Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Austin Jackson headed to DL

by Nicholas Minnix on May 24, 2012 @ 15:12:33 PDT's Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market gives you candid reviews and ratings of fantasy baseball players making MLB news in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball leagues. Are they trade bait or worth your FAAB dollars in your fantasy baseball games?

The Detroit Tigers will make the transaction official on Friday, but Austin Jackson (strained abdominal muscle on left side) is heading to the disabled list. The center fielder has been sidelined for a week and didn't appear to be any closer to returning to the lineup, and the club couldn't afford to play down a man any longer.

Jackson will be eligible for reinstatement on June 1. Ryan Raburn will take Jackson's roster spot when the Tigers activate him from the bereavement list on Friday. Jim Leyland didn't commit PT this weekend to Raburn, but it shouldn't be long before the 31-year-old resumes playing at either second base or in one of the corner outfield spots.

Don Kelly (.172/.273/.172 in 66 plate appearances) has been filling in for A-Jax in center, but Detroit's utility man doesn't bring much to the table offensively, especially if he's forced into regular duty. Andy Dirks can play center in a pinch. Neither is an ideal solution.

On Wednesday, Detroit designated reliever Collin Balester for assignment and summoned Quintin Berry from Triple-A Toledo. The 6-foot, 175-pounder played in center field and batted leadoff yesterday and today. The left-handed hitter has the speed and range to man the spot on D and is receiving a chance to serve as the igniter for what has been a dormant offense.

10-tm mixed Pass
12-tm mixed Pass
15-tm mixed Pass
AL-only Consider

Berry is 2-for-8 with a walk and two runs scored in his two games. This season with the Mud Hens, he has a .270/.368/.321 slash line in 187 plate appearances. Those marks represent the kind of production he can provide - if they're toned down just a bit. His greatest asset might be his willingness to take a base on balls.

The 27-year-old has walked in more than 10 percent of his plate appearances at just about every stop of his career on the farm. His penchant for striking out against inferior competition doesn't bode well for his BA in the majors, so he'll need to draw free passes in order to utilize his speed. He's stolen 19 bases with the Mud Hens this season and at least 40 in four different minor league campaigns.

It's easy to see what would attract AL fantasy players to Berry. His questionable ability to make contract frequently enough puts his performance at risk, but his expected short shelf life won't make him highly sought. If he fizzles, he'll probably move to the bottom of the order. Mixed leaguers shouldn't feel like they're missing out.

The Tigers hope to get Jackson back one week from tomorrow, but that seems optimistic. They won't have a clear picture of his timetable until they get the results of some tests, including an MRI, scheduled for Friday. He made little progress in the past week and has been unable to participate in baseball activities for the past two days.

The good news is that Detroit finally decided not to mess around with the ailment anymore. He'll receive the treatment that he needs, and hopefully, he'll return sometime in June.

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About Nicholas Minnix

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.

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