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Diamondback's starter Zack Grienke (groin) was all smiles after completing a 40-pitch bullpen session over the weekend. A right groin injury has cast doubt on Greinke's availability to open the season. Following the session, Greinke said: "I'll definitely be making the next outing. I felt healthy and the pitches were pretty good. Hopefully that continues. It should; it was a good day." Manager Torey Lovullo has not made it official, but Greinke seems to be on track to start the third game of the season versus the Rockies. Greinke owners can breath a sigh of relief, knowing that Greinke will only have his start pushed back two days. Owners still waiting to draft can swipe Greinke without hesitation.
New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (wrist) is back in the lineup and playing left field for the Mets today, according to James Wagner of the New York Times. Cespedes received at-bats in a minor league game on Saturday and is now good to go for Opening Day, barring another set back. Saying that Cespedes is dealing with an injury is almost like saying the sky is blue. It always seems like he is dealing with something, and he often misses extended time because of it. However, when he is right, he can be a beast on the baseball field, making him a high-risk, high-reward fantasy pick.
New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Bargas has mixed signs regarding the start to the 2018 season. According to Tim Britton of The Athletic, Vargas said the expectation is that his right hand feels normal about six weeks after surgery, meaning that Vargas would miss the beginning of the season. According to Britton and Mike Puma of the New York Post, though, he could pitch before that point with some modifications to his glove. Puma said that the team has not ruled out Vargas for his first start of the season, but said that Zack Wheeler would start if Vargas could not go. Vargas (hand) will have surgery on Tuesday to fix a fractured bone in his right (non-throwing) hand. He will likely be more of the pitcher he was in the second half last year with the Royals than in the first half, which is not good.
The Minnesota Twins optioned shortstop Nick Gordon to minor league camp on Sunday. Gordon had a nice showing this spring, going 9-for-22 for a cool .409 batting average. Gordon has never played above Double-A and wasn't expected to make the big league club coming out of Spring Training. The 22-year-old shortstop is regarded as one of Minnesota's better positional prospects, ranking as the No. 10 shortstop prospect by MLB Pipeline, but will need some more seasoning in the minors. The Twins reassigned Gordon even after they learned of the 80-game suspension handed out to starting shortstop Jorge Polanco, although the suspension does move Gordon up in the pecking order of potential replacements at the big league level.
Detroit Tigers third-baseman-turned-outfielder Nicholas Castellanos has been slugging the ball all over this spring season. The power-hitting Castellanos has five homers already to go along with a double and a triple in Grapefruit League action. Castellanos is coming off a career year, and gains outfield eligibility heading into 2018 with Jeimer Candelario manning the hot corner for the Tigers. Target Castellanos as early as round 9 depending on the depth of your league.
Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez is a bounce back candidate in 2018 after a miserable 2017 campaign that saw him miss time with a heart condition. Martinez has said that this will likely be his final season in the big leagues, and appears to be healthy this spring. It appears Martinez is looking to go out with a bang, as the veteran slugger has amassed 14 hits this spring, more than any other player on the Tigers roster. Of those 14 hits, four have been homers and three more have been doubles, good enough for a 1.079 OPS on the spring. Obviously spring stats go out the window once the regular season starts, but its a promising sign for the V-Mart on his last go-'round.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Andriese is in the running to fill one of the multi-inning roles that will play a key part of the strategies the Rays hope to employ during the games where they will go with a bullpen approach rather than a traditional starting pitcher. Speculation suggests they will have at least four pitchers on their roster who can go multiple innings other than the four traditional starting pitchers. Andriese has been a starter for the majority of his career as he has started 44 games in his three seasons in the majors. He has had mediocre results so far as he is below .500 and has had an ERA above 4.00 in each of the three seasons. His strikeout totals or even K/9 rate are unremarkable. As part of this experiment, he is unlikely to have value outside of very deep formats.
The Milwaukee Brewers sent second baseman Keston Hiura to minor league camp on Sunday. According to MLB.com, Hiura is the team's top-ranked prospect entering the 2018 season. He left quite the impression on the team in camp and could be up with the team in the second half. The ninth overall pick of last year's draft, Hiura led the nation in batting average (.442) and on-base percentage (.567) in his final year in college. He's surely a name to know in keeper/dynasty formats.
New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (hand) will have surgery on Tuesday to fix a fractured bone in his right (non-throwing) hand. However, he'll resume throwing five days after the procedure, but he'll likely miss the start of the regular season. The veteran left-handed probably won't miss many starts in the first month of the season, but he's a bad mixed league option. Vargas doesn't strike out many and relies on contact to get outs. He'll likely be more of the pitcher he was in the second half last year with the Royals than in the first half, which is not good.
Colorado Rockies prospect Yency Almonte looks to be the next big starting pitcher on their farm. Almonte was showered with praise by manager Bud Black for how he's performed this spring, and though he's going to start the season at Triple-A Albuquerque, it looks like he's a prime candidate for a mid-season call-up when someone eventually gets injured or suffers too bad a case of suck-itis. Almonte will still wear the heavy shackles of Coors Field, but once starters start falling to injuries, plenty of fantasy owners are happy to accept such warts when they come with mid-90s fastballs.
Colorado Rockies prospect first baseman Ryan McMahon was believed to have a good shot at making the opening day roster in 2018, but the re-signing of Carlos Gonzalez looks to be the final straw that has ended that belief. With CarGo back in the outfield one more time, Ian Desmond is expected to be implanted at first base, leaving McMahon without a position. If it were the American League, the top prospect would be a shoo-in to serve as a designated hitter, but it looks like he'll instead have to toil at Triple-A once again while waiting for a spot to open up.
Colorado Rockies outfield prospect Raimel Tapia has always been known for his hit tool, but management is looking to develop his skills on the basepaths to help him contribute. This spring, Tapia's been picked off three times, but apparently that's by design. Manager Bud Black told reporters that Tapia's been challenged to take bigger leads than ever before to try and get him more comfortable with testing pitchers. Tapia's always been a better real-life prospect than fantasy one due to his limited contribution in anything besides batting average, but if the new push to get him to stretch more in the running game can bolster his stolen base total, this project could be a boost to his value.
Colorado Rockies setup man Bryan Shaw had a rough outing against the Giants, surrendering home runs to Madison Bumgarner and Nick Hundley. Shaw is notorious for his rough spring trainings with the Indians, so there isn't a ton of concern about the poor performance at this point. For those in Holds leagues, Shaw should still serve as an excellent source as Colorado's offense will regularly provide them with late leads.
There was some concern amongst the Kansas City Royals staff that third baseman Mike Moustakas may not get his timing back with his shortened spring session, but homering in his second game helped allay some of those fears. Obviously, spring is spring and the results aren't a guarantee to carry over, but everyone would always rather see good results than bad. Moustakas is returning for a one-year deal after a rough offseason that found him without an acceptable long-term deal anywhere. Expect him to get plenty of opportunities this season as the beefy part of KC's lineup behind the likes of Jon Jay and Whit Merrifield.
Kansas City Royals first base prospect Ryan O'Hearn has gone on a tear in the Cactus League. O'Hearn has belted four homers in his last three games, and though the 24-year-old will be starting the season at Triple-A Omaha, he could see big-league at-bats soon enough. O'Hearn has shown that he packs a real punch at the plate, but his limited defensive abilities have kept him down in the minors to this point, as well as the previous presence of Eric Hosmer. With Hosmer gone and the hot-and-cold Lucas Duda manning first base, expect O'Hearn to get more serious consideration for a promotion. If not this year, then next.
One of the bigger signings this winter for the Kansas City Royals was outfielder Jon Jay. Jay's no superstar, but he can hit for average and get on base at a pretty good clip. That's a rarity in an offense as bad as KC's, and so he's currently slotted to be the lead-off man in 2018. While his on-base skills will probably earn him a decent run total with Whit Merrifield, Mike Moustakas, and Lucas Duda bringing him around, that's about all he'll bring to the table. Jay's never even shown average pop or speed, so his home run and stolen base numbers will continue to be depressed. The presence of Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon, two of the worst hitters in baseball in 2017, will put to bed any thoughts of RBI opportunities for Jay as well.
Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon was atrocious offensively last season. A hot fall pulled him up to a final batting average of .208, but he wasn't as good as his average suggests. Over the offseason, multiple reports came out that Gordon was completely overhauling his approach at the plate so he could be better this year. So far, he's 4-for-39 this spring. Sure, spring stats don't really count, but it doesn't appear that overhaul has quite worked. He should be avoided in all but the deepest of leagues.
The Kansas City Royals have signed relief pitcher Justin Grimm to a one-year contract. Grimm was recently released by the Chicago Cubs, mostly due to the fact that he was out of minor/major options. Grimm worked in 50 games last year for the Cubs, and he'll slot into a short-relief role for the Royals as well. He shouldn't sniff any closing or starting opportunities for KC, but with closer Kelvin Herrera losing the job for a while last season, a solid performance by Grimm could keep him in the mix if Herrera falters again.
Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Soler continues to swing with all his might. Soler homered for the sixth time this spring, doubling the number of singles he's recorded so far. The power is always mesmerizing, and when his pair of doubles are tacked on as well, the extra-base ability is awesome when it's only happened in 46 at-bats. The problem is that he's also struck out 14 times in that stretch, making for a 30.4% K-rate. That's not otherworldly bad, but it's not good either, especially in spring training. Expect Soler to still be draft-worthy on potential, assuming he can land a job with the big league club, but also don't be shocked if he whiffs more than anything else.
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Carson Kelly was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Sunday. Kelly is the team's top catching prospect and one of the top catching prospects in baseball. Yadier Molina is sticking around for another few years, but the job is Kelly's once "Yadi" retires. He may have had a chance to make the team as the backup catcher, but he struggled at the plate in Grapefruit League games. Francisco Pena will be the backup for now.
|Say Hey Kid||3/18 11:28 pm ET|
|MUNCHEES SLUGGERS||3/18 9:41 pm ET|
|stopdaRuckus||3/18 4:11 pm ET|
|Abe1||3/18 10:00 am ET|
|Green Monsters||3/17 12:43 pm ET|
|Longballers 250H2H||3/17 8:39 am ET|
|Ty Cobb||3/15 10:07 am ET|
|Barves7||3/14 7:17 am ET|
|Grand Slam||3/12 12:13 pm ET|
|Rounding Third||3/12 8:51 am ET|
|**Aceholes**||3/10 11:25 pm ET|
|Ezmoneymango 8||3/5 11:54 pm ET|
|Commissioner||3/2 5:23 pm ET|
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