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Saturday, March 18, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: FRIDAY

-Yes Clayton Kershaw is human.  Either that or he was simply toying around with his stuff Friday as he gave up four runs and six hits in five innings.  I mean is there even any reason to go into this?  Kershaw is the clear top fantasy baseball starter by a mile and only ill health can derail him.

-Hunter Renfroe is another one of those San Diego Padre hitting prospects (along with the injured Alex Dickerson and Manuel Margot) who we in the fantasy baseball community should be monitoring for different reasons.  While Margot is built for runs and speed, Renfroe offers intriguing power and RBI potential but at the expense of batting average.  Still Renfroe is hitting .302 this spring with one home run.  Petco Park is a drag on power as we all know but Renfroe should be drafted as a late round pick given the fact he may bat cleanup. 
 
-Joc Pederson hit his fourth home run of the spring Friday but he is still hitting just .242.  It doesn't seem like Pederson will ever have the plate discipline to be anything but a poor average hitter and his utter lack of steals has been one of the more aggravating subjects in fantasy baseball the last few seasons.  I don't want anything to do with this guy as hitters like Pederson are a dime a dozen.  

-Billy Hamilton swiped two more bags but like with Joc Pederson, this tiger can't change his stripes as he is batting a horrid .219.  Hamilton won't be able to hold a leadoff spot throughout the whole season if this keeps up and while we all love the boatload of steals, go for Jarrod Dyson who is a hell of a lot cheaper and will hit for a better average.  

-I have never been a fan of Brandon Finnegan and that won't change this spring after seeing him get hit around Friday to the tune of 3 runs and 6 hits in 4 innings.  Finnegan is one of those guys who throws hard but who doesn't get the high amount of K's you would expect.  Throw in some BABIP luck last season and Finnegan is not someone I want to toy with despite his youth.  

-Corey Kluber gave up two runs and just 3 hits in 5 innings against the Reds as he continues to tune up for the approaching season.  The innings have been very high in totality the last three years and a slight dip in velocity in 2016 is somewhat cause for concern.  However once his annual April struggles are behind him, the durable Kluber is a safe bet to supply ace production.  

-The good Danny Salazar showed up Friday as he gave up four hits and struck out 9 in just 5 innings versus the Texas Rangers.  The Rangers couldn't touch Salazar and the latter walked just two.  When Salazar doesn't walk the ballpark, he can throw no-hit stuff.  That is as fine a line as the guy travels.  

-The Shelby Miller spring comeback story continued on Friday as he struck out 8 batters and gave up just one run in 3.1 innings versus the Seattle Mariners.  There is no way in hell Miller can be anywhere near as putrid as he was a year ago and his stuff surely seems like it has more life on it this spring.  Yes he got destroyed his last time out but Miller is earning rave reviews from the staff in Arizona and he at least is worth a look but only as an SP 5.

-Ryan Braun went yard for the first time this spring as he connected off Nate Karns of the Mariners.  Braun has come along slowly as an aging and injury-impacted player the last few years (injuries no doubt as a result of steroids) but he showed in 2016 that he is still capable of bit production in the OF 1 realm.  

-Chris Owings is having a nice spring as he is hitting .371 after a 2-for-3 day Friday.  Owings will lead off for the D-Backs and he has good versatility to help at multiple spots.  Overall Owings has not lived up to his initial hype but 10 home runs and 20 steals is possible.

-Ryon Healy is doing a good job carrying over his nice 2016 debut as he slugged his fourth home run of the spring and is batting a nice .323.  Healy has 25-home run power and while his average could be a bit volatile, we are not talking Ryan Schimpf territory here.  

-Ryan Madson was sharp Friday as he stuck out 3 in his one inning.  Madson was up and down more than a roller coaster last season but figure he gets the first crack at the A's closer job.  His margin for error is quite small though as Santiago Casilla waits behind him for his chance.  

-With Brett Lawrie out of town with the White Sox, Tyler Saladino becomes much more interesting.  He is having a big spring as he is hitting .406 with 3 home runs.  A guy known more for his speed, Saladino looks like he has made some nice improvements at the dish and so this is a story worth following.  

-Steven Matz was sharp again Friday like he has in every start this spring.  Matz have up one run in 3.2 innings and for the spring has just a 1.04 ERA.  He did walk 3 today but health again is the only issue that could derail the supremely talented Matz.  

-There are no words.  Adam Wainwright somehow managed to give up 10 runs in just 1.2 innings Friday.  Wainwright looked completely shot as a pitcher and I began sounding the alarm on this guy back in 2015 and for good reason.  The fastball is a joke now and Wainwright is getting by on his name only.  Avoid completely this season.  

-Eduardo Rodriguez struck out six in four scoreless innings for the Boston Red Sox as he continues to boost his fantasy baseball stock.  With 13 K's in 13 innings with a 2.08 ERA, Rodriguez seems fully healthy now and ready to continue his ascension.  The division is beyond rough as you know but Rodriguez' upside is well worth chasing as your SP 5.

-Dee Gordon is hitting just .172 this spring but he did swipe a base and go 2-for-3 on Friday.  It will be interesting to see the post-steroids Gordon for a full season in 2017 not that the chemicals are seemingly out of his system.  The average sank when he came back last season after his blockbuster 2015, so this is a valid concern.  

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