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2/22:Coming back from Tommy John surgery last season, Mike Clevinger bounced back from Tommy John surgery without missing a beat. At Double-A Akron, he went 9-8 with a 2.73 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 158 innings. Powered by his excellent command, Clevinger doesn't need to overwhelm hitters to produce results. His slider and changeup are developing into potent weapons, something Clevinger will need to continue if he wants to make the most out of an otherwise average arsenal. The Indians are likely to keep him busy down at Triple-A all season, but that won't be the case next season.--Tony Peters - RotoBaller
2/22:Colby Lewis is valuable to the Rangers as a pitcher who pounds the strike zone (career 7.3% walk rate) but he doesn't appear to have the tools to be fantasy relevant in mixed leagues. While it was encouraging to see him throw a career-best 204.2 innings last season, his strikeout rate declined for the second consecutive term, settling at 16.5% He also has yet to post an ERA south of 4.60 since missing the entire 2013 campaign while recovering from hip surgery. Lewis is currently rehabbing after undergoing knee surgery in October, and though he is expected to be ready to begin the regular season, it remains to be seen if he will ever be the pitcher he was prior to his injury issues.--Christopher Olson - RotoBaller
2/22:Chi Chi Gonzalez set the fantasy world on fire last season when he allowed just three runs (including a complete-game shutout) over his first four starts. He came back to earth quickly, however, allowing 20 runs over his next four outings. While Gonzalez showed himself to be good at keeping the ball in the yard, he actually walked more batters (32) than he struck out (30). This would be a problem on any baseball field, but it is especially concerning for someone who calls hitter-friendly Globe Life Park his home. Further evidence that his early success was likely fluky comes when we look at his BABIP, which remained at an almost unfathomably low .206 throughout the season. It is no accident that Gonzalez is not getting much attention from the fantasy community, as he simply doesn't have the skill set that produces results in standard leagues.--Christopher Olson - RotoBaller
2/22:Martin Perez has a few things in his arsenal that warrant a second look. He posted a sensational 60% groundball rate over 78.2 innings in 2015, while walking just 24 batters over that span. While this seems promising, it's worth noting that he struck out just 14% of batters faced, and finished the year with a 4.46 ERA, despite a 0.3 HR/9 rate. We have seen pitchers get by with low strikeout and walk rates before, but it may be tough sledding at Globe Life Park, which ranked in the top-5 in runs and hits allowed last season according to ESPN park factors. Perez will likely be around for owners to add off the waiver wire at the end of standard drafts, but unless he can find a strikeout pitch, he may not be worth the headache that comes with rostering a pitcher in Arlington.--Christopher Olson - RotoBaller
2/22:Derek Holland has been ravaged by injuries since his breakout season in 2013, as he has managed to throw just 95.2 innings over the last two years. Holland has been hailed as someone who could be a key for the Rangers if he can stay healthy, but his career numbers may tell a different story. He has logged just a 4.28 ERA with a 1.2 HR/9 rate over 877.2 career frames. His return in 2015 did not exactly inspire confidence, as he tallied a 4.91 ERA and allowed a whopping 11 home runs over 10 starts. Holland is expected to be ready to go in time for the start of the 2016 season, but this is a player who would be a concern even without the long layoffs. He will likely be there if you need him at the end of drafts, but those in mixed leagues will likely be able to find a more solid option.--Christopher Olson - RotoBaller
2/21:If you are unfortunate enough to still have holds as a category in your fantasy league, then it may do you well to take a serious look at Joe Smith, who had the third most in the league last season behind Tony Watson and Sergio Romo. All kidding aside, Smith has established himself as a valuable bullpen asset during his time in the majors, posting a fantastic 57% groundball rate en route to a 2.88 ERA over 518.2 innings. That number rose to 3.58 last season, but this appears to have been due to an inflated BABIP (.317). There is nothing flashy about Smith's game, as he generally produces mediocre strikeout and walk numbers (career 2.27 K/BB ratio) but he has shown a consistent ability to draw weak contact and get outs, which makes him a solid bridge to closer Huston Street.--Christopher Olson - RotoBaller
2/21:There's a closer battle brewing for the Padres this spring: They signed veteran Casey Janssen to a Minor League deal. They likely didn't do this to add depth, though. If he pitches well this spring, he could beat out Fernando Rodney, another recent signee, for the role. It's not like he's unfamiliar with the job, he did it for a long time with Toronto, with a career-high of 34 in 2013. Don't be fooled by his numbers in '15: 2-5 with 4.95 ERA. Out of his 48 appearances, he didn't allow runs in 36 of them. Since he was so recently signed, he doesn't show up in our current rankings in either the Top 350 players or Top 50 relief pitchers. That said, it'd be best to hold off on drafting him until you see how the Spring Training competition shakes out. He should be a waiver wire pickup early on in the season.--Michael Griffin - RotoBaller
2/21:For the last three years, John Ryan Murphy was blocked by Brian McCann and had no shot at the starting role in New York. Now a member of the Minnesota Twins, Murphy will have a chance to compete with Kurt Suzuki for the starting job. Suzuki, 32, hasn't surpassed six home runs since 2011, and has hit over .240 just once since then. Murphy, on the other hand, is just 24 years old and hit .277/.327/.406 with three home runs in just 155 at-bats last year. He owns a career .263/.327/.406 slash line in the minors, and is a much improved defensive backstop. If Murphy wins the starting job, he will become worthy of being drafted in deep mixed leagues. If he ends up splitting time evenly with Suzuki, however, he can be left for AL-Only leagues.--Harris Yudin - RotoBaller
2/21:Chris Heston was a revelation for the San Francisco Giants last season, entering the rotation as a complete unknown and finishing with 12 wins, including a no-hitter, and a 3.95 ERA along the way. While Heston's breakout was a nice story, it's fair to wonder whether a repeat is within reach in 2016. Heston struggled mightily down the stretch last season, going 1-6 with an ERA well over 5.00 after Aug. 1. Heston doesn't boast elite pitching talent. Rather, he relies on solid control and groundballs. He enters spring training in the mix for a rotation spot again, but barring injuries, he'll find the competition considerably stiffer with the additions of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Matt Cain would also appear to have the inside track on the No. 5 spot, leaving Heston as the odd man out. Heston might have been a waiver-wire gem for you last season, but it's best to take a wait-and-see approach with him this season.--Andrew C. Lovell - RotoBaller
2/21:The injury bug bit San Francisco Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco hard last season. The 32-year-old veteran battled neck and hip issues, as well as a pair of concussions. Despite the list of ailments, he still hit a career-best .291 with five home runs and 13 stolen bases in 115 games. However, he enters the 2016 season as the Giants' fourth outfielder. Angel Pagan will slide over to left field with offseason acquisition Denard Span taking over in center. Hunter Pence remains the starter in right. Blanco holds more value for the Giants, with his speed and defensive prowess available in late innings, than he does for fantasy owners. Barring an injury to one of the Giants' starting outfielders, Blanco can be ignored in all formats.--Andrew C. Lovell - RotoBaller
2/21:You probably wouldn't have believed someone who told you in 2014 that Jered Weaver would be on the fringes of fantasy relevance just two years later, but that is the position the the 33-year-old finds himself in ahead of Cactus League play. The good news for prospective owners is Weaver has given them plenty of evidence of the decline on a year-to-year basis, as average fastball velocity has been in a downward spiral for the last five seasons, and his HR/9 rate has increased in each of the last four campaigns. The Angels will enter the 2016 campaign with a thin starting rotation, which should give Weaver every opportunity to find some semblance of his former self. He did post the lowest walk rate of his career (5.0%) in 159 innings, but he simply doesn't do enough to expect that the 4.64 ERA he posted will drop significantly.--Christopher Olson - RotoBaller
2/21:The San Francisco Giants have no shortage of talented relief pitchers. Case in point: Sergio Romo, an All-Star in 2013 as the team's closer, now serves in a setup role for Santiago Casilla. Barring an injury or a complete collapse by Casilla, Romo will likely remain in that role this season, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have any fantasy value. Romo struck out 71 batters in 57.1 innings last season, an impressive strikeout rate he could very well repeat this season. His 34 holds were second in the majors, trailing only Pittsburgh's Tony Watson (41). In his current role, Romo should again produce 30-plus holds, along with low WHIP and ERA totals. And, of course, there's the added potential of saves should Casilla falter. Romo is a talented and productive relief pitcher worth owning.--Andrew C. Lovell - RotoBaller
2/21:Another big part of the Cole Hamels deal, Alfaro has been one of those highly touted catching prospects who has yet to put it all together. He has a powerful bat, but a weak contact profile and obviously won’t be stealing a significant amount of bases for you. However, catcherread more...
2/21:A big piece that came back to Philadelphia in the Cole Hamels deal, Williams is an outfielder who is blessed with plenty of raw talent. A strong guy, he hit 17 homers in AA last year while also batting .303 and stealing 13 bags in 515 PAs. That power has room for growth too, and while he won’t win any walks competitions, he did cut down on strikeouts last year as he brought his mark just below 20%. Williams is a strong prospect, a clear part of the Phillies’ future, with the nicest kicker being that there really isn’t anyone in the current outfield blocking him and he happens to have a decent glove on him to boot. He has potential to be a 20/15 bat with a modest chance of improving those power numbers. Look for Williams to get a good look throughout 2016, and if he performs well again and those outfielders at the major league level are struggling then we could see Williams come up after the Phillies deem his arbritartion clock as unaffected.--Nick Mariano - RotoBaller
2/21:Crawford is the top prospect in the Phillies’ system, and has aspirations of cracking the bigs this year as he joins the Phillies for Spring Training, though a 2017 ETA still seems most likely. He’s a good defender at short, but that’s not what you care about. He has a sweet swing that profiles more as a contact hitter rather than a Carlos Correa-type power swing, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t develop into a guy who can regularly turn in 15 homers alongside 25 steals with an average that could sniff .300. If the Phils can build a lineup behind him, then he becomes a strong leadoff hitter who can provide five category production. He just turned 21 years old, so plenty of opportunities lay ahead for Crawford. If he can continue to grow and fill out while keeping his strikeouts down and his walk rate in the double digits, you’ve got a stud.--Nick Mariano - RotoBaller