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Friday, March 3, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: FRIDAY

-It was an encouraging outing for Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg who tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut and recorded 3 strikeouts in the process.  What was interesting is that Strasburg pitched out of the stretch the entire time and that may be a new approach to try and keep him healthy.  Already with a Tommy John surgery in his past, Strasburg also is now pitching with a partial tear in his pronator in his elbow which makes him a huge red flag.  Also for as extreme a strikeout pitcher as Strasburg is, his ratios are not great as he has come in with ERA's of 3.46 and 3.60 the last two seasons.  In other words, proceed with a ton of caution.

-It was an up-and-down outing for Luis Severino in his second spring start as he gave up two earned runs in his 2.1 inning outing.  Severino did strike out four and his fastball has more life than it did when he failed miserably as a starter last season.  The New York Yankees want Severino to win a starter's job in the worst way and his strikeout appeal makes him a speculative add as an SP 5.

-Francisco Liriano is a guy I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole now that he is calling Rogers Center home,  He struck out 3 in two scoreless innings on Friday but coming off a horrid 2016 and operating in the most potent offensive division in the game, Liriano needs to be avoided this season.

-Gerrit Cole is somewhat of a wild card among starting pitchers for 2017 fantasy baseball given his elbow scares last season and depressed K/9 rate.  While Cole's stuff is very powerful, there is big concern from this corner that he is a Tommy John surgery waiting to happen which makes me leery of drafting him.  His first spring outing was rough as he gave up two hits and a walk and failed to record a strikeout.  Yes Cole did not give up a run but he didn't look crisp.  I am avoiding.

-I am officially in love with Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi went went 4-for-4 with his second spring HR.  He is now 6-for-his-last-7 and Benintendi's already soaring fantasy baseball stock will grow even more.  Upwards and onwards we go.

-Atlanta Braves pitcher Julio Teheran tossed five scoreless innings in his final spring outing before heading out to the WBC.  Teheran has now tossed five scoreless innings total and he ranks as one of the very best SP 3's in fantasy baseball.  While he doesn't wow you with K's, Teheran's ratios have been very good in two of the last three years.

-Rick Porcello has a lot to prove this season in terms of validating his 2016 Cy Young and the BABIP and strand rate help he got.  He did a nice job doing that on Friday as he tossed 3 scoreless innings and struck out 4.  While he is not a big strikeout guy, Porcello's durability yields a high raw total there.  Now we just got to see if he "bounces" off all those innings last season and if the ERA jogs up when the BABIP normalizes.

-Another day and two more hits for Jose Peraza.  Peraza went 2-for-4 overall Friday and is now up to .563 for the spring with 3 stolen bases.  We could be looking at Dee Gordon or Jonathan Villar in the middle infield with a better batting average.

-Noah Syndegaard made his spring debut as he tossed two scoreless innings against the Houston Astros.  He struck out one and gave up two hits  but as long as the health cooperates, he will be a firm top five fantasy baseball starting pitcher.

-Lucas Duda made his exhibition debut Friday as he picked up two hits and showed at least for now that his back is all right.  This is a situation to watch as an extended absence by Duda will get Michael Conforto inthe lineup.

-Buster Posey returned to action from a sprained neck and went 0-for-2 Friday.  Posey's power dropped last season as he battled injuries and now that he has reached 30, we could be seeing some early erosion offensively as happens to many catchers.  Always overrated in he draft, Posey is being challenged by Gary Sanchez and Jonathan Lucroy at the top of the catcher rankings.

-Another day and another home run from Mitch Haniger who really is becoming quite a story this spring.  This is the second home run of the spring for Haniger and he is now hitting .429.  The price is likely going to keep going up here so get on board while you can.

-Rich Hill got beat up on Friday which has been a very rare sight to see since his return to prominence.  Hill gave up four runs in 1.1 innings as he surrendered 3 hits and 2 walks.  Really we have to only worry about injury here which has been a common occurrence for Hill given his age.  As long as that checks out, he should once again be a solid SP 3.

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