Spring Training is the time to see whether the up-and-comers are ready for the big time and whether the players with injury concerns are worth their ADP.
The Rockies are giving their No. 2 prospect Ryan McMahon every opportunity to grab the first base job. The 23-year-old has seen more at-bats than any other player in spring training, hitting .340 with one home run.
Although the acquisition of Carlos Gonzalez will eat into playing time for a lot of the Rockies, make sure you target McMahon in drafts if he breaks camp. He hit .355 with .986 OPS across all levels last season, with 20 home runs and double-digit stolen bases.
Another player with playing time concerns is the Cubs’ multi-talented Ian Happ. Although the 23-year-old saw time at second base, third base and all three outfield positions last season, he might not be the first choice at any of them.
In his debut season, Happ slashed .253/.328/.514 with 24 home runs and has already hit six in Spring Training, putting him second behind Indians’ Jason Kipnis.
More from FanSided
- Cardinals Rumors: Surprise extension, Dylan Carlson-Yankees link, Rays trade idea
- USWNT vs. Vietnam: Key takeaways before they take on the Dutch
- NFL rumors: 49ers trending toward contract drama with defensive star
- Steelers avoid any camp drama with latest roster move
- MLB Rumors: Potential Braves reunion, Lance Lynn no-trade clause and Orioles deadline intentions
The Cubs need a leadoff hitter, so if Happ gets the job, he could have sensational value as a power-hitting, run-scorer with multi-position eligibility.
Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner missed 12 weeks due to a dirt bike accident. He returned to post a 3.29 ERA over his final 10 starts, which flattered the 29-year-old. His drop in strikeout rate to 8.09 SO/9 with 4.18 FIP fuelled concern that he was still affected by the shoulder injury.
Although he has been unusually hittable, the 28-year-old leads spring training with 22 strikeouts to just one walk. It looks like the shoulder issue is behind him, and he continues to be a safe pick as one of the second-tier starting pitchers.
Dominic Leone is impressing in the four-player competition to secure the Cardinals’ closer job. With Luke Gregerson banged up and likely to be unavailable for Opening Day, Leone has converted all three of his save opportunities with a strikeout rate of 12.0 SO/9.
Last season, Leone pitched 70.1 innings with 2.94 FIP and 1.05 WHIP from the Blue Jays’ bullpen. He also faces competition for the job from Bud Norris and Tyler Lyons, and the Cardinals are continually linked to free agent Greg Holland.
The Mariners have a glaring void at first base. Ryon Healy is recovering from hand surgery and unlikely to make Opening Day. Mike Ford, their rule-5 pick, will likely make the roster but the interesting player from a fantasy perspective is Dan Vogelbach.
The 25-year-old has destroyed Triple-A over the last couple of seasons with 40 home runs, 50 doubles and .883 OPS, despite having issues against left-handed pitching.
He is the best Mariners’ hitter in spring training with 1.262 OPS including two home runs and more walks than strikeouts. His ADP is currently 676 but expect that to rise quickly when the rest of the fantasy world realize.
Spring training continues to fascinate me. Every year I convince myself that I will not overrate March performances, but it is difficult not to get excited about the emergence of a player like Kyle Jensen (five home runs and more walks than strikeouts). He is a non-roster invitee for the power-sapped San Francisco Giants, who hit 30 home runs with .896 OPS in Japan last season.