Ray’s Ramblings: Weight Changes & Updates
Fellas in the dessert are losing weight. Health talk about Brantley, McCullers and Scherzer. Will Springer run? Will Haniger? Who is gonna close in Washington?
Jake Barrett lost a lot of weight his offseason, 30 lbs, as he’s slendered down to 235 lbs (I don’t think that’s a word, is it?). “I felt good during the season last year being at 265, but, I don’t know, I just was uncomfortable being that heavy,” he said. “I feel like I can drop some weight and still maintain everything.” As you can see in our Closer Grid, it would seem like Barrett is second in line for saves in Arizona behind the always tumultuous Fernando Rodney.
Christian Bethancourt is planning on pitching and catching this season for the Padres. He’s even seeing some time in the outfield. He’s an extremely interesting late round add in NL-only leagues. Make sure your league is set up so that his hitting, and pitching, will count.
In an amazing turn of events, Michael Brantley (shoulder) was healthy enough to actually take batting practice Friday. In true Brantley form, there was still something that just sticks in my craw; the BP session wasn’t outside as it was in the indoor cage. His Opening Day status is still up in the air.
Brandon Drury lost 10 lbs over the offseason while at the same time adding some muscle tone. That sounds like a win-win. "I'm lighter and looser in my hips, and my feet are working a lot freer than they used to," Drury said. "So I feel good, I feel loose, I'm ready to go." The reason for the change is that he’s apparently locked into full-time work at second base after he bounced around the field last season and we wants to be nimble. Drury quietly went .282-16-53-59 last season. Logan Forsythe, for a comparison, was a similar performer last season (.264-20-52-76).
Koda Glover isn’t likely to open the year as the Nationals closer, a fact I touched on in Finally He Signs. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post posited that Glover will take over closing at some point around midseason. I’m laying odds that Kelley will be the guy this season, but the continued whispers of others handling the role are concerning.
Mitch Haniger appears likely to begin the season as the Mariners starter in right field. For his part, Haniger believe he’s not only ready for the challenge but that he’s capable of stealing 20 bases right out of the gate. A quick look at his player card though reveals that this is likely a pipe dream as he’s stolen a total of just 24 bases his last two seasons.
Tim Lincecum still wants to pitch, and it sounds like several teams are interested. In nine starts last year the former superstar hurler went 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA and 2.37 WHIP. He looks finished, sorry Timmy, and his only chance to grab a spot in the bigs would seem to be if he accepts a spot in someone’s bullpen.
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Jake Peavy is still a free agent, and it sounds like the reason has to do with a divorce he’s going through. Peavy has deemed it more important to be there for his four kids than to throw a baseball. I respect that. One would have to think that he will be an inseason signing by someone, so those of you doing league specific drafts should give serious consideration to throwing out his name at the end of drafts.
Max Scherzer will throw a bullpen session Saturday. He’s still not going to throw his fastball though as he will only be chucking his secondary stuff. I’m getting close to starting to worry a bit about Scherzer.
George Springer is a top-10 outfield play this season. I recently posted a video Player Profile giving my thoughts. One of the issues I pointed out was my concern with Springer’s ineffectiveness on the base paths. Seems like Springer understands that (A) he was a 40-steal guy in the minors, (B) he stunk on the bases last year and (C) folks are wondering what is going on? During an interview on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, Springer said he’s only going to try and steal bases when the situation calls for it. So much for the hope of a significant improvement in his steals total this season.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 7 PM EDT, Wednesday 8 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 9 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).