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Saturday, March 4, 2017

FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: SATURDAY

-I said from the beginning prior to spring training that Lance Lynn was a terrific buy low sleeper pick for this year in fantasy baseball and so far so good on that front as he pitched four shutout innings in his second spring start Saturday.  Remember Lynn pitched to a 3.03 ERA in his last MLB season in 2015 before Tommy John elbow surgery wiped out his 2016.  Lynn has always had very good strikeout stuff but his WHIP is never ideal due to some rough control.  His control is likely to still be rough coming off the surgery but Lynn should be firmly on your cheat sheets.

-So far, so good with New York Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom as he tossed two perfect innings in his spring debut and recorded 3 strikeouts.  DeGrom is coming off elbow surgery over the winter where his ulnar nerve was moved and he has yet to log 200 innings in a season which speaks to his lack of durability.  At least by the looks of this start, DeGrom looked simply great and can now be moved up a bit in cheat sheets based on this.

-Gio Gonzalez has yet to give up a run this season as he tossed 3 more scoreless on Saturday.  He gave up just one hit and one walk and will try to come back from a terrible 2016 when he logged a 4.57 ERA.  Gonzalez has been very helpful in the past as an SP 3/4 but his lack of control and increasing age make him more of a speculative pick.

-Carlos Beltran is aging like a fine wine as he hit 40 and still is slamming baseballs.  He hit a home run Saturday as part of his 1-for-3 day and in Houston, he should be the DH on most days which will help there wear-and-tear.  Use him for one more season as your OF 3.

-Another guy I have been a HUGE fan of is Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer.  He caught a lot of flak for his 4.02 ERA last season but Archer had a very unlucky ..265 BABIP and his adjusted ERA was 3.41 (XFIP).  Throw in his massive strikeout numbers which have come in at 252 and 233 the last two seasons and Archer is every bit a fantasy baseball ace.  He absolutely dominated the tough Baltimore Orioles lineup Saturday in tossing 3 hitless innings while striking out five.  BUY, BUY, BUY.

-Miguel Sano finally did something positive Saturday when he hit his first spring home run as part of a 2-for-3 day.  Sano has gaping holes in his swing and while he has decent power upside, I want no part of his .230 average.

-It was the good Michael Pineda who went to work Saturday as he tossed 2 scoreless innings with 5 K's. Pineda has always had impressive strikeout stuff but 4.82 ERA was hideous.  The big problem was a ridiculous 1.38 HR/9 which is a big problem at Yankee Stadium. He is facing free agency though and through all his struggles last season, punched out 207 batters.  Very risky but could pay off as well.

-Kenta Maeda scares the heck out of me as an MRI done on his elbow last season showed some scary future Tommy John stuff.  He has been hit around to start spring training as he gave up 2 runs in 2 innings Saturday and overall has yielded 3 runs in 4 total frames.  I would look here as an SP 3 but not anything more.

-Kyle Hendricks did his thing Saturday as he tossed two scoreless innings with 1 hit and 1 K.  Keep in mind though his .250 BABIP was one of the LUCKIEST in fantasy baseball and his mediocre 8.05 K/9 won't be able to hold off the regression.  Overall don't be surprised if his ERA jumps to the mid-3.00 range.

-Kris Bryant cracked a grand slam Saturday as he already looks ready to go to town on opposing pitching this season.  There is the chance Bryant moves up to the 50-home run range or gets close and his versatility and decent enough speed means he should be picked ahead of Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado.

-I am a big fan of Jon Gray despite his home park in Colorado.  He gave up 1 run and 1 hit in 2 innings Saturday which was a solo shot by Mike Zunino.  There is massive strikeout potential here and Gray's advanced metrics point to a front-line guy.  The Coors Field issue is a big one but Gray's depressed price makes him a good purchase.

-Lucas Giolito lost a lot of luster with his rough debut in 2016 and his subsequent trade into the AL and into an offensive park with the White Sox.  The stuff that made him arguably the top pitching prospect in the game prior to last season though was on display as he put up 3 scoreless innings with 3 K's.  The upside is still there and Giolito actually could fit in a post-hype sleeper tier.


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