Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Grant Balfour, Carlos Marmol, and Others

March 11, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) at the plate in the first inning of the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Marlins outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison were cleared by team doctors to begin baseball activities on Tuesday. Both will do some light running and DH in a few minor league games before starting in major league games. Teams have their injured players play a few minor league games to make sure they are 100% before playing against major league competition. Should the player not be ready, and has to start the season on the DL, his time goes back to his last game against major leaguers.

Does she make you want to become a Red Sox fan? Wow.

A's manager Bob Melvin announced yesterday that reliever Grant Balfour will be his closer to start the season. He beat out Brian Fuentes for the job. Any reliever named "ball four" does not send a good message to fantasy owners.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo decided to put Bryce Harper in center field in AAA to see if he can be their long term answer there. Here are quotes from Rizzo, via Adam Kilgore at the Washington Post:

"Let’s make an evaluation, see how he does," Rizzo said. "If he handles it and we think he’s a long-term answer for us in center, he’ll certainly be the long-term answer. If we feel he can handle the position at the major-league level now, but if we’re looking for better down the road, then we’ll keep that in mind, too.

I don't see Harper lasting long in center field. Why would they risk injury to their future star?

More quotes from Rizzo on Harper after the jump:

And here is Rizzo's reasons for sending Harper to AAA instead of AA to start the 2012 season:

"We felt the games he played at Double-A Harrisburg, he showed that he can handle Double-A pitching just fine," Rizzo said. "And then he went to the fall league and he handled that level. He had no problem there. I don’t see the adjustment being that he’s going to be over his skis as a Triple-A player."

I have a feeling he wants to see how Harper handles all the breaking pitches in AAA, where the most advanced pitching prospects, and former major leaguers reside until an injury occurs in the major league rotation/bullpen.

Rangers starter, and former closer, Neftali Feliz left Tuesday's start with an apparent shoulder injury that will be evaluated after he complained of stiffness in the shoulder after throwing three shutout innings yesterday. I wasn't too high on him heading into the season, but would take a flyer on him late in an AL-only league draft.

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol left Tuesday's game complaining about a cramp in his throwing hand. He will have an MRI on Wednesday to make sure all is well. The Cubs, and Cubs fans, hope there is major damage.

I grabbed the following players in my NL-only league waiver draft the last two days: Jimmy Rollins ($25), Corey Hart ($24) and Ryan Zimmerman ($29) to go along with Matt Kemp ($38), Andrew McCutchen ($29), Chris Young ($20), and Alfonso Soriano ($14). I am planning on spending big on hitting and about $40 in pitching this year. Right now, I have $69 left to spend on 13 players. Plan to grab one closer and one decent starter on draft day.

For those of you looking for some cheap saves late in drafts, take a look at Padres reliever Andrew Cashner who was hitting triple digits earlier this spring. Here is a tweet I came across last evening:

Andrew Cashner will steal some saves this season in San Diego according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times!

I am in three NL-only leagues, so Cashner will be a target in a few of them.

Another late round sleeper in NL-only league drafts is Cubs first baseman Anthony RIzzo. Here is a tweet from Phil Rogers, a Cubs beat writer:

Phil Rogers ‏ @ChiTribRogers

Will Cubs rethink their 1B decision? Probably not but Anthony Rizzo has looked great this spring. Two singles today.

I will be targeting Rizzo in my one NL-only keeper league next week.

ESPN's Keith Law wrote up a fantasy article yesterday. Yes he is expanding into fantasy it appears. Here is what he had to say when answering the question "who has lit it up for you this spring?":

I saw Manny Machado in a split-squad major league game Sunday and I don't think he's as far away as I thought a month ago -- and that's referring to his offense and defense. I'm not advocating this by any means, but if the Baltimore Orioles decide to push him hard this year, I think he could see the majors by September. If you're in a deep keeper league, take note.

I had to read that twice to make sure I read it correctly. Note taken. He also said he liked what he has seen from Jemile Weeks this spring and thinks he can reach double digits in homers.

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