The first four names in the Cubs’ lineup will be Fowler, Castro, Rizzo and Soler, then it will be O, Brother Where Art Thou Upside with fantasy owners being men of constant sorrow. Maybe Kris Bryant does come up in the middle of April with a lei around his neck made from gold-leafed, big-booty’d Renaissance women. I have a strong suspicion that it’s going to be more like a lei of Mona Lisa smiles. “Yay, he hit a home run!” Dot dot dot. “He’s gone 1-for-4 with an RBI in the last five games. I guess that’s okay.” Dot dot dot. “He’s hitting .250? Hmm…” Dot dot dot. “Yay, another home run!” Let’s do this comparison (this just isn’t for our podcast host, JB, either). Prime Aramis Ramirez or Kris Bryant this year? Prime Aramis easily. That’s 27 HRs, .290 average. This year’s Aramis Ramirez and Kris Bryant? I’d say Bryant, but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk (to use another JB metaphor; ya know, he writes about fantasy basketball for us). Could Bryant give 25 HRs and a .260 average? Yes. Could Aramis? Yes. Would I draft Bryant first? Oh, God, yes, I’m just saying that Bryant being the 2nd coming of Jesus Trout Schmidt Timberlake Jackson, the Third might be a year off. At some point, I do expect to want to suck the Thetans out of Bryant’s body, I’m just not sure it will be this year. I mention this now because Bryant was reassigned to the minor league camp yesterday. Then, further down the Super Awesome Cubs Sexy Upside Team, you have Javier Baez also sent down, which was slightly shocking to me. I figured they’d let him start the year in the majors, even if he was going to be a hacking mess. The Cubs likely figured it was best to save his swings and misses for the summer when it gets humid. The Whiffy City starring Javier Baez will be opening in Iowa, and I’ve updated my top 20 2nd basemen (and the top 20 shortstops). This news also means Arismendy Alcantara has a clearer path to playing time on the infield with only Tommy La Stelllllllla standing in his way. Move your fat L’s, Tommy! I moved up Arismendy in that same 2nd basemen ranking, but I don’t think Arismendy is yet a 500-AB everyday option. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:
Drew Storen – Left yesterday’s game with a blister on his big toe. His big toe should be fine. Excuse me, his slightly-bigger-than-normal toe.
Anthony Rendon – Headed to see Dr. James Andrews about his knee. Well, he should be able to throw sliders again with his foot in 12 to 16 months. Can I stand in the examination room while Rendon is checked to make sure Dr. Freeze doesn’t try to put a hand on Rendon’s foot? I’m starting to get the feeling that there’s something the Nats aren’t telling us. This is sounding less and less like a minor MCL sprain. Or at least not minor. I continue to move Rendon down in my rankings and now he’s out of the top 20. Actually, it’s now a top 19. I need an emoji with clenched fists banging a table. Stat!
Denard Span – Aiming for an early-to-mid May return. “Geez, Werth, Span, Storen, Rendon, Janssen…You guys should take better care of yourselves.” That’s Ryan Zimmerman feeling particularly hypocritical.
Reed Johnson – Nats signed him. Ever wanna call him Reedy Johnson and picture him with a mullet and pockmarks? No? Okay, it’s just me. Sounds like a whatever move by the Nats, but this could be trouble for Michael Taylor’s playing time once Werth returns. Don’t tread on my April sleeper!
Carlos Martinez – Named the Cards’ fifth starter. Woo-hoo! Shizz is finally coming up roses for the Fantasy Master Lothario! (Remind me of this enthusiasm after he gives up six earned and five walks in his first start.)
Justin Verlander – May start year on DL. If you drafted him, a sigh of relief is the reaction you’re looking for to this news.
Alex Torres – Mets acquired him for bullpen help. This might be the best move the Mets have done since 1988 when they replaced the clubhouse powder-my-nose bowl with confectioner’s sugar. For those in Holds leagues, take note, Torres is t/nasty. I could even see him getting some starts at some point this year since the Mets really want to trade Gee while Niese is an aggressive sneeze away from the DL.
Blake Swihart – As I supposed yesterday, he’s headed to Triple-A to start the year. And that’s me supposing me! The Red Sox will turn their catcher slot to Ryan Hanigan and some backup combo of Humberto Quintero and Sandy Leon, who was recently acquired and brings no fantasy significance, but he does have a YouTube channel that features the short, A Fistful of Sand Dollars.
Koji Uehara – Expected to start the year on the DL, which sounds awful, but the DL stint will likely be backdated and he’ll be with the club by the 2nd week of the season. The saves in the meanwhile will go to the last of the Mujicas.
Wil Myers – Could play some first base this year. I’d put the over/under at 3 games played at first. First game to get Maybin a start, second game to bench Yonder, and third game Maybin’s hurt.
Brad Boxberger – On Sunday, Kevin Cash said Boxberger would be the closer. Now, Cash is saying it’s a closer-by-committee with Jepsen, Balfour, Frieri and Boxberger. Hit it, Method Man, Cash ruins everything around fantasy! The only guy that has actually looked like a closer this spring is Boxberger, so he’s still the only guy I’d own outside of AL-Only leagues, and Jepsen would be second.
Carlos Rodon – Will start the year in the minors. He’ll be back sometime in June/July at which time I will yell from your rooftop to pick him up. Until then, I will be on your rooftop starting a garden. You’re welcome.
J.J. Hardy – Shut down for ten days. Everth Cabrera is starting to feel like the Dee Gordon pick from last year. You know, you make the pick in the last rounds and you end up getting 40 steals out of nowhere. Well, not out of nowhere, out of EverCab and his number one single, Heartspark Stealsign.
Eddie Butler – Left yesterday’s game with shoulder fatigue. Butler said, “I’m happy to get away from the club for a little bit. The Ask Jeeves cracks were getting old.”
Luis Valbuena – Will get the bulk of the 3rd base playing time with Matt Dominguez being sent to the minors. Valbuena is the kind of guy that will be on and off waivers in leagues shallower than 15-team mixed and is around a 15-homer, .240 average guy. Elsewhere, Dominguez just gulped, as he played charades with his family while they tried to guess where he’s going after the Astros release him. C’mon, Matty Jr., he’s saying he’s headed to the Yakult Swallows!