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The National F.B.L.
Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:01am|
By Keith Hernandez
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 or worth your FAAB dollars in your fantasy baseball games?
Wade Miley slithering his way to relevance
Miley has been a pleasant surprise out in the desert this year for the Arizona Diamondbacks; the 25-year-old southpaw is 7-3 with a 2.39 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 75 1/3 frames. He began the year pitching out of the bullpen (8 2/3 frames). A one-run, three-hit, eight-punchout performance against the Texas Rangers Wednesday put him firmly on the map, if he wasn't there already.
He made his major league debut in 2011, starting seven of the eight games he appeared in for an ERA of 4.50 and a WHIP of 1.65. Nothing to get excited about, especially with top prospects Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs waiting in the wings. Miley was mostly thought of as a stopgap starter when he was initially called up, but his performance has turned heads.
Miley's high-80s to low-90s fastball isn't missing much lumber (5.85 K/9), so control is of utmost importance to him. The difference: He's reduced his walks per nine from 4.05 last year to 2.03 in 2012, and he's keeping the ball down at hitter-friendly Chase Field. He hasn't given out more than two free passes in any of his starts this season.
Despite the feel-good story with Miley, he remains prone to blowups if his command deserts him for stretches, and he doesn't possess enough high-strikeout upside to carry him. Continue to ride him and play the matchups, but temper your expectations down the road.
Ryan Raburn returns to the bigs
Drew Smyly landing on the DL with a blister on his pitching finger has led the Detroit Tigers to recall the slumping Raburn. Raburn was demoted to Triple-A Toledo on May 29 because he was hitting only .146 with one homer and seven RBIs in 123 at-bats with the Tigres.
Raburn didn't do much better with the Mud Hens, going 6-for-31 (.194) with one long ball and three RBIs. He dealt with a minor hamstring ailment over that time, but his performance didn't endear him at all to Jim Leyland. Although he's starting at second base today, Leyland made it clear Raburn will play mostly off the bench.
His power is real, but his atrocious approach at the dish and poor plate discipline (he strikes out roughly a quarter of the time) state his case as a bench or platoon player at best. Contending for PT with Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth will make it even more of an uphill climb.
Raburn can be streaky, though, and his recent history of second-half surges is in his favor. If he makes an immediate impact and regains favor with skip, he's worth a thought in most deep leagues.
Ian Stewart lands on the DL
This could finally be the nail in the coffin for Stewart, who continues to have problems with his left wrist. He's dealt with this for the past year, and he'll see a specialist to clear it up. Surgery is an option.
Stewart's triple slash line of .201/.292/.335 with five jacks and 17 RBIs in 201 plate appearances wasn't doing much for the Cubbies. The wrist, which he admits had been causing him lingering pain this year, might explain much of his mediocrity, but still, he's not the long-term answer at the hot corner in Chicago. It's probably safe to move in other directions in most leagues, depending on how serious his wrist is.
Luis Valbuena jumps in immediately in Stewart's absence. He was hitting .303 with eight homers and 31 RBIs with Class AAA Iowa in 211 at-bats. He's a career .281 minor league stick, yet hasn't translated that to any sort of success in the bigs. He doesn't do any one thing particularly well to put him on radars outside AL-only systems.
Josh Vitters, on the other hand, is much more intriguing; he's hitting .268 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs in 231 at-bats with Iowa. He's failed to make enough adjustments in his plate approach, however, and his defense is average, at best. Chicago Cubs brass remains committed to development of players like Vitters and Anthony Rizzo, so a call-up isn't expected soon.
Keeper leaguers and speculators in NL-only affairs have reason to be interested, especially if Stewart requires surgery.