Spaceman here, and I’ll be keeping tabs on spring training battles to watch by position, in each division. I’ll hopefully convey a common sense approach that assists with your draft prep and roster depth. If not, I’ll head back to my farm in Vermont to sprinkle grass on my pancakes.
2B Starter: Toronto brought Emilio Bonifacio over in Jeffrey “Expo Killer” Loria’s Miami fire sale, right after signing Maicer Izturis to a 3-year deal. So who’s playing 2B up in Canada? They haven’t committed to either, but G.M. Alex Anthopoulos appears to see Boni in a Utility role. Possibly taking over for Colby Rasmus in CF, should he struggle early on. Probable outcome: With the inside track to 2B, Izturis takes it, giving the Jays options in the OF should Melky Cabrera not perform off the juice. Izturis won’t provide much fantasy value outside of the deepest of leagues or as a late round MI flyer due to the improved offense around him. Whereas Boni should have an impact in leagues of any type, with his perennial base stealing and a nice position eligibility.
#4 OF: With the Melky signing, Toronto doesn’t seem confident in Rajai Davis rocking a full time role. Nor will fellow SAGNOF king Anthony Gose get his shot at a starting job. A playoff ready OF of Melky, Rasmus, and Jose Bautista leaves Gose and Davis duking it out for back up LF/CF. Probable outcome: While Gose has the upside and still has value in keepers, I’d avoid him in redrafts. As for Davis, he’ been around and is the safe bet for a contender’s #4 OF spot. While you’ll likely find him on the wire to start your year, he should be considered in H2H leagues when a quick SB boost is needed, as he’s known for several multiple SB games.
Catcher: The 28 million you just shat on is the least of your worries, when you have no legitimate starting catcher. Oddly enough, the pinstripes seem unwilling to give Austin Romine a shot to start, opting for one of two downright blah options. Francisco Cervelli or Chris Stewart, anyone? Probable outcome: Cervelli takes the gig should he not be suspended, due to his lengthy tenure with the organization. If he does, I wouldn’t look at him unless you’ve punted catcher and were desperate in the final rounds. Cervelli won’t contribute anywhere specifically, but he could have value in two catcher leagues with the Yankees still powerful offense.
Setup man: John Farrell has stated new man Joel Hanrahan will close, so who sets up in Beantown? Primary options are 2012’s supposed closer Andrew Bailey or Valentine’s good buddy Alfredo Aceves, with Koji Uehera as a fringe option. While it’s possible they explore offers for Bailey, it’s too early to dismiss him after acquiring him just last year. Probable outcome: While Aceves is best suited as their #5/6 SP or long relief, Bailey sets up and runs with the gig. Hoping to rebound from an injury derailed 2012, he may find himself with a shot to close should Hanrahan stuggle early. Bailey has plenty of value and I’d consider him in leagues of any size or type. Especially holds leagues, where he’ll rack them up and bring solid ratios with them.
Catcher: Apparently Boston thinks carrying 3 mediocre catchers is the way to roll. Cool. But why sign David Ross for 2 years? I’ll assume they want Ryan Lavarnway lingering in the minors, or a trade involving him or Jarrod Saltalamacchia is imminent. Lavarnway would yield a bigger return, as Salty is a FA at season’s end, so I can see them waiting it out. Probable outcome: They didn’t sign Ross to play in Pawtucket. So he backs up Salty, who’s a legitimate starter, while Lavarnway starts 2013 in AAA. I wouldn’t consider Lavarnway, even in keepers, unless he gets a shot to prove himself in the bigs. But Salty has some pop and is decent late round option anywhere.
LF Starter: With the Upton family reunion going down in Atlanta, Tampa’s OF looks suspect. Desmond Jennings is the only OFer who’s a lock to start. While he can play both LF or CF, he’s provide more value in CF, where a platoon isn’t available. Kelly Johnson’s signing should move Ben Zobrist to RF, while Brandon Guyer, Matt Joyce and even Sam Fuld share time in LF. Probable outcome: The crafty Joe Maddon platoons Luke Scott/Joyce at DH and Joyce/Guyer in LF, based on matchups. I could see taking a flyer on the always streaky Joyce, primarily in deep leagues. Guyer could be interesting, but none of the above are anything more than mediocre late round flyers.
Stay tuned for some Spring Training battles to watch in the NL East folks. Spaceman out.