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?
Most frequently added in leagues polled
RP LaTroy Hawkins, New York Mets
Terry Collins told the media that Hawkins, David Aardsma and Carlos Torres all remain options to close in the absence of Bobby Parnell (herniated disc in neck). The skipper also iterated that Hawkins, who has 91 career saves, doesn't care for the task in the ninth. TC indicated that he'd base his choice each night on the opponent's upcoming hitters.
Of course, Hawkins saved another contest on Saturday, giving him three of those 91 saves since Parnell went on the DL. He sure looks like the guy to fantasy owners. He's surely a safer bet than the well-traveled Aardsma.
SP Bruce Chen, Kansas City Royals
Get yourself a touch of Gray
Since KC plugged him into the rotation for Luis Mendoza, Chen has been lights-out: In five starts (31 2/3 frames), he's registered a 1.14 ERA, with 16 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts.
Of course, nothing about Chen's peripherals says "breakthrough campaign." It seems likely that the bill will come due sooner or later, so be prepared to put it on someone else's tab, at least in mixed leagues.
OF Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics
What a sad first four months of the season for this left-handed masher. Through July 31, Reddick had batted .214 with five home runs in 77 games. He'd displayed his customarily quality eye, but it'd been rough, otherwise.
Until Friday, when Reddick went yard in each of his first three ABs against the Toronto Blue Jays. He blasted two more bombs on Saturday. For good measure, he walked twice in each of the next two, suggesting that he won't be tempted to go outside the strike zone in order to keep the feelin' alive. It appears as if something has clicked for the man who belted 32 a season ago.
SP Alex Wood, Atlanta Braves
Since the Bravos added him to their rotation, Wood has been quality in three of four starts (23 1/3 innings) -- the first of them his only non-QS. The left-hander has a 3.09 ERA, with six walks and 22 punch-outs, displaying his tough-to-hit stuff in that stretch.
Paul Maholm (left wrist contusion) is nearing a return, at which point Atlanta may opt to demote Wood rather than Brandon Beachy, who has been quite good in his last two starts. Wood, a 2012 second-rounder, should make at least another couple of starts, but after that, it's unclear.
OF Ryan Ludwick, Cincinnati Reds
Cincy lost Ludwick because the outfielder suffered a separation and dislocation in his right shoulder on opening day, but, following surgery, he's back from the DL and on Monday returned to the starting lineup. The Reds have sorely lacked production from their left-field spot, so the 35-year-old should receive opportunities.
What will he do with them? Is his shoulder weakened? Ludwick went deep 26 times in 2012, so he could be a bit of a game-changer in the season's final quarter. Fantasy success is uncertain, but he's worth a chance in deep leagues.
Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled
SP Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics
Joyce heating back up?
The A's added Gray to their starting five this past weekend, and he's expected to remain there for the foreseeable future. He'd made a couple of relief appearances in July, but Saturday's appearance was his debut as a starter. He went six stanzas, giving up four hits (one homer), four runs (two earned) and three walks. He struck out five.
Gray, 23, has been pretty good at the upper levels of the minors, but he didn't consistently display the strikeout ability until this year, with Triple-A Sacramento. At that farm rung, he posted a 10-7 record with a 3.42 ERA, an 8.97 K/9 and a 2.97 BB/9. No one lingers who is a serious threat to his spot in the short term. The high-upside right-hander deserves play.
OF Matt Joyce, Tampa Bay Rays
At this point of 2013, Joyce's slash line in 356 plate appearances is virtually identical to the one he put up in 462 plate appearances last year. Fortunately, he hasn't missed significant time because of an injury, so if he remains so fortunate, he should surpass his total of 17 round-trippers last season and threaten to reach 20. He's never hit that many in an MLB season.
Joyce, 29, went into a tailspin in mid-June; from June 19 through Aug. 2 (the day prior to his birthday), he batted .169 and fanned 25 times in 101 plate appearances. He began to lose PT and then complained about the lack of opportunities to turn things around. Tampa Bay spent the past week in American League parks, so Joe Maddon had to sit one more player than usual in five straight contests.
In his last six games (three starts), Joyce has reverted back to the kind of control of the strike zone, with easily driven contact, which has made him successful. He collected five hits (two of them doubles) in 13 at-bats and walked three times, with only three strikeouts. More good things are on the horizon for Joyce as the season approaches the three-quarter pole.
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.