The season is now just days away… We all have either drafted or are just about to and Spring training positional battles are in their death blows as expected starters have gone down with injuries throughout. Certain players we were excited about are now sitting in one of those DL spots, and we need to find those few players that everyone overlooked during the draft, some that could be nabbed off the waiver wire in a few weeks. I found a handful of players that fit the bill, all of which Grey ranked in the late 200’s or much later. Give these guys a look and consider adding them to fill up those new empty spots before the rest of your league catches on!
Brandon Nimmo: Michael Conforto is starting the year on the DL. Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares have been fighting this spring for the spot until Conforto returns, which is expected in May. Nimmo has made clear strides that he should start and lead off, while Lagares has been on the trade block. Last season, he started playing regularly in the second half due to Conforto’s injury and Bruce getting traded. He had .368 OBP with a .343 wOBA in almost 200 plate appearances. He batted pretty much everywhere in the order last year but if the spring is any indication, he’ll be leading off. Getting on base at a solid clip with Cespedes, Bruce, and Frazier hitting behind is a good spot to be in. Count on Nimmo to give you some solid output until Conforto returns. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nimmo forces the Mets to play him more anyway due to his solid production.
Nick Pivetta: There have been a few shake-ups in the Phillies rotation. They added Jake Arrieta and lost Jerad Eickhoff for a couple months and one man in particular at the back of the Phillies rotation, Nick Pivetta, showed some flashes of greatness last season and has kept his spot this Spring Training. I’ve been hearing his name come up more and more in sleeper conversations, as he should be. The 6.02 ERA in 26 starts last year makes anyone do a double take, but there is a lot packed away in that. He had a 9.47 K/9, a .332 BABIP, and a 67.1 LOB%. So very good, unlucky, and double unlucky. His big downside is control. A 3.86 BB/9 is awful (Robbie Ray levels of awful). If he can get his pitches under control and keep giving away bases, he can push himself to another level.
Ryan McMahon: Coming out of Spring Training, we are still unsure the Rockies first base prospect is going to win the spot. With the signing of CarGo, Desmond looks to be set to start at first. McMahon appeared in a few games last year, but will hopefully soon have the opportunity to truly show what he’s got. He’s consistently hit well in the minors and it doesn’t hurt to be hitting at Coors with a solid offense surrounding him. He can swipe a few bags as well which is nice from a first baseman. If he gets the playing time, expect quality numbers. Otherwise, if he is not up and playing yet, keep an eye on how the Rockies first baseman and third outfielders are playing. McMahon will tear it up in AAA, so grab him before anyone else does to reap the rewards. In the meantime, CarGo isn’t a bad replacement. He had an incredible close to the 2017 season.
Any Mets starter not named DeGrom or Syndergaard: The Met’s rotation is starting to take shape… After a few years of injury mayhem, the Mets decided to go deep on starters. They have eight possible options for the rotation in DeGrom, Syndergaard, Harvey, Matz, Wheeler, Vargas, Lugo, and Gsellman. Injuries this Spring Training have been few and far between, with DeGrom not starting until later in the preseason and Vargas being sidelined. As things have settled, the back end of the rotation is looking as follows: Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler or possibly another until Vargas returns. Harvey is healthy and showing promise so far in the spring and if he stays healthy, he’ll pitch well. The main concern may be how far into games they let him pitch. Lastly, Matz and Wheeler are in the same boat as Harvey. If healthy, they’ll pitch well (sensing a pattern?) with a good strikeout rate. With the addition of a new pitching coach in Dave Eiland and new manager in Mickey Callaway, there is a change in culture with this staff. As always with the Mets (and all teams!), health is key, but watch out for them.