Roto Roundup: Jeter, Puig, Freese, Sandoval and Others

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Ray Guilfoyle publishes his inaugural Roto Roundup piece of the season, chock full of fantasy baseball thoughts he has been waiting to unleash for the last week.

This is my first Roto Roundup article of the 2013 season. This will be a daily piece where I will recap the highlights and lowlights of the previous day's MLB action. Today, I will recap some news from the last few days and some other fantasy baseball thoughts I have been pondering lately.

Opening day is next Monday April 1st, and that is April Fools Day as well, so if you are a Twitter follower, make sure you don't believe everything you read there, as I am sure there will be plenty of April Fool's jokes tweeted throughout the day. For instance, if you read that Ryan Braun has been suspended next Monday, make sure you double check the source of the tweet.

Speaking of next week, I have four drafts: the Fantasypros911 experts league draft on Wednesday night, an NL-only keeper league draft in New York City on Friday night, an AL-only keeper league draft in New York on Saturday afternoon, and another NL-only keeper league draft on Sunday morning, which I am hosting. Busy week, huh?

The Yankees have endured more major injuries than most teams this offseason, and yesterday we learned that shortstop Derek Jeter will begin the season on the DL. He has been experiencing discomfort in his ankle and he hasn't played a full game this spring. ESPN's Buster Olney speculated on Monday that Jeter could miss the whole month of April:

I'm not a doctor, but given all the facts and all that he's feeling now, I'd be surprised if Jeter was back before late April or early May. When he does return, the question of how effective he can be defensively will be his next hurdle.

With Jeter out, Eduardo Nunez will attempt to handle shortstop. For fantasy purposes, he has plenty of value as he will be running quite a bit, and has a chance to steal 30+ bases this season. I wonder if the Yankees will move Jeter to first base or DH when he is healthy, as I have read quotes from several scouts who are questioning his ability to play shortstop after returning from such a serious ankle injury.

Cardinals third baseman David Freese is dealing with a lower back strain and was placed on the 15 day DL yesterday, backdated to March 23rd, so he can return on Monday April 8th. Freese came with injury risk and he did not disappoint fantasy owners. Hopefully he returns on April 8th and can stay healthy a bit longer than he did last season. He will have to hit a few less ground balls to improve in the power categories this season.

Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval had to cut short a throwing program this past weekend due to pain in his elbow. Since then, the elbow seems to be responding to rest, and he should be ready for Opening Day. I drafted Sandoval in the 8th round of my NL-only draft last Thursday, as it appeared the owners in my league were too worried about his elbow injury. Looking back, I could have drafted a Todd Frazier or Adam Laroche instead of Sandoval or even Hanley Ramirez, who I drafted with the last pick in the 7th round. Hopefully, they are not mistakes I will live to regret.

The Blue Jays sent starter Ricky Romero down to High A Dunedin, which seems like a slap in the face for someone with that much major league experience. Maybe he isn't listening to his pitching coach? I can't explain why he would be sent to High A instead of Triple A. Maybe it is due to the fact that their High A team is playing in a warm weather state, as opposed to Buffalo, NY, where their AAA team plays home games.

The Dodgers sent the hitting star of spring training, Yasiel Puig, down to AA Chatanooga yesterday. Some Dodgers fans, including me, held out hope he would make the opening day roster in the oft chance that Carl Crawford would start the season on the DL, but Crawford appears like he will be fine for Opening Day. There was also some talk that he could platoon with Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford in a RH/LH platoon, but the team made the right decision in sending him down. But, I think he could be up relatively quickly this season should Ethier continue to struggle vs lefties.

Manager Don Mattingly compared Puig to an "unpainted Ferrari" according to Eric Stephen over at True Blue LA:

"I told Ned (Colletti, general manager) this, I look at Yasiel like a Ferrari. The motor is there, the body is there, the wheels are there, but you just haven't painted it yet. Then you leave it out in the sun with no paint and you get it exposed a little bit," Mattingly said. "We want this guy totally ready as possible when he walks in the door at Dodger Stadium, and not to ever have to go back down again."

And where will they play him, Don? Should be another interesting offseason in LA in 2013.

I had my NL-only non-keeper league draft last Thursday night, and there have already been two trades. One that I was involved with. The first deal saw the team that drafted Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels with his first three picks in the draft, deal away Hamels. In return for Hamels and Marlon Byrd, he received Ben Revere and Jonathan Broxton. The owner uses a pitching heavy strategy and fills his roster with leadoff hitters with speed in an attemot to win runs, stolen bases and batting average.

The second deal involved me. I traded my fourth starter, Josh Beckett, along with Todd Helton, for Diamondbacks injured outfielder Adam Eaton and Broxton. I realize Eaton will miss the first 6 weeks of the season, but he was too much to pass up. In an 11 team, 5x5 NL only league, having as many at bats on your roster is huge. How did I do on this trade?

The Rockies are giving serious consideration to handing Nolan Arenado their starting third base job to start the season. Arenado has hit well this spring, and apparently has overcome his attitude issues as well. The problem the Rockies encounter with this decision is that Chris Nelson is out of options, so if they give Arenado the job, there is a chance they will have to cut Nelson. Or they could send down someone like Jordan Pacheco. I anxiously await this decision as I drafted Arenado very late in my NL draft last week.

I was skimming Twitter last night and came across this tweet from Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira on his rehab:

Some think he could miss more than two months with his wrist injury, so it will be interesting to see how much he goes for in my AL-only keeper league auction next Saturday.

Aaron Hill owners may want to stop reading here. This tweet from Steve Gilbert from MLB.com last night:

Gilbert said in a separate tweet that Hill was hit in hand or wrist. We should learn more later today. Should Hill miss time due to an injury, the Diamondbacks could move Cliff Pennington to second base and Willie Bloomquist to shortstop. Pennington played 32 games at second base for the A's last season.

Update: Reports after the game indicate that Hill was hit on the pinkie and should be fine.

Then again, maybe not. More from Gilbert:

When it rains it pours, huh? Yeah, Gilbert reported after the game that Bloomquist injured his oblique and could land on the DL. Josh Wilson could take his place on the 25 man roster

And finally, Diamondbacks outfielder Jason Kubel injured his ankle getting out of the box last night and could miss Opening Day. Should that be the case, Tony Campana or Alfredo Marte could be seeing time in the decimated D'backs outfield.

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