Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Aaron Hill, Derek Norris, Brandon Moss

by Keith Hernandez on June 21, 2012 @ 13:03:24 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?

Aaron Hill on a roll

Oakland Athletics C Kurt Suzuki
Maybe he should stick to D

Don't look now, but Hill has homered in the last three Arizona Diamondbacks' tilts and in four of his last six contests. On Wednesday, he became the first player in Snakes history to homer and double in three straight games. He also hit for the cycle in four at-bats Monday. With his hot June (.369-5-13), Hill has upped his triple slash line for the season to .291/.360/.508, and he has 10 homers, 31 RBIs and five swipes on the year.

Hill's career has been defined by inconsistency at the keystone; he put up a career-high 36 jacks with the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2009. After a respectable follow-up in 2010 (26 homers) he hit only eight taters last year. However, he wound up thieving a career-high 21 bags.

Quadriceps and hamstring injuries nagged him in the first half of 2011 and put him behind the eight ball. He did hit .315 with two of his eight homers with the D-backs after a mid-August trade, though. The SB jump was likely a product of the move to Kirk Gibson's more aggressive offense, and it bodes well for his SB output from here on out.

Hill's ups and downs are frustrating, but when he puts it all together, he's potent and produces stats rare for the keystone. An adjustment last month in an effort to stay behind the ball is encouraging, too. Similar to the Blue Jays' home digs north of the border, Chase Field is conducive to the long ball, so another 30-homer campaign isn't impossible.

Of note this year is his career-high 9.2 percent walk rate - he's chasing only 27.2 percent of balls outside the zone - and he's hitting more fly balls than he did in that 2009 season. He's making consistent contact, too - good news for a sustained high BA.

If you have the need at second base or at a middle infield spot, don't hesitate. He's surprisingly widely available in some formats.

A's recall Derek Norris

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

Oakland made a bit of a surprising move by recalling Norris Thursday. Norris, in his first season with Triple-A Sacramento, was hitting .273 with eight long balls and 36 RBIs in 55 games with the River Cats. Norris was involved in the deal that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals late last year.

Kurt Suzuki has been disappointing at the plate with no home runs, a .215 average and just 16 RBIs in 223 plate appearances. An encouraging trend in fly balls continued last year and has carried into this season, making it probable that the power will eventually come this year. However, a disappointing dip in contact has hindered his BA, and it'll impede his quest for a significant power outburst.

Like Norris, Suzuki is lauded for his above-average defensive skills behind the dish, but, as Slusser reports, Suzuki and Norris will form a catching tandem. Beane's patience with Suzuki has worn thin, clearly. It'll give the team a chance to rest Suzuki frequently while at the same time creating competition between the backstops. Who knows, maybe more rest will make Suzuki more productive. Don't be surprised if Norris gains more PT in the second half if Suzuki continues to tumble.

Norris has struggled with making contact in the minors, but he's made a noticeable improvement this year at Class AAA. He'll need to keep that up in the majors in order to avoid becoming a carbon copy of Suzuki. Norris' 20-homer potential sets him apart from Suzuki, though. He's worth an investment, especially in two-catcher setups, in case Suzuki continues to tank or is traded.

Brandon Moss turning heads

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

When the Oakland Athletics cut Kila Ka'aihue in favor of Brandon Moss two weeks ago, many were scratching their heads. Well, it's proven to be another genius move (so far) by GM Billy Beane; Moss is hitting .279 with seven home runs and 12 RBIs and is already one homer shy of his career high.

Tread carefully here: We're already seeing signs of regression; he's hitting .231 in his last 16 plate appearances despite hitting another home run Wednesday. His absurd 43.8 percent HR/FB, coupled with very mediocre career contact rates and a K percentage near 23 percent, screams steep regression.

If you must rely on him during his initial hot stretch, just beware of the impending pitfalls.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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