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2/15:Korea-born Seung-Hwan Oh is finally making the leap to American baseball, signing a one-year contract with the Cardinals. Over the past two seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, the now 33-year-old went 4-7 with a 2.25 ERA, 147 strikeouts and 80 saves. The Cardinals decided to take a chance on seeing what one of the greatest closers in Korean history, and the NPB's saves leader the past two seasons, can do in the Major Leagues. With likely peer comparables being solid set-up men such as Tyler Clippard and Neal Cotts, Oh will try to find similar success as a pitcher with a rising fastball, a good pop-up rate but a so-so strikeout rate. Though unlikely to receive any save chances, the Stone Buddha should have plenty of opportunities to log meaningful innings.--Tony Peters - RotoBaller
2/15:After making a positive impression during his first extended stay in the Majors last season, Tommy Pham now finds himself buried on the depth chart thanks to a stacked and (currently) healthy Cardinals' outfield. Pham brings with him a track record of being a jack-of-all-trades as he possesses a little bit of power, average and speed. Though neither is an elite skill, his minor league track record displays an ability to rack up home run and stolen base totals in the teens, all while maintaining a batting average above .300. Something bad would almost certainly have to happen for Pham to receive enough at-bats to be fantasy relevant in 2016, but if travesty were to hit, he would be an immediate add in most leagues.--Tony Peters - RotoBaller
2/15:Jonathan Lucroy has been the subject of trade rumors this off-season. With the recent trades of Jean Segura and Khris Davis (coupled with the Carlos Gomez trade last season) it’s obvious the Brewers are looking towards the future. Despite a down year in 2015, owners shouldn't be too alarmed by his lack of production. Last year, Lucroy had a career-high 25.9% line-drive rate, along with a hard-hit rate of 35%, which was the second highest of his career. Good peripherals from last year, and better health in 2016 should produce top-five value at the catcher position in 2016. Regardless of what team he ends up playing for, the 30-year-old should see more action at first base. This should help him stay healthier and get back to producing double-digit home runs and a batting average in the .280-.290 range. Draft him with confidence.--Gurminder Singh - RotoBaller
2/15:With an off-season move to the talent-poor Milwaukee Brewers, first baseman Chris Carter doesn’t appear to have any competition for at-bats. The slugger will always be an all-or-nothing proposition at first base, producing a career K-rate of 33.3%. However, fantasy owners in need of power totals will have a cheap option to fill that void in Carter. He slashed just .199/.207/.427 in 2015, but he did produce 24 HR and 64 RBI in 391 at-bats. He averaged 33 homers per season from 2013-2014, and a move to Miller Park (which produced an MLB-high 1.432 home runs per game in 2015) could see the slugger hit those types of totals again. The streaky Carter hit six home runs in 32 September at-bats, and owners will hope that he carries that type of momentum to Milwaukee.--Gurminder Singh - RotoBaller
2/15:Talk all you want about the Blue Jays’ potent lineup, but the bats in Baltimore can bash with the best of them. That includes Jonathan Schoop, an improving yet flawed defensive second baseman with impressive pop at the plate. A knee injury cost Schoop nearly half of the 2015 campaign, yet he still hit 15 HR and posted a .482 SLG. He drives the ball consistently from gap to gap and sees lots of fastballs because teams have opted to challenge him instead of other Oriole hitters. Although 25 HR and 70 RBI are within his reach, Schoop will struggle to hit .250 due to his long swing and poor plate discipline and he offers virtually nothing in steals. He strikes out about 25% of the time and has only 23 walks in 817 career ABs. Entering his age 25 season, Schoop is a sleeper who may go higher than his projected late-round slot due to his breakout potential as a power-hitting second baseman.--Bill Ballew - RotoBaller
2/15:Yhónathan Barrios, who the Brewers acquired from Pittsburgh last season in the Aramis Ramirez trade, should challenge for a spot on Milwaukee's Opening Day roster. As a September call-up last season, Barrios was nearly flawless in limited action. He pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and no walks while registering seven strikeouts. In the minors, Barrios pitched to the tune of a 2.83 ERA last year across the AA and AAA levels. With no clear-cut favorite to supplant the departed Francisco Rodriguez in the closer's role, Barrios could be a dark horse in the race. Monitor the Brewers' late-inning situation closely, as the hard-throwing righty could emerge as the closer.--Gurminder Singh - RotoBaller
2/15:After a respectable nine-year career with the Angels, Howie Kendrick ended up on the other side of town, signing with the Dodgers on a one-year pact. After rejecting their qualifying offer this off-season in hopes of finding a more lucrative/long-term deal, Kendrick must have been disappointed to end up signingread more...
2/15:It wasn’t that long ago when J.J. Hardy was one of the better fantasy shortstops available. In 2013 he had 25 HR and 76 RBI and provided even more consistency and productivity with his Gold Glove-caliber defense. His glove is expected to keep him in the Baltimore lineup heading into the 2016 slate, but his days as a full-time starter and a viable fantasy option are numbered. An ailing back hampered Hardy in 2014 before shoulder and groin injuries landed him on the disabled list on two occasions last season. As a result, he has failed to reach double digits in HR in each of the past two campaigns and is coming off a career-worst .219 BA with a career-high strikeout rate of 20.1 percent. If Hardy can stay healthy at the age of 34 and maintain some semblance of consistency at the plate, he should remain a fixture in Buck Showalter’s lineup. But given his recent trends and possibility of Manny Machado making the move from third to short, Hardy looks to be little more than a fantasy backup in AL-only leagues.--Bill Ballew - RotoBaller
2/15:After signing lefty Pat Misch this off-season to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, the Milwaukee Brewers released the veteran on Thursday. Misch opted to take more guaranteed money with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan, and the Brewers granted him a release. Misch was considered a long shot to make the Brewers' opening day roster, as he has not pitched in the big leagues since 2011. Misch holds a career 4.80 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 200.2 innings. Even if Misch resurfaces with another team, he won't carry any real Fantasy value.--Gurminder Singh - RotoBaller
2/15:The Orioles’ return to contention coincided in part with the emergence of Chris Tillman, beginning in 2013, when he went 16-7, 3.79 and struck out a career-high 179 batters. The righthander pitched just as well a year later by lowering his ERA to 3.34 and limiting opponents to a .238 norm. The 2015 slate, conversely, was not good for either Tillman or the O’s. His 4.99 ERA tied for fourth-worst among pitchers with at least 150 IP, and opponents increased their success rate to .267. His K rate also dropped for the second straight season and his WHIP rose to 1.39, all of which made his mediocre 11-11 record look better than it was. Rumors floated that Tillman tried to pitch through an ailing back last season, and he reported to spring training in good health. Chances are he will bounce back in 2016 and pitch better than he did last year, but expecting Tillman to repeat his 2013-14 performance is a reach. Consider him a solid depth starter in AL-only fantasy leagues or a reserve in mixed leagues.--Bill Ballew - RotoBaller
2/15:It would be easy to write off last season as a lost year for Adam Jones, who missed 25 games due to a multitude of nagging injuries despite avoiding the DL. After all, it marked the first time in four years that Jones had not played in nearly every contest, and he still managed to accumulate at least 25 2B, 25 HR and 80 RBI for the fifth consecutive campaign. Yet as Jones enters his age 31 season, he is showing signs of gradual decline. His batting average has dropped in each of the last three seasons, to .269 in 2015, and he rarely steals bases nowadays. He also continues to strike out at a high rate (100+ in 7 of 8 seasons) and has never walked more than 36 times in a single year, resulting in a career OBP of .319. Fantasy owners can expect Jones to generate some power, such as 25 HR, 75 RBI and 75 R, but he is no longer an early-round consideration.--Bill Ballew - RotoBaller
2/15:Every team needs a Ryan Flaherty--a versatile defender who can give guys a day off at multiple positions while making the occasional contribution on offense. Flaherty does his job well in Baltimore and will once again see activity at all four infield slots as well as a couple of games in the outfield. Fantasy owners, however, should not be tempted. Flaherty has a career slash line of .215/.282/.365, has averaged 8 HR and 27 RBI in his big league tenure, and has a career-high of 281 AB, which came in 2014. Even if he should attain a temporary starting assignment due to an injury or the likes of Jonathan Schoop taking a step backwards, fantasy owners should look elsewhere for assistance, even in deep AL-only leagues.--Bill Ballew - RotoBaller
2/15:The Orioles acquired Mark Trumbo over the winter to play first base when it appeared that Chris Davis would not return as a free agent. Even though Davis wound up re-signing with the Birds, Trumbo will still see some playing time, which bodes well for fantasy owners needing power. He got off to a strong start at Arizona last year before struggling after being sent to Seattle and spacious Safeco Field. Trumbo has averaged nearly 30 HR and 87 RBI during campaigns with 500 AB, and shifting his home base to Camden Yards while hitting in the middle of a potent lineup will make those numbers a reality once again. Do not expect anything in stolen bases and nothing more than a .240 BA, but 30 HR, 90 RBI and 70 R are possible. Those who pick Trumbo in the middle rounds as a DH or at 1B or pay an extra dollar or two will be rewarded handsomely with premium power output.--Bill Ballew - RotoBaller
2/15:Corey Knebel had a spectacular rookie campaign in 2015, and he hopes to provide more of the same for fantasy owners in 2016. Seeing his potential, the Brewers acquired him in the trade that sent Yovani Gallardo to Texas before the start of the 2015 season. Knebel dominated his way through the minors after being drafted out of the University of Texas in 2013. It took him just 91.2 minor-league innings to rack up 126 strikeouts, while posting a 2.16 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Knebel was called up last May and never looked back. He posted a 3.22 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, while racking up 58 strikeouts in just 50.1 IP. With a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s, and strikeout “stuff”, Knebel fits the prototype of the new wave of MLB closers. He will likely face competition at the beginning of the season from Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress, but expect Knebel to eventually emerge as the closer.--Gurminder Singh - RotoBaller
2/15:It's safe to say that 2015 was the worst season in Matt Garza’s career. That being said, he shouldn’t be completely given up on just yet. Garza posted a 5.63 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 148.2 IP in 2015. While those numbers scream “stay away” it’s important to note thatread more...