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Roto Roundup: Michael Brantley, Lucas Duda, Adam Wainwright and others

Ray offers his thoughts on a few players in the news on Tuesday including Indians outfielder Michael Brantley, Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright and others.

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We kicked off our Consensus Position Rankings series a few weeks ago and have now posted our consensus top 30 rankings for each of the infield positions,  along with player profiles, top 15 fantasy catcher prospects, players to target and avoid, and much more.

2015 Consensus Position Rankings & Profiles

Top 30 Catcher Rankings and Profiles for 2015

Top 30 First Baseman Rankings and Profiles for 2015

Top 30 Second Baseman Rankings and Profiles for 2015

Top 30 Shortstop Rankings and Profiles for 2015

Top 30 Third Base Rankings and Profiles for 2015

2015 Consensus Position Rankings

CatcherPart 1Part 2

First BasePart 1Part 2

Second Base: Part 1| Part 2

ShortstopPart 1 Part 2

Third BasePart 1Part 2

Michael Brantley dealing with a back injury

As you will see in our Top 100 Outfield Rankings that will publish next week, I am the low man with my ranking of Brantley, and I may do a separate post on him to provide my reasoning. If you have been following me on Twitter, you probably know one of the main reasons.

I subscribe to ESPN Insider for two reasons: 1. to read Keith Law's prospect rankings and articles, and 2. to read Buster Olney's daily blog. Olney links to many of the MLB beat writers on a daily basis, and today he linked to an article written by Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes. In the article, provides this update on Brantley:

Michael Brantley hit in the cages on Tuesday, but did not participate in the position players' conditioning competition. He may follow a similar routine for the next couple of days.

"His lower back is biting him a little bit," Francona said.

It is probably nothing serious, but something to follow once spring training games start to see if Brantley is missing time due to this injury. This news won't affect where he is going in drafts, but something to watch.

Adam Wainwright scheduled to visit a specialist

I am staying away from Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright in drafts this season, as he is coming off surgery to clean up his elbow, his strikeout rate dropped in a big way in 2014, and now he is dealing with an abdomen strain. Here is more from Derrick Goold from the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

After experiencing abdominal pain that has limited his workouts but not his ability to throw, Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright will return to St. Louis to see a specialist Thursday.

The Cardinals expect to know Thursday the treatment Wainwright will require and how much time he'll miss.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed the team's plan for the pitcher to the Post-Dispatch when asked about Wainwright's absence from workouts Tuesday. He described the team's wish to have him visit St. Louis for the additional examination.

Wainwright was already on a delayed throwing schedule.

"It shouldn't effect him at that point, or any more beyond that point," Mozeliak said. "I would say (the level of concern) is a medium at this point."

We should learn more about the extent of his injury tomorrow, but it appears he is already behind schedule, and the team has enough pitchers in case he opens the season on the disabled list. Case in point - the Cardinals signed Carlos Villanueva to a minor league contract yesterday.

Coincidence? I think not.

Lucas Duda dealing with oblique injury

The Mets moved in the fences in right and right-center field this offseason, so many Mets fans were probably thinking first baseman Lucas Duda was set to repeat his 30 home run season in 2015. Not so fast. Duda is dealing with soreness in his left intercostal muscle. Here is more from Tim Rohan at the New York Times:

He worked out with Mike Barwis, the Mets' strength and conditioning consultant. He kept swinging and swinging and swinging. If he took any time off, it was measured in days, not months.

The Mets were expecting him to anchor the middle of their lineup, possibly to learn how to hit left-handed pitching, to essentially repeat his stellar season. This was going to be an important spring training for him, and he wanted to be ready.

Gradually, after all those swings, his left intercostal muscle - a muscle in the chest wall - started to feel sore. It became sore enough that for the last few weeks, Duda has stopped swinging altogether. He will not swing a bat for at least a few more days.

The Mets and Duda are saying there is nothing to be concerned about, but any injury to a power hitter where your swing is limited, or you feel pain, can have an impact on his power production during the season. And if it isn't treated correctly, could lead to a stint on the DL during the season. Another injury that bares watching for fantasy owners.

Orioles sign Everth Cabrera

A few days ago, the Orioles signed shortstop Everth Cabrera, and I think he should be on your radar on draft day, especially those of you who play in AL only leagues. Cabrera doesn't need much playing time to be valuable on your fantasy roster. Over the last three seasons, Cabrera has played 115, 95 and 90 games, and has stolen 44, 37 and 18 bases. He may be a part time player in Baltimore, but he will still be a valuable late round pick in most leagues this season.

In Olney's piece, he writes about some players who could be traded during spring training, including Dodgers outfielder Andre Etheir, several Red Sox -Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, and Brock Holt, Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin and Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro.

Quentin will learn to play first base this spring to give him more roster flexibility and possibly increase his trade value. It is no surprise that Ethier is asking for a trade, especially with Chris Heisey and Scott Van Slyke slated to be the back up outfielders behind Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Carl Crawford. Ethier wants to start or be traded.

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