If you’re like me, once you finish your fantasy draft, you have a photographer take a picture of you with your team. You pull up your team page on your laptop, and the both of you sit next to a flower bed. The setting is similar to your mother’s yearbook picture. The cameraman even uses the filter that blurs out everything around you. As you wait for the makeup person to dab cover-up on your nose pimple, you reach into the flower bed and pull out a hydrangea. Then you speak directly to the SAGNOF Gods and recite his prayer, “He loves me, he loves me Motte, he loves me, he loves me Motte, he loves….” And the last petal ends on “He loves me Motte.” And you weep. Motte has an elbow strain and you’re stuck with his litigious brother-in-law, Mitchell Boggs. The Cardinals are currently saying all the right things, “Motte will be fine,” “Mitchell will temporarily fill-in,” “We had no idea McGwire was on steroids.” An elbow strain sounds like a thing that’s going to take Motte from his 40-save potential to an eight-save season with a 5.00+ ERA, which will be interrupted by surgery. Grab Boggs in every league, he could easily be a top five closer for this year. If you own Motte, you obviously DL him and hope for the best. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2013 fantasy baseball:
Adam Eaton – Out for two months with a ulnar collateral ligament injury. Oh no, collateral damage! This never ends well. We all probably remember the time Dusty was playing pepper with a bat made of Prior’s ulnar collateral ligament. Or the time Joe Torre was hosting the grand opening of a Sbarro and instead of cutting ribbon, he cut Jeff Nelson’s UCL. Not fun times for either pitcher. Luckily, Eaton’s not a pitcher, or at least this Adam Eaton isn’t. Still, it’s an injury that could prove difficult to gauge. Right now, he’s due back in early-June. Was excited about drafting Eaton in some leagues. I hadn’t drafted him any leagues though, so it goes, so it goes. It’s fine to drop him in shallower leagues. In deeper leagues or where you have DL room, go ahead and stash him for now.
Gerardo Parra – The fill-in for Eaton. Rico Sauve doesn’t have big-time power or speed. A full season of ABs would yield about 10 homers and 17 steals. It’s a’ight, but far from a’ight a’ight. In most leagues, he’s nothing more than a hot schmotato when he’s hitting. In leagues where every player with a starting job is rostered, he’s better than some. Worse than a lot of others. *Insert hedge bet*
Cody Ross – Will start the year on the DL. How many players does it take to fill in for an injured Ross? One Pollock! A.J. Pollock has good speed (25-ish over the course of a season), but not much else. SAGNOF!
Aaron Hicks – Was officially named the everyday center fielder in Minnesota. Have I already updated his projections? You betcha, Margie! This is kinda old news. I already went over Hicks in my outfielders to target for 2013 fantasy baseball. I wrote it while Googling ‘whatever happened to everyone in the Leaders of the New School besides Busta?’
Freddy Garcia – Padres released him. He was happy to be free.
Pablo Sandoval – Things aren’t looking good for Sandoval — or Baby Whale Tush as he was named in a Native American ceremony. He rolled the dice with his elbow on Saturday and threw craps. After a series of positive reports, it’s now looking like he may start the year on the DL.
Jorge de la Rosa – Felt some forearm tightness this weekend. That’s what happens when you try to squeeze a five-arm in there. dlR doesn’t hold much fantasy value so you shouldn’t, uh, hold him.
Jon Garland – Signed with the Rockies. It will always be Christmas for opposing teams as Garland will decorate the visitor’s scoreboard.
Wilson Ramos – Him and Kurt Suzuki will rotate every other day behind the plate. That’s not as good for fantasy value as the manager catcher strategy: squat, squat, catcher number deuce.
Chris Getz – Won the starting 2nd base in KC with Johnny “GTL” Giavotella being sent down to the minors. Johnny said as long as there’s grass on the field, he’ll play ball.
Ricky Romero – Rotation spot up in the air. Sorta like all his pitches for the last year plus. He’s not worth owning anywhere, rotation spot or not.
Jemile Weeks – Optioned to the minors. Jemile! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated…He’ll make his major league dreams come true later in the year in a back-up role.
Johan Santana – The Mets are saying his shoulder might take six weeks to get where it needs to be. In that case, it could feel free to take a cab to JFK during rush hour.
Jake Arrieta – Favorite for 5th spot in O’s rotation. Last year, he had a decent xFIP (3.65) and a solid K/9 (8.56) in 114 2/3 IP, but his ERA was 6.20. Um, yikes. The O’s have to have a fifth starter that has the moves like Arrieta, but you don’t. I’d avoid in all mixed leagues until he shows the ability to keep the ball in the park.
J.D. Martinez – Failed to make the Astros team out of camp. His parents, who must play fantasy, had the foresight to name him Just Drop.
Travis d’Arnaud – Sent to the minors because the Mets have prospblock, John Buck, and they don’t want to start d’Arnaud’s clock. Speaking of which, we should have a glossary term for the act of holding back a prospect because of his arbitration clock. Please suggest in the comments.
Julio Teheran – Struck out ten and gave up no hits on Saturday in six innings. I like Teheran, you like Teheran, the Iron Sheik likes Teheran. Before you offer your girlfriend’s ovaries for Teheran’s children, he was facing the Astros in Spring Training. He’s a solid flyer for the end of your fantasy draft. He hasn’t suddenly become any more than that.
Shelby Miller – Now the favorite for the 5th starter job. C’mon, Cards, Shelby has huge upside and can manage your 401k!
David Freese – Headed for an MRI today. In January, his over/under for games played was 120, so not much has changed there. He’s about as reliable as Saran Wrap is for birth control. (The preceding blurb was sponsored by Reynolds Wrap.)
Brian McCann – Likely out until May. He’s swinging the bat normally, but can’t make the throw to 2nd base. Looking at his caught stealing percentages, I’m not sure he ever could throw to second, but that’s me.
Jesus Montero – Hit on the head with a bat on Saturday but didn’t suffer a concussion. Doctors knew he was fine when Montero’s eyes weren’t X’d out and they didn’t see bats circling his head.
Nick Tepesch – Expected to win the Rangers 5th starter job. Zimmermania is alive and well as the three Jews in Texas exclaim, “Happy Tepesach!” Given CAIRO projects him at a 6.00+ ERA and 2.00+ WHIP, I suggest you pass over him. But, remember, when Moses came to CAIRO’s land, he yelled, “Let my ratios go!”
Vernon Wells – When I heard the Yankees were close to trading Wells, I pictured the phone call with Cashman. “I heard Tex, Grandy, A-Rod, Jeter, Hughes and Pineda are all hurt. You have Brennan Boesch, Hafner, Juan Rivera, Eduardo Nunez and Chris Stewart in your starting lineup. So, Yankees, we’re calling to see how desperate you really are. Are you desperate enough to trade for, say, Vernon Wells?” Next thing you know, the Mets are gonna call the Yankees asking them if they want to trade for Bobby Bonilla, who is still getting a million dollars a year from the Mets until 2035. Seriously, Google it if you don’t believe me. As for Vernon Wells on the Yankees — belch. I wouldn’t own him in anything but deep AL-Only leagues as a one dollar flyer. There hasn’t been such an over-the-hill, overweight Wells looking for bit roles in NYC after California rejection since Orson toiled on Madison Ave. in the 70′s.