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Roto Roundup: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rendon and others

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The Roto Roundup is back!!! Opening Day is approaching, so here are my thoughts on some players in the news.

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Consensus Rankings, Sleepers, and more

For those of you who haven't drafted yet, here is a link to all of our position rankings, sleepers, players to target, players to avoid, and more.

2015 Rankings, Sleepers, Targets and more

2015 Consensus Position Rankings

Below are links to our consensus position rankings:

CatcherPart 1Part 2

First BasePart 1Part 2

Second Base: Part 1Part 2

ShortstopPart 1Part 2

Third BasePart 1Part 2

OutfieldersPart 1Part 2

Starting PitcherPart 1Part 2

I have one more draft this Wednesday night, an NL only redraft league. I was in the league for several years, dropped out and am now back in it. Unfortunately, it is only 9 teams, so all teams will be pretty stacked. I am working on what the best strategy is for such a shallow league. I may just draft an ace early and pick 8 hitters in 8 of the first 10-11 rounds and go from there.

Anthony Rendon visits Dr. James Andrews

Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon had a breakout season in 2014, but his 2015 season has begun with a thud as he is dealing what is termed as a minor MCL sprain, but he has been dealing with some discomfort, so a visit to Dr. James Andrews was prescribed. The visit took place today, so we are still awaiting word on the diagnosis from Dr. Andrews.

The Nationals cannot afford to lose Rendon to a lengthy stint on the disabled list, as they will start the season with outfielders Denard Span and Jayson Werth on the DL. Span is recovering from his second surgery on his core muscles and hasn't been approved for baseball activities yet. Werth is rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery. The Nationals will open the season with Tyler Moore in left field, outfield prospect Michael Taylor in center field, and Bryce Harper in right field.

No matter what the diagnosis is on Rendon, he will start the season on the DL as well, with Ian Stewart….remember him….penciled in at third base. I know it's better to have these injuries at the start of the season than at the end, especially for a team that is one of the favorites to make the World Series in 2015.

I heard an interview with Jayson Werth on MLB Network Radio last week, and he was talking about how he will not rush his return from the DL and is worried that his power may not be back this season. Keep that in mind if you still haven't drafted yet. I am staying away from him in my NL draft on Wednesday night, unless he falls to the later rounds. I don't own any shares of Werth in either of my other three NL leagues to date.

Kris Bryant to start the season in AAA, Javier Baez will join him

To the chagrin of many fantasy owners and Cubs fans, it was announced today that third base prospect Kris Bryant will start the season in AAA, and many words have been written about why this is a mistake. After seeing Astros outfielder George Springer start the 2014 season in AAA only to see him called up in late April, I am surprised anyone thought that Bryant had a chance to start the season with the big league club.

I understand he has had a GREAT spring, and has nothing to prove in AAA, but neither did Springer. Baseball is a business, and the Cubs are making the right decision here. If they miss out on a wild card opportunity as a result, they seem to be fine with it. The Cubs do have a good chance to make the wild card, but they have an equally good chance to be a .500 or sub-.500 team as well.

The players association signed the CBA agreement allowing teams to do this with their MLB-ready prospects, so they will need to negotiate that out of the next CBA. But, they will have to give in on something else I am sure. The MLB owners are a close-knit bunch, and they won't give something to the players without getting something back. Like, maybe another wild card team?

Bryant's teammate Javier Baez will join him in Iowa as he was sent to AAA today as well. Baez struggled in his first taste of big league pitching last season, striking out in 95 of his 225 plate appearances. He was no better in the Winter Leagues in the offseason, nor in spring training, where he hit just .173-.218-.231 with 20 strikeouts and 3 walks in 52 at bats. He will have to work on his approach at the plate in AAA and it could be awhile before we see him in Chicago in 2015.

Taking their spots in the Cubs starting lineup is still up in the air, but the candidates to play third base are Mike Olt, Tommy LaStella and Arismendy Alcantara. LaStella and Alcantara will battle it out at second base should Olt land the hot corner role. My bets are on Alcantara at second base and Olt at third base, with LaStella spelling both of them, and Alcantara playing all over the infield and outfield in 2015.

One thing to consider once Bryant comes up is the fact that manager Joe Maddon has said repeatedly that Bryant will play some left field along with third base. Could he play more outfield than third base this year?

Predictions: Five closers who will lose their job

The closers job is not for every reliever, and every year many closers lose their job, either for good or for part of the season. With that said, here are my predictions on closers who will lose their job in the early part of the season:

1. Drew Storen, Nationals - grab Casey Janssen, who is nursing a shoulder injury right now and could start the season on the DL, or Aaron Barrett. I have zero confidence that he will keep the job all year, and have grabbed Janssen in most of my NL leagues thus far.

2. LaTroy Hawkins, Rockies - Hawkins in retiring now and the Rockies will probably begin their rebuild in July, so grab Adam Ottavino, who appears first in line to close in Colorado.

3. Addison Reed, Diamondbacks - Reed is also dealing with a shoulder issue, so much so that he is attempting to change his arm slot to relieve some pain. Grab Evan Marshall or Brad Ziegler.

4. Brett Cecil, Blue Jays - he has six career saves to his name. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous watched Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon in a spring training game recently, so that trade rumor may get hot again. If not, grab Miguel Castro, who has impressed in spring training.

5. Joe Nathan, Tigers - he's an obvious choice, I know, but manager Brad Ausmus can't stick with him if he continues to get hit hard early in the season. Joakim Soria is his back up and a good one.

Trade Candidates

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves - the Braves are rebuilding, so dealing Craig Kimbrel makes too much sense. Grab Jason Grilli.

2. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies - similar to the Braves, the Phillies are in rebuild mode and Ken Giles is ready, despite his struggles in spring training.

3. Aroldis Chapman, Reds - the Reds could be pretty bad this season if things don't go their way, and Chapman is a free agent at the end of the season. Grab Jumbo Diaz or Tony Cingrani.

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