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Sunday, March 12, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: SATURDAY

-Wow has New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka been dominant this spring.  For his latest gem, Tanaka tossed FOUR perfect innings Saturday as he stuck out 7!  For the spring now, Tanaka has 9 total scoreless innings and actually is showing the best jump on his fastball since he was a rookie in 2014.  Of course Tanaka still has the partial tear in his elbow but there is no arguing how good he has been this spring.  We are feeling more comfortable with Tanaka each year he completes with the tear but his SP 2 ADP is still a bit risky.

-I have been on record more than a few times this spring railing against Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez but I can't even argue how good he has been this spring as he hit yet another HR Saturday as part of his 2-for-3 day.  Sanchez is hitting line drives all over the place this spring just like he did a year ago in his monster half-year debut with the Yanks.  I for one doubted the average as Sanchez was around a 30.0 K/9 and so-so minor league numbers prior to his promotion.  However the longer this goes on, the more willing I am to say Sanchez put it all together midway through 2016.

-Daniel Norris was all right on Saturday as he gave up two runs in 3.2 IP.  Norris struck 3 but gave up 3 hits and a walk.  The strikeout stuff is obvious here and at the age of 24, Norris has every right to improve further this season.  Terrific SP 5 value.

-Steven Matz is having a nice spring for the New York Mets as he pitched 3 innings of 1 run ball. The one run was unearned and overall Matz struck out 2 and gave up 3 hits.  It always comes down to health for Matz who has lost this battle terribly in his young career but his ability is obvious as a high-end guy.

-Brian McCann has been simply dreadful this spring as his 0-for-2 outing on Saturday dropped his average to just .125.  McCann has a new home in Houston but he remained in the AL so not much of an adjustment was needed in terms of facing opposing starters.  Age could be a factor as McCann is getting close to the major erosion zone for a catcher.

-Robbie Ray now has been very good in his last two outings after a rough first one.  He fired 3.1 innings of one-run ball on Saturday as he punched out 3 and walked only one.  The first thing you always look at with Ray are the walks and as long as that struggle is in check, the numbers are impressive.  This is a guy who was the quietest 200-K guy in recent memory in 2016 and there seems to be more ceiling left to his name.

-Danny Salazar has the ability to be one of the vert best strikeout artists in the majors when his control is not betraying him and he was that pitcher Saturday as he punched out 6 Kansas City Royals in just four innings.  Better yet, Salazar walked just one batter but he still has given up 9 free passes this spring in just 10.1 innings.  The injury threat is real here as well so Salazar still has some warts attached to his name.

-Carlos Gomez swatted two doubles as part of his 2-for-3 day for the Texas Rangers and I am one who has said he could be a swell comeback sleeper candidate this season given the offensive dimensions of the ballpark.  Yes Gomez was terrible early last season but when he arrived in Texas during the second half of 2016, good things took place.  There could be one more very useful season left to his name.

-Trevor Story already has four home runs in the bag this spring as he collected his fourth on Saturday for the Colorado Rockies.  Story hit 27 in his abbreviated rookie year in 2016 before a thumb injury took him out of commission in September.  While we do expect the average to be dicey given the strikeout-heavy approach, Story looks like the new Troy Tulowitzki in the 30-home run power department.

-After coming in with just 2 hits in 16 at-bats, Kyle Schwarber got his timing down Saturday with his first spring home run.  Schwarber will likely lead off for the Cubs this season which carries some immense value given all the plate appearances he will accrue and 30 home runs seems easy under that setup.


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