Spring training is such a good time in the life of a baseballer; everyone is refreshed, excited to see each other, its prime weather, there’s golf outings every other day, the standings reset to zero, or, even better there are no standings as the games don’t count (then why aren’t they free?). Wouldn’t you like to do that at work? Three months off and then its hugs, high fives, welcome breakfasts and happy hours; no one is mad about your TPS reports from last year; it’s all new TPS reports this year! I’m all for it.

Some in fantasyland value spring stats more than others, it’s true. Me? Spring stats are to build a guy up, not tear him down, because he’ll do that all on his own, and literally get sent down to the minors.

So let’s dive in to the top OPS guys this spring:

Ronald Acuna (1.247 OPS in 45 ABs) Yeah, he’s ready. Draft away!

Dan Vogelbach (1.385 OPS in 45 ABs) Seattle’s 25 year old first baseman (until Ryon Healy takes over…he probably wont) is currently slotted for the 8 hole, which is no Bueno for counting stats. Vogelbach has shown power, and his situation is worth monitoring (not drafting in most leagues); if he hits three homers in the first week I’m adding him everywhere and you should too…or he goes 0-15 and we forget all about him.

Jose Pirela (1.229 OPS in 39 ABs) The 28 year-old Pirela was an OPS monster for short bursts last season and I liked him better when he had 2B eligibility but I’ll take an improvement on his line from last year of 43/10/40/4/.837OPS in 312 ABs. They say he’s going to play regularly, hit fifth-ish in the order with Margot, Headley, Myers and Hosmer in front of him. Yes, I just talked myself into him.

Matt Davidson (1.113 in in 53 ABs) Another guy who was in and out of OPS Leaguers Unite last season; he looks to have a starting job with the Sox (finally) and should hit lots of homers while qualifying at first and third base.

Derek Dietrich (1.152 OPS in 42 ABs) and Brian Anderson (1.054 OPS in 42 ABs); I bring up two Marlins and as I review their projected lineups there are a fair amount of fantasy sleepers (Realmuto, Starlin Castro, Lewis Brinson, Justin Bour, Cameron Maybin) and think, if all these guys are going to be good this season, shouldn’t the Marlins be better (their pitching is god awful,true enough)? So I’m lukewarm on all Marlins, fairly or not.

Mike Tauchman (1.065 in 54 ABs) and Ryan McMahon (.974 in 60 ABs): on the flip side, young guys in Colorado are the droids we’re looking for…but wait, oh no! They’re going to start at AAA (along with David Dahl maybe even) so depending on when this goes up, they might be up and if so I’m drafting/adding them. If not, we’ll keep an eye on them.

Avisail Garcia (1.004 in 47 ABs) Hitting well makes me feel even better about him; I do not understand the lack of love; he was a top prospect for a while, stumbled and was injured, and is coming off a great season. Not a top 8 rounder I get, but he’s going in the 16-18th rounds. He’s on almost all my teams and he should be on yours, too.

Brandon Belt (1.237 OPS in 38 ABs) Oh what do I do with you Mr. Belt? I do not like drafting you for fantasy baseball, yet you are a first baseman who also plays outfield and an .824 OPS in 2017 is usable, how you pair that with a 63/18/51/3 makes me want to hurl.

Jorge Soler (1.072 in 48 ABs) He’s going to start in Kansas City and might get to 25 homers; if he does that this year then 30 next year and he’s worth drafting!

Victor Martinez (1.049 in 47 ABs) He’s not retired yet!

Brandon Nimmo (.946 in 53 ABs) If he’s in the lineup to start the season and you need to start 5 OFs why not?

Jose Martinez (1.026 in 42 ABs)  If he plays a lot, and that’s what I’m hoping for when drafting him in the late rounds, we may be in for a treat; I’ll take a snickers mini please.

Right now I’m in the middle of an auction draft but I spent all my money and I have $12 left for 7 spots so I’m just watching guys go by, time fly, seeing boom or bust guys go for way too much and decent guys too little. Spend that money at your auctions people! You can’t take it with you; which is another good life lesson. Start by enjoying the weekend and good luck drafting!

  1. billy beeeeen says:
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    awesome piece. thx!

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @billy beeeeen: Thanks for saying! Most appreciated

  2. Mark says:
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    I don’t get the Mets. It takes a Jason Vargas injury to get the 5 aces once promised, to start together? JASON VARGAS!!!

    Then they signed a washed up A-Gon…knowing well they had Jason Bay….I mean Jay Bruce signed. They never want to give Wilmer Flores a shot to see what he got. Talk about frustrating your fan base.

    When will Nimmo and Flores and Wheeler get the training wheels off, and given their chance?

    I understand fantasy people are high on Nimmo, but I just cannot with this organization. Soon they will be digging graves and resurrecting Shoeless Joe Jax. just to pitch and occasionally play the OF and IF and close.

    Soler broke my heart for 3 years as a keeper also…I just cannot again. Go hit his 30hrs this year, my health is better without him on my team.

    Vogelbach, the Mariners would rather start Healy who cannot play D, and cannot hit lefties…or is that righties…point is, Healy is who the Mariners view as their starter; eye test be damned. It’s going to take an injury to Healy or Nelson Cruz for Vogelbach to get a real chance.

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Mark: The Mets are a crapshow; Niimo I’m just looking to start the first weeks weeks until Conforto comes back, but I get the feeling after he sucks the first week I’ll be cutting him. Flores has been consistently screwed by the Mets, a good organization would’ve made him a full time starter years ago.

      I’m with you on Soler. He looks like a bopper; but then I remember the Cubs signed him as the last Cuban under the old system so he was paid alot, but I don’t think was in the same class as guys like Cespedes. I’m only drafting him on 14 team or greater.

      That sucks about Vogelbach; dude can hit, and while I love me some Healy, I agree Vogelbach should start, with Healy filling in at 3B, 1B and DH.

  3. Mark says:
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    To continue the Mariners rant, I read last night that the manager is set, NO MATTER WHAT, to start Healy at 1st base….

    Vogelbach seemed to improve his defense over the off season and improve his launch and hand position….but nah…they are the Mariners…content with finishing not 1st….

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Mark: Wow, he must’ve read this column last year, Healy was the star…and all he had to do was get traded to Colorado instead of Seattle. At least he’ll start, but he’s like a worse Kyle Seager. Vogelbach will finally get a chance when Cruz retires…maybe. The Mariners are more concerned with making money trotting Ichiro out there

  4. Gucci Mane says:
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    How about Lewis Brinson now with a starting gig and potentially leading off? Lewis or Jose Martinez?

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Gucci Mane: I’m going Brinson since he has the job and will have to Suuuuuck to get sent down.

      • Gucci says:
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        @Phil B.: you’re the best. I just used your rankings in an ops 10 teamer with the second pick. My team is glorious. Thanks.

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