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Diamond market: Wilkerson replaces Wells


Diamond market: Wilkerson replaces Wells
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'll 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?

Key

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

Catchers

Jesus Flores, Washington

Nationals catchers Johnny Estrada (elbow) and Paul Lo Duca (hand) both landed on the disabled list last week. In a corresponding move, the team called up Flores from Triple-A Columbus to take over the job as the team's everyday catcher. Since his promotion, he's gone 2-for-6 with one run in two games. He's hitting .353 (6-for-17) with three RBI and one home run on the season. He's a career .251 hitter in the minors, and showed power in only one season (2006 - 21 home runs in high Class-A St. Lucie). Grab him in NL-only leagues, but only pick him up in mixed league formats if he continues to hit well.

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

First Basemen

Kevin Millar, Baltimore

Four multi-hit games in his last eight contests have brought Millar's average up from the .204 it sat at on May 3, to .234. He struggled last year with the Orioles, hitting just .254. However, his 17 home runs (32 over the last two seasons) make him a decent power threat in deep leagues. His career average of .281 also suggests he's a better hitter than he's shown the last two years. For now, avoid him in mixed leagues, but take a chance on him in AL-only leagues if you need the help.

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

Second Basemen

None

Third Basemen

Brandon Wood, Los Angeles Angels

With third baseman Chone Figgins (hamstring) on the disabled list, Wood should see a short-term spike in his value. The slugging infielder's made 26 at-bats for the Angels this year, but sports just a .154 average (4-for-26) with only one extra-base hit (a home run May 5). He's hit for a decent average (.282 lifetime in the minors), but power is his calling card. He's hit 91 home runs over his last three minor league seasons and was off to a quick start with eight in 88 at-bats this season. Infielder Robb Quinlan could get some playing time as well, but for now Wood is the best fantasy option. Grab him in any AL-only leagues.

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

Shortstops

Clint Barmes, Colorado

Barmes has used a .429 (12-for-28) average in May and an injury to Troy Tulowitzki (quadriceps) to garner some fantasy recognition. He's bounced around the lineup this season, but seems to hit better near the bottom. That won't help his run-scoring ability, but he gives you a boost with a .333 average on the season. Another good sign is that Barmes' numbers aren't a product of Coors Field. He's hitting .352 (19-for-54) with eight RBI away from home. He isn't an option just yet in shallow mixed leagues, but he should be grabbed in any deeper formats.

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

Omar Vizquel, San Francisco

Vizquel (knee) made his return from the disabled list May 10 with a three-hit, one-run game. Manager Bruce Bochy kept him in the lineup the following day and Vizquel picked up three walks. The slick-fielding infielder was a disappointment at the plate last year with a .246 average and only 54 runs, his lowest since an injury-plagued 2003 campaign. The team has plans to break him in slowly, so don't look for him to start regularly right away. As well, Vizquel, at 41, isn't a long-term option at the position and could lose playing time to some younger players. Grab him in NL-only leagues because of his speed, but he's just a watch-list candidate in deep mixed leagues.

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

Outfielders

Carlos Beltran, New York Mets

After finishing April with a .211 average, the streaky Beltran's kicked it up a notch in May with a .323 average (10-for-31), eight RBI and nine runs scored in nine games. His numbers have increased since a recent six-game road trip where he went 5-for-20. He has hits in seven of his last eight games. After a four-game stint against the Nationals, he embarks on a nine-game road trip. He hit .282 with 22 of his 33 home runs on the road last year, so it could be a big month for him. He likely isn't available in many leagues, but if he is you should make an impatient owner pay for his mistake and snap him up immediately.

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

Jeremy Hermida, Florida

Hermida's been a big part of the Marlins' recent success with a .341 average (14-for-41) and eight runs in 10 games this month. Behind his hitting, the team is on a seven-game winning streak and currently occupies the top spot in the National League East. Like Beltran, he might not be available in many leagues, but if he is you should grab him immediately.

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

Milton Bradley, Texas

His attitude problems aside, Bradley showed last year he can be a solid offensive presence in any lineup. He hit .292 with seven RBI in 65 at-bats with the A's before a trade to the Padres last year. After joining the Padres, he hit .313 (45-for-144) with 11 home runs, including an impressive .299 average with six home runs at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. He's carried his success into this season with a .311 average (37-for-119), five home runs and 20 RBI for the Rangers. If you need the outfield help in deep mixed leagues, he'd be a decent option.

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

Elijah Dukes, Washington

Dukes (hamstring) came off the disabled list May 9, however, he's gone hitless in his return (0-for-9) with three strikeouts. The temperamental outfielder struggled a bit during a rehab stint with Class-A Potomac and Triple-A Columbus, going a combined 8-for-38 with five RBI, seven walks and two stolen bases. He has the talent, but he's yet to bring it all together in the majors. His talent means he should be on your fantasy radar in mixed leagues, but he's only worth grabbing in NL-only leagues for now.

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

Cliff Floyd, Tampa Bay

Floyd (knee) is yet another returnee from the disabled list. He was activated off the DL Sunday and marked his return with two hits and two RBI. He's now hitting .368 (7-for-19) with two home runs this year, albeit in limited time. If you're looking for another positive, he does some of his best work at Tropicana Field, where he spots a .388 (31-for-80) lifetime average. He isn't worth grabbing in mixed leagues, but could be if he continues to hit well. His spot later in the Rays lineup means he could be a solid RBI man for your lineup. Grab him in any AL-only leagues.

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

Brad Wilkerson, Toronto

A disappointment with the Mariners earlier this year, Wilkerson found a new home in Toronto when the Blue Jays signed him May 9. His addition gives the team another option in left field, at designated hitter or at first base. The recent injury to Vernon Wells (hand) could be another source of playing time for Wilkerson, who could hit in the leadoff spot when he's in the starting lineup. However, the team also added Kevin Mench (Rangers), who could cut into his playing time. His numbers don't suggest he'll be an option in mixed leagues, but you could grab him in AL-only formats if you need the help.

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

Matt Joyce, Detroit

Joyce, a call-up this May, has given the Tigers a boost with two multi-hit games in his four starts (five games). Through his first 15 major league at-bats, he's hitting .267 (four hits) with one home run and two RBI. Those numbers are better than the team was getting from recently released outfielder Jacque Jones. Joyce has seen three of his starts come in left field, so that appears to be his likely starting spot in the majors. He isn't worth picking up in mixed leagues, but given the offense he hits in, and his solid minor league numbers, he could be given a shot in AL-only leagues.

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

Brandon Boggs, Texas

With a .326 average (15-for-46), two home runs and eight RBI, Boggs has given the Rangers a boost since his first appearance April 29. In fact, the team's gone 9-4 in the 13 games he's appeared in. His numbers are surprising, as he's never been a great minor league player. Last year was hit best minor league season when he hit .262 with 23 home runs over two levels (Class-A and Double-A). He isn't an option in mixed leagues, but he's started 12 straight games in left field for the Rangers, making him an option in AL-only setups.

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

Designated Hitters

Frank Thomas, Oakland

Blue Jays fans likely are cursing right now as Thomas has come alive since rejoining the A's near the end of April. So far in May, he's sporting a .303 (10-for-33) average with seven RBI and five runs for the surprising A's. He's been a slow starter the last couple of years, which is another reason to rejoice if you own him in a fantasy league. Last year, he hit just .223 over the first two months of the season before finishing with a .277 average and 26 home runs. Grab him in all league formats.

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

Starting Pitchers

John Danks, Chicago White Sox

Fantasy owners might have been quick to turn away from Danks after a seven-run shelling April 9. However, those who stuck with him have been rewarded by some consistent outings. Over his last five appearances (30 2/3 innings), he's compiled a 3-2 record with a 1.76 ERA and 26 strikeouts. Regardless of what league format you're in, he should be picked up if you need pitching help.

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

Tom Gorzelanny, Pittsburgh

Gorzelanny (back) returned from a back injury May 10 to hold the Braves to just two earned runs over 7 1/3 innings. It was the second straight win for the left-hander, who could be finally turning the corner after a slow start to this season. He has a 2.60 ERA over his last three starts (17 1/3 innings) with 12 strikeouts. He still needs to show better consistency, though the fact he was able to buckle down after a first-inning, two-run home run against the Braves is encouraging. He was a revelation for the Pirates staff last year, going 14-10 with a 3.88. He should be snapped up in any deep mixed leagues if available. Keep an eye on him in shallow formats for now.

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

Relief Pitchers

Ryan Franklin, St. Louis

Closer Jason Isringhausen is out and closer-by-committee is set to be the new approach in St. Louis. Franklin and his 1.89 ERA could be a big part of that. Already he has one save since Izzy was forced out, and he looks to be the best late option for manager Tony La Russa. He'll likely have to split time with the other relievers in the Cardinals bullpen, and Isringhausen's move might only be temporary. However, grab Franklin if you're looking for a short-term fix in your bullpen.

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

Salomon Torres, Milwaukee

Like Franklin, Torres should be the primary benefactor of a closer switch, though this one is taking place in Milwaukee. Closer Eric Gagne was removed from the job over the weekend, and Torres appears to be the main guy to replace him. He saved 12 games each of the last two years with the Pirates and has 30 in his career. He's been solid this year as a setup man with a 3.04 ERA, 19 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP in 23 2/3 innings. He'll likely split time with relievers Brian Shouse, Guillermo Mota and David Riske, which hurts his value. Still, if he's available, he looks to be the best bet to close for the Brewers for the time being.

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


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 14, 2008

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