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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING WRAPUP: MONDAY

-Despite missing all of 2018 and then getting released by the Toronto Blue Jays over the winter, New York Yankees shortstop Troy Tulowitzki wasted little time getting himself back into a groove in spring training as he slammed a home run in Monday's game.  The homer came off Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman and lends optimism that Tulo can be a useful fantasy baseball piece for as long as Didi Gregorious is out given the home ballpark.

-James Paxton already looks ready to go for the regular season as he tossed 2 scoreless and hitless innings with 3 K's.  While the ERA and WHIP could rise a bit given the move from Seattle to New York, Paxton remains a top-15 starter who can cruise past 200 K's if he can minimize his annual injury woes.

-While the struggles at the major league level have been pronounced, Twins outfielder Byron Buxton remains a tough guy to give up on as he went 3-for-3 with a home run in the team's spring game versus the Baltimore Orioles.  It is beyond obvious to state that Buxton's high-K struggles have seriously derailed his major league movement so far but boy if he can ever get that even semi-under control, the power/speed game could be significant.

-Another guy who looked to be in midseason form Monday was Cleveland ace Trevor Bauer who tossed 3 scoreless innings with 2 K.  Pretty much the entire Indians rotation can be considered to have fantasy baseball ace ability and in particular I am a proponent of Bauer and Mike Clevinger.

-Washington Nationals outfielder Victor Robles picked up a hit and a steal on Monday as he begins to grow the once-potent hype back to its previous levels before he was overtaken by Juan Soto among the team's prospects last season.  While Robles can be a major disrupter at the top of the order, he figures to bat in the bottom third since the Nats will use Adam Eaton and Trea Turner at 1-2.

-Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke continues to chug along despite turning 35 as he tossed two scoreless frames Monday.  Only reaching 88 on the gun, Greinke remains as crafty as they get but at this point should be graded more as a SP 2.

-A rare bright spot for Tigers pitcher Jordan Zimmerman who struck out four in two innings Monday but no matter, he still should be avoided EVERYWHERE as his stuff us a clear level or two below some useful early Washington days.

-Two scoreless for Mets number 2 starter Noah Syndergaard which is par for the course here.  No one would ever dispute Thor's monstrous power ace ability but the injury threat is real and significant.  Always on the short list to be the next Tommy John guy, Syndergaard is a "how lucky do you feel?" investment.

-Jon Lester punched out 3 in two scoreless innings on Monday and even though yours truly firmly believes he has lost a notch or two on his stuff, I also will say that he can be a big help the first half of the season before a typical fatigue in July given the advancing age.

-Colorado Rockies rookie infielder Garrett Hampson has the inside track to the starting second base job to open 2019 for the team as long as he doesn't stink up the joint this spring and so far, so good on that front as he went 2-for-2 with 2 runs scored Monday.  Hampson has speed to burn and possesses easy 30-steal ability if he can stick,  Considering how steals continue to decline across baseball, Hampson is shaping up as a very intriguing sleeper.

-Wilson Contreras remains a guy I remain with a steadfast belief in despite the brutal 2018 step back in development.  Contreras smacked his first spring homer on Monday which was a good sign however and if he can put last year's funk behind him, 20 long balls is very much in the realm of possibility.

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