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Friday, March 10, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: THURSDAY

-Lucas Giolito was quite good again on Thursday as he gave up a run on 3 hits in four innings and he now sports a 2.00 ERA thus far in the spring.  Giolito collected just one strikeout but so far he has looked in control and perhaps ready to unleash the vast potential he had as the top pitching prospect in the game in 2016.

-Adam Duvall went 1-for-3 with his first spring home run but this is a guy I wouldn't go near in 2017 fantasy baseball outside of a bench role.  During the second half of last season, opposing pitchers had gotten a firm book on Duvall which caused his average to sink and the K's to pile up.  While 30 home runs is not out of the question, a .240 average will likely go with it.

-It was a nice comeback outing for Sean Manaea Thursday as he gave up one run on 3 hits in his 3.2 inning start.  Manaea was hit hard prior to this outing but either way he is anchored to the Oakland rotation this season and carries solid SP 4 upside.  The strikeouts are not on par with some other top pitching prospects but Manaea has good enough ability to post nice ratios.

-Anthony Rizzo is up to .444 on the spring after he smashed his first exhibition home run. Rizzo's steals from 2015 are already a thing of the past but his 30-plus home run power and 90-plus RBI are money in the bank.

-All Mike Zunino does is hit home run as he did again Thursday as part of his 2-for-4 day.  We have seen this out of Zunino in spurts before but he takes all-or-nothing to the extreme in terms of average.  In AL-only formats Zunino is worth looking into as part of two-catcher lineups but I am not thinking this tiger has changed his stripes.

-Blake Snell was ragged on Thursday as he gave up two runs on five hits in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  A sleeper that I have talked up this spring on the strength of tremendous strikeout stuff, Snell has not exactly been lighting things up.  Still the Rays have a rotation spot set for him and as long as the walks can be curbed some, the upside on Snell remains vast.

-It was vintage Jacoby Ellsbury on Thursday as he went 3-for-3 with 2 steals for the New York Yankees.  Outings like this have been few and far between from Ellsbury in his Yankees career, in particular the steals which have slipped badly from his heyday as a 40-plus guy there.  Despite the big game, I am tired of the Ellsbury act and his rampant penchant for injuries.  In addition, Ellsbury's average has become a liability and the steals are not guaranteed to go over 20 either.  Stay away.

-Michael Pineda gave up two runs in three innings in his outing on Thursday and generally has been very good this spring.  Pineda has terrific strikeout ability but his very high penchant of giving up home runs is a brutal matchup at Yankee Stadium which tempers any optimism here.

-Francisco Liriano punched out five batters in his 3 scoreless innings on Thursday and he is now up to 8 whiffs in just five total innings.  As good as Liriano has been, pitching in Toronto is death to most starters and considering the age here, your best bet is to steer clear of the veteran.

-Bryce Harper went yard for the third time this spring on Thursday which is standard operating procedure here.  I think Harper is sitting on a 2015-like MVP performance with the bat so look out.

-Very encouraging outing for Lance McCullers who made his spring debut Thursday by tossing two perfect innings with 3 strikeouts.  The ceiling is very high here as long as McCullers can stay in one piece which has been a big challenge to him thus far in his career.  We love the potent strikeout potential of McCullers but this could go either way.

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