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2 weeks agoThe Atlanta Braves optioned starting pitcher Ian Anderson to Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday, per the team's Twitter account. The 24-year-old had a strong 2021 season but struggled last season with a 5.00 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 19.7% strikeout rate in 22 starts. It remains to be seen who will start the season as the Braves' fifth starter and it is possible that Anderson will get a chance to pitch with the team at some point during the season, but he will not get the first chance. This severely limits his fantasy value to start the season.--Connelly Doan - RotoBallerSource: Atlanta Braves - Twitter.com
2 weeks agoNew York Mets general manager Billy Eppler said Tuesday that starting pitcher Jose Quintana (rib) has a benign lesion on his rib, per MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. He was seen by a tumor specialist, and while the results of a biopsy came back benign, Quintana is going to undergo bone graft surgery. The Mets are now expecting to not have him back until at least July. The 34-year-old signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Mets this offseason. Tylor Megill and David Peterson appear to be the top two candidates to replace the veteran in the Mets' rotation to start the season.--Connelly Doan - RotoBallerSource: Anthony DiComo - Twitter.com
2 weeks agoLos Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman (hamstring) exited Tuesday's World Baseball Classic 5-0 win over Team Columbia with a slight hamstring issue. Freeman was removed from the game in the bottom of the fourth inning after gingerly running to first base on a pop-fly out in the third. The specific hamstring was not specified. Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt said after the game that Freeman's removal was precautionary and that he is not expected to play Wednesday against Team Mexico. Freeman has been swinging a hot bat this spring and is a top fantasy option, so it is fortunate that this sounds like a minor issue. Fantasy managers should be on the lookout for updates in the coming days.--Connelly Doan - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com
2 weeks agoSeattle Mariners pitcher George Kirby has added a splitter to his diverse repertoire this spring as he prepares to build on an excellent rookie season in 2022. Kirby has made a pair of Cactus-League starts this spring but has yielded three earned runs on five hits and a pair of walks across his 3 1/3-inning sample. The right-hander blew past expectations in his age-24 rookie season, tossing a 3.39 ERA alongside a pristine 20.5% K-BB% across 25 starts with the Mariners. Kirby began the season with five starts of 1.82 ERA ball alongside a whopping 34.4% K% at the Double-A level in 2022 and proceeded to become an integral part of the Mariners' rotation. Kirby said the new splitter will have an 8-10 mph drop in velocity from his four-seam fastball as he now sports seven different offerings heading into his sophomore campaign.--Brenton Kemp - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com
2 weeks agoKansas City Royals catcher/outfielder MJ Melendez is having himself an excellent spring as he looks to build on a solid rookie showing in 2022. The 24-year-old is hitting .375 with one home run, one stolen base, and a hefty 1.296 OPS across 16 Cactus League at-bats to this point in the spring. Melendez appeared in 129 games with the Royals last season, hitting .217 with an impressive 18 HR, two SB, and a .706 OPS across 534 trips to the plate. The 2017 second-round pick also produced an excellent 12.4% BB% that enabled a 99 wRC+ that came in just 1% below the league average. The versatile youngster will see time at catcher behind Salvador Perez while also getting reps in the corner outfield spots in 2023. A strong history of power production in the minors and the aforementioned versatility with the glove make Melendez a solid fantasy asset heading toward the 2023 campaign.--Brenton Kemp - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com
2 weeks agoTexas Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia is enjoying a big spring to this point as he looks to build on a productive 2022 campaign. The 30-year-old has clubbed two home runs while hitting .261 alongside a 1.187 OPS across 25 at-bats this spring. He's added five runs and six RBI to his ledger as he prepares himself for everyday reps in right field for the Rangers this season. Garcia burst onto the scene with 31 HR with 16 stolen bases as a 28-year-old rookie in 2021 and followed that up with 27 HR and 25 SB across 156 games a season ago. Garcia sports an elevated strikeout rate, but his power and speed combination makes him an attractive fantasy asset once again, as a 30/30 season is certainly within reach in the 2023 campaign.--Brenton Kemp - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com
2 weeks agoOakland A's outfielder Esteury Ruiz is in a battle for an outfield spot this spring as he looks to show off his elite speed with the big club in 2023. Ruiz is hitting a decent .241 with a solid .738 OPS alongside a homer, 10 RBI, and three stolen bases across 29 Cactus League at-bats to this point. With Ramon Laureano set as the everyday right fielder in Oakland, Ruiz is aiming for reps in both left and center field, with the former looking like his best option, with JJ Bleday being optioned to Triple-A. Ruiz made his MLB debut in 2022, hitting just .171 with one SB across a small 36 plate-appearance sample between the Padres and Brewers before being acquired by the A's in December. The speedster swiped a whopping 85 bases in the minors between Double-A and Triple-A a season ago, and his speed will certainly earn him a solid look in the rebuilding A's outfield in 2023.--Brenton Kemp - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com
2 weeks agoBaltimore Orioles closer Felix Bautista (knee, shoulder) made his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates and looked good, striking out two in his one innings of work. He didn't walk a batter or allow a hit. The 27-year-old right-hander also hit 99 mph on the radar gun, so it appears his arm is fully healthy after being brought along slowly in camp due to knee and shoulder issues. There is plenty of time for Bautista to be ready to go on Opening Day, and he's fully expected to be Baltimore's primary closer again in 2023. Bautista has been dominant in his short time with the O's and has plenty of fantasy appeal for an improving Orioles team.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com
2 weeks agoToronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette flexed his muscles at the plate in Monday's 16-3 romp over the Boston Red Sox in Grapefruit League play. Bichette went 2-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored in the contest, and he's now hitting .393 (11-for-28) with three walks and five strikeouts on the spring. The 25-year-old plans to be more aggressive on the basepaths in 2023, and couple with his offensive abilities at a premium position, he remains extremely attractive to fantasy managers heading into his fifth MLB season. He led the league with 189 hits in 2022 and slashed .290/.333/.469 with an .802 OPS, 24 home runs, 93 RBI, 91 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 697 plate appearances and 159 games for Toronto.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com
2 weeks agoNew York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (back) is back in the team's Grapefruit League lineup on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays and right-hander Drew Hutchison. Rizzo is starting at first base and is batting third in the lineup. The 33-year-old left-handed slugger was scratched from Sunday's spring game due to a cranky back, but both Rizzo and the team continue to say that it's nothing to worry about. He also dealt with back issues that required a trip to the injured list last September, and Rizzo admitted that it's something he'll have to continue to monitor throughout the year. Rizzo is a fine target for power at Yankee Stadium and his batting average should improve with the outlaw on shifts, but his back issues are a concern.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Baseball Press
2 weeks agoSt. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is now playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, but before he left, he was hitting .417 (5-for-12) with a double, a home run, one RBI, one run scored and a stolen base in five Grapefruit League contests. The 35-year-old slugger is a top-five fantasy first baseman heading into spring drafts. The seven-time All-Star was named the National League MVP last year after slashing .317/.404/.578 with a league-high .981 OPS, 35 home runs, 115 RBI, 106 runs scored and seven stolen bases in 651 plate appearances and 151 games played. Goldschmidt is still an excellent option at the position for fantasy managers, but we should expect some regression in 2023.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Baseball Reference
2 weeks agoAtlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson has been scorching-hot in Grapefruit League games this spring as he heads into his second full season with the team. In 22 plate appearances over eight games to this point, Olson has gone 10-for-21 (.476) with two doubles, three home runs, eight RBI and six runs scored for Atlanta. The 28-year-old left-handed slugger hit .240/.325/.477 with an .802 OPS, 34 home runs, 103 RBI and 86 runs scored in 699 plate appearances and 162 games in 2022. Olson is an excellent source of power and run production, but his batting average can't be relied on. With that said, Olson could produce a better average in 2023 and beyond now that defenders cannot shift against him. RotoBaller has him ranked as the No. 5 fantasy first baseman.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Baseball Reference
2 weeks agoThe Detroit Tigers claimed right-handed reliever Freddy Pacheco off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday and optioned him to Triple-A Toledo. To make room on the 40-man roster, left-hander Tarik Skubal (elbow) was placed on the 60-day injured list. Pacheco has been dealing with elbow tightness this spring, which caused the Cardinals to outright him. The 24-year-old Venezuelan looked good in 50 combined relief appearances between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis in 2022, posting a 3.05 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 12 saves and 84 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched. He'll need to work his way back to full health, but he could eventually become an option for the Tigers' bullpen this year.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Tigers PR
2 weeks agoWashington Nationals starting pitcher Cade Cavalli (arm) was removed from his Cactus League start on Tuesday against the New York Mets after appearing to be in discomfort while shaking his right arm after throwing a pitch. It's unclear what the exact nature of the injury is, so fantasy managers will want to check back for an update. Depending on what his injury is, there's a good chance that the 24-year-old right-hander will no longer be in the running for an Opening Day rotation spot. Cavalli suffered a significant shoulder injury in his first big-league start last August, so another arm injury is concerning. He has big stuff on the mound, but his control and command have been behind.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Washington Post - Andrew Golden
2 weeks agoThe Chicago Cubs view relievers Michael Fulmer and Brad Boxberger as their primary closing options in 2023 for the ninth inning. Boxberger has 82 career saves and a long track record of durability and reliability. Fulmer won the American League Rookie of the Year in 2016 and was an All-Star in 2017 as a starter, but he moved to a full-time relief role after having Tommy John surgery in 2019. He saved 14 games for the Tigers in 2021 and had a 2.97 ERA in almost 70 innings. The Cubs also could use the likes of Brandon Hughes, Rowan Wick and Adbert Alzolay in closing situations, which makes Chicago's closing situation more of a committee approach. But if you're speculating on saves in deeper leagues, Fulmer and Boxberger could be decent options.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Athletic - Patrick Mooney


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