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Monday, February 27, 2017

FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: SUNDAY

-Entering into 2017 spring training, the New York Yankees made it clear that there would be a battle for the last two spots in the team's starting rotation.  Team brass didn't hide the fact they wanted Luis Severino to win one of those spots coming off his horrific 2016 campaign that got him sent back to the minors after his eye-opening 2015 debut.  The key with Severino was being able to develop a third pitch to go with his impressive fastball and and solid slider but his excellent work in the bullpen last season led many to think he would be better served there.  Alas Severino got off to a nice start Sunday by tossing two scoreless and hitless innings.  Severino remains attractive in fantasy baseball circles given his strikeout stuff but he needs to do much more of this to secure himself a spot.

-Starlin Castro is starting to become a boring veteran now that he doesn't run anymore and his average is mediocre.  Alas Castro was very good in his Yankees debut last season in reaching a career-best in home runs with 21 but with just a .270 average and 4 stolen bases.  He cracked a home run Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays and he has clear top 12 value as a second baseman in fantasy baseball 2017 with a nice price tag.  

-Wow was Tyler Glasnow overpowering in his spring debut Sunday as he struck out six of seven Baltimore Oriole batters he faced in his two scoreless innings.  There is significance upside here with Glasnow who has battled serious injuries in his past and some stark control problems.  His fastball is very capable of big strikeout totals though but his WHIP figures to be an issue.  

-Danny Salazar looked very good in his spring debut for the Cleveland Indians Sunday as he struck out 3 Chicago Cubs in two scoreless innings.  Salazar took a step back in 2016 after his monster breakout the year and he ended the year with a scary forearm/elbow issue.  No surgery was required but it served as a reminder that Salazar is a big injury risk given how hard he throws and his tailor-made Tommy John surgery makeup.  Also keep in mind that the control woes that sent Salazar back to the minors in 2014 reared its ugly head again last season.  The price has come down a bit on Salazar this season but he still commands a hefty penny.  

-Adam Jones hit a home run for the Orioles as he batted second for the team Sunday.  Fantasy baseball owners of Jones don't want him batting leadoff like he did for large stretches of last season as it hurt his RBI totals but either way he is still his 25-30 home run self but with a loss of stolen bases.  

-Talk about looking at a ton of prospective RBI, new Toronto Blue Jays DH Kendrys Morales smacked his first spring home run Sunday as part of his 2-for-2 day.  Morales is hitting behind both Jose Bautista and Josh Donalson which means an easy 100 RBI and in that ballpark, 30 home runs are likely as well.  With a draft price that is annually affordable, Morales is a tremendous buy.  

-Yu Darvish tossed 1.2 scoreless innings but he walked two and gave up a bunt single.  Not a clean effort but all we care about is Darvish making it through the spring intact.  He can lead baseball in strikeouts if his health cooperates.  

-I want Chris Archer on all of my teams this season as he has been as good a strikeout artist as there is in baseball the last two years.  Yes his ERA spiked over 4.00 last season but that is because of an out-of-whack home run rate.  Get back fully on board here.

-Rich Hill tossed two hitless innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers in his spring debut and once again it is jaw-dropping seeing how dominant he has been since coming back to the majors in late 2015.  Health is never a given here but on a start-by-start basis, few pitchers are better than Hill going back to the beginning of last season.  

-There is not a hotter player in fantasy baseball than New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto who smacked his second spring homer Sunday and now has four hits in six at-bats thus far.  Right now there is no way Terry Collins can think of not having Conforto in the lineup when the season begins no matter how crowded the outfield/first base get.

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