There is one more day of practice left (I’ll be checking out the Rockies in Scottsdale) before Cactus League games begin on Wednesday. While I can’t complain about spending days in the Arizona sun and watching Major Leaguers run practice drills and interact with the fans, I’m looking forward to games getting underway.
I will be at the A’s-Giants opener on Wednesday, then in Mesa to see the Cubs open their new park on Thursday afternoon. Here are some notes emanating from the valley...
Fantasy Baseball Notes from the Cactus League - 2/24
With Nelson Cruz signing in Baltimore, apparently spurning a longer deal with Seattle, the Mariners are projected to start an outfield of Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders and either Corey Hart or Logan Morrison in right. It seems that the M’s want to make Saunders their CF and play Ackley in LF. Justin Smoak, right now, is the everyday 1B. Saunders is the big winner here, as Cruz will not take his starting job away.
Carlos Gonzalez laid down the law with his manager and said he wanted to play the same position every day – no more shifting between LF and CF. He got his wish and, for now, CarGo will be Colorado’s everyday LF. That likely means that Corey Dickerson and Drew Stubbs will platoon in CF. I am not sure how Dickerson’s defense plays in center, but Stubbs covers a lot of ground out there. If Stubbs can wrestle the starting job this Spring, consider him an OF sleeper as a guy with 20 HR/20 SB potential.
The Dodgers are considering holding their ace out of the opening series in Australia. The Dodgers are clearly looking to try to limit his innings early in the season, as he was stretched to 260-plus last year when you include the playoffs. If Kershaw and Zack Greinke were to start in Australia, that would mean an extra start for both of them on the season, giving both a fantasy edge in counting stats. In any case, Kershaw will still be the first pitcher off draft boards. I’d take him as early as fourth overall.
Buster Posey will not play in Wednesday’s opener, but that’s nothing to worry about. The Giants appear to be trying to limit his innings behind the plate this Spring. 2B Marco Scutaro is another story. He will be held out Wednesday with a sore back and a finger that is still not 100 percent after off-season surgery. There are better options at 2B than Scutaro at this point.