Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: Hanley Ramirez, Chris Perez, Danny Espinosa and Others

Feb 22, 2012; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez (2) during spring training drills at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Here is a quick take on the news that came out yesterday as we are about a week away from our first spring training games.

With all the talk of Hanley Ramirez's unhappiness with the Marlins signing Jose Reyes to play shortstop in 2012, CBS Sports Jon Heyman wrote this about HanRam n his blog post yesterday:

I'm not sure whether it's because today was the day for the brief media refresher course, but Ramirez's publick message was that he loved third base and was looked foward to the chalenge. "It's 200 percent OK,'' Ramirez said. "I feel it in my heart. I feel it in my mind. I feel it in my body.''

Maybe I wil be wrong about Hanley and his power will bounce back to levels last seen 2-3 years ago. We don't know how the Marlins new ballpark will play, but we do know they won't have the huge wall in left field anymore, so there is a chance there will be more home runs hit in the new ballpark than in the old.

Indians closer Chris Perez may miss the start of the season, as he is scheduled to miss the next 4-6 weeks due to a left oblique injury. He says he hopes to be back by mid-March, but I am sure the team will take it slow with him. Indians manager Manny Acta indicated that Vinnie Pestano would be his closer should Perez not be ready for the start of the season.

Pestano was excellent in his first full season in the majors, going 1-2 with 2 saves, a 2.32 ERA, 2.67 FIP and 2.80 xFIP in 62 innings of work. He struck out 12.19 batters per nine, while walking roughly 3.50 batters per nine, and held batters to a .184 BAA last season. He has room to improve his walk rate as it was higher than his 2.72 BB/9 in AAA in 2010. I wonder if he could keep the closers job even when Perez returns.

More fantasy baseball thoughts after the jump:

Kevin Payne from Rotowire published his list of players to target in 2012, and among his targets is Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa. Payne compares Espinosa to Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler when he was a rookie, and other than BA, Espinosa out-homered him 21 to 19 (prorated over similar at bats) and stole 17 bases vs Kinsler's 15. Espinosa had a solid rookie season in 2011, this after having hamate bone surgery in the 2010 offseason. Reports indicate that his right hand is 100% this offseason, so there is a chance he could improve upon his 21 HR rookie season.

The Rangers want Josh Hamilton to play more left field this season to save his body from the rigors of playing center field on a daily basis. The choices to take over in center are Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin and Julio Borbon. Jeff Wilson from the Fort Worth Star Telegram had this to say about the center field options:

Borbon, seeking his third consecutive Opening Day start in center field, might have fallen behind Gentry as the favorite......Martin likely needs a mammoth spring to make the Opening Day roster. The Cuban defector has played only 73 minor league games and eight (one start) in the majors.

Gentry isn't a great hitter, hitting .271-.347-.346 in 133 at bats in 2011, but he stole 18 bases in 18 attempts, so he could prove to be a cheap source of steals should he win the centerfield job this spring.

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