Howdy folks, it’s mid-March and it’s finally really feeling like baseball time! This week we’ll do a spring training check-in and quickly touch on several players whose value may have risen recently or be currently on the rise. Mind you, I’m not using any official data or ADP changes for this exercise, just some quick takes on players who ostensibly might be worth more now than they were a week or three ago (based on things like injuries to others, or impressive play/positive comments from managers or other higher-ups). We will be using ADP, however, to keep this list of names deep-league focused, so you won’t find the Christian Encarnacion-Strands of the world here — we’ll include only players who’ve been drafted in the last week with an NFBC ADP outside the top 300.

(Editor’s Note: We have a few spots left in Razzball Commenter Leagues drafting this month, including some money leagues, like this one for $20 against Truss drafting tomorrow night, March 16th at 10 PM ET – Click to join!)

Tyler Wells (ADP 333). Wells appears locked into the Baltimore rotation to open the season after a couple excellent spring appearances; he was terribly inconsistent last year to the point of a late July demotion, but sure did look great early on. Also, I have to admit I’m pretty surprised how solid his overall numbers 2023 were, both a WHIP just under 1 (!) and almost a strikeout an inning over the course of his 118 innings at the major league level. Starting to wonder why I didn’t take him on a couple more of my draft and hold teams…

Gavin Stone (ADP 416). Post hype sleeper alert! Not sure how any Dodgers pitcher is staying this far under the radar given their current banged-up rotation, but perhaps Stone’s torching of fantasy statistics and owner hopes in his cup of coffee last year has something to do with it. He’s been impressive this spring, though, including four shut out innings earlier this week. Who knows if things will go better this time if and when he gets another chance to start for the big club, but if things break right he’s a guy whose price could zoom upwards in a hurry.

Brice Turang (ADP 441). Got the official “he’s my opening day second baseman” thumbs up from Brewers manager Pat Murphy on Tuesday. He hit an embarrassing .218 last year and isn’t exactly likely to help in that category again this year, but he has something that many more skilled hitters don’t, and that is an opportunity. If you’re chasing speed in a deep league, he makes sense on that front, as he managed 26 stolen bases in 137 games last year.

Nolan Schanuel (ADP 491). I think I’ve been a little higher than most for a while now when it comes to Schanuel, who looks to be the everyday first baseman for the Angels. He’s always profiled as a solid hitter, with the teeny tiny caveat that he doesn’t really have any power and may never develop any. But Schanuel makes my risers list, mostly because new Angels manager Ron Washington said earlier this spring that he likes Schanuel in the two-hole. Plus he hit a spring trainer homer the other day!

Jose Quintana (ADP 505). Well, I certainly didn’t think my mid-March deep league dart throw list would include the recently-announced New York Mets opening day starting pitcher, but here we are. I don’t think I’ll touch Quintana until we see if his admittedly stellar spring carries over into the regular season, and probably not even then, but the opportunity is certainly there if you’re looking for a player outside the top 500 who is locked into the top of a starting rotation.

Nick Martinez (ADP 533). I generally try to avoid Reds pitchers as much as possible, be they starter or reliever (and for now we’ll call Martinez a starter as he looks to be #5 or maybe #4 in the rotation, depending on the health of Nick Lodolo). Anyhow, Martinez’s numbers have consistently been the definition of mid, but he pitched lights out in his last spring start, which happened to be against the Dodgers regulars. Use caution, but do with that information what you will.

Any Cardinals OF who is not Tommy Edman or Lars Nootbaar. Haven’t gotten a good idea how long either will be out to start the season — us Nootbaar owners are hoping just a week or two, but I’m not counting on that. I am getting a very bad feeling about Edman, whom I’ve also drafted, thankfully just once, and his surgically “repaired” wrist – we’ll see. The lightning-fast but probably minors-bound Victor Scott is the sexy pick here, especially after another big spring game on Tuesday. He stole a million bases in the minors last year (okay, I’m rounding up a bit), has a great career average/OBP, and is an excellent defender, but I’m feeling like the Cards brass doesn’t want to push him to the show too fast given that he started last year at High A and ended at Double A. I hope they do, though, as I’ve got him sitting on my bench in a couple deep draft and hold leagues already. I’m in on Brendan Donovan in deeper leagues (his ADP is 281 so he doesn’t officially make this list) as well, but those looking for a warm body might want to glance at Alec Burleson (ADP 678) and/or Dylan Carlson (663). They are both the opposite of sexy when it comes to fantasy upside, but playing time is playing time when we roll in the deep, and it looks like both might get some to open the year.

Colin Rea (ADP 682). Rea was officially been announced as a member of the Brewers’ rotation after a sharp four scoreless spring innings on Tuesday. He’s 33 now and his stats last year were not bad but not great, but what more can we deep-leaguers expect at this point in a draft?

Nick Ahmed (ADP 694). Looks like Ahmed is the Giants opening day shortstop. I can’t really imagine drafting him even in the deepest NL-only league, but then again I haven’t drafted my deep NL-only teams yet, so maybe I’m just forgetting how desperate one gets at the end of such a draft.

Lawrence Butler (ADP 703). It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned the A’s outfielder, but the time has come again. He’s felt like a deep sleeper since the offseason began given the generally open path to playing time in Oakland, and his stock has only risen with an excellent spring. He’s probably a platoon guy even if he makes the team out of spring training, and I for one am skeptical that he will ever truly be able to make the transition to successful hitting against big league pitching. Not skeptical enough not to draft him in one very deep league already this year; he could be a legitimate stolen base threat for one thing, and MLB at bats are at bats, should he get some.

Miguel Andujar – Let’s keep talking about the Oakland A’s as only a deep league column could, and move on to Andujar. He began the spring as a “best shape of his life” punchline, especially for those who weren’t even aware he was still actively pursuing a major league baseball career. Who knows, perhaps the joke will end up being on those teams who completely ignored him, though, as he’s had a scorching hot spring so far. While we all know a scorching hot spring may and likely will mean absolutely nothing once we get to April, if the A’s are basing their roster decisions on spring training performance, he’ll not only make the team but play regularly. Potential ultra deep league power at an ADP of 686? Why not!

That’s it for now — thanks for reading, happy drafting, and see you next week, when there will be two 2024 MLB games that count already in the books!