Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Mark Melancon, Justin Verlander, more

by Tim Heaney on June 20, 2014 @ 08:27:04 PDT


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Players on the rise in value or with great upcoming matchups. For more players to pick up, click on our Fantasy Baseball Free Agents!

RP Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates
Mark our words: pick him up

RP Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh is re-evaluating their closer spot after Jason Grilli blew a Thursday save chance. Melancon in the past has seamlessly filled in due to injury and poor performance. Looks like it's time to grab him again.

SP Alex Wood, Atlanta Braves

Recently sent to Triple-A Gwinnett to stretch out, the southpaw should be back up soon with Gavin Floyd (elbow) likely done for the season. Wood posted a 3.00 ERA with an 8.80 K/9 and 1.80 BB/9 in seven Braves starts earlier this year.

RP Joe Smith and Mike Morin, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Halos have blown up their saves picture and are likely going by a committee. Ernesto Frieri and Cam Bedrosian ... didn't make a fine impression yesterday. There's always Mike Scioscia's apparent Frieri crush to worry about, but Smith was doing OK in Frieri's stead. Morin is the deeper sleeper who has pitched much better than "future closer" Bedrosian.

OF Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays

With David DeJesus (hand) hitting the disabled list, more AB will open up for the sparkplug, who could reach double-digit steals by season's end. He's useful as long as you can live with a lack of tangible pop. TB typically makes the most out of these guys.

1B/OF Brad Snyder, Texas Rangers

How far down must you dig for CI help? With Mitch Moreland (ankle) joining Prince Fielder (neck, back) on the shelf, Snyder at least will command majority platoon duties. He hit 18 homers in the Pacific Coast League this season. That's probably inflated, but he's in another fine environment for it to continue.


Players losing value, potentially drop candidates.

SP Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

Time to cut? It's getting close to that time in many leagues, notably the shallows. Deep leaguers probably can hope for a second-half turnaround as he has performed in the past, but it's becoming more difficult to expect it than it did in the past.

SP Marco Estrada, Milwaukee Brewers

A much easier cut: The gopheritis that has haunted his potential breakout year isn't going away anytime soon. Revisit him if he shows positive signs, but at this point, it's tough to wait him out.

SS Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics

Sure, he's streaky, but it's shocking to see how widely he's still owned. Guess you can only go up from a 5-for-47 stretch, but he's not doing much with his fly-ball-first tendencies.

Matchup notes

SP Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays (June 27-29)

It's been hard to trust the intriguing but struggling right-hander this season. Issues with homers and walks continue to plague his development. His 5.09 ERA against Tampa Bay last season in four outings doesn't build a case. Points that do: Despite a decent stretch of late, the Rays have not shined on offense this year, ranking near MLB's basement in runs scored, batting average and on-base-plus-slugging rate. Now, they're without Wil Myers (wrist). Tillman's favorable home splits and quality start versus the Rays earlier this season also say he'll deliver this time around.

OF Jake Marisnick, Miami Marlins vs. Oakland Athletics (June 27-29)

The youngster recently was summoned in a flurry of transactions by a surprisingly competitive Marlins club. Popular belief would dictate the 23-year-old would struggle against baseball's most complete club, including an elite pitching staff that thrives in nearly any environment. But the righty bat probably will face two southpaws: Tommy Milone and rotation fill-in Brad Mills. While he didn't have drastic minor-league handedness splits, he hit .284 against left-handers in his farm career. Miami has been one of the league's best hitting clubs at home, too.

Line up your week's pitching....

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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