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Saturday, March 11, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: FRIDAY

-Jordan Zimmerman in my opinion is in the running as the worst starting pitcher in fantasy baseball relative to salary.  With stuff that is already greatly diminished despite him still being relatively young, Zimmerman is a batting practice pitcher now as he showed again Friday by giving up five runs in just 1.1 innings for the Tigers.  Zimmerman gave up five hits and a walk and failed to strike out even one batter.  He should not be owned in any fantasy baseball leagues and he serves as another example of how paying for pitching is never a good idea.

-There may be some genuine heat on Tony Watson in terms of grabbing hold of the closer role for the Pirates this season by the looks of things.  While Watson has scuffled some this spring, Daniel Hudson has been dominant like he was on Friday by striking out the side in a perfect inning pitched for the team.  In four total spring innings, Hudson has 8 strikeouts and is showing that he has the stuff to be a closer.  While Watson should still be considered the favorite, his lock on the job is not as secure as we may have thought.

-Jim Johnson has kept Arodys Vizcaino at bay thus far this spring as he tossed another scoreless inning on Friday.  The aging veteran had a nice comeback campaign in 2016 for the Atlanta Braves and so far this spring he has pitched shutout ball for the fourth time in four tries.  Johnson is the favorite for saves right now but he has to be considered one of the least trustworthy closers on the board given his age.

-Don't look now but Aaron Judge has some plate discipline this spring.  The powerful outfielder hit his second spring home run Friday and has now struck out just six times in 23 at-bats.  That is a ratio all Judge owners can live with as he struck out in almost half of his at-bats last season.  There is still a strong possibility Judge will be an average liability but hitting .260 would be a lot better then hitting .240.

-Another day and another home run from Bryce Harper as he smacked his fourth of the spring Friday.  Again I reiterate that Harper is going to be insane this season so kudos to those who got him in the late first round.

-Lucas Duda has been tremendous since coming back from a back scare at the start of spring training, smacking his first HR of the spring on Friday,  Duda is now 5-for-10 on the spring and all five hits went for extra bases.  The mammoth slugger has been known to go into these crazy power tears which you want to ride it out all the way through.  He annoyed many of us last season but Duda needs to be on fantasy baseball rosters.

-Matt Harvey was better in his second spring start on Friday as he gave up one run in his three-inning outing.  The velocity stayed in he low-90's again but keep in mind Harvey is just now working off the rust.  We won't say he is all the way back for quite awhile but at least Harvey seems healthy.

-Maybe Byron Buxton simply can't hit.  The much-hyped but so far very disappointing Buxton went 0-for-3 Friday with 2 strikeouts and is now hitting just .222 for the spring.  While Buxton is a tremendous athlete who has power and speed, his lack of contact and consistent hitting results has been a huge drag on his fantasy baseball potential.  He is nothing but speculative pick with some remaining upside.

-Byung Ho Park hit his third HR of the spring for the Minnesota Twins and is back on the fantasy baseball radar given how wel l he has hit this spring.  Park was removed earlier from the 40-man roster but there is actually the chance now he will be the team's DH on Opening Day.  The strikeouts remain a big problem but in AL-only formats he has some potential value again.

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