Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Jose Valverde, Gerardo Parra, more

by Nicholas Minnix on April 4, 2013 @ 13:12:33 PDT


Pages 1 | 2 | all'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? Are they worth your FAAB dollars in your fantasy baseball games?

Hottest Pickups
Most frequently added in leagues polled

Milwaukee Brewers RP Jim Henderson
Speculate, eh

Jim Henderson, RP, Milwaukee Brewers

John Axford blew his first save opportunity of the season, on opening day, and on Wednesday night, he allowed five hits (two of them ding dongs) and three earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. The Brew Crew seemed to feel good about entering this season with the Ax at the back end, but Ron Roenicke is already answering questions about his closer.

Henderson, 30, has dealt with his share of control problems in a long minor league career, but his stuff is in good shape and he's the summarily acknowledged favorite to succeed the incumbent. Axford's velocity wasn't up to stuff last night, and a scout observed that hitters were seeing the ball out of his hand easily. There are plenty of warning signs to be prepared for a possible change, so don't let Henderson sit on the wire.

Gerardo Parra, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

It's a little surprising that there wasn't more immediate interest in the No. 1 beneficiary of the absences of Adam Eaton (strained left elbow) and Cody Ross (strained left calf). Ross could return sometime next week, but A.J. Pollock is the much likelier loser when that happens.

Kirk Gibson hopes to use Parra at leadoff for a while longer, at least until some of his other injured players return from the DL. In the meantime, Parra will put his modest power and speed (he's 8-for-16, with a homer and a theft, so far) to use for the next month and a half, maybe two months. Eaton is expected to be out for about that long.

Jose Valverde, RP, Detroit Tigers

The Tigers had no interest in bringing back Valverde. Bruce Rondon struggled for much of the spring, and still they didn't. Jim Leyland planned to go with a committee at closer, and still they didn't. Phil Coke blew a save opportunity on Wednesday night, and still they ... changed their minds.

Valverde signed a minor league deal with Motown and will spend some time on the farm to get his arm up to speed. Folks might use that bit of news plus the fact that his peripheral indicators were seriously on the decline last season and advise fantasy owners not to expect him to close immediately. Maybe he won't, but the Tigers didn't sign him because they're happy with what they have. Valverde's camp claimed, in the spring, that he was throwing in the low to mid-90s again. It could be noise, but don't let him sit there.

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

Cincinnati Reds OF Chris Heisey
Heisey doin'?

Chris Heisey, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Ryan Ludwick had surgery on Wednesday to repair the torn labrum in his right shoulder, and he's expected to miss about three months. Call it Heisey's gain, because he'll play left field.

With regular PT, Heisey could hit about .260, belt 25-plus home runs and swipe 10-plus bases. That's pretty good production, at least for deep mixed leaguers. Plus, consider this: Even when Ludwick is back, he's unlikely to be fit to hit, especially for power. Shin-Soo Choo is also a liability in center field, whereas Heisey can play the position adequately. This is a long-term play with longer-term benefits possible.

Wei-Yin Chen, SP, Baltimore Orioles

This Asian import has already proven himself for a full season as a starter and has put up quality marks (4.02 ERA, 7.19 K/9 and a 2.66 BB/9 in 192 2/3 frames last season) against major league comp. Skepticism has been widespread, or at least enough so that he's available in so many leagues.

In his 2013 debut, Chen limited the Tampa Bay Rays to seven hits, two runs and no walks, with four strikeouts, but Baltimore went on to lose the contest 8-7. Chen is a more dangerous start in hitter-friendly parks (like Camden Yards) because of his propensity yield the long ball, but he's a skilled pitcher who should provide plus contributions in a couple of categories.

Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Cleveland Indians

Keep your eye on the Colorado Rockies' former ace. In his season debut, he pitched six frames against the Toronto Blue Jays, striking out six, walking two and yielding just one run. That's no Houston Astros, and the Rogers Centre is a launching pad, but Jimenez kept the ball out of the air more than two-thirds of the time.

The velocity was around 92, 93, with good movement, and the velo should probably be considered a positive. Jimenez spent the spring focused on taking a bit off in order to make sure he located well, and the Tribe has worked extensively with him on his mechanics. In 30 spring frames, against mostly big leaguers, the righty struck out 22 and walked only seven. He may not be an ace again, at least this year, but he could still be a very good pitcher.

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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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