We hope you enjoyed our consensus rankings series over the past seven weeks. I want to thank all of the Fake Teams writers for their time, effort and dedication in putting together the most comprehensive rankings series in the industry. They all did a fantastic job in completing the rankings pieces each week.
But rankings season is not over. We have more rankings for you in the coming weeks. Daniel Kelley will publish his closer rankings next week, and I will follow that with some closers-in-waiting rankings. In addition, Alex Kantecki will begin his Head to Head Points league position rankings next week, and I will publish my AL only and NL only position rankings. And, we will add a few draft strategy pieces as well. So, we have a lot more to offer you as we lead you into your drafts this month.
With all that said, I will take a break and offer some thoughts on what's going on in spring training, in addition to what I have seen in some of the mock drafts I have participated in recently.
Update: March 8, 2014 8:18am
Matt Harvey to pitch in 2014?
I was checking out Twitter this morning can came across someone retweeting this tweet from Mets starter Matt Harvey:
2014 Harvey day will happen— Matt Harvey (@MattHarvey33) March 8, 2014
I am waiting for the Mets front office to respond to his tweet/this news, but it would not surprise me if he pitches this season. He is an excellent stash candidate if you can deal with him on the disabled list for most of the season. He should be drafted in all keeper leagues though, and I plan on being involved in the bidding for him in my two NL only keeper leagues.
Oscar Taveras in Cardinals lineup on Friday
Cardinals top prospect, Oscar Taveras, was in the lineup yesterday in a split squad game vs the Mets. He went 1-3 with a double and misplayed a ball in right field. He has been recovering from ankle surgery and apparently has been hesitant to go all out on the ankle, preferring to favor it. But, that changed on Thursday as he was asked…err….pressured…..to run the bases and slide into bases since he was given the all clear to perform all baseball activities a few weeks ago. As a Taveras owner, I just hope he doesn't re-injuire the ankle or suffer any setbacks in his recovery.
I think Taveras will get a call up to the big leagues at some point this season, probably before the All Star break, assuming he is healthy. I think teams have figured out how to get Matt Adams out after last season, and he will see plenty of shifts this season. Should Adams slump, the Cardinals have the option to move Allen Craig back to first base to keep him healthy, and give Taveras the regular right field job. If called up before June 1st, Taveras is a candidate to win the National League Rookie of the Year award.
Cole Hamels to start season on the DL?
Phillies ace Cole Hamels had a setback on Thursday, as he wasn't able to make his bullpen session due to "fatigue". I am not sure what that means, as he is a pitcher who throws baseballs. I think there might be an injury that the team is not disclosing right now. He stated that throwing 35 pitches made his arm feel like he threw a thousand pitches. Really? Hamels is slated to not throw for a week now, so fantasy owners have to wait to find out if and when he will be ready to pitch in spring training games.
I think he starts the season on the DL and could miss all of April, as he is now at least three weeks behind most starting pitchers. If I had to re-rank my starting pitcher rankings, I would drop him quite a bit in my rankings. The Fake Teams writers ranked him as our #13 ranked starting pitcher in our consensus rankings, exactly where I had him in my own rankings. I would drop him into the 50-60 range right now. We have no idea when he will get on a mound or pitch in a game yet. Don't be surprised if he is out for April and into May.
Carlos Santana struggling at third base
The position switch to third base for Carlos Santana is not going so well. Here is Paul Hoynse from the Cleveland Plains Dealer:
Carlos Santana's move to third continued to bump along. In the third he played a hard bouncer by Nick Schierholtz off his chest for what should have been a double play. He picked the ball up and made an awkward throw to second to get the lead runner.
This news doesn't really have a fantasy impact on draft day, as Santana will still be drafted as a catcher in all leagues, but if he doesn't get more comfortable at third, there is a chance he will just be a backup at third this season. Right now he has eligibility at catcher, first base and DH, and adding third base could help some fantasy teams during the season.
Corey Hart: Late round power hitter
I participated in an industry mock draft on Wednesday night with 13 other fantasy writers. It was a 14 team, 25 round mixed league draft, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the abundance of power late in the draft. I drafted power throughout the draft, taking Ryan Braun with the 10th overall pick in the first round, and followed that up with Edwin Encarnacion at pick # 19. Later in the draft, I saw Mariners first baseman/DH Corey Hart still on the board, so I had to grab him with my pick in the 17th round. Before missing the 2013 season due to two knee surgeries, Hart had hit 25 or more home runs in the previous three seasons. I think he can approach that number in Safeco this season as well.
Maybe I was wrong about the lack of power in drafts this season. Time will tell.
Michael Pineda: Time to move him up in SP rankings?
The Yankees traded prize catching prospect Jesus Montero to the Mariners for young starter Michael Pineda two years ago, and neither team has seen a return on their investment since the deal. Montero hasn't been able to hit since the trade and reported to spring training 40 pounds overweight. How does that happen? But the Yankees might see a return from Pineda if he can build on his two inning effort last night vs the Tigers. His fastball was in the 90-92 range, but his slider was a wipeout pitch. Here is a tweet from Joel Sherman from the New York Post:
And another tweet from Sherman:
Scouts had Pineda with 1 fastball at 93, mostly 90-92, mainly 91. Worked inside well/aggressively. Slider was wipeout at 80-82mph #Yankees— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 8, 2014
If Pineda can continue to pitch like this, he provides an incredible boost to the Yankees rotation and their chances in the American League East this season. A few more outings like this and it might be time to move him up our starting pitcher rankings.
Nationals to run more in 2014
I was checking out roto news around the 'net during lunch yesterday and saw on Rotoworld that the Nationals will be more aggressive on the base paths this season. Here is an excerpt from James Wagner's article in the Washington Post, with quotes from Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth:
Werth also believes the Nationals could thrive under this new way of thinking about running. The Nationals coaches have freed up players to make reads on their own and have given veterans green lights to decide when to run. Players can use their instincts instead of relying on signs.
"That's the only way to steal bases," Werth said. "That's how base stealers steal bases. That's how guys become great base stealers. You don't become a good base stealer by getting steal signs and stealing. That's when you get thrown out. Those philosophies are right now. I'm really happy about that."
The Nationals have several guys in their lineup that can steal bases including Werth, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Denard Span and fourth outfielder Nate McLouth.