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May 16, 2013

Free Agent Watch

National League, Week Seven

by Josh Shepardson


Derek Dietrich, 2B (Yahoo! and CBS)/SS (ESPN), Miami Marlins

Ownership: ESPN: 0.3% Yahoo!: 1% CBS: 5%
2013 Stats: 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, .400 AVG

When the Marlins placed Chris Valaika on the disabled list, they needed to fill his roster spot and opted to do so with Dietrich, who was acquired from the Rays in exchange for Yunel Escobar. Jason Churchill wrote about him in December while ranking the prospects that had been traded by that point in the offseason, and in that article, he noted that Dietrich owns a large platoon split. Thankfully, Dietrich hits better against righties, putting him in line for the long end of the platoon, and he has a minor-league triple-slash line of  .294/.365/.524 against them from 2011 through his work to date this year. He has already been shielded from one southpaw, sitting against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu.

In an effort to provide a spark to a sputtering offense, Marlins manager Mike Redmond moved Dietrich to third in the lineup in Tuesday's game against the Reds. Dietrich recorded at least one hit in each of his first four games played entering Wednesday's game, and may have some leash as the club's number-three hitter against right-handed pitching. He'll likely sit against tough lefties, but I don't expect him to sit against all of them. That said, if you're able to move someone into the lineup in his place when he's facing a southpaw, you'd be wise to do so. He has played second base exclusively and should gain eligibility at that position in ESPN leagues early next week. Given the lack of offensive talent in the middle infield, Dietrich is worth rostering in mixed leagues that are larger than 12 teams and use a middle infielder. He won't steal more than a couple of bags, at most, but he has enough punch to eclipse double digits in homers with regular playing time.

Darin Ruf, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Ownership: ESPN: 0.1% Yahoo!: 0% CBS: 6%
2013 Stats: 21 R, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 1 SB, .296 AVG

Ruf had a breakout season in the minors last year, and rode his power outburst all the way to The Show. He smacked three dingers in September, but failed to make the Phillies big-league roster when the club broke camp this year. His natural position is first base, but with Ryan Howard inked to a regrettable contract through 2016 with a club option for 2017, Ruf has been tasked with learning to make the outfield his new defensive home. He has played left field dating back to 2010, but this is the first year that the bulk of his playing time has come there instead of at first base. As one would expect, the transition hasn't been seamless. However, Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan told the Philadelphia Inquirer, when discussing his play in left field, "It's not a concern for me. It's not a concern at all." Improved defensive play in the outfield will help his cause in receiving another promotion to the parent club, where the pressure will be on his bat to keep him in the bigs.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Painting the Black: Th... (05/15)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Amer... (05/14)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Nati... (05/22)
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Fantasy Article Bullpen Report: Diamon... (05/16)

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