Sport Fantasy Baseball Spring Notebook: Eloy Jimenez the latest to go down as injuries begin to pile up
2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Scott White's Tout Wars team, rankings debates, news and notes, more
Where everyone stands their ground on where they have players ranked!May 14, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Brandon Woodruff (53) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
The wounded are beginning to pile up here in the last full week of spring training, and the most concerning of all might be, who left Wednesday's game with what the have for now labeled "shoulder discomfort." But further testing may reveal that to be a massive understatement.
I'm no medical expert, so I'll defer to someone who is, Dr. Jesse Morse of TheFantasyDoctors.com:
Unfortunately very likely yes— Jesse Morse, MD (@DrJesseMorse)
If you missed the play, Jimenez reached over the fence in a vain attempt to rob a home run. He hung suspended by his elbow for a moment, and his shoulder appeared to shift. If he dislocated it, tearing through the labrum in the process, his absence could measure in months rather than weeks.
Fantasy Baseball 2021: One sleeper from every MLB team to draft
Your definition of sleeper may vary, but the following list contains undervalued players when compared to ADP. Varsho looked likely to open the year in the minors but may get a chance to play right field with Kole Calhoun sidelined. Riley is still just 23 years old, had a solid exit velocity last season, and has 26 career homers over 131 major league games. He's a BA risk, but he hit .283 in the minors and quietly made nice improvements in his BB and K percentages last year. Riley could easily hit 35+ homers this season.
It probably won't be a season-ender, especially since it's to his lesser shoulder, but it would wreck his draft stock for sure. An update should be forthcoming Thursday, but you'll want to use extreme caution if you're drafting between now and then.
We talk about the Eloy Jimenez injury and Chris Towers' most drafted players on the Fantasy Baseball Today in 5 Podcast. And you can follow us to make sure you get the latest episodes right when they drop onand .
When a fracture is better than a strain
has a hairline fracture in his right forearm, which is better than the sort of forearm injury that might be a precursor to Tommy John surgery but nonetheless raises its own set of questions. Typically, a broken bone requires 6-8 weeks to heal, but a stress fracture might be less than that. An extended absence for a pitcher would normally require him to ramp up all over again, but Gallen will continue playing catch even in the earliest stages of his recovery.
One fantasy baseball draft fade from every MLB team
Steamer projects a 4.20 ERA and 1.35 WHIP for Soroka, who will also have to deal with a shaky Braves defense that was one of the worst in baseball last season. There aren’t many great options who fit this exercise in Baltimore, but Mountcastle’s ADP feels a bit inflated thanks to his production in last year’s shortened season, including a .398 BABIP despite an exit velocity that was in the bottom quarter of the league. I can’t get behind him having a higher Yahoo ADP than Josh Bell, although Mountcastle does currently have a higher batting average than on-base percentage in spring training, which is always fun.
Suffice it to say there is no timetable. I suspect his will be shorter than that of, who himself has no timetable for a torn hamstring, but with so little precedent for this sort of injury, I hesitate to say with great confidence. Maybe by the start of May if Gallen ramps up quickly, but maybe a bit later.
My initial inclination is to slot him just behindas my 36th starting pitcher.
One inning down for Lamet
Speaking of Dinelson Lamet, he made his Cactus League debut Wednesday, firing one inning. Thehave been ramping him up slowly after he ended last year with an elbow injury that might have required Tommy John surgery if he didn't shut things down.
His velocity was fine in the outing, but he threw only two sliders. His make-or-break pitch, which he featured more than 50 percent of the time last year, figures to be the most taxing on the elbow, which means he still has some significant hurdles to clear.
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King Felix is sowing his wild oats just before the season begins.
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Rosy outlook for Springer
Turns out, who was playing through mild tightness in his side, has a Grade 2 oblique injury, which sounds like the sort of injury that could sideline him for six weeks or more. But GM Ross Atkins says .
"His symptoms and all of his baseball movements and patterns are incredibly encouraging," Atkins said. "We're extremely optimistic about his strength, about his range of motion, especially his rotational movements, that he could be playing baseball very soon."
Fantasy Baseball 2021: National League predictions
Fantasy Baseball 2021: National League predictions1.
Maybe thearen't being entirely forthright here, but it sounds like the absence will be a relatively short one even if it does land Springer on the IL to begin the year. I've downgraded him a couple spots, but he still ranks ahead of and for me.
Strasburg's calf scare
was back on the mound Wednesday, making his first Grapefruit League start since suffering a calf injury that was so minor it didn't even disrupt his buildup, permitting him to throw 74 pitches in a simulated game over the weekend.
So what was the injury? A ruptured plantaris tendon. But, um ... he's not going to miss that?
"I guess you don't really need it,". "It was just one of those lucky things where it went away and wasn't a big issue. The doctor was pretty adamant about it, saying you don't really need it."
When asked if he was scared by the "ruptured," Stephen Strasburg said the doctor told him he'd need it if we still walked on all fours. But since we are now upright walkers — a sort of new thing, if you think about — he can get by without the tendon and doesn't foresee issues.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse)
How interesting! Are we sure that's the case, though, given that he walked five and struck out only one over his four innings Wednesday?
Fantasy football rankings 2021: Computer model reveals NFL sleepers, breakouts, busts, top 300
SportsLine's advanced computer model simulated the entire 2021 NFL season 10,000 timesSep 9, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) in the second quarter against Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Yeah, pretty sure. It sounds like there was a mechanical issue that he's dealt with in the past and expects to clear up in his next bullpen session. These sorts of recalibrations are common in spring training. The fact he threw 83 pitches and has more or less a clean bill of health is of greater concern to me. Stock holding.
Tatis in the clear
The Fantasy Baseball-playing world held its collective breath whentrotted off the field after making an awkward throw Wednesday, but it turns out the discomfort he was feeling in his left shoulder wasn't anything new.
"It comes and goes over the years," manager Jayce Tingler said. "He does a pretty good job of managing it. He's got a good feel for when it gets bad and when it's not too bad. ... We as a group just have to stay very on top of it."
Apparently, Tatis wasThursday, so you can draft him with confidence in the top five picks still.
Closer committee loses one
bullpen ace (read: not closer) was throwing just 89-92 mph Wednesday, down from his usual 95, and has been dealing with elbow discomfort for the past week. If he's destined for the IL to begin the year, it'll potentially put more save chances in the hands of and/or , but the Rays are the most committed of any team to the closer committee. Given that they had 12 different relievers record a save last year, the impact on any one pitcher will likely be minimal.
A new closer conundrum
is expected to miss significant time with an elbow injury, which opens the door for and/or to close for the Rangers. Manager Chris Woodward wasn't tipping his hand Monday, but general manager Chris Young for Matt Bush, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2018.
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The NFL indicated meetings will likely remain virtual for the foreseeable future, but this year’s offseason workouts are not expected to be fully virtual like they were in 2020. However, the union has offered pushback to an onsite offseason returning this year.As of now, teams can schedule onsite OTAs to begin April 19. This is, however, contingent on no offseason plan being agreed to between the NFL and NFLPA. The union has offered pushback to an onsite offseason returning this year, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reporting little progress has been made between the sides on this front.
"Matt has pitched this spring, has been phenomenal," Young said. "The work he has put in to rehab from surgery and put himself in position to make this club, the perseverance, and resilience, it's everything that I think we would want in terms of characteristics of players."
Bush has struck out six in four innings this spring, allowing two hits and one walk. I'd give him the slight edge over Kennedy, but neither figures to have a firm grip on the closer role or is a high priority on Draft Day.
Position battle winners and losers
- The optioned outfielder to the alternate training site Wednesday. The top prospect was the leading candidate to claim old job in left field but wound up going just 4 for 31, . "What we really want is for Alex to start his career at the major-league level on a good note where he's feeling good, he's locked in, and he's ready to go and then never look back," manager Rocco Baldelli said. It leaves young slugger to compete for playing time with and in left field, but Kirilloff's demotion may be short-lived. Don't cash in your shares just yet.
- The optioned to Triple-A Wednesday. The catcher/outfielder hybrid failed to take advantage of torn meniscus, going 6 for 44 this spring. He's still the rare catcher-eligible player who's capable of across-the-board production (even stolen bases!), but it's asking too much to stash him outside of two-catcher leagues.
- Varsho's demotion would seem to solidify spot in center field, which would seem to suggest is the intended starter at second base. Rojas, who hit .332 with 23 homers, 33 doubles, 33 steals and a 1.023 OPS as a minor-leaguer in 2019, has struggled in his brief opportunities in the majors so far. He made some lifestyle changes in the offseason, though, that he hopes will improve his energy level and has tweaked his stance this spring, going on to hit .345 (20 for 58) with three homers and a .958 OPS. He's worth a late-round flier if you need middle infield help.
- The have firmed up their starting rotation for the start of the year, awarding jobs to both and . Skubal is the big one here, but the rookie seemed like a pretty safe bet after bolstering his secondary arsenal this offeason, adding a split-change and getting more comfortable with his breaking ball. He's . Teheran is low-key interesting, though, given that he's clocking 92-93 mph with his fastball. That's what he was throwing back in 2016, when he was an All-Star for the .
- , who struggled in his return from Tommy John surgery last year, has officially won a spot in the White Sox rotation thanks to a dominant spring in which he has struck out 10 in nine innings, giving up four hits and no walks. The left-hander is getting more spin on his fastball and , shoring up his control. "My mechanics have cleaned up a lot and taken a lot of stress off my body as a whole," he said. "It's less stress on my arm the way I'm throwing now than I was before, because I utilize my lower half better." Rodon has been a bit of a tease in the past but is deserving of another look in light of these developments.
- has apparently won the Braves fifth starter job over , who showed promise with three consecutive quality starts to end last year. Wilson made an impression of his own, though, with six one-run innings against the in the NLCS and has a 1.98 ERA in four appearances this spring. Still, Wilson isn't much of a strikeout pitcher and may have a short stay in the rotation with ramping up to return from injury.
- Though it's still not official, top prospect will begin the year as the White Sox DH, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The team has tried unsuccessfully to sign the 22-year-old to a long-term deal this spring, which would eliminate any incentive for service time manipulation, but it sounds like the White Sox won't be holding it against him. "We'd like to have that message coming from the manager,'' vice president Ken Williams said, "and not me through USA Today.'' And what does manager Tony La Russa say? "He does things that really good hitters do. He can handle pitches, he really competes, never throws an at-bat away, uses the whole field. And he's got thump."
- is in the bullpen, likely filling a multi-inning role. His bid for a rotation spot, which was always a bit of a long shot, came to an end when he left his March 14 start with a strained groin. Antone, who has big swing-and-miss potential with his slider, should still have Rotisserie value as a high-volume reliever and could get another chance to start down the line.
Other notes ...
- right-hander , an under-the-radar prospect, has been under-the-radar awesome this spring, most recently striking out seven and walking none over four two-hit innings Tuesday. That's 20 strikeouts to three walks in 13 innings for him this spring. He stood out in particular for his control in the minors, striking out 93 while walking nine in 79 innings two years ago, and has seemingly overtaken A.J. Puk in the battle for the firth starter job. Time to start talking him up.
- If Jefferies isn't the pitcher who has seen his stock rise the most this spring, then it may be the ' , who struck out seven and walked none in five one-hit innings Tuesday. He's now up to 17 strikeouts compared to just three hits and one walk in 11 innings this spring. According to MLB.com, the Giants challenged him to improve his offspeed pitches his offseason, and now catcher is "just as good, if not better" than former teammate . "He's just getting better and better control and command of that pitch," manager Gabe Kapler said.
- has been lights out since returning from a forearm issue, striking out all six batters he has faced. Meanwhile, , who is Garrett's primary competition for the closer role, allowed two runs on three hits in his spring debut Tuesday. He's working his way back from a sore elbow.
- Top prospect , who flirted with the second base job before being reassigned to minor-league camp, is expected this year, giving him another potential avenue to the majors.
- manager Terry Francona about on Tuesday, leading some to speculate that the right-hander may be the new favorite to close. "Since the day he has arrived here, he has been nothing but a pro," Francona said. "He has been reliable, accountable and he is a leader. He has been a huge part of our bullpen and will continue to be." , the presumptive favorite who tied for the major-league lead with 17.7 K/9 last season, has had some trouble finding the strike zone this spring. He's still worth drafting ahead of Wittgren for now, but it's looking more like a handcuff situation.
- , a big offseason acquisition for the , continued his monstrous spring with his fifth home run Wednesday, giving him a .385 (15 for 39), but fellow first baseman upstaged him, homering twice to give him five home runs of his own. The 36-year-old is batting .474 (9 for 19) and might be earning a bigger share of the playing time with his performance, particularly since Bell, a switch-hitter, has struggled against lefties throughout his career.
- is looking all the more likely to begin the year as the Nationals leadoff man, . He's batting a modest .263 this spring, striking out 15 times in 38 at-bats, but he's working with hitting coach Kevin Long to wait for his pitch and is hitting the ball harder as a result. "What I've seen is, he's taking pitches that he normally swings at -- which is a good sign -- and he's hitting the ball relatively hard," manager Dave Martinez said. "With that being said, he's still striking out and we kind of want him to put the ball in play. When he does put the ball in play, he's hitting the ball hard. His exit velo's been really, really impressive this spring." It still remains to be seen whether the 23-year-old will get on base enough to remain at the top of the lineup, but he should rebound as a base-stealer this year either way.
- Rays ace was raving about his slider after using a new grip in an intrasquad game Monday. "Today was by far the best day my slider's been -- like, by a million," . "So I'm super comfortable with it. ... And it was just easier to throw for strikes, too. Just like a little shift, pretty easy, so I'm encouraged by it." The slider featured more horizontal break, helping to distinguish it from the curveball, and had more velocity, reaching 92 mph.
- With spring training drawing to a close, 2018 MVP is showing no signs of the struggles that plagued him during the shortened 2020 season. He's 6 for 9 in his past four games, homering in two straight, and has struck out just four times in 20 at-bats overall. "He's in a good place," manager Craig Counsell said.. "We're ready. He's ready to go. I wish that, from his perspective, the season starts tomorrow."
So which Fantasy baseball sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship?, and find out.
2021 Miami Marlins roster tracker .
Check on whose currently active for the Marlins and the main candidates to be called up next.Pitchers (13): Sandy Alcantara, Anthony Bass, Richard Bleier, Paul Campbell, Adam Cimber, John Curtiss, Ross Detwiler, Dylan Floro, Yimi García, Pablo López, Nick Neidert, Zach Pop, Trevor Rogers