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 Consensus Position Rankings
Below are links to our consensus position rankings:
Justin Verlander to start the season on the 15 day disabled list
For the first time in his career, former Tigers ace Justin Verlander is landing on the disabled list with a right triceps injury. Verlander is coming off the worst season of his career, going 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 1.40 WHIP and a career worst 6.95 K/9. His strikeouts per nine dropped exactly two strikeouts per nine innings and saw his fastball velocity drop by 1 mph for the second consecutive season.
Things haven't been much better for Kate Upton's lesser half in spring training, as he has pitched 16 innings, giving up 13 runs on 10 hits, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts and SIX home runs. Six of the ten hits he has given up have been home runs. Wow.
I have been down on Verlander since the middle of last season, and his spring training performance and injury haven't changed my stance on him. Invest at your own risk.
Diamondbacks trade Trevor Cahill to the Braves
Sometimes trade can change the fantasy value of a player and that is exactly what happened last night as the Diamondbacks traded starter Trevor Cahill to the Braves for cash and outfield prospect Josh Elander. Yeah, I have never heard of him either.
Last season, Cahill pitched out of the bullpen and also made 17 starts, going 3-12 with a 5.61 ERA, but a 3.89 FIP, so he pitched better than his ERA indicated. His ground ball rate has been elite in the past, but it dropped to 48% last year from 56% in 2013, and his walk rate jumped to 4.47 BB/9. But, all was not bad for Cahill last season, as his strikeouts per nine innings jumped from 6.26 K/9 to 8.54 K/9, a jump of more than two strikeouts per nine. He accomplished this by basically ditching his slider and throwing more curveballs and change ups.
Cahill moves to Atlanta where he will benefit from solid infield defense behind him, led by Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons. The trade makes him fantasy relevant in NL-only leagues, and waiver wire fodder in deeper mixed leagues. He will have to improve his control, and will struggle to win games on the Braves as they will have trouble scoring runs once again in 2015.
Archie Bradley named Diamondbacks 5th starter
As a result of the Cahill trade to the Braves, the Diamondbacks needed a fifth starter, and the pitcher to replace him is top pitching prospect Archie Bradley. Bradley is coming off a solid spring where he tossed 22.1 innings, giving up just 6 runs, 4 earned, on 20 hits, 6 walks and 14 strikeouts.
Bradley struggled with his control last year, walking 59 batters in less than 100 innings, so hopefully he has righted that issue. He is slated to make his first major league start vs the Dodgers next weekend, either Saturday April 11th or Sunday April 12th.
The Cahill trade also makes Bradley fantasy relevant in NL-only leagues, but I would want to wait to see how he performs in his first two starts before taking him off my bench. I would also want to wait before adding him in mixed leagues as well.
Billy Hamilton: Cause for concern?
Earlier this week, Reds manager Bryan Price slotted speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton in the 7th spot in the Reds lineup.Yesterday, he was back in the leadoff spot, going 2-3 with a caught stealing. After hitting just .200-.254-.257 with 18 stolen bases in 26 attempts in the second half of the 2014 season, Hamilton is hitting just .213-.255-.170 this spring.
I know. I know. Spring training stats mean nothing. But, hear me out. Hamilton struggled in the second half last season....against big league pitching. In spring training, he is facing some major league pitching, but also some minor leaguers, and he is still struggling. His spring training stats do mean nothing, but his owners have to be concerned that if he doesn't figure things out at the plate, the Reds could send him down to AAA to work on things.
Heck, they could make a trade for a center fielder and send him down in April if he doesn't improve at the plate. I doubt that happens, but the clock is ticking on the value of his bat vs the value of his glove in center field.
Yasmany Tomas to start year in the minors?
I was checking out my Twitter timeline last night when I came across this tweet from Jack McGruder, one of the Diamondbacks beat writers:
David Peralta will start in left field against righties, #Dbacks manager Chip Hale said today. Inciarte will play center and left.— Jack Magruder (@JackMagruder) April 2, 2015
If Peralta plays against all right-handed pitchers, then either Yasmany Tomas or Jake Lamb is probably headed to AAA by Opening Day. Peralta hit well last season, hitting .286-.320-.450 with 8 home runs, 40 runs scored, 36 RBI and 6 stolen bases in just over 300 plate appearances last season. If he is their regular left fielder, he should get 450 pate appearances and should put up double digit home runs and stolen bases. Not bad for a former pitcher.
As for Tomas, we all know his struggles at the plate and in the field. The DBacks front office have to be second guessing their decision to give him such a large contract. I think he will eventually hit for power, but his contact issues and inability to play even average defense could hurt his chances of making the Opening Day lineup.
The fact that Ender Inciarte will play both center and left field could cut into the playing time of regular center fielder A.J. Pollock as well. At some point this season, a team will have a need for an outfielder, and the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Red Sox and Padres will be looking to deal one or more of their outfield excess.
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