We are 14 days from Opening Day which leaves just a handful of spring training games remaining before MLB rosters are set and even fewer days remaining for leagues to kick off their fantasy baseball drafts. With that said let’s take a look at which players see their values rising and falling as we head towards the start of the season.
Ryan McMahon 1B, COL- McMahon is a popular sleeper candidate heading into the year as he figures to at least start in a platoon at first base with Ian Desmond following the resigning of Carlos Gonzalez but he should see his role expand from there. Any player that will see at bats in the Rockies lineup will typically get a boost in fantasy value as it is but McMahon’s 17 hits currently the most among players this spring. Now sure he has also played in 20 games which is more than most, but it is still a solid showing for the Rockies rookie.
Lewis Brinson OF, MIA- Brinson enters 2018 as the 18th ranked prospect by Baseball America. He was dealt this offseason from the Brewers to the Marlins in the package that brought Christian Yelich to Milwaukee. Brinson displayed 20-homer/20-stolen base upside while at the minor league level and figures to be the everyday starter for the Marlins this season. Brinson is enjoying a solid spring training, hitting .351 with a .952 OPS over 37 at bats. He has a current ADP of 310 which means he is likely going undrafted in most standard league formats, but he should be on your fantasy radar as a multi-category sleeper.
Scott Schebler OF, CIN- Schebler broke out in 2017, hitting 30 home runs over 141 games for the Reds. He was essentially the left-handed version of Adam Duvall for the Reds in terms of power and a batting average that leaves something to be desired. It’s unlikely Schebler will ever WOW you in the average department but the power seems legit which means you can get 30 home run upside in the last few rounds of your fantasy draft seeing as he currently has an ADP of 325. Schebler is enjoying a strong spring, hitting .500 (14-28) with two home runs and 10 RBI.
Ian Desmond 1B, COL- Desmond was signed to the Rockies last season with the expectations that he would be their first basemen, but injuries limited him to just 95 games in which he hit .274 with 47 runs, seven home runs, 40 RBI and 15 stolen bases. The signing of Carlos Gonzalez likely means that Desmond will again move back to first base as he has made two starts there since the CarGo signing. The problem is that rookie Ryan McMahon is enjoying a solid spring and Desmond is not, in fact Desmond is hitting just .097 with 16 strikeouts in 31 at bats. Desmond currently has an ADP of 124 but that could certainly be on the way down.
Greg Bird 1B, NYY- Bird comes into this season as a sleeper candidate once again thanks to his home run potential and the upside of hitting in a STACKED Yankees lineup but aside from the power which has produced 20 home runs in 94 games at the major league level there are concerns about what else he brings to the table. He hit just .261 in 2015 and just .190 last season. This spring training has been a struggle for Bird as he is hitting just .152 (5-for-33) with zero home runs and 13 strike outs. Bird currently has an ADP of 155 but after his poor spring and struggles last season I think I’ll be letting somebody else make that pick.
Chase Anderson SP, MIL- The Brewers Opening Day starter is coming off a career best season which saw him go 12-4 with a 2.74 ERA over 25 starts. A deeper look into Anderson’s stats however show that he may have been a bit luckier than his numbers led on. Anderson’s 2.74 ERA was matched with a 4.33 xFIP and a 4.14 SIERA. He also was fortunate to own an 8.6% HR/FB which is below league average and a batting average against of .265 which is also a bit below league average. Anderson is struggling this spring, having allowed seven runs on 12 hits over 9.2 innings for an ERA of 6.52 and a WHIP of 1.45. Anderson currently has an average ADP of 170 but if his numbers regress back towards the league averages he is likely not worth drafting at all.