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Diamond market: Shoppach starring for Tribe


Diamond market: Shoppach starring for Tribe
Fantasy baseball waivers and the acquisition of fantasy baseball free agents can make or break a season. You may have adjusted your fantasy baseball cheat sheets over and over during spring training. If your team remains the same after Opening Day, though, you will probably have trouble competing in your rotisserie baseball league.

Do you need to add players to replace your fantasy baseball busts? Which players can you ignore? KFFL.com's Diamond Market series gives you the fantasy baseball tips and advice you need to sort through the masses quickly.

KEY

Acquire - Add player (in most circumstances)
Watch - Track player; consider adding if trend continues
Pass - Do not add player (in most circumstances)

Catchers

Kelly Shoppach, Cleveland

With regular playing time for the first time in his career, Shoppach is making the most of his opportunity. Shoppach was batting just .221 as a backup, but since taking over officially as the everyday catcher June 12, he has 22 hits in 71 at-bats (.310 average), four home runs and 13 RBI. With catcher Victor Martinez (elbow) not expected back anytime soon, Shoppach is currently a solid option in all league formats.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire

Jeff Mathis, Los Angeles Angels

Slugging catcher Mike Napoli (shoulder) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, July 7, putting to rest the idea of a timeshare behind the plate. To be honest, Napoli had received just 33 at-bats to Mathis' 60 since the beginning of June, so this was no longer a true split. Despite the increased playing time, Mathis (.250-2-14 since June 1) should not earn consideration in shallow mixed leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
AL-only: Acquire

Nicholas Hundley, San Diego

The Padres called up Hundley to replace injured catcher Michael Barrett (face), who could miss up to six weeks due to fractures suffered after fouling a ball off his face. Through 39 games with Triple-A Portland, Hundley was hitting just .232, though he had deposited 12 balls in the outfield bleachers. He's considered their catcher of the future, but playing for the offensively challenged Padres, Hundley is nothing more than a watch list candidate in NL-only formats.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
NL-only: Watch

First Basemen

Jeff Baker, Colorado

Baker is back on the up now with the injured Todd Helton (back) on the 15-day DL due to back inflammation. Baker did little to distinguish himself from other backups until earning regular playing time in 65 at-bats during June, posting a .338-5-14 line. With shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (hand) also ending up on the 15-day DL, Baker could also receive starts at second base in place of infielder Clint Barmes, who could slide over to short to fill in for Tulowitzki. Consider adding Baker in all deeper mixed formats and shallow mixed if you are in dire need of infield help.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Joe Koshansky, Colorado

Koshansky was the immediate beneficiary of first baseman Todd Helton's (back) placement on the disabled list. He received the call from Triple-A Colorado Springs and could see time at first base. He earned his first start of the season Saturday, July 5, and responded with a solo home run. During that game, Jeff Baker started at second base, which means Koshansky could play on days Baker starts in the middle infield. In the minors, Koshansky showed outstanding power with 18 home runs and 78 RBI in 306 at-bats. Add him in NL-only leagues and put him on your watch list in mixed versions.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
NL-only: Acquire

Second Basemen

Mark Loretta, Houston

With second baseman Kazuo Matsui (hamstring) on the DL, Loretta is putting up some decent numbers replacing him. He finished June going 3-for-9 with a home run and five RBI in his last three games and has continued hitting thus far in July. He has eight hits and four RBI in 25 at-bats, and he's run his hitting streak to eight games. Although the Astros likely will activate Matsui on Tuesday, July 8, manager Cecil Cooper said he will find ways to keep Loretta in the lineup. However, the veteran infielder should just be added in NL-only formats.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
NL-only: Acquire

Emilio Bonifacio, Arizona

In a move to give them another bench option, the Diamondbacks called up Bonifacio from Triple-A Tucson on Friday, July 4. Since his call-up, Bonifacio has made five at-bats, striking out four times in the process. The speedy infielder was hitting .302 with 17 stolen bases for Triple-A Tucson this year. In addition to second, Bonifacio could see some time in the outfield with outfielder Eric Byrnes (hamstring) on the shelf. Consider adding him exclusively in NL-only formats if you need some cheap steals.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
NL-only: Acquire

Shortstops

Clint Barmes, Colorado

As stated above, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (hand) was placed on the 15-day DL over the weekend, putting Barmes in position to receive regular time at shortstop. With a .327 average, five home runs, 22 RBI and 22 runs on the season, Barmes would be a solid pickup in deep mixed and NL-only leagues for owners looking for middle infield help.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Nomar Garciaparra, Los Angeles Dodgers

"No-Mah" is back in Los Angeles. The oft-injured infielder returned to the Dodgers on Friday, July 4, and is back starting at shortstop. He came through with two hits and two RBIs in his first game and added another hit in three at-bats Saturday, July 5. With his numbers on the decline - just a .283-7-59 line last year - Garciaparra is nothing more than a watch list candidate in deep mixed leagues, but he is a must-add in NL-only leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
NL-only: Acquire

Reid Brignac, Tampa Bay

The Rays prospect was called up Thursday, July 3, and started the following day in place of injured shortstop Jason Bartlett (knee). However, the Rays called up shortstop Ben Zobrist (shoulder) along with Brignac, and Zobrist - with three home runs in his last four major leagues games - might be the better option for the Rays. Brignac might have been called up to give some protection in case Zobrist's balky shoulder continues to act up. Place Brignac on your watch list in AL-only formats.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
AL-only: Watch

Donnie Murphy, Oakland

Another injury replacement on this list, Murphy could receive more at-bats with shortstop Bobby Crosby (hamstring) on the 15-day DL. However, with just a .197 average, three home runs and nine RBI, Murphy should be considered just in AL-only leagues by virtue of his increased playing time. Infielder Gregorio Petit is another option as he was called up after posting a .304 average in 194 at-bats with Triple-A Sacramento.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
AL-only: Watch

Outfielders

Delmon Young, Minnesota

The younger Young brother looks to be back on track after his early-season struggles. He posted a .321 average with 13 RBI and eight runs in June and already has eight hits in 20 at-bats (.400 average) and five RBI in July. Where are the power numbers you might ask? Well, he hit two home runs and seven doubles in June after going the first two months without a homer. He already has one homer and two doubles this month and should be added if another owner dropped him during his struggles.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Jeff Francoeur, Atlanta

A "betrayed" Francoeur has already been recalled after his surprise demotion to Double-A Mississippi on Friday, July 4. The struggling slugger went 7-for-13 with one triple and two RBI during his three-game stint in the minors. If an owner dropped him, feel free to grab him in all formats, though he might be better off on the bench in shallow mixed setups until his stroke gets going.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Cody Ross, Florida

The Rockies have to be glad to see Ross leave town. During a four-game series, he recorded four three-hit games, hit two homers, drove in 15 runs and scored six times. With seven road games to finish the first half, Ross, who has a .304-10-34 road line, would make a solid short-term addition in all fantasy leagues. Just be ready to drop him once he cools down.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Matt LaPorta, Cleveland

With starting pitcher CC Sabathia heading to the Brewers, LaPorta is set to join the Tribe in the much-publicized trade. LaPorta was raking with Double-A Huntsville, hitting .288 with 20 home runs, 66 RBI and 56 runs. Why would a Double-A slugger be on this list you might ask? The Indians are desperate for offensive help (.246 team average, 387 runs) and LaPorta is a potential call-up, especially if the Indians fall any further out of the playoff race. Grab LaPorta in any deep AL-only leagues and stash him right away, while keeping an eye on him in shallower league-specific formats.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
AL-only: Watch

Starting Pitchers

Oliver Perez, New York Mets

His one-run, seven-inning outing June 29 against the Yankees, grabbed owners' attention, but the inconsistent Perez followed that start with a seven shutout innings Sunday, July 6. The southpaw might not be an option just yet in shallow mixed leagues, but he should be on your watch list. Add him in deep mixed leagues if you need the pitching help.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
NL-only: Acquire

Sean Marshall, Chicago Cubs

The Cubs welcomed starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano (shoulder) back to the rotation Friday, July 4, and his activation forced pitcher Sean Gallagher to the bullpen. Zambrano's replacement, Marshall, looks set to remain in the rotation. Marshall has thrown two straight quality starts, including a six-inning, one-run outing Sunday, July 6. It is too early to grab him in shallow mixed leagues but look to add him in deeper varieties if you're hoping for a boost in pitching.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
NL-only: Acquire

Glen Perkins, Minnesota

In his first season with the Twins as a starter, Perkins has provided a quality option in the rotation. He's posted a decent 4.27 ERA and 1.48 WHIP en route to winning five of 12 starts. Perkins rarely has a poor outing with his May 30 and June 4 appearances the only two times he has allowed more than four runs in a start. He likely isn't an option in shallow mixed leagues, but he's won three of his last four starts and could be added in deep mixed formats for those in need of starting pitching.

Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire

Chris Volstad, Florida

The Marlins called up one of their top prospects from Double-A Carolina on Saturday, July 5, where he compiled a 4-4 record with a 3.36 ERA. Volstad made his first appearance Sunday, July 6, picking up the win with two innings of shutout ball. As of Friday, July 11, Volstad is set to replace pitcher Mark Hendrickson in the rotation. He should be added in NL-only leagues for owners looking to boost their pitching and is a watch-list candidate in deeper mixed formats.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
NL-only: Acquire

Josh Fogg, Cincinnati

Fogg (back) was activated from the 15-day DL in time to start Saturday, July 5, replacing staff ace Aaron Harang. However, if you weren't paying close attention, it might have been hard to tell who was on the mound. Fogg threw six innings of one-run ball and gave up just six hits. This quality start follows two others with Triple-A Louisville where he went 17 innings allowing just three runs and striking out 12. He still sports an 8.39 ERA and 1.63 WHIP on the season, so owners might want to hold off adding him in deep mixed leagues, but he should definitely be on your watch list.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
NL-only: Acquire

Mark Mulder, St. Louis

With pitcher Mitchell Boggs struggling through his Thursday, July 3, start, the team felt the time was right to insert Mulder back into the starting rotation. With just 22 appearances since the beginning of 2006, Mulder is far from being a reliable starter. However, the 1998 second-overall pick is a watch list candidate in deeper mixed leagues for those in need of pitching. Prior to 2006, he had won at least 15 games in five straight seasons.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
NL-only: Acquire

Jeff Weaver, Cleveland

The elder Weaver signed a deal with the Indians Saturday, July 5, and with a spot in the rotation opening up due to the departure of starter CC Sabathia (Brewers), Weaver could get a shot to start. However, he has not put up an ERA of less than 5.00 since 2005 and finished last year with a 6.20 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. He should be added to watch lists exclusively in AL-only leagues.

Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
AL-only: Watch

Relief Pitchers

Grant Balfour, Tampa Bay

In the battle to replace closer Troy Percival (hamstring), Balfour looks to be a prominent option for the Rays. Balfour has a 1.02 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP this year, as well as 27 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings. In addition, he hasn't allowed a run since June 5 and has two saves in his last two appearances. His main competitor for saves, relief pitcher Dan Wheeler, was hit hard Monday, July 7, allowing four runs (three earned) on a pair of home runs in picking up his fourth loss of the year. Balfour is a great option right now and should be owned in all league formats.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire

Masahide Kobayashi, Cleveland

With closer Joe Borowski finally out as the closer in Cleveland, the door is open for someone to take over his old duties. Manager Eric Wedge has indicated Kobayashi should see most of the opportunities. In 41 innings this year, Kobayashi has a 3.29 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 26 strikeouts. He also has four saves on the season. If you are looking for relief help, Kobayashi is a solid option in all formats.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire

Scott Linebrink, Chicago White Sox

Reports have indicated closer Bobby Jenks (shoulder) could be headed to the DL, which might open up a chance for more saves opportunities for Linebrink. Jenks has not thrown since June 29 and could land on the DL if he does not show improvement in the next few days. A former setup man, Linebrink has a 1.95 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP in 37 innings this season but has allowed one run in each of his last three outings. He managed to pick up a save Sunday, July 6, and received another chance Wednesday, July 2, which he failed to convert. Linebrink is a decent option without the saves; however, if Jenks winds up on the DL, consider adding him in all fantasy leagues.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire

Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox

Like Linebrink above, Thornton is another option to close if Jenks (shoulder) ends up on the DL. In 34 innings this year, Thornton has posted a 2.38 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP to go along with 44 strikeouts. Also like Linebrink, his ratios make him attractive even without the saves. Consider adding him in all mixed formats.

Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
AL-only: Acquire


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 8, 2008

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