cost to sit on him during that time.

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

Allen Craig, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

The 27-year-old, who has recovered from right knee surgery, is awaiting medical clearance to rejoin the big club as soon as Tuesday. His playing time, already the biggest issue holding back his intriguing power lumber, probably will keep him in sporadic duty for the first week or so.

But given the durability and stick concerns surrounding a few Cards (Carlos Beltran, Lance Berkman, the second-base picture included), Craig's glove cache for the outfield and infield should allow St. Louis to employ him in semi-regular duty sometime this summer.

His 11-homer, 219-at-bat 2011 should remind homer-hungry owners of his potential.

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

Brandon Inge, 3B, Oakland Athletics

The A's frozen corner needed something. Enter another retread signing. Inge's glove, of course, gives him the edge at the position for the foreseeable future.

His bat must catch up to his leather, though. Inge seemingly looks like he's stuck in spring training, and he hasn't topped a .247 clip (2010) since 2006 and doesn't have the batting-eye profile to do so. Though he still holds 15-homer potential, the pop Inge flashed for the Detroit Tigers is losing some stripes, especially since he'll turn 35 in May and won't get much help from O.co Coliseum.

Still, playing time and the chance to move into the middle of any order - even one as woeful as Oakland's - hold value in deep circles.

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

Pitchers

Scott Downs, RP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

On Friday Downs was given closer duties, at least for the near future, while Jordan Walden tries to clean up his arsenal and approach in non-meaningful frames. Today's Closer Hot Seat has more on Downs' long-term value.

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

Matt Thornton, RP, Chicago White Sox

Robin Ventura asserts that Thornton's save on Sunday was merely predicated on Thornton's success versus the hitters due up and that he'll still employ the struggling Hector Santiago in closing chances. Still, it says something that Ventura made a matchup-based decision instead of trusting the man he named stopper who had plenty of rest.

Addison Reed, who set up Thornton's two-K, four-out scoreless closure, will have a say sometime this season. But Thornton's competence versus both batter's boxes and more frequent eighth-inning appearances hint he would receive the first shot to replace Santiago. Get a jump before Santiago shows further weakness, and check out today's Closer Hot Seat for more.

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

Kenley Jansen, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers

After the improving Jansen recorded a trio of K's in recording the Blue's Sunday closure, Don Mattingly backed Javy Guerra as his stopper. He noted that Jansen was the fresher arm and Guerra threw 22 pitches Saturday, his first action since being hit on the jaw with a liner Wednesday and tweaking his right foot in the process.

Guerra, however, looked shaky on the mound during his return, which might be a case of discomfort following his brush with rawhide. He has allowed five runs, blown a save opp and taken two losses in his past three outings. Today's Closer Hot Seat will expand on this, but you should nonetheless beat the waiver rush.

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

Patrick Corbin, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

The lanky southpaw, who'll turn 23 in July, will take Josh Collmenter's place in the rotation and started Monday versus the slumping Miami Marlins. That could make for a sneaky deep-league stream; those with no MLB book can often get the upper hand out of the gate.

A 1.67 ERA at Double-A Mobile apparently was enough to rank him ahead of talented youngsters Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley for the call-up. Corbin's a strike-zone pounder who sits in the low 90s with his sinking fastball and complements it with a slider and a changeup.

In other words, despite his 25 K's in 27 frames at Mobile, he'll probably be light on punchouts but high on craftiness - and, most likely, dependent on run support. He looks like a carbon copy of fellow D-back lefty Joe Saunders, who accompanied Corbin from Anaheim in exchange for Dan Haren.

There's risk to this profile, especially with his control reliance and the chance of a young Snake supplanting him in the coming weeks or months. Still, showing maturity would extend Corbin's seat-warming stay and offer a modicum of merit to a low-end trial.

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

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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 the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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