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2/22:Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is back where it all started, at least where it all started in his Major League career. He went 1-for-2 with a two-run single in Friday's Cactus League spring opener against the Oakland Athletics. The 45-year-old slap hitter is trying to extend his career. Ichiro is a fan favorite, but he hit just .205 in his return to the M's in 2018. Domingo Santana, Mallex Smith and Mitch Haniger are projected to be the starters, and Jay Bruce is also on the roster. At best, Ichiro lands a job as the fifth outfielder, so his plate appearances and therefore his fantasy appeal even in deeper AL-only leagues will be extremely limited.--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource:
2/22:Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out two batters over two scoreless innings of work in the Cactus League spring opener against the Oakland Athletics on Friday. He did uncork a wild pitch on the surprisingly chilly day in Peoria, Ariz. Leake got off to a nice start in this one, but time will tell if that's just an anomaly. He saw a drop in velocity during the 2018 campaign and that contributed to him getting belted around for a 4.36 ERA and 1.30 WHIP across 185 2/3 innings over 31 starts. He still managed to scratch out a .500 record, but he'll be hard-pressed to duplicate those numbers on a poorer M's side in 2019. Leake should only be rostered in deeper AL-only fantasy play unless he has an unexpected revival.--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource:
2/22:Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger cracked a two-run home run in Friday's Cactus League spring opener against the Oakland Athletics while batting out of the No. 2 spot for manager Scott Servais. Haniger swatted 26 homers with 93 RBI while hitting a career-best .285 last season. He also struck out 148 times, but showed a rather discerning eye at the plate with 70 walks, too, while tapping the plate for 90 runs scored. It wouldn't be surprising to see him going off the board in mixed fantasy drafts starting in the later part of Round 6 in teams with 12 or more teams, and he is a Round 3 or 4 guy for those in AL-only formats on draft day.--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource:
2/22:Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Daniel Mengden allowed two earned runs, two hits and a walk with two strikeouts in his inning of work in Friday's Cactus League spring start against the Seattle Mariners. M's outfielder Mitch Haniger took him downtown shortly after infielder Dee Gordon was able to swipe a base off of Mengden and catcher Chris Herrmann. It was an inauspicious start for Mengden, who is likely going to be counted upon to do some heavy lifting with Sean Manaea (shoulder) sidelined for a good chunk of the year. There is plenty of time left for him to right the ship, obviously, and he is a decent back-end fantasy rotation guy for those in AL-only formats,--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource:
2/22:Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy smacked a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning in Friday's Cactus League spring opener against the Seattle Mariners. The young backstop is among the top prospects in the organization, and he was the No. 45 prospect among the pre-2019 ratings of Jonathan Mayo from He spent a majority of his 2018 campaign at Double-A Midland, hitting .288 with 26 doubles, eight homers and 45 RBI across 289 plate appearances. He isn't likely to break camp immediately with the team, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in a big-league uniform in 2019. Those playing dynasty fantasy leagues will want to pay close attention.--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource:
2/22:Oakland Athletics outfielder Nick Martini sat atop manager Bob Melvin's starting lineup in Friday's Cactus League spring opener against the Seattle Mariners. Martini didn't do much with the opportunity, going hitless in three at-bats with a strikeout. Newcomer Robbie Grossman is also a candidate for the job. He served as the designated hitter on Friday, going 1-for-1 with a walk while batting in the second position before he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. This will be a battle to watch all throughout the spring, but after one game it's advantage Grossman.--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource: - Greg Johns
2/22:Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager had a new plan this offseason to help him feel better in 2019 after a down year last season. He did new workouts and had a new diet and routine that allowed him to arrive to spring training slimmer and healthier. The left-handed slugger hit just .221/.273/.400 (all career lows) with 36 doubles, 22 home runs and 78 RBI last year and also dealt with an avulsion fracture in his left big toe. Seager has become much more flexible and feels much more comfortable with his swing this spring. Being more flexible should help him stay healthy and hopefully bounce back in 2019. Seager hit 30 home runs two seasons ago and drove in 99 runs, so there is certainly potential value with him in the later rounds of mixed league drafts.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Seattle Times - Ryan Divish
2/22:Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (elbow) is scheduled to hit off a tee for the first time on Friday. It's good news for the Japanese two-way star, but he won't be ready for game action until sometime in May and will not pitch at all in 2019 after having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last fall. Still, the 24-year-old is worth stashing in mixed leagues after he hit .285/.361/.564 with 22 home runs, 61 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 326 at-bats as a part-time DH in his rookie season.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Orange County Register - Jeff Fletcher
2/22:Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw said he is "going to take a few days right now" but offered no specifics on what "not feeling right" means. He would not elaborate when asked if his issues were back-related and he said he should resume playing catch in the next few days and go from there. It's not a great sign for the left-hander who will turn 31 next month after he missed time with back and biceps injuries in 2018. The seven-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young still was solid (2.73 ERA, 1.04 WHIP), but his velocity was down and he struck out just 8.6 hitters per nine innings. This could be nothing, but it's not what fantasy owners want to see. Kershaw's stock is down, but he'll still be drafted as a fantasy ace in the early rounds.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Orange County Register - Bill Plunkett
2/22:Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said that outfielder Billy McKinney and second baseman Devon Travis are the two guys he's considering for the leadoff spot right now, but he'll use the spring to make the final determination. McKinney is in a battle with Teoscar Hernandez for playing time in left field this year, but McKinney (a left-handed hitter) could get the strong side of the platoon and lead off against right-handers. Neither McKinney nor Travis are options for those in mixed leagues, but their AL-only and DFS value will be boosted if they hit leadoff for Toronto.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Shi Davidi
2/22:Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Soroka's shoulder is bothering him again, and he also had some pain while lifting weights a month ago. He will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days. Soroka is one of Atlanta's more promising young pitchers, but he was shut down early last year due to shoulder issues as well. More signs of shoulder issues already this spring doesn't bode well for the 21-year-old, but we'll keep an eye on his progress. If Soroka is working in the team's starting rotation at any point in 2019, he should be an option in mixed leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Mark Bowman
2/22:Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman (shoulder, thumb) has been making good progress from his offseason surgeries and could play in Cactus League games by early next week. Chapman really showed his upside in his second year in the big leagues, hitting .278/.356/.508 with an .864 OPS, 24 home runs and 68 RBI in 145 games. Even in a pitching-friendly environment, he's a young third baseman on the rise and he should be considered a top-15 fantasy option at the hot corner.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Jane Lee
2/22:The Minnesota Twins agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal with free-agent infielder Marwin Gonzalez on Friday, according to league sources. The soon-to-be 30-year-old utility player had a down year in 2018 after putting up career numbers with the Astros the season prior. He can play all over the infield and in the outfield, giving Minnesota plenty of flexibility. Gonzalez should see semi-regular at-bats all over the field in his new home, but don't expect him to return to his numbers from 2017, especially at pitcher-friendly Target Field. He'll be a late-round target in deep mixed leagues mainly for his position flexibility.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Jeff Passan
2/22:Seattle Mariners top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield, who was acquired in the trade that sent James Paxton to the Yankees, will have his Cactus League debut delayed a day or two due to a small blister on his finger. He's scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday. The left-hander is MLB Pipeline's No. 43 overall prospect entering the season. He had a 2.48 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 9.5 K% in 116 innings (20 starts) for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2018. Sheffield has a shot to pitch notable innings with the rebuilding Mariners this year, but he's still really only a stash for now in dynasty/keeper leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Greg Johns
2/22:The Chicago White Sox signed free-agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training on Friday. The veteran right-hander made just five starts in 2018 with the Twins due to finger issues and was terrible when he was on the mound. However, he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 7.1 K% in 33 starts in 2017 as a second-time All-Star. Santana doesn't have very much upside and will be fighting for the final rotation spot in camp. He's already off to a late start. If he wins the job, he'll be a late-round flier in deep AL-only leagues, at best.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Fan Cred - Jon Heyman
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