Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Kevin Youkilis, Trevor Bauer, Anthony Rizzo, more

by Nicholas Minnix on June 25, 2012 @ 16:25:04 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?

Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B, Chicago White Sox

Things can't get much worse for Youk statistically (.233/.315/.377). His batted-ball trends are disturbing; they don't inspire confidence that he'll increase his home run output with the help of his new home.

U.S. Cellular Field is the best launch pad in baseball. Fenway Park, in case you were unaware, is not a great park for home run hitters, even though it's often the site of plenty of offense - much of it thanks to its inhabitants.

For what it's worth, Youkilis, 33, was 6-for-14 with two doubles and a triple in his final four contests with Boston. Since his activation from the disabled list, toward the end of May, his peripheral indicators have been comparable to those from his 2011 campaign and not far off his marks from previous seasons.

The right-handed hitter's downturn has lasted for nearly a year, so your league-mates should be skeptical of him. But those who own Youk should probably either look forward to the possibility of improvement or be willing to sell him with only a sales pitch touting the change-of-scenery promise.

By the way, the players in Boston's "haul" - Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart - get consideration only in the deepest of AL leagues.

Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston Red Sox

Obviously, Youkilis' departure does nothing but improve Middlebrooks' perceived roto value. The BoSox's new primary man at the hot corner has batted .326 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs in 144 at-bats and will play darn near every day.

Considering the instability and disappointment that has plagued the position, Middlebrooks looks like a top-10 option at it for the rest of the year. The danger lies in assuming that he'll be such an asset.

If you can swap him to someone who does value him like a dependable third baseman, perhaps because he's a luxury, it's not a bad idea. Middlebrooks is, after all, 23 years old, with 156 MLB plate appearances to his name. If you don't, not a huge deal - you'll probably be pretty happy with what he does for the balance of the season.

Trevor Bauer, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

The Snakes have a good excuse to promote their ridiculously talented right-hander: They placed Joe Saunders (strained left shoulder) on the 15-day DL. Bauer will debut on Thursday versus the Atlanta Braves on the road.

The 21-year-old hurler isn't exactly a lock to stick around for the rest of the season. This year, he's seemingly sailed through the Double-A and Triple-A levels (2.23 ERA, 11.23 K/9 in 93 innings), but he has yet to post a control rate below 4.00 at any stop.

OK, now for the rest of the scenario: Although the injury hurts their prospects, the Diamondbacks would love to move Saunders by the non-waiver deadline. The southpaw may be a candidate for a waivers trade in August, too, however.

Bauer lords over something like 52 variations of his pitches and has had little trouble making up for the free passes he's issued. He may have little else to prove on the farm now that he's gone through a bit of adversity down there. He has the ability to succeed in The Show right away.

10-tm mixed: Watch
12-tm mixed:
15-tm mixed:

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs

Fantasy owners have been a bit impatient while waiting for this move, but the Cubbies are granting their wish. Rizzo, 22, will make his debut for the Cubs on Tuesday against the New York Mets.

This season, he's torn up the Pacific Coast League (.342/.410/.710) - even more so than he did last year (.331/.404/.652). But his first MLB experience, last year with the San Diego Padres, didn't go so well (.141/.281/.242 in 153 plate appearances).

Part of the brain trust that gave Rizzo his first big-league shot is now in the Windy City. The left-handed batter struggled against southpaws prior to this season, so it'll be interesting to see if that development translates in the majors.

Rizzo is potentially a very good hitter, but he's probably not as good as the hype makes him seem. Those in shallow leagues should be reluctant to drop a starting player for Rizzo, who plays a position at which there are likely enough options to keep you satisfied in those formats.

10-tm mixed: Watch
12-tm mixed:
15-tm mixed:

Zach McAllister, SP, Cleveland Indians

Manny Acta confirmed that his club will call up McAllister so that the right-hander can start on Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles. He replaces the demoted Jeanmar Gomez.

McAllister is nothing special, but he's been solid in four fill-in starts for the Tribe this season (1-1, 3.96 ERA, 7.92 K/9, 2.16 BB/9). Those marks are in stark contrast to his work in the same number of big-league outings he made last year.

If he continues to display that kind of command, McAllister should be a nice supplemental piece in very deep leagues. He's been inconsistent in his minor league career but has always had some promise. Rotisserie players may be catching him in a good year, a breakthrough perhaps. Expect the K/9 to dip a tad and the BB/9 to rise a touch, but don't overlook him.

10-tm mixed: Pass
12-tm mixed:
15-tm mixed:

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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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