Welcome back to another edition of ResearchFantasy’s MLB Quick Hits. The MLB season is only 2 weeks away! The excitement is in the air, and contests should open up soon! This is going to be an interesting time as more and more information is going to get thrown at us, but we will do our best to put out meaningful content to help the users maximize their fantasy league outcomes!
We will look division by division from here forward. It is tough to say if there will be a lot of information for each division, but nonetheless, we will do our best to cover all of the information we see.
AL East – Matt Weiters looks to be able to avoid surgery, which is good news for his fantasy owners. I don’t think there is a guarantee he is ready for opening day, but he could be. There is a chance that Xander Bogaerts could open the season as the Red Sox cleanup hitter, which should increase his value in my opinion. I have been targeting him in drafts, and my even start to draft him a little sooner. The Yankees went through a bit of a scare with Jacoby Ellsbury after he was hit on the wrist with a pitch. He looks to be fine and shouldn’t miss opening day. Tampa Bay is search for a reliever after closer Brad Boxberger underwent surgery that will require him to miss around 8 weeks. Alex Colome or Danny Farquhar should be called into duty more often. There appear to be some question marks around Edwin Encarnacion’s ability to hit live pitching anytime soon, which could potentially cause him to miss opening day. Additionally, the club sent Dalton Pompey down to the minors, which came to many as a surprise, but he should still get his chances.
AL Central – Unless you’ve been under a rock for the entire week, you’ve heard the Adam LaRoche retirement saga. It’s unfortunate it ends this way, but his absence should help someone like Avisail Garcia. It looks like Cleveland may benefit from having Michael Brantley for opening day. It isn’t confirmed yet, but it is looking more positive. The team also signed Marlon Byrd, who is extremely streaky and a monster against left handed pitching. Cameron Maybin is not looking like he is going to be ready for opening day, which is unfortunate. Omar Infante and Christian Colon will continue to battle it out for the second base position. I’m not looking at either in fantasy leagues though. Minnesota moved a few players to the minor leagues this week including Jose Berrios, Kennys Vargas and Jorge Polanco.
AL West – It’s doesn’t sound like Evan Gattis’ status will be known until opening day, but it isn’t sounding great. The Angels are in a tough position with their pitching going into the start of the season, and even though Jered Weaver says he will be ready, there is a lot of skepticism. Stephen Vogt looks to be making the right steps going into opening day, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Jarrod Parker will be undergoing elbow surgery, so there is no question he’s out for the first stretch of the season. Seattle moved Mike Zunino to the minor leagues, which initially catches your eye, but then you have to remember how inconsistent he was no matter how much power is there. The Rangers are getting closer Shawn Tolleson and second baseman Rougned Odor moving around. I really like Odor this year and have been drafting him when I can. Yu Darvish won’t be around until at least June, but I have been able to get him way later in drafts than I should be able to.
NL East – The Braves are loaded for the future, but not this year. Jason Grilli is taking steps to get back into shape, but it’s tough to know how long it will take for him to return to his closing position. The Braves sent Dansby Swanson, Mallex Smith and Ozhaino Albies to minor league camp, but these guys are going to be good in a few years. A.J. Ramos should be a nice closer to pick up in 2016 for the Marlins. The Mets are hopeful to have Asdrubal Cabrera ready for the start of the year, which is a plus for both the team and his owners. The Phillies are in a tough position with injured outfielders, but won’t bring anyone else in. I don’t mind Odubal Herrera or Peter Bourjos in the short term. Bronson Arroyo still has a ways to go in his recovery, but in the mean time, Tanner Roark could be a valuable add in deep leagues.
NL Central – The Cubs will be another fun team for fantasy owners in 2016, though I still contest that Kyle Schwarber is going to be drafted higher than he should be. Billy Hamilton is making his way back from injury, but has just been really disappointing when he played last year. He is good for steals, but for the most part, not much else. Scooter Gennett is getting some starts at DH while he is rounding into form to move into the infield. He’s made me some money at times so I hold him near and dear to my heart. Gerit Cole and Jung-Ho Kang are both making their way back from injury. Kang is being taken in the late rounds of most drafts I do, so he could be a great guy to pick up and wait to play. With Johnny Peralta sidelined, the Cardinals signed Ruben Tejada. I’m not really looking his way, but more importantly, I am not drafting Peralta because of what thumb surgery can do to a hitter’s stroke.
NL West – Both Yasmany Tomas and AJ Pollock are making their way into the Cactus League, which is great news for this exciting team. Trevor Story will be making his major league debut with the Rockies as a start shortstop. This is a great environment to be in, but the jury is still out. If he pans out, he will end up being a steal based on where he is being drafted. Andre Ethier has a scare after fouling a ball into his shin. X-rays were negative which is a major positive. Also, don’t sleep on Yasmani Grandal. He is not being drafted in most cases, and could end up being a top 5 catcher if and when healthy. Nothing on the Padres. I’m sorry, the just don’t excite me much. Lot’s of concerns in the injury department for the Giants, but they all seem to be working out good. I expect this to be a strong rotation this year and can certainly contend for another championship.
Hope this helps you make some good decisions! Only 2 weeks!