After being called up to start in a win-or-go-home playoff game to close 2020, Alex Kirilloff will open 2021 in the minor leagues.
Well, that’s not entirely true. The minor leagues won’t exist. Kirilloff will be watching his Twins on Opening Day from the nether realm known as the alternate site, where some number of players will incubate for a month while actual baseball is played elsewhere, presumably.
We in the fantasy baseball world thought Eddie Rosario’s winter departure meant Kirilloff would have a chance at everyday playing time come springtime.
Same old story. Same old song and dance, my friends.
Not really worth our lifeforce to go over it again, I guess.
Except that it’s probably always worth our time to document the unique and extreme ways hypercapitalism finds to exploit a workforce, and how baseball allows us some small glimpse into the soulless machinations powering our universe. It’s a battle we all face, and if we don’t find ways to name it, human capital will be forever ground down into society’s gears.
Kirilloff could be back in the big leagues after a couple weeks, and the world will keep spinning.
One key takeaway here is Nick Cave. Sorry, Jake Cave. He can hit.
Say what? What’s Astudillo got to do–got to do with this?
Well, he’s no second-hand option, and he’s hitting the ball this spring in clearly the best shape of his life, although that’s a little like saying the rain feels less wet today. It’s still rain, and this is still Astudillo, and what the hell are you talking about? Wet is wet.
On a per-pitch basis, Astudillo and Arraez are both extremely tough outs in a first-division lineup when they’re on their game, which could be a problem for Kirilloff if they look competent on defense. Rooker, Cave and Garlic all bring plus power, with Cave looking like the best combination of experience and competence on both sides of the ball.
So maybe the key takeaway is that Kirlloff could be at alternate site and then in the minors until mid-season if these guys succeed in the opportunities they get.
On a personal note, I am eagerly anticipating the day I can stop writing “alternate site” and “training site.”
On another personal note, I’m starting to get scared that the Astudillo thing is happening this year. I don’t have a single share at the moment despite hoarding them in past years. By “thing” I mean a near everyday player with a plus hit tool and catcher eligibility. The Varsho appeal. Only this time it comes with an 80-hit tool, according to Fangraphs, which, okay, that’s a goofy grade that doesn’t make a ton of sense at the moment, but I think the much leaner version we’re seeing this spring has a chance to prove that prescient.
Kirby Yates is probably out for the year, which opens the door for a guy everyone loves, RHP Jordan Romano. His breakout might’ve been just quiet enough in the short season to make him easy to acquire. Trouble is, Rafael Dolis was good, too, and he’s 33, and his price is controlled by that and other factors, whereas Romano would be in line for a big boost with a bunch of saves. Should be interested to track. I had a chance to add a few Romano shares last week but just didn’t move in time. Fun feeling today. So it goes. Nothing to do but keep playing the game. Make it happen faster next time: an evergreen lesson of fantasy baseball, especially dynasty baseball. With Tom Hatch also out for an indefinite period of time, Julian Merryweather and Joey Murray get a little arrow up.
Faced with a number of shortstop options throughout the off-season, the Reds decided to punt. Once a popular strategy in navigating the need for steals or saves in rotisserie fantasy baseball leagues, punting is a rare decision for a major league team to attempt at the most crucial defensive position on the infield.
Having seen the Kylemera in action, the Reds asked 3B Eugenio Suarez to slide over to short, where he once played half a decade ago. This opens third base for Mike Moustakas and second base for 2018 first-round pick Jonathan India, who arrived to camp a new man. India’s been heating it up this month, slugging around .700 or better this spring after struggling to consistently access his power in minor league games. Throw India’s ADP out the window if you want him. His min pick was 343 just a week ago; it’s 288 today, and I’ll guess he’ll settle in this week around that 250-300 range as a 2B/3B eligible rookie bat with plus plate skills in a cozy ballpark.
RHP Roansy Contreras looking filthy in Pittsburgh. He topped out at 98.2 mph with just nine inches of drop on a four-seamer as he breezed through the ninth. He also threw a curveball with 60 inches of drop and an elite spin rate of 2924. Perhaps the Pirates have decided to just turn him loose in the bullpen. Would make a lot of sense given that they just lost Blake Cederlind to Tommy John Surgery. If management commits to Contreras in relief, he’s instantly near the top group of bullpen prospects. Yarr!!
Speaking of fire-throwers, Tarik Skubal has officially made the Tigers Opening Day roster. Huzzah! (Smashes glass.) He’ll have some bad days like any young arm, but he should also have plenty of runway in Detroit to pile up strikeouts as he hones his craft. I’m expecting a few dominant stretches by midseason.
With Zac Gallen running on empty in Arizona, Corbin Martin, Riley Smith, Humberto Mejia, Matt Peacock and Taylor Widener could all get a look. Martin is easily the most interesting for our purposes at the moment, but he might be behind in the line for exactly that reason and maybe because he’s still on his way back from a 2019 Tommy John surgery. Whether it’s now because of the Gallen opportunity or later because he’s looking good in the minors, Corbin Martin figures to contribute big league innings in 2021.
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