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Sunday, March 7, 2021

2021 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: SATURDAY.

 -It is nothing but a minor hamstring strain suffered by Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Luis Urias and he should be back in action in the next few days.  Considered a top prospect not all that long ago, Urias has scuffled so far at the major league level.  That being said, he remains an upside late round grab who could yield some decent value if he catches playing time.

-Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto has had no setbacks in his rehab from a broken thumb and is expected to be in the lineup for Opening Day.  Realmuto was the first big injury of spring training but the consensus top fantasy baseball catcher by a mile should be ready to go when the games count.  

-Houston Astros pitcher Framber Valdez has a very murky immediate future after suffering a broken finger in his last spring outing.  Surgery is not recommended at this point but it figures to be awhile before we see the interesting high-K pitcher in fantasy baseball.  

-Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb had a possible COVID exposure that will keep him away from the team until he passes some tests.  He remains a terrible control pitcher whose decent K rate has been overshadowed by the free passes.

-New York Mets ace Jacob DeGrom threw two scoreless frames in his first spring outing and he hit 100 on the radar gun.  DeGrom struck out three and was named the team's Opening Day starter.

-The news was not so great for top Seattle Mariners outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic who was diagnosed with a strained abductor muscle in his knee.  No word has been given on how long he will be out but it may keep him down on the farm until May as opposed to mid-April once his Super 2 status was reached.  



2021 FANTASY BASEBALL THIRD BASEMAN RANKINGS

Just like with shortstop, third base remains a very deep position that goes about 12 deep in terms of very good starting options.  Let's see how they currently stack up.

1.  Jose Ramirez

2.  Alex Bregman

3.  Manny Machado

4.  Nolan Arenado

5.  Anthony Rendon

6.  Rafael Devers

7.  Kris Bryant

8.  Eugenio Suarez

9.  Matt Chapman

10. Josh Donaldson

11. Yoan Moncada

12. Justin Turner

13. Alec Bohm

14. Gio Urshela

15. Ke'Bryan Hayes

16. J.D. Davis

17. Kyle Seager

18. Tommy Edman

19. Brian Anderson

20. Carter Kieboom

21. Austin Riley

22. Eduardo Escobar

23. Maikel Franco

24. Yandy Diaz

25. Edwin Rios


Saturday, March 6, 2021

2021 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: FRIDAY

-Houston Astros top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley will be shut down for awhile after reporting soreness in his pitching arm.  The hard-throwing Whitley has faced setback after setback during his development as he dealt with injuries and a PED suspension.  Once a decent prospect target, Whitley is not worth your time until he gets healthy.

-Top Seattle Mariners outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic injured his knee during Friday's game but the issue is considered minor.  While he will likely begin the season in the minors due to service time manipulation, Kelenic looks to be the real deal who would not shock anyone if he came out as a rookie and hit 20-plus homers and stole double-digit bags.

-Atlanta Braves utility man Johan Camargo went 1-for-2 in Friday's game and he remains a person of interest in fantasy baseball as a David Fletcher-like player you can plug in all over the field on light schedule days or as a short-term injury replacement.

-Braves pitching prospect Kyle Wright remains the favorite to win the team's fifth starter gig as he tossed three innings against the Twins with one hit given up and striking out two.  That being said, Wright has struggled badly in the majors in 2019 and 2020 and his overall stuff doesn't generate any upside for fantasy baseball.  

-Los Angeles Angels DH/SP Shohei Ohtani hit 100-mph while he struck out five batters in his spring debut on Friday.  That outing alone shows up the massive upside Ohtani has not only as a pitcher but also as a hitter.  Injuries are always going to be a concern here but Ohtani has SP 2/3 stuff right out of the gate if he can make it to the season in one piece.  

-The groin injury suffered by Phillies outfielder Adam Haseley will keep him out the next four weeks which means fading prospect Scott Kingery is now the favorite to start in his place on Opening Day.  We have seen glimpses of big-time ability out of Kingery in the past as he can hit for power and also steals some bases so be sure to place him on your late round radar.  

-Already with 2 home runs this spring, Baltimore Orioles outfielder D.J. Stewart came out of Friday's game with a slight hamstring tweak.  He is considered day-to-day but is barely worth value in AL-only leagues.  

-Astros SS/3B Alex Bregman is getting closer to making his spring debut despite dealing with a nagging hamstring issue.  While Bregman was not overly impressive in 2020, he remains a supreme talent whose second to third round price tag looks like a smart investment.  

-Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez avoided disaster on Friday as an HBP to his hand looks scary when it happened.  Afterwards the team announced it was just a bruise and he is day-to-day.  Having struggled badly in 2020, Baez is coming at a nice discount in 2021 fantasy baseball drafts.  A proven power hitter who can steal the odd base, Baez is a terrific buy low option.

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Friday, March 5, 2021

2021 FANTASY BASEBALL SHORTSTOP RANKINGS

The depth at the shortstop position is downright silly this season and while you would love to have Fernando Tatis Jr., Francisco Lindor, Trea Turner, or Trevor Story, some immense value can be found here given how deep the position goes.  

1.  Fernando Tatis Jr.

2.  Francisco Lindor

3.  Trevor Story

4.  Trea Turner

5.  Xander Bogaerts

6.  Bo Bichette

7.  Tim Anderson

8.  Corey Seager

9.  Adalberi Mondesi

10. Javier Baez

11. Gleyber Torres

12. Carlos Correa

13. Dansby Swanson

14. Marcus Semien

15. Wander Franco

16. Jorge Polanco

17. Didi Gregorious

18. Andres Gimenez

19. Paul DeJong

20. Amed Rosario

21. Wily Adames

22. Orlando Arcia

23. Miguel Rojas

24. Kevin Newman

25 David Fletcher 

2021 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER

There were a bunch of surprises in what was a crazy and unpredictable 2020 fantasy baseball season that was shortened to 60 games.  While many big name players struggled to adjust to the unprecedented season, other thrived.  Then there were those performances that came out of nowhere such as what we saw out of San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Croneworth.  Despite having not reached the majors until the age of 26 and with a modest draft pedigree after going in the seventh round of his class, Croneworth did a terrific job in batting .285 with 4 home runs and 3 stolen bases for the team.  Add in 26 runs and 20 RBI and Croneworth became a five-tool fantasy baseball asset at a shallow position for those who took an early stab while ignoring the no-name history.  Of course we have seen many instances of guys coming out of nowhere and then quickly moving back to oblivion the following year (Chris Shelton anyone?) but at the very least, Croneworth should remain a person of interest as a sleeper candidate at a second base spot that is not very deep.

Digging into the numbers a bit, it is easy to see how smooth of a hitting approach Croneworth has.  Striking out at just a 15.6 K/9 rate and also walking at a 9.4 BB/9 clip, the kid certainly has an advanced understanding of the zone.  The combination of walks and low strikeouts should make Croneworth a perennial threat to bat .300 or better and anyone who has owned DJ LeMahieu can understand the allure.  Add in the fact that Croneworth has some power and stole 20 bases at Double-A in 2018 and there are a bunch of numbers here that could be quite intriguing in tandem.  

Now again it is very possible Croneworth will get exposed in 2021 during his second tour around the game but there is also a chance he builds off his nice debut.  There is risk for sure when cutting the check but given how shallow second base is this season, a stab here seems worth the effort.  

2021 PROJECTION:  .293 11 HR 63 RBI 73 RBI 14 SB