Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: LABR, Clayton Kershaw, Carl Crawford and Others

CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 01: Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Philles poses for a portrait at the Bright House Field on March 1, 2012 in Clearwater, Florida (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

For those of you in auctions leagues, the two grand-daddies of them all are taking place this weekend in Arizona, as the LABR AL-Only and NL-Only leagues hold their auctions. The LABR consists of fantasy baseball experts across the internet and I will do my best to post the draft results as they become available.

I was checking out SB Nation's LA Dodgers blog, TrueBlueLA and Eric Stephen has been reporting from spring training this week. Yesterday, he had a chance to meet Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. Here is what Koufax had to say about current Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw:

Then Koufax was asked if Clayton Kershaw had a ceiling, and number 32 said, "No. How do you make up a ceiling? His only ceiling is time. How long he will play, you don't know. But as far as talent is concerned, no."

Koufax went a bit further when asked of the comparisons between Kershaw and him, saying, "If he’s as good as I think he’s going to be, I’m honored."

Quite a compliment from a Hall of Famer.

More fantasy baseball thoughts after the jump:

Mariners catcher/DH Jesus Montero had a rough day behind the plate in yesterday's intrasquad game. He took two foul tips off of his jaw and had to be removed from the game. I wonder if this will have an impact on how many games he will catch in 2012.

Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford had a setback in his rehab from surgery on his left wrist. He developed inflammation in the wrist and will not swing a bat for a few days. He will probably start the season on the DL, and I am very curious how much he goes for in the LABR AL-Only league auction on Saturday night.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel announced yesterday that it will be awhile before second baseman Chase Utley appears in a spring training game. Not to fret. Manuel is just taking it slow with Utley to make sure his right knee is healthy once the season starts. But fantasy owners should take note that Utley is an injury risk so don't go crazy on him on draft day.

Pirates new starter A.J. Burnett will be out anywhere from 2-3 months after having surgery to repair an orbital fracture around his eye after a bunted ball bounced and hit him in his face on Thursday. Burnett is not draftable in mixed leagues as a result, and is a late round choice in NL-Only leagues.

With Grady Sizemore out with yet another injury, Indians manager Manny Acta announced a few days ago that Michael Brantley will be his starting center fielder. Brantley hit ,266-.318-.384 in 451 at bats last season, with 7 HRs, 46 RBI, 63 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. He is a later round choice in mixed leagues.

Rays starter Matt Moore will throw his first bullpen this afternoon after dealing with abdominal discomfort. Rays GM Andrew Friedman stated that Moore's innings will be monitored, but with no limits, this season.

Giants catcher Buster Posey will miss the first few games in spring training. Here is more from Henry Schulman at the San Francisco Chronicle:

Posey needs more preparation. He has not practiced sliding yet and still needs work running the bases, which he knew would be the most difficult test for his ankle.

"I knew it was more than likely he'd start in the second week than the first week," Bochy said. "When a guy hasn't played in (10) months it takes some time. We just want to make sure he's completely ready before we put him back there.

"But I will say he's real close. If we wanted to force the issue, we could."

Like I have said before, the key will be how he responds to catching two days in a row this spring.

Reds manager Dusty Baker announced his lineup for today's first spring training game with Ryan Ludwick batting cleanup in between Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and catching prospect Devin Mesoraco batting 8th. I wonder how long Ludwick will stay in the Reds starting lineup this season. He could be a solid source or power late in drafts. Shortstop prospect Zack Cozart is batting in the two spot in the lineup as well. He could put up a 15 HR, 15 stolen base season if he can stay in the lineup.

Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth is not playing in Saturday's spring training game, but will play center field on Sunday. Bryce Harper will start and bat 7th in Saturday's spring training game. One other thing to note is that shortstop Ian Desmond is leading off and second baseman Danny Espinosa is batting second in both games this weekend.

If you aren't reading the other baseball blogs here are SB Nation, you are missing out. Make sure you save the following in your list of favorites:

Baseball Nation

Minor League Ball

MLB Daily Dish

Beyond the Boxscore

You can check out all of SB Nation's baseball team blogs on Baseball Nation. They are a good source of information if you are looking for information on a particular player, injuries, etc.

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