For those of you who are new to Fake Teams, I write an almost daily Roto Roundup during the season, offering my thoughts on some players in the news, top performers, players underperforming expectations, among others. I will try to write a Roto Roundup every few days, especially if there is news that impacts fantasy rankings like an injury or trade, until I get a job, and that could be very soon. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Yoan Moncada signs with the Red Sox
The Red Sox are the big winners of the bidding war for the services of Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada, as they signed him to a $31.5 million deal, according to reports. The deal is not official yet, but one has to wonder what position Moncada will play in the Red Sox farm system. I assume he will start at second base, but there is a chance he could play third base or one of the outfield positions.
If you are wondering where he would rank in the Red Sox system or in Baseball America's Top 100, here is Ben Badler, via Twitter:
Once it's official, Yoan Moncada immediately becomes Boston's new No. 1 prospect, and the No. 10 prospect in baseball.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) February 23, 2015
So there you go.
ESPN's Gordon Edes reports where Moncada will begin his major league career:
Moncada will be reporting to minor league camp. Sox also signed Cuban OF Carlos Mesa, who washed out with Pirates; he will live w/Moncada— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) February 24, 2015
I offered my initial thoughts on the deal earlier this morning after the news was announced, and wondered if this signing will lead to the Red Sox trading for Phillies ace Cole Hamels.
As a Dodgers fan, I was surprised they did not win the bidding on Moncada as they were considered the favorites to sign him until last weekend. We learned yesterday that the Dodgers didn't even make an offer for Moncada. Here is more from Pedro Moura:
Farhan Zaidi on not signing Yoan Moncada: "There's a lot of talent coming July 2. The calculus of that was a big part of our equation."— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) February 23, 2015
So, it appears the Dodgers are focusing their international spending efforts on the talent available on July 2nd. It appears they prefer the spread their international spending on more than one player, but it remains to be seen whether they let a potential superstar go for a few million dollars.
For more on the Moncada signing, and the reaction from Red Sox fans, make sure you check out Over the Monster, SB Nation's Red Sox fan site.
Cole Hamels to be dealt?
In that Moncada piece this morning, I speculate that the Red Sox could now seek to deal several of their prospects, or even Xander Bogaerts or Mookie Betts, in a deal for Phillies ace Cole Hamels. The Red Sox have said all offseason that they are happy with their rotation as it is constituted currently, but i must beg to differ. Their rotation is full of 3's and 4's, and despite the excellent lineup and farm system, I don't see that rotation taking them far into the playoffs, or even getting there, for that matter.
The Phillies are in a total rebuild and have no reason to hold onto Cole Hamels for the next 4-5 years, so he will be traded at some point this season, whether it be in the spring or by the July 31 trade deadline. Some have been very critical of Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. for not dealing him this offseason, or at the trade deadline last season. They have a point, but the Phillies are not in a rush to deal him even though they are in a rebuild. They are not a team that has to shed payroll like the Rays or Astros from a few years ago. The Phillies have a huge payroll and plenty of cash to pay Hamels through the life of his contract.
Plus, as I mentioned in the comments section of my earlier piece on the Moncada signing, I think Amaro will ultimately find a team that will meet his asking price. After seeing so many pitchers go down to injury/Tommy John surgery last spring, Amaro can wait for the next starter to go down with a major injury this spring. Some team will meet his asking price. It could be the Dodgers or Padres or Red Sox, or a number of teams that expect to compete this season.
Cardinals to be conservative with Adam Wainwright
Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright had surgery on his right elbow this offseason to have a ligament trimmed, and as ESPN's Buster Olney reports, he pitched with arm discomfort for much of last season, which caught up to him in the playoffs.
As reported over the weekend, the Cardinals plan to take it easy with Wainwright in the spring, and possibly into the season as well:
He went 20-9 last year, then had surgery to remove torn cartilage from his right elbow after St. Louis was eliminated by the San Francisco Giants in the NL Championship Series.
Manager Mike Matheny said Friday the most noticeable change this spring may be the number of starts Wainwright gets. Matheny didn't specify a limitation for Wainwright, who made five spring starts last year.
"It will just be him continuing to get the work, but it just might not be work on the game field," Matheny said.
Wainwright said he could probably be ready for the opener with four starts, but wasn't as sure about his sharpness if he made just three starts.
So, there is a chance Wainwright doesn't start on Opening Day, and they could limit his innings or skip a start or two during the season to keep him healthy. This is a big red flag for me, and Wainwright is one pitcher I am staying away from at his current ADP of 60.5, according to Fantasy Alarm's Mock Draft Army ADP rankings.
His ADP could drop between now and draft day, so keep that in mind as you are preparing for drafts this spring.
Jung Ho Kang: Everyday player?
I am pretty high on Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang heading into 2015 drafts, but at this point in spring training, he is blocked at shortstop by Jordy Mercer. Kang is a shortstop I will target in drafts this season, along with Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien, as he has plenty of power and I think the power will translate to the big leagues.
Can Kang win the Pirates shortstop job out of spring training? Maybe. Maybe not. But here is Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Kang:
Kang doesn't have position w/#Pirates now, but Hurdle said "We believe he's going to be everyday player. When that happens, we don't know."— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) February 23, 2015
I think the Pirates want Kang to be an everyday player and he should be drafted as such. His current ADP, according to the Mock Draft Army ADP rankings over at Fantasy Alarm, sits at 274.2, or somewhere in the 18th - 19th round in 15 team mixed league drafts, or the 23rd round in 12 team mixed league drafts.
I recently mentioned in my AL/NL only shortstop sleeper piece last week that Kang is one of my favorite sleepers for 2015. Dan Farnsworth at FanGraphs wrote a piece about Kang, analyzing his swing, and projecting that he could hit 25 home runs with a high batting average in the big leagues. That's a top 3 fantasy shortstop if that projection becomes a reality, and the risk of drafting him in the 18th round is worth it.
FWIW - Kang was drafted in the 22nd round of the recent 15 team LABR mixed league draft by Mike Podhorzer from FanGraphs.
Mookie Betts: Not an everyday player?
There might not be a player who has been the recipient of more offseason hype than Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts. Betts was taken in the sixth round of the LABR mixed league draft back in January, yet he may not have a starting job on Opening Day.
Last weekend, Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked about Shane Victorino. Here is Jen McCaffrey from Mass Live, via Twitter:
If Shane Victorino is healthy, Farrell says he'll be the Red Sox right fielder http://t.co/jBwRwZMgbZ— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) February 21, 2015
Here are more quotes from Farrell from McCaffrey's article:
"If Shane Victorino is fully capable and fully healthy, he's our right fielder," Farrell said on the first day of camp for pitchers and catchers. "I mean, that's pretty simple."
With Hanley Ramirez slated to start in left, center and right are up for grabs with Victorino, Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts in the mix. (Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava are still on this team as well.)
The Red Sox invested $75 million in Castillo and have been cultivating the rapid and promising growth of Betts. It would seem they have the most to offer.
But both are still largely unproven and Victorino has already shown what he can do at Fenway.
"He was one of the best right fielders in the game two years ago," Farrell said of Victorino's 2013 season. "When you come back from injury, you shouldn't have lost your job because of an injury. He's rehabbed it successfully to date. And going forward, we've just got to monitor the recovery rate, and we've got a full spring training to do that, and probably into the first part of the year."
I think the Red Sox want to see if Victorino can stay healthy in spring training, and if he can, I think they do their best to trade him. The Angels would be a perfect spot for him, especially with recent news that outfielder Josh Hamilton will be out longer than expected, after offseason shoulder surgery. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto stated that Hamilton could miss up to 12 weeks instead of the 6-8 weeks in the initial reports on his surgery.