Tanaka, Pineda, ooh, I’m gonna take you. To Sabathia, Kuroda, ooh, I wanna own you. K-Rob, oh hold up now, I don’t want Sabathia and I don’t care if I ruined the song. So, Michael Pineda will be the Yanks 5th starter, at least out of Spring Training. Damn you, qualifier! I don’t think the rest of the league will hit the stuffing out of Pineda (quinceanera pun for the win!), but I do think the Yankees will have have to limit Pineda’s innings at some point. He can’t return from serious surgery and throw 200 IP this year. I’m not adjusting Pineda in my rankings. He’s in the “Lottery ticket” tier and he will remain there, but you don’t need to wear overalls over to the Wawa to scratch him off and win. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:
Carlos Santana – Best news for his value since Rob Thomas lost his number; he will start at 3rd base. When Carlos Santana tells fantasy owners what positions he’s eligible at, he does it like his doppelganger, Edward James Olmos, doing “The Finger Man.” I’m not going to move up Carlos Santana in my rankings, but I would draft him where I have him (in the 80’s) due to his increased eligibility. Obviously this kills Lonnie Chisenhall‘s value, but he was killing his own value. This also means Yan Gomes will be behind the plate talking to hitters every day about why his parents let a nurse sound out John on his birth certificate. Why? Because they didn’t know it started with a J. Or maybe the nurse had ADHD and it was supposed to be Ryan. Any the hoo! I’m not changing my Yan Gomes projections or rankings either. Rudy’s rankings have him for -$2, I have him for -$2, and that sounds about right. I don’t think much of him in one catcher leagues. He’s fine for a last round flyer, that’s about it.
David Freese – Dealing with leg tightness. I get the feeling Freese is going to be a backup 3rd baseman by next year and out of baseball in three years. Even a Jew can’t see a star from this David.
Tommy Hunter – Is he out as closer yet? What’s the countdown at? T-minus 12 days? A week? 5 hours? NASA hasn’t put a space shuttle in orbit in, like, ten years, can’t we borrow one of their countdown clocks? In the landmark case of sooner vs. later, Hunter will be gone from the closer role. I.e., the Hunter is now the hunted. I have my money on Darren O’Day, but the reason why Hunter isn’t out already is there’s no legit guy behind him. Bud Norris might sneak in as closer before this thing is said and done. Or Ryan Webb. Or Boog Powell.
Jose Reyes – Day-to-day with an MRI on his hamstring. He’s supposedly going to be ready, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned into a 15-day DL stint. I’m not yet moving him in my rankings, but I also don’t intend on drafting him anywhere. Here’s me watching Billy Hamilton. Watching Jose Reyes is the exact opposite.
Alex Gonzalez – Not being content with Andrew Romine who they just traded for, the Tigers went and got Alex Gonzalez to replace Jose Iglesias. If I were advising the Tigers, I’d tell them to wait until the season starts and see what emerges from waivers rather than trading scrubs for other scrubs in their AL-Only league.
Steve Lombardozzi – The Brooklyn Brawler was on the other side of the Alex Gonzalez trade. Lombardozzi will provide depth in the infield while Machado’s nursing his knees — like a baby! Then, it appears, Lombardozzi and Ryan Flaherty will share the 2nd base job, leaving Schoop on the outside looking in. With his hand against the glass. As rain beats on the window. And “Sad Songs Say So Much” plays.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – Could miss a start due to the toe he hurt running the bases in Australia. Injury happened when he forget to run in the opposite direction.
Yasiel Puig – Day-to-day with inflammation of the lower back. Nothing going 127 MPH in a school zone can’t cure!
Matt Kemp – Could be activated as soon as next week. Prepare for his perceived value to skyrocket and him to work his way into one of the first Sell columns.
Cole Hamels – Said he “feels great” and is “thrilled,” then he wet the tip of his pinkie and thumb and smoothed down his eyebrows.
Marco Scutaro – Probably won’t be ready for Opening Day. Sabean is kicking himself he didn’t go out and get Furcal or Edgar Renteria.
Michael Bourn – Will start the year on the DL. I was already very low on him in my rankings, so I’m not changing anything. I’m only disappointed more people won’t be drafting him sooner.
Freddy Garcia – The Braves released Garcia after losing just about their entire rotation in the last week. The Braves are officially the stock broker after Black Monday. They need someone to talk them down off the ledge because they’re now throwing everything away.
Geovany Soto – Out for 12 weeks with a torn lateral meniscus. That’s fancy doctor speak for ‘he can’t bend his knees and has to poop standing up.’ Robinson Chirinos looks like he’s in the lead for the job, and he’s around a 12-homer, .240 hitter, so there’s that.
Yu Darvish – Won’t start on Opening Day, and will see a back specialist on whether or not he needs to go on the DL. Yu can’t be too careful, apparently.
Neftali Feliz – Optioned to the minors. The other day I told you to drop him. Today I say, seriously.
Colby Lewis – Won’t make the rotation. Hanson’s in limbo, Yu’s hurt, Tanner Scheppers, who has never started a major league game, may start Opening Day, and Colby Lewis is out? If they sign Freddy Garcia, I’m calling in hostage negotiator for the Braves and Rangers before they do something rash…Too late, the Rangers are about to sign Scott Baker.
Erik Bedard – When he lost the 5th starter job to Odorizzi, he asked for his release and it was granted. Bedard said, “I’d prefer to get injured somewhere else. Merci beaucoup.”
Alex Colome – Suspended for 50 games for PEDs use. Poor Joe Maddon will be reminded of this every time he opens his spreadsheets and scrolls all the way to the left.
Roenis Elias – Won a rotation spot along with Blake “Leave it to” Beavan. I drafted Elias for my NFBC team, though he was originally called “Placeholder Pitcher 9.” Elias had a decent K-rate in Double-A last year, impressed in the spring (2.04 ERA in 17 2/3 IP) and knows really interesting sports trivia facts like, did you know there have been sixteen players since 1912 that misplaced their belt prior to a game and had to use a rope? I wouldn’t bother with Elias in most mixed leagues, since he’ll lose his starting spot once Hisashi or Taijuan returns. In media res, he’s worth an AL-Only look.
Daric Barton – Will be the strong side of the 1st base platoon. Okay, strong is being generous.
Marcus Semien – Likely to start the year at 2nd base while Gordon Beckham recovers from an oblique injury. Semien should just play 2nd base all year; he would out-hit Beckham. Semien could get 15/15 with everyday playing time (though probably hitting .240). Unfortch, the White Sox seem content with giving Beckham another chance. Actually, make that a 4th chance.
Shane Victorino – Dealing with side discomfort. I’m thisclose to moving Victorino into the next outfield tier, “Brace yourself for disappointment.” I get the feeling Victorino is currently getting by on good vibes and bad farts.
Starlin Castro – Played short in a minor league game and remains confident he’ll be ready for Opening Day. It’s just Castro playing catch up, which is fine, just no pepper.
Vic Black – Might start the year in the minors with Valverde backing up Bobby Parnell. My closer-in-peril sniffer might not be up to midseason form yet, but this is starting to smell like Valverde is going to see a save or two before April ends.
Casey Janssen – Finally made his Spring Training debut and topped out at 86 MPH. Yikeys. Don’t stop handcuffing him with Santos yet.
Francisco Liriano – Will test out his groin today. Whoa, TMI!