Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Nick Franklin, Julio Teheran, more

by Keith Hernandez on May 28, 2013 @ 12:27:52 PDT

 

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KFFL.com'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

2B/SS Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners 2B Nick Franklin
M's couldn't hold him back

The M's summoned the 22-year-old switch-hitting prospect Monday in favor of the slumping Dustin Ackley (.205/.266/.250). Franklin was destroying pitching at Triple-A Tacoma, posting a slash line of .324/.440/.472 with nine doubles, four home runs, 20 RBIs, 28 runs and seven stolen bases.

Seattle's first-round pick in the 2009 draft, Franklin is expected to primarily play second base, although he also has plenty of experience at shortstop. He spent a good chunk of 2012 at Tacoma, where he hit .243 with seven long balls and 29 RBIs.

Franklin's power potential as a middle infielder is what makes him so enticing. Excellent plate discipline and an understanding of the zone (20 K's, 30 BBs at Tacoma) will help him hit for average in the bigs. The fact that he can play both middle infield positions boosts his staying power if Ackley were to return.

RP Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland Indians

Skipper Terry Francona named Pestano the closer after Chris Perez (shoulder tendonitis) landed on the DL Monday. Although Pestano hasn't been quite as good this year, he's been next in line for the last few years. His elbow ailment is behind him and he's tweaked his mechanics.

More on Pestano in today's Closer Hot Seat.

SP John Lackey, Boston Red Sox

It was justifiable to be skeptical in 2013 about Lackey, who's coming off Tommy John surgery. A biceps strain in his first outing compounded matters. Since returning, though, he's sporting an ERA of 2.55 with 32 strikeouts and only 10 walks, including a seven-inning, two-hit, eight-K performance against the Cleveland Indians last Friday.

It's a small sample size this year, but don't let his disastrous 2011 season and injury history cloud the fact that he's been dominant of late (no earned runs, three hits and 13 K's in his last two starts). His 9.08 K/9 and 1.13 WHIP are the best marks in his career.

Are we seeing the Lackey that used to pitch for the Halos? His velocity is in the mid-90s and his location has been spot on, as evidenced by his 53.6 percent ground-ball rate. He won't be this dominant all year, but this is a friendly reminder that there's still some of that old Lackey in the tank.

SP Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals

A rash of injuries to the Cardinals' rotation has forced them to turn to Wacha, who'll make his big-league debut against the Kansas City Royals this Thursday. Well, forced may not be the right word here. Wacha was downright dominant at Triple-A Memphis, going 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 34 K's in 52 2/3 innings (nine starts).

Since being selected in the first round of last year's June draft, the 21-year-old righty has done nothing but succeed in the minors, quickly moving up to Class AAA ball. He has a nice four-pitch repertoire that he'll need to take advantage of in The Show to be successful.

Wacha's 5.8 K/9 at Memphis means he probably won't miss many bats in the bigs, especially in his first taste. His limited professional experience should also keep hopeful investors honest. He'll receive at least a handful of starts, but there's a good chance he's sent back down when St. Louis' other rotation arms are healthy again.

Best Available
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled

SP Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves SP Julio Teheran
Julio still down by the schoolyard

Teheran doesn't have many faithful supporters these days after failing to deliver on his prospect hype. After his first three starts in which he gave up at least four earned runs, his ERA sat at 7.31, and he'd walked seven in 16 innings. Since then, he's lowered his ERA to 3.67 and he's fanned 23 and walked only five in that span.

At only 22, he's still too young to give up on, although he clearly has more improvements to make. He's in the midst of a transformation, though, focusing more on location rather than strikeouts. His walks are down noticeably, and although his K/9 of 5.56 isn't special, it has room to improve if he continues along this path.

Of course, Teheran's surge has coincided with Brandon Beachy's rapid recovery from Tommy John surgery. Beachy has begun a minor league rehab assignment and could return to the rotation in a month or so. Continued success by Teheran could go a long way, though, especially since the Bravos will want to be cautious with Beachy initially.

OF Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics

The bearded fly-catcher went 1-for-3 in his first rehab outing with Single-A Stockton Monday, and barring a setback, he figures to rejoin the A's this weekend as they take on the Chicago White Sox.

The right wrist sprain he suffered April 7 after crashing into a wall never fully healed, and he landed on the DL May 8. He hit only .162 with no homers and 10 RBIs in those 22 games in between. It's probably safe to say his injured wrist was holding him back.

You won't have to worry if he'll be getting playing time; Oakland will return him to a starting outfield role. Low contact rates won't help his BA, but remember, he hit 32 home runs last year. That power is still there, when healthy. He has double-digit stolen-base speed, too. Those kinds of commodities aren't often available on the wire. Take advantage.

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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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