FINALLY! Pitchers and catchers have reported. Jesus Montero has dropped a ton of weight and apparently, per Doctor’s orders, CC Sabathia found it. I really need to find out who’s Sabathia’s Primary Care Physician. Anyone that says 305 pounds is the ideal weight is my kinda guy. Of course. Sabathia is close to a foot taller than me and I still need to lose 100 lbs to get there.
Anyway, I thought we’d take a tour of the American League today then survey the Senior Circuit on Thursday. At each stop I’ll share some of scenarios that I feel are fantasy-relevant. Staying on top of these should lead to an edge on draft day.
- With Matt Wieters coming back from Tommy John surgery, the reserve catcher will not only be seeing extra time early as Wieters serves as DH, but he’ll also get more time in-season as usual as the plan is for Wieters to rest a bit more. If Caleb Joseph is the back-up (and he likely is), he’ll be a nice second backstop in deep leagues.
- He’s still unsigned, but if Everth Cabrera is brought in, second base could be his.
BOSTON RED SOX
- The whole fantasy community will be glued to Fort Myers as the Red Sox flesh out their outfield logjam.
- Something to watch is the catching split between Ryan Hanigan and Christian Vazquez. Playing time is likely split pretty evenly. If Vazquez plays more, he’s an interesting receiver in deep leagues.
- It may not be clear from usage, but deciphering next-in-line to Koji Uehara could result in some saves since the chance of Uehara staying healthy is pretty slim.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
- Second base is up for grabs. Carlos Sanchez and Emilio Bonifacio are the primary combatants.
- All eyes will be on Carlos Rodon and whether he’ll break camp in the rotation (I don’t think so).
- It’s a foregone conclusion that Francisco Lindor is the future Tribe’s shortstop but Jose Ramirez has a good chance to delay that with a strong spring carried into the regular season.
- A couple of spots are available in the rotation as Gavin Floyd, Danny Salazar, T.J. House and Zach McAllister will battle it out. Keep an eye on House, if he grabs a spot, he could be a pleasant surprise.
- Obviously, everyone will be tracking Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez but what you should really be following is Alex Avila and James McCann. Avila could spend some time at first and DH with McCann battling Bryan Holaday. If McCann emerges he’s a nice second catcher in deep leagues.
- Shane Greene should secure the last rotation spot and is worth a look.
- Jonathan Singleton will be an important spring training follow, especially if you’re an Evan Gattis owner. Singleton could be the odd-man out with Gattis and Chris Carter sharing first and DH.
- With a strong spring, Hank Conger could wrest playing time from Jason Castro. The outfield is in flux with only George Springer assured of a regular gig.
- The last couple of rotation spots are up-for-grabs with Dan Straily the one to watch.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
- There’s really not a whole lot to track with the offense, other than perhaps the batting order since a couple of players can move up or down the ranks depending where they’re slotted. Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar are the two most affected.
- With pitching, how the club intends to use Brandon Finnegan will be telling. He’s an arm you want regardless of role.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
- Second base will be a tussle with Josh Rutledge, Grant Green and Taylor Featherstone the principles.
- The back-end of the rotation is in flux with Hector Santiago and Andrew Heaney in the driver’s seat. Both are intriguing though Heaney will cost more since he still has that new car smell while Santiago has the residual stench of a wretched 2014.
- Shortstop and center field will be decided in camp. The early word is shortstop is between Danny Santana and Eduardo Escobar with center featuring a heads up among Aaron Hicks and Jordan Schafer. The catch is Santana can also factor into center.
- Early reports are positive but Glen Perkins is still worth monitoring. Remember, he was shut down early last fall with a sore wing.
NEW YORK YANKEES
- It may be easier to review the spots that are settled. The most important thing to watch is closer with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.
- The entire rotation is a question mark though how much can be gleaned from the spring is unclear.
- Then it’s all about Alex Rodriguez as everything dominoes off how much he plays.
- Offensively, the main question is if Stephen Vogt can handle the catching duties well enough to be the regular.
- Most assume Tyler Clippard will serve as closer until Sean Doolittle is ready but it’s a situation worth following.
- The back-end of the Athletics rotation is definitely worth tracking as whoever emerges between Jesse Hahn, Drew Pomeranz, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, and Jesse Chavez should be a nice fantasy asset working in the cavernous Coliseum.
- The major battle will be at shortstop as Brad Miller will look to get his job back from Chris Taylor
- Sorry, that’s all I got.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
- Second base is Nick Franklin’s to lose.
- The major camp battle will be at closer with Jake McGee on the sidelines for a few weeks. Brad Boxberger will have to fend off Kevin Jepsen, Ernesto Frieri and Gr….Gran….Grant Balfour. Man, that was hard to type.
- With a strong spring, Prince Fielder could jump back up draft boards.
- Left field is a mess with Ryan Ludwick, Nate Schierholtz, Jake Smolinski and Ryan Rua vying for the time. Yu Darvish, like Fielder, could see his stock rise if he looks good.
- Neftali Feliz vows to return to previous form; it’s worth tracking his velocity.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
- Unless they address the closer situation, Brett Cecil deserves a long look
- The club is supposed to clarify Aaron Sanchez’s role as well.
- Second base is in complete flux though winner won’t be all that fantasy relevant.
- If Dalton Pompey can nail down center field, he has a chance to be extremely relevant.
NEXT: A trip around the National League