Spring Training 2.0: Notes and Fantasy Takeaways

With Spring Training 2.0 underway I wanted to get back to trying to do these lineup takeaways. Without daily lineups to break down and decipher, there is just not enough info daily to put down and discuss. 

With that said, I plan to still come with these articles at least two times per week. The idea is to highlight notes, IL stints, any news on playing time or whatever it may be and then I will add my fantasy spin to it. The idea is to discuss how value shoots up or down or how other players may be affected by this.

I am taking my notes I create for the podcast and putting them on paper for those who prefer reading them or keeping some notes for drafts. 

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read these and support them. In the meantime, feel free to follow me on twitter @Mike_Kurland for spring training notes, reactions and the lineup takeaways once we start getting lineups again. Essentially, all things fantasy baseball!

Hope you enjoy it!

Spring Training Takeaways: Thursday July, 2, 2020

NL EAST 

Nationals

Notes:

  • Ryan Zimmerman opted out of playing in 2020.
  • Joe Ross opted out of playing in 2020.

Fantasy analysis:

  • Zimmerman not playing isn’t the most fantasy relevant name but his playing time he was going to take from others was. Howie Kendrick is slotted into the DH per Roster Resource and we saw him kill it last year. At his draft price, if he can secure everyday at-bats it’s beyond a steal in drafts. 
  • Eric Thames also gets a boost. I still expect more of a platoon but on the strong side of a platoon, he can be a huge boost to power in a short season. Especially gaining value in daily formats. 
  • Joe Ross opting out allows room for Austin Voth or Eric Fedde to enter the rotation. There are a lot of people excited for Voth and he is worth monitoring in mixed leagues but more of a 15-team option…. For now. 

Mets

Notes: 

  • Delin Betances has been throwing live batting practice and simulated games over the past couple of weeks.
  • Michael Conforto will have no restrictions with the oblique injury in Spring Training 2.0.
  • Yoenis Cespedes is listed as active in the Mets’ player pool for 2020. 

Fantasy Takeaway:

  • Betances being healthy not only poses a potential threat to saves if Edwin Diaz in the event he struggles but also it helps the Mets starters in terms of having better odds for wins. Maybe deGrom will not have all his wins blown again. Who am I kidding? It is the Mets. They’ll find a way. 
  • Conforto has not really been affected by the injury in terms of the ADP. He is going at the right area. He is a power first player who gains value in OBP formats. 
  • Cespedes has not been relevant for years. However, playing to prove he has something in the tank and playing for a contract, he could be motivated to prove he isn’t done. There is some power potential you should not ignore and as the likely DH for the Mets, the health can be managed. 

Phillies 

Notes:

  • Well, here we go. In some of the more shocking, or maybe confusing, news of late, The Phillies placed Tommy Hunter, Hector Neris and Scott Kingery on the 10-day IL Retroactive to June 30th. It is not known why at this time but still concerning nevertheless. Is it COVID-19? Will this affect their ramp up time and ultimately put them at risk for opening day? These are the questions you have to ask yourself. With Seranthony Dominguez placed on the 60-day IL, he is also not an option to close while Neris is out. If Neris misses time that is.

Fantasy Takeaways:

  • I am going to avoid Neris for now in drafts until we get clarity. The Phillies won’t have a short leash on any closer as I expect them to push for the playoffs with this roster. Neris getting off to a slow start may allow someone to get going in the role. If Neris comes back and gets hit hard in the process due to being behind compared to where he should be, then not only does he lose value as he might not get every opportunity but now he hit you right in the ratios. Ouch. He ia fade until further notice. 
  • Possible replacements could include: Nick Pivetta (I would love this one), Vince Velasquez (also a fan of this one) or Adam Morgan. These are the names that stand out most right away. If David Robertson is at all healthy as well, he could be thrown into this mix. A couple of these guys will be affected by placement into the rotation. Those who miss on the rotation have a shot here. 
  • Scott Kingery is interesting. I am not sure what the plans will be to address this issue. This does, however, open up every day playing time for Alec Bohm. Bohm is ready for the MLB and was just waiting for an opening. Although, again, we are unsure of the actual reason for the IL stint for Kingery, it is still something to be aware of and at their current prices, you could simply take Kingery and pair him with Bohm for insurance. Bohm is free in drafts and between the two you should have the starting third baseman for the Phillies. Do note that Bohm, albeit a solid hitter and great prospect, isn’t the speed threat Kingery is so if you take Kingery and he misses time, you will need to adjust your strategy when addressing steals in the draft. 

NL Central

Pirates

Notes:

  • It is well known, but Chris Archer is out for the year. DO NOT DRAFT him. I am simply catching everyone up on some of the happenings of late and this was one of them. 
  • Colin Moran will more than likely be playing third base this season. Not Ke’Bryan Hayes. 

Fantasy Takeaways: 

  • In the DEEPEST of league (15 teamers & NL Only types) keep an eye on Derek Holland to take his spot. Innings are valuable no matter where they come from in these formats and this is a VERY cheap source. 
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes was someone I recently spoke on in my appearance on the SPStreamer podcast. I had zero belief he would be given any chance to play this year as the Pirates are cheap and want the extra year on him. If you had any hopes of Hayes coming up this year, this all but assures that from happening. 

Cardinals

Notes:

  • Jordan Hicks will begin the season on the IL.
  • Miles Mikolas is entering camp fully healthy .

Fantasy Takeaways:

  • Hicks was becoming a hot topic and a hot commodity to target in drafts. With Hicks missing part of the season and needing to then ramp up and regain his former effectiveness, I would not want to bank on him bringing much to the table as a closer this season. He may sneak in there a month into the season so he is worthy of watching or stashing in the IL but he shouldn’t be made priority as a stash due to the likely high turnover rate of closers as a whole this year. 
  • Miles Mikolas being healthy might be an underrated piece of news. With 

Cubs

Notes:

  • Anthony Rizzo plans to play as of now.
  • Jose Quintana required surgery on his left thumb after getting hurt washing his dishes at home. He won’t resume his throwing program for another two weeks.

Fantasy Takeaway:

  • I completely forgot Rizzo is a cancer survivor and that risk alone could jeopardize his season. This does change my opinion on his level of safety in terms of production. Fantasy aside I hope he does what is in his best interest. That could ultimately lead to leaving at some point for the 2020 season. Let’s keep an eye out for what happens here. 
  • Quintana had little relevance as it was as a back end of the rotation for fantasy staffs. Now he is off my board altogether. The upside was limited and now with the unknown downtime factored in, it’s time to move on.

NL WEST

Rockies

Notes: 

  • Matt Kemp was signed
  • Ian Desmond opts out of the 2020 season

Fantasy Takeaways: 

  • It is the Rockies. This is definitely a typical Rockies move. Just when we saw a chance that Hilliard was about to find a regular, everyday spot, the Rockies muddy the water with Kemp. They also have Tapia there too. It is a mess. 

Padres

Notes: 

  • Padres acquired Jorge Mateo from the A’s for a player to be named later. 

Fantasy Takeaway:

  • Well, the Padres have me confused here. I still believe Profar has the second base job for now. This just means the leash could be short. Mateo is a speed first bat and if the playing time comes around he is an instant add for the stolen bases he will produce. 

DBacks

Notes: 

  • Mike Leake opted out of 2020. 

Fantasy Takeaway:

  • Leake opting out likely leads to Merril Kelly getting run in the rotation. He has shown flashes in the past and could be a worthy streamer in the right matchup but he is not mixed league relevant for me yet. 

AL EAST

Rays

Notes:

  • Per Kevin Cash, Blake Snell looked “awesome” during a Tuesday Bullpen session.

Fantasy Takeaway: 

  • Obviously it is way too early to take a victory lap on Snell’s health. However, this is still very encouraging and any positive report is better than nothing. I still peg Snell as a top 10-12 SP right now in redraft. I still expect him to get to that 5 inning mark most games. In quality start leagues, he is a hard fade. There is a lot of risk/reward with him as of now.

Yankees 

Notes:

  • Yankees manager Aaron Boone when discussing Miguel Andujar that playing the outfield is “something he could absolutely do.” 
  • James Paxton “appears game ready” per Brian Cashman
  • Giancarlo Stanton is coming off a strained calf in spring and is likely to be ready to DH by Opening Day.
  • No Yankees have indicated they are opting out per Brain Cashman
  • Yankess are “very optimistic” Aaron Judge could be ready by Opening Day.

Fantasy Takeaways: 

  • I was in on Miguel Andujar early in the offseason. The health of the other players around him improving since the start of the year may hurt his playing time and that is why he has fallen in my ranks. However, with Stanton already linked to DH’ing, Judge only able to hit off a tee and a high risk for reinjury and Aaron Hicks status up in the air, Andujar could easily find his way into everyday playing time after all. I just wouldn’t bank on the playing time yet.
  • James Paxton I began to target early to mid March when it was apparent the season would be delayed. He, among many of the Yankees players, have benefitted from the time off. With his injury being of the non-baseball variety, I am not worried of a reinjury. He should start moving up draft boards and if you are drafting now, you can take him at the discount before the ADP rises. 
  • “Likely to be ready by Opening Day” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. He offers league winning power potential, but the risk for injury comes with that price. Another high risk and high reward type.
  • The optimistic outlook on Judge is shared by very few it seems. The fact they are optimistic that he COULD be ready is concerning in itself. I want no shares of Judge as of now and I rather pass on his price than get burned hoping he is ready by opening day.

AL WEST

Astros 

Notes:

  • Josh James is not with the club for personal reasons. Not COVID related. (Thankfully)

Fantasy Takeaways:

  • I initially wanted to see Josh James take a spot in the rotation. Now I am rooting for a relief role. He could be a Josh Hader type without the draft price. If we see him come in as a middle reliever pitching multiple innings, the wins could rack up on this team. 

Athletics

Notes:

  • Traded Jorge Mateo to the Padres for a player to be named. 

Fantasy Takeaway:

  • The A’s had no playing time to give to Mateo. With Mateo and Barreto both out of options, this forced their hand to trade one or release one. They chose to make a trade. This definitely makes the fight for second base a clearer one. It is between Barreto and Tony Kemp. Neither have much fantasy appeal in standard leagues but in your AL only and 15 teamers, the starter could carve out some value. 

Angels

Notes: 

  • Per GM Billy Eppler, Jo Adell will have the opportunity to show he is ready to make his MLB debut in 2020.
  • Shohei Ohtani is being viewed as a two-way player at the start of camp. 

Fantasy Takeaway:

  • This will be interesting to monitor. According to the report, there is mention of good pitchers being in camp for him to face and it sounds a lot will be decided by how he fares against sadi pitchers. We know he is an uber prospect and the Angels want to compete. This is worth monitoring as they may not need to rush him. Trout’s status with his child and such could possibly play a part in this as well. 
  • No real surprise that Ohtani will get a run on both sides of the ball. He will likely be in a 6-man rotation and that alone limits his potential as a pitcher but he could be an ace on a per start basis and that comes with potentially elite per at-bat offensive skills. IN daily formats, he is a steal at ADP. In weekly formats, he becomes more of a headache and I am avoiding him. 

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