Thursday, March 1, 2018


-San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedger is absolutely tearing the cover off the ball this spring as he slugeged his third homer of the exhibition season Wednesday.  Batting average is not Hedges' strong suit however and until he proves otherwise, will be nothing more than a very low-end starting option.  Of course, any improvement there would go nicely with what should be 20 home runs this season from Hedges' bat.

-Fernando Tatis Jr. picked up two hits Wednesday for the Padres but he is still expected to begin the year in the minors.  Just 19-years-old, Tatis Jr. is going to be some talent but you shouldn't pay much attention to him at the draft table this spring unless your league goes very deep.

-Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu is the new Adrian Gonzalez 2012 in terms of him being a prime option at the position but who can be had in the third round in many fantasy baseball drafts.  Abreu is a favorite of yours truly and I would have no qualms with his ultra-consistent offensive numbers anchoring the first base position.

-Lucas Giolito retains some intriguing promise but he has a lot to prove still at the major league level after really struggling when given a chance by the Washington Nats.  Giolito will now have a prime opportunity with the Chicago White Sox but he struggled Wednesday in giving up one run, 2 hits, and 2 walks in 2 innings. Giolito has not brought his impeccable minor league control to the majors and the strikeouts have not flowed there as well.  This looks like nothing but a very late-round stab.

-Jack Flaherty got his jock handed to him Wednesday in giving up four runs in 2-plus frames for the St. Louis Cardinals.  While not having the top-end potential that Luke Weaver has, Flaherty had a shot to grab a rotation spot to begin the year with the Cards.  Overall though, Flaherty doesn't strike out enough batters to be worth your fantasy baseball attention.

-Manny Machado cracked a grand slam Wednesday and is up to 5-for-10 on the spring for the Baltimore Orioles.  My respect for Machado is unmatched in the fantasy baseball industry and now he will re-gain shortstop eligibility once again this season as an added bonus.  Some stupidly knocked Machado's 2017 campaign as his average dipped but that greatly due to some BABIP luck.  Otherwise, Machado is still a first-round monster who can be had in the second.

-Gary Sanchez went 2-for-3 with a home run Wednesday but the talk among the New York Yankees managerial staff is where he should bat in the order.  There is talk he could bat fifth which would be a minor disappointment since it will take away some at-bats and thus counting numbers.  Be that as it may, Sanchez is a second-round pick everywhere who should be around 30 home runs.  Consider that catcher is incredibly shallow, Sanchez is one of the most valuable players in the game.

-Man Lance McCullers is so darn tempting.  The hard-throwing Houston Astros youngster punched out three in two scoreless innings Wednesday and showed once again why he is as well-regarded as they get in terms of young pitchers in today's fantasy baseball.  The health is always in question though as McCullers relies too much on offspeed stuff that stresses his elbow and so major risk is part of this draft equation.

-Damn Alex Bregman was batting in the sixth spot Wednesday (where he did homer) but this is something to watch closely as it could hurt his counting stats and thus not make him as exciting to draft as if he were in the number 2 spot.

-Boy Blake Parker was beyond disgusting on Wednesday.  The prospective Los Angeles Angels closer imploded as he gave up four hits and three runs in just one IP.  This was certainly not the way for Parker to show he should be the Angels closer but he likely gets a mulligan on this as long as it doesn't carry over.  While there are some other possible closing candidates on the Angels (and Greg Holland still being available), Parker has a terrific 2017 that shows he should be considered the leader right now.

-Dillon Peters took a major step back in his second spring outing after a very good first one; walking four of the five batters he faced Wednesday.  Like most young hurlers, Peters is going to be prone to shoddy control but he will have to really screw up overall this spring to not get a shot in the thin Marlins rotation.

-Matt Harvey was the same old boring version of his 2017 self in his spring debut as he gave up one run and two hits in two innings.  Lagging velocity remains an issue with Harvey but he has four more starts to get that going before the regular season begins.  With free agency on tap, there is a lot of incentive for Harvey to improve but he has almost zero fantasy baseball value as of this writing.


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