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Fantasy baseball news: Zimmerman still most valuable at third base

Photo: Mark Goldman /Icon SMI

After five straight starts in left field, the Nats' usual third baseman Ryan Zimmerman now has outfield eligibility in most fantasy leagues.

In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below.

Ryan Zimmerman started in left field for the fifth straight time on Friday, and come Sunday, the Nationals' usual third baseman will have outfield eligibility in most fantasy leagues. It's neat, but that's about all it is. Sure, Zimmerman is superior to the average outfielder when he's healthy (which is rare) and on his game, but he's much, much more valuable as a third baseman. Unless owners are in the bizarre circumstance where they lack productive outfielders, but already have a serviceable third baseman such as Adrian Beltre or Pablo Sandoval, this update should have very little impact on how they deploy Zimmerman from here on out.

In general, dual eligibility is an extremely overrated concept. Marginal players like Omar Infante and Martin Prado have become household fantasy names simply because they can play at multiple positions. But if a player isn't an above-average hitter at a position, or has extra eligibility at a position where productive hitters are plentiful, then what's the point? The value Carlos Santana has now is entirely based on his eligibility at catcher, where there are very few stand-out players. It's a nice perk that he also has eligibility at first and third, but you can easily find first baseman and third baseman on the waiver wire who'd be more productive there than Santana.

There are really only two times where dual eligibility truly comes into play. The first is when an elite hitter gets dual eligibility at multiple infield positions. That Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion can be used at first and third are enormous bonuses to their values, much as it was a year ago when Hanley Ramirez could be used at third and short. The second is when a closer has starter eligibility, ala Zach Britton and Jenrry Mejia. In most fantasy leagues, there's a set limit to how many relievers you can start on a given day, but that limit can be bypassed by using a closer in a starter's spot. This can come in handy, as it gives owners a better chance of having as many different pitchers going on the same day as possible.

Outside of those scenarios, dual eligibility should really just be a handy tool for filling out lineups. It shouldn't make or break someone's value, and it certainly won't with Ryan Zimmerman. But hey, again, it's kind of neat if nothing else.

For Your Consideration

Photo: Dennis Poroy/Getty Images

Tanner Roark has only had two blemishes so far this season and would be a strong add.

● Tanner Roark dominated the weak-hitting Padres, holding them scoreless through eight innings while striking out 11, not allowing a walk and giving up three hits. Roark has had only two blemishes this season: a five-run outing against the Braves, and a seven-run fiasco against the Phillies. Otherwise, he's been terrific, and now sports a lovely 2.91 ERA. Sure, the Padres have just about the lamest offense in baseball, but Roark has shown himself to be a quality starter. That ERA may bounce up near the fours at some point, but for now, given the weak-hitting division the Nats are in, Roark makes for a strong add.

● Making his first start in slightly over two weeks, Matt Cain put in good work against the Mets, holding them to two runs and three hits in seven innings. Cain's ERA and WHIP, at 3.52 and 1.14, are suddenly respectable again, although all the issues that existed with him before are still there. He struggles to strike hitters out these days, and while he absolutely needs to be owned, and while there's always the chance he could rediscover his staff ace form, the name doesn't match the stats. He's not a bad pitcher to sell right now, if you can find an interested buyer.

● Adam Dunn went 3-for-5 on Friday and homered for the second straight game, his tenth HR of the year. Dunn may not be the hitter he was in the National League and his average is bound to once again hover around the Mendoza Line. And yet, he still hits home runs now and then, and because he's a safe bet to hit around 30 of them in between striking out 200 times, he has value in standard leagues.

● Eddie Butler's first major league start was one the Rockies' starter would like to forget, with the Dodgers slicing him up for six runs and 10 hits in 5.1 innings. Butler is considered a top-50 prospect and he put strong numbers in the minors. But for whatever reason, his strikeouts-per-nine-innings was down to 5.2 per game in double-A this year, and he only mustered a pair of them against Los Angeles. He could gel into a quality MLB pitcher at some point, but there's not enough reason to give him love in standard leagues, even as a stream option.

● Carlos Santana returned to the Indians' lineup after being out with a concussion and went 1-for-3. Santana is having an almost inconceivably abysmal season, with a .162 average to go with six homers and 17 RBI. Still, so long as he's healthy and is at least hitting in the .200's, he should be in the Indians' lineup everyday as their regular third baseman, and he typically is stronger in the second half of the year anyway. If you're lacking in the catcher category, Santana is honestly a great player to put in a buy-low bid for, just because of his upside.

● Marcus Stroman was terrific against the Cardinals, allowing one run in six innings while striking out seven. Stroman, the Blue Jays' top pitching prospect, was pretty awful as a middle reliever, allowing nine earned runs in 6.2 innings out of the pen. But he's been on his game since entering the rotation, allowing two runs in 12 innings while striking out 13. Stroman faces the lowly Twins next week and is an extremely enticing pickup, especially when you factor in the upside.

● Rubby De La Rosa couldn't quite match his season debut, allowing four runs in 5.2 innings to the Tigers while striking out five. De La Rosa still has good stats through two starts -- a 2.84 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 12.2 innings -- so he's worth taking a flier on on the chance he sticks in the rotation after Clay Buchholz returns. He faces the Orioles next week, which should be a good test for the 25-year-old out of the Dominican Republic.

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