We knew the fantasy baseball world would get turned upside down with the end of the MLB lockout and we were not wrong. Free agent signings are steadily coming in, trades have been exciting and the injury news has, sadly, been abundant. If you haven’t set a date for your fantasy baseball draft yet, we recommend pushing it to as close to the start of the season as possible. The delay of spring training and the lack of access to teams, coaches and players has left us in the dark regarding everyone’s offseason regimen. The Fantasy Baseball Daily Round-Up is here to help you follow it all.
St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher Jack Flaherty Heads for Shoulder Exam
This one hurts me on a personal level as I waited on starting pitching in the BARF Draft and took Flaherty as one of my top two starters. Without having access to his offseason workouts and rehab sessions, we had no idea that one day of throwing in camp would force the team to send their potential ace to the medical team for further evaluation. We haven’t received any word, but Jim Bowden told us Tuesday on the SiriusXM Fantasy Alarm Show that he texted someone close to the situation and the response was “ng.” Yeah, “not good” is, well…not good. I’ve bumped him down in my rankings for the time being and lowered him a little bit in the Ultimate Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet. I would avoid him for now and see what happens when updates come later in the week.
Boston Red Sox Starting Pitcher Chris Sale to Miss Opening Day
Just as I was typing up Flaherty, Buster Olney reports that Boston Red Sox starter Chris Sale has a stress fracture in his rib cage and won’t be ready for the start of the season. How long this has been known for or how long he will be out is not yet known, but tune in to the SiriusXM Fantasy Alarm Show tonight at 6:30pm ET as manager Alex Cora joins us for an interview.
Baltimore Orioles Rookie Catcher Adley Rutschman Dealing with Elbow Soreness
While manager Brandon Hyde says Rutschman is expected to be fine after receiving treatment, this may be something to monitor. We’ve actually seen this in catchers in the past. Matt Wieters, a former catching prospect for the Orioles had elbow issues which led to him having Tommy John surgery back in 2014. Now, I’m not trying to hit the panic button just yet, but after taking Rutschman in a few best ball drafts, I’m going to back off a little bit now.
Other MLB Injuries to Monitor
Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. told reporters on Tuesday that he has a flexor tendon injury and not a UCL issue. I am now avoiding him in all drafts.
Chicago Cubs starter Adbert Alzolay has been diagnosed with a lat strain. He would have been a nice guy for strikeouts late in drafts, but an injury like this can take a while to heal and even upon return, control and command tend to be an issue.
Oakland A’s pitcher James Kaprielian is dealing with AC joint irritation and is expected to be a couple of weeks behind this spring according to Athletics manager Mark Kotsay. He’s a late-round flier, at best, so not much concern outside of AL-only leagues.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier is dealing with neck and upper back stiffness, but then again, it wouldn’t be a baseball season if Kiermaier wasn’t spending time on the IL.
How about some good news…?
First Baseman Anthony Rizzo Returns to the New York Yankees
We received word late Tuesday that the Yankees have resigned Anthony Rizzo as their fallback option to not trading for Matt Olson (who just got himself an eight-year, $168M extension from the Braves) or signing Freddie Freeman. While technically not out of the running for Freeman, word out of the Yankees organization is that they are not optimistic about him wanting to come to the Big Apple. As for Rizzo, his value doesn’t change much as we are still not sure how everything is going to play out with this infield. Let’s not forget that Luke Voit is still with the team and DJ LeMahieu can also play first. As soon as this sorts out, we’ll let you know.
Toronto Blue Jays Trade for Oakland A’s Third Baseman Matt Chapman
Either Toronto is assembling a super-team or this is a precursor to them not signing Freddie Freeman. We’re not quite sure, but this is a big bat to add to an already potent lineup. Chapman’s batting average may stink, but he’s a 30-homer bat and a two-time Platinum Glove Award Winner. The thought was that Freeman would play first as the Jays had Vladimir Guerrero Jr. taking grounders at third, but now the addition of Chapman puts the kibosh on that. Maybe. They could still add Freeman and use Guerrero as their DH, so we’ll just wait
Chicago Cubs Win the Seiya Suzuki Sweepstakes
With the lure of Wrigley Field and a five-year, $85M deal, the Cubs add a big right-handed bat in Seiya Suzuki and get a big arm in right field. Suzuki is just 27-years-old so he is in his physical prime and while some metrics liken him to Pete Alonso and Bryce Harper, we’re going to pump the brakes a little bit and scale down that power just a little bit. He's a career .309/.402/.541 hitter who has launched 189 home runs and has swiped 102 bases, so there is definitely life in the bat, but before we declare him as the next Shohei Ohtani, we’ll see how he handles the new baseball and American pitching. Check your league’s position eligibility requirements because you may be able to grab him at third base as well as the outfield. We’ve seen him at third in some best ball drafts, so maybe before they correct it, you can steal him there.
Philadelphia Phillies Sign Slugger Kyle Schwarber
We knew the Phillies weren’t going to enter the season with Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley making up two-thirds of their outfield, so look for Kyle Schwarber to move between the outfield and DH which should still help maintain his position eligibility. The power is going to play in Philly, for sure, as he has six home runs in 69 career plate appearances at Citizens Bank Park, but obviously the batting average is likely to hover in the .250 range. This is a great landing spot for Schwarber, as the Phillies lineup is going to be ripe with RBI opportunities for him, but his value and ADP should stay about the same for now.
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