You can expect the Roto Roundup on a daily basis going forward, as the 2014 season approaches, I will discuss players in the news due to injury or position battles, and will focus on the top fantasy performers each day/night once the season begins.
Matt Kemp to return next week
It was reported yesterday that Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp will begin the season on the disabled list, but could be activated by next week. Here is Eric Stephen from True Blue LA:
Because he was placed on the disabled list, Kemp is ineligible to play in the Freeway Series against the Angels, considered major league games even though it holds exhibition status. The earliest Kemp could be activated from the DL is April 4, when the Dodgers open their home schedule against the rival Giants.
Mattingly was noncommittal as to whether Kemp would be activated from the disabled list so soon, but called that scenario "a possibility."
Maybe I am wearing my Dodger blue sunglasses, but I think we will see a healthy Kemp this season. He has been injury prone the last two seasons, but his shoulder is 100% and he has had no setbacks in spring training with his surgically-repaired ankle, so there is reason for optimism.
If you drafted him and play in weekly leagues, I wouldn't put him in your lineup till the second week of the season.
Michael Pineda makes the Yankees rotation
One of the biggest surprises this spring is the performance of Yankees starter Michael Pineda. He is coming off shoulder surgery and has missed the last two seasons due to the surgery and his slow rehab. If his spring training is any indication, he is almost all the way back to the guy we saw back in 2011.
Here is a reminder of what he did back in 2011:
9 wins, 3.74 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 3.53 xFIP, 9.11 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 24.9% K%, 28 starts, 171 IP
I don't think we see Pineda throw 171 innings this season, so it remains to be seen how the Yankees handle him. Heck, they may just see how long his shoulder can stay together and not worry about the innings he throws. I assume they will go with David Phelps or another young starter when they decide Pineda has thrown enough innings.
For fantasy purposes, Pineda is a late round pick in mixed and AL only leagues, but he comes with risk.
Pablo Sandoval and Nelson Cruz attached at the hip
It was reported a few days ago that Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who is a free agent at the end of the 2014 season, wants a similar contract as teammate Hunter Pence. Pence signed a five year, $90 million contract with the Giants last September.
The difference between the two players couldn't be more different though. Pence is the picture of consistency, even though he may not look good hitting, running or throwing the ball. He is one of the most consistent performers at the plate, and could be getting better.
Sandoval, on the other hand, is one of the more inconsistent hitters, has trouble keeping the weight off, and is in a bit of a decline at the plate. And there is no reason for the Giants to give him anything close to the contract they gave Pence.
I think Sandoval, assuming the Giants don't sign him and he becomes a free agent, could wait a long time to sign a contract next offseason, similar to what Nelson Cruz experienced this offseason. What he has in his favor, though, is that he is only 28 years of age, while Cruz is 33 years of age.
Yu Darvish may start season on DL
It was reported on Tuesday that Yu Darvish will not make the Rangers Opening Day start and could begin the season on the DL due to a stiff neck, and possibly more. Here is Evan Grant from the Dallas Morning News:
The Texas Rangers on Tuesday officially scratched Yu Darvish from his scheduled opening day assignment and now concede that Darvish's stiff neck may well be the result of something more than sleeping wrong.
Darvish will be sent back to Dallas to be examined by back specialist Dr. Drew Dossett, the surgeon who performed Matt Harrison's disc repair surgery last year. He will undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.
"I think we are at the point where we need to start ruling things out," Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine said Tuesday morning.
This is not good news for our 2nd ranked starting pitcher for 2014. He dealt with the neck/back issue last season, and it could be something more than a stiff neck. Here is Adam Morris from Lone Star Ball, SB Nation's Rangers fan site:
If Darvish is having back problems, that is the sort of issue that could end up jeopardizing his season. Rangers fans remember all too well how Matt Harrison was lost for essentially the entire 2013 season due to back surgery. Just the idea of losing Darvish losing significant time in 2014 is something I don't want to consider.
Hopefully it is nothing and we see him on the mound soon, though it does appear inevitable that he starts the season on the DL since he hasn't pitched in a week and a half.
For more fantasy baseball news, on a daily basis, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown.