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Ben Rosener's Fantasy Baseball Beat: Yuri Gurriel and Jose Iglesias News Updates

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The offseason is officially no more, but Spring training is here, and with it comes the daily influx of baseball news that fantasy managers have missed in the last few months. Lineup news, actual games happening, constant waiver wire moves, pitching assignments, and bullpen usage.

Baseball is back and so too is fantasy baseball, with drafts either starting in the near or not-too-near future for many. This column aims to cover any and all fantasy baseball news, big or small, and how it pertains to your fantasy team. Spring training or the regular season, it's covered here.

Has a player who’s usually been hitting in the middle of a lineup suddenly batting eighth or ninth for an extended period? The fantasy implications will be covered here. The same goes for injuries and injured placements and whether or not you should consider picking up a player who was recently called up. Basically, any kernel of fantasy news and its relevance to fantasy managers could be covered here. Today, the news of the day is the fantasy impact of a pair of reported minor league signings by the Miami Marlins: Yuli Gurriel and Jose Iglesias.

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Fantasy Baseball Impact Of Jose Iglesias Reportedly Joining The Marlins

Iglesias is reportedly joining the National League East franchise on a reported minor league deal, per a tweet from The Athletic's Katie Woo on Wednesday. Per Woo, it's a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring training for the veteran.

Long known for his excellent glove work, Iglesias has often been a more valuable player in real-life baseball than in fantasy baseball in part due to low power numbers. The shortstop has never been a significant power threat. Elsewhere, he hasn't topped more than six stolen bases in any of the last four seasons.

All that being said, he can provide some deep league value in the right fantasy environments, or rather on teams with hitter-friendly stadiums. The veteran logged a career-best 11 home runs while batting .288 with a .318 on-base percentage in 504 plate appearances for the Cincinnati Reds in 2019. Last season, he hit .292 with a .328 on-base percentage, three home runs, and a pair of stolen bases in 439 plate appearances for the Colorado Rockies.

Despite being decidedly middle-of-the-pack in terms of overall park factor in the last three seasons, per Statcast, it was a decidedly more hitter-friendly environment on paper last season, or rather more runs were scored there, per the same publication. Only six stadiums had a higher overall park factor in 2022 than the Marlins' home ballpark, so there's certainly some deep-league fantasy potential here for Iglesias. However, he'll have to make the Marlins' Opening Day roster first.

And even in that regard, it might take an injury or a run of inconsistency for the veteran to step into a regular role.

Despite Jazz Chisholm Jr. switching to the outfield full-time, and Miguel Rojas being traded to the Dodgers, it's still a decidedly crowded middle infield mix in Miami, with Luis Arraez at second base, Joey Wendle and Jon Berti on hand as options at shortstop, and Jean Segura signed to play third base. Top prospects Jacob Amaya, Xavier Edwards, and Jordan Groshans are all close to the Majors as well.

It's certainly a fantasy situation to keep an eye on, but for now, Iglesias doesn't have an immediate pathway to fantasy relevance.

 

Fantasy Baseball Impact Of Yuli Gurriel Reportedly Signing With The Marlins

Moving across the Marlins infield, we have another reported minor league signing by the club. Miami reportedly inked veteran first baseman Yuli Gurriel to a "non-roster deal," per a tweet from MLB.com's Mark Feinsand on Thursday:

Gurriel, like Iglesias, has a history of rarely striking out. His strikeout rate has finished in the 94th percentile or better in each of the last six seasons. During the same span, he's also logged a whiff rate that has finished in the 81st percentile in each campaign.

Unlike Iglesias, however, he has much more of a clear path to regular playing time and potential fantasy relevancy. Of course, with Gurriel's deal being a reported minor league deal, it isn't the clearest path, but it's a path nonetheless. Miami doesn't have much first base depth outside behind Garrett Cooper, who has admittedly struggled against left-handed pitching, with a wRC+ nearly 50 points lower against left-handers (79) than it was against right-handers (125) last season.

Gurriel, it should be noted, is a .282 career hitter with a 119 lifetime wRC+ against left-handed pitchers.

Additionally, despite a down season at the plate in 2022 in which he hit .252 with a .288 on-base percentage, eight home runs, and eight stolen bases in 584 plate appearances, the veteran is just one season removed from batting .319 with a .383 on-base percentage, 15 home runs, and a stolen base in 605 plate appearances in 2021. Overall, he's hit .290 or better in four of the last six seasons.

And despite the regular season struggles in 2022, Gurriel did hit .347 with a .360 on-base percentage, two home runs, and a double in a (reasonably small) 50-plate appearance sample size in the playoffs last season, so perhaps there's some bounce-back potential here. He's certainly someone fantasy managers in deeper leagues should keep an eye on, particularly those who wait on selecting a first baseman later in redraft leagues.



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