Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring Training news

Ahhh...Spring training...teams & players use this time very differently. Veterans might use this time to work on a new pitch; rookies or up-and-coming minor leaguers try to use this time to impress the big boys & team management working towards that big league job (such as Ryan Braun last spring); you have guys coming back from injury trying to get to 100% & prove they're ready for the season...the list goes on. Most importantly, this brings the start of a new baseball season, which is bound to be full of excitement & surprises, entertaining all of us fans well into fall.

Spring training news:

-David Price (the #1 pick last season, not the US Congressman from the 4th district in North Carolina) impressed in the Rays big league camp, although as expected, he was sent to the minors to start the year.

Fantasy spin - If your league holds a minor league draft or allows you to keep a group of prospects, you might want to target him in your drafts. He might even make an appearance in the Rays rotation before the end of this season, which would make a mighty impressive top 3 of Kazmir, Shields, and Price.

-Rocco Baldelli is going to start the season in the starting lineup! OK, just kidding about that...he's going to start this season where he has started each of the prior few seasons - on the DL. On the bright side, it's not his nagging hamstring that's causing him the DL stint this time around; it's actually a fatigue problem (not that it's any better). Hopefully it's not a career ending issue, but it sounds like he's been to numerous doctors & they haven't been able to cure / fix the issue.

Fantasy spin - Sadly, you'll want to avoid Baldelli again this year. Many (including Rocco) hoped that the injury bug was behind him, but 10 years from now, many people will probably be saying "what could have been" when talking about Baldelli's major league career.

-Dusty Baker really loves the veterans

Fantasy spin - Don't expect Jay Bruce, the top prospect in baseball, to start the season as the everyday CF for the Reds. If you can draft him & stash in on your bench for awhile, or if you have a minor league roster, grab him. Otherwise, I'd avoid all 4 OF who are fighting for a spot in the Reds lineup this spring - Norris Hopper, Ryan Freel, Corey Patterson, and the mentioned Bruce. I see Bruce as THE man in CF as early as mid-season, although it might take some slumps / injuries for it to occur. Patterson might be a sleeper for some steals if he wins the CF job in the spring (or if Baker just gives it to him); Freel will still steal 30 or so bases if he stays healthy - they'll find a way to get him 400-500 ab; I can honestly say that I have no idea who the heck this Hopper guy is, but apparently he got 300 AB last season & hit over .300 with 14 steals - so I guess you can think of him as Ryan Freel with less steals and less power but a better average; meaning I wouldn't be selecting him in any draft, unless you just think he has a cool name.

-Francisco Liriano might not be ready to contribute early on this season. His fastball has been in the 88 mph range this spring, and his control was off in his most recent start against the Red Sox.

Fantasy spin - Normally, I wouldn't read too much into spring training stats, but if you have the guts to draft Liriano, be careful when you select him. From looking at the most recently updated Average Draft Position from Kelly at Fantasy Gameday, Liriano is being taken at pick 130, down about 3 spots since last month. He's currently the 29th starting pitcher taken, which seams like a reasonable position given his prior success balanced with his risk this season. Unless we see some dominating performances in his next few starts, be careful that you don't reach for Francisco. If he's available in the 130 - 150 range, he's probably worth the risk, especially if it's a keeper league; I'm confident that he'll be dominant again, although it might not be this season.

-David over at Brock For Broglio (coolest name of a baseball blog - ever) has a nice resource page linking to many fantasy baseball previews / draft prep materials. He's been updating it as readers have supplied add'l items, which is very helpful.

Fantasy spin - It's a great blog & this is a great resource, so check it out...or else

-Brad Evans at Yahoo checks out the top base stealers in his Speed-O-Meter piece. He takes a look at 65 potential speedsters & their average draft positions.

Fantasy spin - If you know how to read, you should check it's good stuff. If you can't read, sorry to have insulted you (although the fact that you're reading this right now tells me that you really can read, so shut the heck up & read his article).

Check back soon, as I'll be reviewing my draft from the Fantasy Gameday keeper league.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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