Below are some thoughts on players in the news and if/how they impact fantasy drafts in the coming weeks.
Patrick Corbin leaves with stiffness in left forearm
Is it me or are there a lot of starting pitchers getting hurt this spring? Yesterday, Diamondbacks Opening Day starter Patrick Corbin left his start in the middle of a batter with left forearm stiffness and it is very possible he will not start either of the game when the Dodgers face the Diamondbacks in Australia next weekend.
I imagine we will know more about the severity of his injury in the next few days, but whenever we hear a pitcher with forearm tightness, it usually ends up with a meeting with Dr. James Andrews, or so it seems this spring.
Brandon Beachy to have second Tommy John surgery
The Braves couldn't have had a worse week of spring training, huh? A day or two after hearing that Kris Medlen will probably need Tommy John surgery, Brandon Beachy leaves his start after two innings due to a bicep injury. It turns out that he will pay a visit to Dr. James Andrews along with Medlen and may need his second Tommy John surgery.
Starlin Castro to open season on DL?
Starlin Castro endured a terrible 2013 season, and his 2014 season hasn't started out well either. Here is Gordon Wittenmyer from the Chicago Sun-Times on Castro:
What was supposed to be a "mild" hamstring injury that required seven to 10 days of rest and rehab suddenly looks like it might wipe out more than half of Starlin Castro's spring game schedule and might threaten his readiness for the regular season.
There's no indication the Cubs shortstop is a candidate for the disabled list, but his desire to play at least 10 games before the season opens looks like a long shot.
Could Castro's injury lead to Javier Baez making the Cubs out of spring training? I doubt it, but you never know. The Cubs have Emilio Bonifacio in camp, so he could just as well play shortstop in Castro's absence. Bonifacio is a solid late round pick if you are in need of stolen bases, as he can play all over the field.
It was reported yesterday that Baez will play second base early next week, so it appears the team could call him up to play second, or third, base this season. I am guessing he gets called up by June.
Julio Urias strikes out two in first spring training start
Yesterday the Dodgers gave 17 year old pitching prospect Julio Urias the start vs the Padres, and he was terrific. He struck out two in his lone inning of work, striking out Will Venable after being down 3-0 in the count, and later struck out Yonder Alonso. He needed just 14 pitches to get through the one inning. Here are some tweets describing how well he pitched yesterday.
Mike Brito (#Dodgers' legendary scout) had Julio Urias working at 94-96 MPH.— Dustin Nosler (@DustinNosler) March 15, 2014
And one more:
Scout on Urias: "Stuff was good. Pitches to both sides with tail and sink. Deception with his changeup. Poised."— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) March 15, 2014
He's just 17 years old!!! Some felt that ESPN's Keith Law was bold when he ranked Urias as his #14 prospect in his Top 100 Prospect Rankings earlier this offseason, but maybe he is just that good. In a chat after releasing his prospect rankings, he stated that some scouts felt he ranked Urias too LOW!!
After the game, Urias stated his goal was to make the major leagues this season. I am sure every young pitcher has that goal in spring training, but none are 17 years old. I am sure the Dodgers have a plan for him, but he just might make the big leagues before his 20th birthday.
Here is video courtesy of Dustin Nosler.
Manny Machado has a setback
I have to say that I have seen Manny Machado drafted way too early in drafts thus far, as I don't see him having all that much value this season, for two reasons. One, as a third baseman, his power is still developing. He won't be a 25 home run hitter for several years, in my opinion. Two, he is still recovering from offseason knee surgery.
Yesterday, we received news that he has had a setback in his rehab. Here is Orioles beat writer Dan Connolly from the Baltimore Sun:
Manny Machado has stopped running temporarily due to scar tissue in the knee. To be expected Buck says.— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) March 15, 2014
Connolly later tweeted that Machado hasn't run in five days, so that is not good news. For those of you in new keeper leagues, hopefully you can grab him on the cheap. For those in redraft leagues, I woudn't draft him till very late in drafts.
Ian Desmond on a mission?
Ian Desmond is an under-rated shortstop, ranked behind studs like Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki in most 2014 shortstop rankings, but he could challenge them this season. Here is ESPN's Jim Bowden on Desmond in a recent article:
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told me Ian Desmond "is on a mission" and scouts agree, telling me he will hit 25 homers with at least 90 RBIs and runs. Desmond just keeps learning and adjusting at a fast rate.
Desmond already has two 20 home run and 20 stolen base seasons under his belt, so hitting 25 home runs, drives in 90 and steals 20 bases, you might have to consider him in the #1 fantasy shortstop talk this time next season, assuming Hanley and Tulo are hit with the injury bug once again.
Matt Kemp almost ready
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is slowly getting closer to making his first spring training start. He has been playing in several minor league games in the last few days, getting as many at bats as possible, and playing some outfield as well.
Here is more from ESPN's Jim Bowden on Kemp:
Kemp looks superb in the batting cage. He's in great shape, the shoulder is strong and in BP, his lower half looks like it did three years ago when he was runner-up in MVP voting. The only remaining questions are (A) when will he be able to play in games and (B) will his speed allow him to stay in center? Right now, everything points to soon and yes.
I have read the same about Kemp prior to Bowden's article. His shoulder is 100%, so his power should return, and the big question was the ankle. But, in highlights of Kemp running down the first base line, his ankle appears healthy and he looked like he was running close to 100%.
I would be confident in drafting Kemp this season.
David Dahl: A top 20 prospect in 2015?
ESPN's Keith Law wrote up a scouting report on Rockies outfielder David Dahl on Saturday morning, after seeing him play in a minor league game in Arizona. He thinks he can bounce back from his injury-plagued 2013 season:
I'd like to see some more swings from Dahl, and he didn't take great at-bats on Friday, but any time a talented player can bounce back from a lost year and show up faster and stronger than he was before, it's cause for real optimism. He ranked 47th on my ranking of the top 100 prospectsin baseball before this year, and I'll predict a jump into the top 20 after a healthy 2014 for him.
Keep Dahl on your radar in 2014 dynasty league drafts and leagues with minor league drafts.