It's been a busy few days of baseball here in Arizona, as I've been going from ballpark to ballpark to check out as much spring action as possible. After taking in three games over the past two days, including an extra-inning nightcap yesterday, I can barely stay awake. But I figured I'd share a few thoughts on what I've seen.
Tony Cingrani: On Tuesday, I saw the Giants at the Reds. Tony Cingrani started for Cincinnati, and he struggled with the long ball, surrendering homers to Buster Posey and Ehire Adrianza. He ended up allowing six runs and eight hits in three-plus innings.
Cingrani has become a fantasy darling for owners who like to jump on sophomore players coming off impressive rookie campaigns. Throughout his minor league career, he has always exhibited impressive strikeout rates, which carried over to his 2013 major league campaign. He doesn't throw all that hard, but his four-seamer manages to deceive hitters-- and he throws that pitch a high percentage of the time. He is susceptible to homers, particularly to right-handed hitters.
Cingrani detractors assume that major league hitters will catch on to his one pitch and be able to make adjustments, which will eventually result in a demotion to the bullpen. I can't say that I disagree. Especially in Great American Ballpark, I think Cingrani is a timebomb waiting to explode and that he'll take a step backwards in 2014-- his lack of repertoire makes him better suited for a bullpen role. Interestingly, Aroldis Chapman tossed three relief innings in this game, amid talk once again of stretching him out and reverting him to a starting role. If Chapman is able to pull that off, and with top prospect Robert Stephenson on horizon, Cingrani's hold on a rotation spot may be tenuous. I'll pass-- let another fantasy owner overpay for last year's success.
Zack Greinke: On Wednesday, I spent the afternoon in Glendale to watch the Diamondbacks and Dodgers. Zack Greinke returned from his calf injury and struggled against Arizona's backups. I've seen a lot of Greinke over the past few seasons, and he is one of my favorite players. I am not a scout or pitching guru, but seeing him warm up in the bullpen, I noted that he didn't look comfortable with his mechanics. Of course, the injury put Greinke a few weeks behind, so some hiccups are to be expected. I would still feel confident drafting him in any fantasy format. If anything, I hope that the injury and poor spring showing can allow me to get him at a value.
Robinson Cano: Wednesday night, the Mariners hosted the Cubs in Peoria in a four-hour, 10-inning marathon. Robinson Cano is on fire for the M's, batting over .600 this spring. He had two doubles and a walk in this game, and looked like one of the league's best hitters.
Javier Baez: Cubs über-prospect Javier Baez hit a monster home run over the outfield scoreboard. He is said to have the fastest bat in the minors, and he showed it on this swing as the ball got out of the park in a hurry. If you can find the video of that home run online somewhere, it is definitely worth a look-- it was one of the biggest "wow" moments I've seen this spring.
Stay tuned for more daily updates from Arizona as RotoBaller Scott Slezak provides your daily Cactus League fantasy baseball analysis.