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Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: SUNDAY

-Aaron Hicks continues to make it a tough choice for New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi in terms of his rightfield decision which also involves rookie Aaron Judge.  Hicks picked up two hits on Sunday, which included a home run.  At the very least, a platoon could be in order here which will further knock the slipping value of Judge.

-Very good signs for Matt Harvey on Sunday as he hit 97 on the gun for the first time this spring and generally was in the mid-90's in his six-inning outing where he gave up just two runs.  Harvey has been a big fantasy baseball story all spring coming back from thoracic outlet syndrome but this is a nice sign going forward that he may now finally be rounding into shape.

-Robert Gsellman was officially endorsed by Terry Collins as the Mets' fifth starter and maybe the fourth depending on what happens with Steven Matz.

-Chris Sale was dominant Sunday versus the Minnesota Twins as he tossed five shutout innings which included six strikeouts.  For the spring now Sale has a 2.57 ERA and he has been a strikeout machine with 26 in 22 innings.  The move to the AL East is a negative but Sale is one of those very rare fantasy baseball pitchers who will excel no matter where he resides.

-Put the brakes on any Max Kepler breakout as his 0-for-4 outing Sunday dropped his spring average to a pathetic .156.  Kepler has some pop and speed but his strikeouts are a problem and he figures to go through a sophomore slump as opposing pitchers now have a book on him.

-It was an ugly blown save for Francisco Rodriguez Sunday as he gave up two home runs against the Toronto Blue Jays.  This is the second time Rodriguez has been shelled outside of the WBC this spring and I stand on record saying he is one of the worst closers for 2017 fantasy baseball.  Stay far away.

-Joe Musgrove gave up just one run in five innings versus the Washington Nationals on Sunday as he struck out four.  Musgrove has won 3 games this spring and his excellent control should make him a terrific SP 5 with a smidge of upside.  Just don't look for a lot of K's.

-Francisco Liriano continues to pile up the K's Sunday as he whiffed 7 Baltimore Orioles in 4.2 innings.  He now has an insane 25 K's in just 14.1 innings this spring and is starting to earn some appeal again despite a terrible 2016 and a move into the AL East.

-Jharel Cotton went 5.2 innings of one-run ball on Sunday for the Oakland A's versus the Milwaukee Brewers.  I did a piece on Cotton as a fantasy baseball sleeper back in February and while I wouldn't run out to get him, we could see a move to SP 4 value for the price of a very late round pick.

-Maikel Franco slammed his fifth spring home run on Sunday but he is still hitting just .215 as an all-or-nothing hitter this spring.  The average was a concern last season as well but I still firmly believe he can be a .280 guy with 25-30 home runs.  Keep the faith.

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