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3/18:Spring Training is ending in a little over two weeks and Red Sox Nation might be panicking at Xander Bogaerts' paltry .200 average - which was through Friday's action. The same might be said of those thinking of drafting him. It's true that he hasn't hit any balls out of the park and has only has two RBIs, but the games still don't count. He can get people breathing easier if he shows signs of breaking out before the team leaves Florida. We still believe in him, ranking him No. 5 among all shortstops in mixed league play. He'll likely get it together and we'll all laugh at the early worries.--Michael Griffin - RotoBaller
3/18:It wasn't the flashiest day for Avisail Garcia, just a modest 1-for-3 day with an RBI, but it means that he is batting .414 in the second half of March now, trailing only superstar Jose Abreu's .433 average. Garcia's RBI marked his 12th in Spring Training, good forread more...
3/18:The White Sox took on their cross-town rivals, the Cubs, on Friday afternoon, and John Danks was on the bump for the Pale Hose. Danks is locked in battle with Erik Johnson for the fifth rotation spot, and up to this point both of them have only turned in clunkers. Danks was brilliant on Friday though, pitching five shutout innings against a Cubs lineup that did start Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo, and Miguel Montero. Danks only allowed one hit (not to any of those guys) and two walks while striking out seven. Johnson will need to do well in his next turn to answer Danks' challenge. It isn't the most exciting battle to witness, but deep AL-only leaguers will want to be aware, as well as those hoping for an Erik Johnson "post-hype" kind of year.--Nick Mariano - RotoBaller
3/18:Fantasy owners have grown accustomed to seeing Kole Calhoun at the top of the order for the Angels, but the team has decided to go in a different direction after he hit 26 homers in 2015. He could remain in the two-spot against left-handed pitching. The change could have a noticeable effect on Calhoun's RBI total, as he will now have Albert Pujols and Mike Trout hitting directly in front of him for the majority of contests.--Christopher Olson - RotoBallerSource: The Orange County Register
3/18:During the Phillies' run-scoring bonanza on Friday (they put up 15 on the Pirates), catcher Cameron Rupp had an excellent individual game, with three hits, including his third home run of the spring. He has been sizzling this March, batting an even .500 over 20 ABs, and will likely see the lion's share of the playing time behind the plate this season. He batted fifth in Friday's lineup, one spot behind Ryan Howard, and if he continues to hit in the middle of the lineup, he will see an increase in his RBI opportunities. Rupp is definitely a threat to sink your batting average (only .233 a year ago), but is a fly-ball hitter with a small home ballpark who blasted nine home runs in limited action last season. There are better options in a one-catcher league, but if you play in a deeper league (two-catcher, NL-only, or mixed league with 12+ teams), Rupp definitely has his merits.--Nick Schumacher - RotoBaller
3/18:Slugging first baseman Ryan Howard turned the clock back to 2006 in the Phillies 15-12 win over Pittsburgh on Friday. Batting cleanup, Howard raised his spring average to .276 by going three-for-four with a grand slam and five total RBI. Howard's average plummeted in 2015 to .229, over 30 points below his career mark, but he still posted 23 HR and 77 RBI while sitting against lefties. Howard's manager said during the offseason that Howard would have to earn his spot in the lineup, and after a slow start to spring training, he has picked up the pace. At 36 years old, Howard is unlikely to improve much but is a useful source of power in a CI slot in deep leagues. Be sure to balance his presence in your lineup with a player who has a higher batting average, and pay attention that you don't start Howard when he is facing a left-handed starter. His platoon partner, Darin Ruf, would be a smart handcuff should you decide to invest.--Nick Schumacher - RotoBaller
3/18:Phillies catching prospect Jorge Alfaro, acquired from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade last July, has been optioned to Double-A Reading. Alfaro posted mixed results in big league camp; while he stroked five hits, notching an average of .294, he did not display his prodigious power, as all five hits were singles. Alfaro will have to prove that he's fully recovered from a serious ankle injury that ended his 2015 season prematurely. Alfaro was unlikely to make any impact at the major league level this season, but for those in a keeper or dynasty league, keep your eye on him. His monster power potential, comparable to that of fellow catching prospect Gary Sanchez, is worth holding onto if you have him. He is likely to arrive in The Show by 2017, assuming he refines his hitting ability and harnesses his raw power.--Nick Schumacher - RotoBaller
3/18:Phillies catching prospect Jorge Alfaro, acquired from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade last July, has been optioned to Double-A Reading. Alfaro posted mixed results in big league camp; while he stroked five hits, notching an average of .294, he did not display his prodigious power, as all five hits were singles. Alfaro will have to prove that he's fully recovered from a serious ankle injury that ended his 2015 season prematurely. Alfaro was unlikely to make any impact at the major league level this season, but for those in a keeper or dynasty league, keep your eye on him. His monster power potential, comparable to that of fellow catching prospect Gary Sanchez, is worth holding onto if you have him. He is likely to arrive in The Show by 2017, assuming he refines his hitting ability and harnesses his raw power.--Nick Schumacher - RotoBaller
3/18:If nothing else, Tommy Milone is consistent. Over his five years in the big leagues, his ERA has been: 3.81, 3.74, 4.14, 4.19 and 3.92. Milone is currently fighting for a rotation spot with the Twins, and while he possesses little upside, his floor is higher than that of the other candidates. Milone has made three starts this preseason, allowing two earned runs and six hits to go along with eight strikeouts over nine innings. In his most recent start, he went four scoreless frames, striking out two, surrendering just one baserunner-- Matt Holliday doubled in the fourth inning. If Milone can earn a starting job and continue to improve his K/BB (2.03 in 2014, 2.53 in 2015), he can become a sleeper option in deep fantasy formats.--Harris Yudin - RotoBaller
3/18:Anthony Ranaudo was scheduled to make his fourth appearance this spring prior to being sidelined as a result of the ailment. Ranaudo, who pitched to an unsightly 7.63 ERA in 15.1 innings with the big club last year, is part of an eight-man audition for the final rotation spot until Yu Darvish returns in May. Ranaudo has allowed seven earned runs in 5.1 innings during Cactus League play.--Christopher Olson - RotoBallerSource: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
3/18:Starlin Castro is undoubtedly having the best spring of any Yankees position player, and couldn’t have asked for a better way to start his preseason stint in pinstripes. Castro is batting .417 over nine Grapefruit League games. Most recently, Castro went deep in back-to-back games, both of which were to center field and right-center respectively. This is a good sign for Castro as he has often struggled in the past when trying to pull the ball too frequently. Castro is currently ranked 14th among fantasy shortstops on RotoBaller and could prove to be a steal late in drafts, especially if his spring production transfers over into the regular season.--Demetri - RotoBaller
3/18:It may just be Spring Training, but Adam Jones is on fire, hitting three home runs in his last five games. Jones has been working counts as well, which is strange enough because he's known as a free swinger. In his at-bat against Twins relief pitcher Ryan Pressly, Jones hit a neck-high fastball out of the park after receiving next-to-nothing to hit in his previous at bats. Jones is coming off a season in which his batting average dropped nearly 10 points from the previous year. Despite this, the All-Star still put up impressive stats as a run-producer, hitting 27 home runs and driving in 74 in 137 games. Assuming he stays healthy, expect another big season out of Jones. He's certainly worth an early-round pick in any fantasy league.--Mark PowellSource: Baltimore Sun
3/18:Adam Jones posted impressive numbers in the Orioles' Thursday win over the Minnesota Twins. The veteran outfielder had three hits in three at-bats, including a home run and a double. The homer was Jones' third of the spring. The Golden Glove winner has proven a consistent fantasy pickup over the years. In 2015, a variety of ailments contributed to a dip in the slugger's overall production, but he was still able to hit 27 home runs while batting .269. Look for a healthier Jones to improve on both those numbers this year.--Kevin Johnson - RotoBaller
3/18:Hector Santiago turned in a solid outing against the Colorado Rockies, pitching into the fifth inning while allowing only one run (a solo home run by Tom Murphey). This successful start certainly bolsters Santiago's chances of winning the No. 5 spot in the Angels' starting rotation. He hopes to improve from last year, as he suffered a second-half collapse after being selected to the All-Star Game. Santiago gave up 29 home runs (tied for most in the AL) while posting a 3.59 ERA in 2015 -- numbers he should certainly improve on this year if he can remain consistent throughout the season.--Kevin Johnson - RotoBaller
3/18:With the news that Brad Boxberger will miss a good chunk of time to start the season, the Rays' closer job is up for grabs. Of the candidates, Danny Farquhar is the only one with any closing experience. The right-hander recorded 18 saves over the last three years for the Mariners-- 16 of them coming in 2013. Farquhar's 5.12 ERA in 2015 could be an issue, but that number sat at 2.66 over 71 innings in 2014. He owned a superb 27.9% strikeout rate and an average 7.6% walk rate that season, as well. While Farquhar has not yet been assigned ninth-inning duties, he is the most qualified candidate, and could provide fantasy owners with saves at a next-to-nothing price.--Harris Yudin - RotoBaller
3/18:Mike Wright became the first Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher to have a solid spring training outing yesterday in a game against the Minnesota Twins. The second-year pitcher only gave up four hits while striking out two and allowing zero runs in five innings of work. This could help boost Wright's chances for landing a starting spot in the O's pitching rotation after a rough rookie year that saw him post a 6.04 ERA. If spring training continues the way it has for the Baltimore pitching squad, Wright could very easily find himself in the starting rotation. Look for Wright to improve over his rookie year (especially with his 93 mph fastball), but don't count on him to hold any fantasy appeal just yet.--Kevin Johnson - RotoBaller
3/18:Mike Wright became the first Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher to have a solid spring training outing yesterday in a game against the Minnesota Twins. The second-year pitcher only gave up four hits while striking out two and allowing zero runs in five innings of work. This could help boost Wright's chances for landing a starting spot in the O's pitching rotation after a rough rookie year that saw him post a 6.04 ERA. If spring training continues the way it has for the Baltimore pitching squad, Wright could very easily find himself in the starting rotation. Look for Wright to improve over his rookie year (especially with his 93 mph fastball), but don't count on him to be a top-tier pitcher quite yet.--Kevin Johnson - RotoBaller
3/18:Pedro Alvarez recently made his spring training debut with the Baltimore Orioles after signing a one-year contract with the team on March 10. In his debut against the Toronto Blue Jays, Alvarez connected on an RBI double, a promising indicator for the upcoming season. The veteran slugger certainly has the potential to improve on his already-decent .243 BA and 27 home runs from last year (when he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates) now that his home field will be the hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Alvarez could provide some solid power at a very low cost in drafts.--Kevin Johnson - RotoBaller
3/18:Pedro Alvarez recently made his Spring Training debut with the Baltimore Orioles after signing a one-year contract with the team on March 10th. In his debut against the Toronto Blue Jays, Alvarez connected on a RBI double, a promising indicator for the upcoming season. The veteran slugger certainly has the potential to improve on his already-decent .243 BA and 27 home runs from last year (when he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates) now that his home field will be the hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Alvarez could provide some solid hitting power as a low-cost pickup this year.--Kevin Johnson - RotoBaller
3/18:Rays third baseman Evan Longoria left Thursday's game after hitting a foul ball off his own shin. The injury was ruled a left shin contusion, and although he will sit out on Friday, he is expected back within a few days. Longoria has just five hits in 23 at-bats this spring, with eight strikeouts and a meager .541 OPS. The three-time All-Star hasn't reached 25 home runs since 2013, and, at 30 years old, is looking to return to top form in 2016.--Harris Yudin - RotoBaller
3/18:Fresh off an all-time great MVP season, Bryce Harper enters 2016 as one of the two or three faces of baseball. This spring, Harper’s taken on the unwritten rules of the game and sided with former teammate Adam Laroche in an interesting situation with the Chicago White Sox, but what about his performance at the plate? Harper’s hitting a modest .286 through 10 games so far, drawing four walks, stealing two bases but not yet hitting a home run in 21 at-bats. Also with just two RBI, he hasn’t produced much at this point, but should you worry? Last year at this same time, Harper also had no home runs and two RBI, before eventually hitting three and driving in 10 more by the time spring was over. At this point, Harper’s still getting into game shape and these 10 games should be given little importance when it comes to draft considerations.--Ricky Delgado - RotoBaller
3/18:Coming off an uneven year, Jason Hammel entered 2016 with many questions over his future. The one important factor that kept him a viable fantasy option entering this year was his impending free agency, which always seems to motivate players to perform at their best. Now you can add another factor, as he’s been terrific in three spring training starts so far. Through 10 innings of work, Hammel’s given up eight hits, one run and one walk while striking out 11. For a pitcher that entered spring training with his spot in the rotation potentially at risk, Hammel’s delivered in a big way thus far and looks to be sealing his status as a late-round draft pick.--Ricky Delgado - RotoBaller
3/18:Brad Boxberger underwent surgery on Thursday to repair a core muscle, and is expected to miss about eight weeks. Boxberger was the Rays' closer in 2015, when he racked up an American League-high 41 saves and posted a 3.71 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, and was all but guaranteed to continue in that role in 2016. Having traded Jake McGee to Colorado this past offseason, the Rays are without a closer for the foreseeable future. Manager Kevin Cash said the team is going to go with a closer by committee, with Danny Farquhar, Alex Colome, Xavier Cedeno, Steve Geltz and Ryan Webb as the possible candidates. Boxberger will presumably retain ninth-inning duties upon his return.--Harris Yudin - RotoBaller
3/18:Jarred Cosart has continued his successful spring and he's hoping it will lead to a spot in the Miami Marlins' starting rotation. Cosart tossed three innings of shutout baseball against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, and he's yet to surrender a run in his six innings of work this spring. Cosart is in the mix for one of Miami's final two spots in the rotation, and he's making a strong case for why he belongs there.--Steven Slivka - RotoBallerSource: marlins.com
3/17:Yeah, you read that right, it was indeed a tie. All of the damage against the Rockies came against starter Jeff Hoffman, who was done after 2.2 innings. Jon Gray came in to start the third inning, and when he left he had pitched four shutout innings, scattering three hits and a walk while striking out three. True to reports, he mostly worked with his fastball and changeup, losing the curveball. While Hoffman is an interesting prospect for baseball fans to tuck away, he just didn't have it today and those invested in 2016 do not need to worry about his name. Prospectors will want to see him do much better next time out (if he gets another start in ST). As for Gray, it was good to see him lock in and have command of his pitches. He makes for a solid late-round flier to platoon away from Coors.--Nick Mariano - RotoBaller
3/17:After getting off to a strong start in Spring Training, Carlos Rodon's spotless spring took on some water as he was beaten up for four earned runs on seven hits and one walk in 3.1 IP (he struck out three). Rodon was going to let up a run at some point, but it was still discouraging to see him look off on Wednesday. It isn't as though this will be his last chance to work before the season starts, and he'll look to bounce back next week. The most important takeaway from his starts thus far are the two walks in 10.1 innings, because if he can sustain that sort of strong command throughout the 2016 season...look out world.--Nick Mariano - RotoBaller
3/17:Evan Gattis was considered a lock for the designated hitter role by many in Houston at the start of spring training, but a few other players had different plans. Gattis had surgery on a sports hernia and is expected to miss all of spring training, which could hurt his value at the start of the season. As of right now, A.J. Reed, Tyler White, Matt Duffy, and Jon Singleton are all competing for the starting first base job, but whoever the odd man out is could find themselves at the designated hitter position. While it would hurt Gattis' fantasy value if he loses at bats, it is also possible he finds himself behind the plate this year after losing over 20 pounds, which would help regain some fantasy value. This is a story that many fantasy owners need to monitor carefully.--Trey Rose - RotoBaller
3/17:The Phillies traded away both Jonathan Papelbon and Ken Giles since the beginning of last year, and enter this season without a clear closer. David Hernandez topped most lists during the offseason, but he hasn't been able to pitch yet thanks to right triceps tendinitis. Andrew Bailey has been impressing in the meantime, pitching four scoreless innings with only one hit allowed, zero walks, and five strikeouts. Dalier Hinojosa has also been talked about, as he has struck out seven in five shutout innings this spring, giving up two hits and one walk. Edward Mujica can't be ignored, as much as we might like to forget about him, as he has only allowed one earned run in five innings this spring (on two hits and one walk) with three strikeouts. Stay tuned as the bullpen continues to really form up, but as of now it looks to be Bailey at the helm.--Nick Mariano - RotoBallerSource: Todd Zolecki
3/17:Vincent Velasquez got the nod against the Tampa Bay Rays in Thursday's game for the Phillies, and responded with five stellar innings. After Logan Forsythe led off the game with a home run against him, Velasquez only allowed two hits and one walk to go with seven strikeouts. Velasquez is battling for that last spot in the Phillies' rotation, but if he does well like he did Thursday then there shouldn't be any good reason for Philadelphia to send him down. It may still turn out that Brett Oberholtzer or (less likely) Adam Morgan gets the fifth spot in the rotation, but they cannot compete with Velasquez's upside. Fantasy owners will want to keep Velasquez on their lists and have their fingers crossed that he wins the job.--Nick Mariano - RotoBaller
3/17:This week, Corey Kluber took four more spring innings and threw them on his scoreless inning fire as he continues to burn red hot this spring. Over three starts and nine innings, RotoBaller's 16th-best starting pitcher is 2-1 with a 0.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 11 strikeouts. Kluber looks ready to improve on a great 2015 that was blemished by a losing record of 9-15 and an ERA that inflated just over a run from 2014's 2.44 mark. Already visibly ready for the regular season, the former Cy Young Award winner is trending upwards entering 2016.--Tony Peters - RotoBaller