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:
Coco Crisp out 6-8 weeks
Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp will miss the next 6-8 weeks of the season as he will have surgery to remove chips and a bone spur from his right elbow. The surgery is expected to take place on Friday, so we should learn more about how long he will be out over the weekend.
With Josh Reddick already on the disabled list, the A's outfield is in a bit of a mess right now. Whether the A's look to fortify their outfield via a trade remains to be seen, but they should have plenty of trade partners in the Red Sox, Padres, Dodgers and Diamondbacks. Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier was drafted by the A's before being traded to the Dodgers, but the Dodgers would have to get plenty creative to include him an any deal. The Padres could offer center fielder Cameron Maybin or Will Venable, the Diamondbacks could offer Ender Inciarte or Cody Ross and the Red Sox could offer Shane Victorino, but would likely have to eat some salary as well.
In the meantime, the A's will go with Craig Gentry or Billy Burns to replace Crisp.
Joey Votto to bat second in 2015
Reds first baseman Joey Votto has disappointed fantasy owners over the last few seasons due to his lack of power and his injuries. There has been lots of conversation about whether Votto is too patient at the plate, as while walks are good, he is in a position in the Reds lineup where he should be driving in runs, not just getting on base.
Well, Reds manager Bryan Price has silenced the critics by announcing that Votto will bat second in the lineup this season. This makes all the world of sense for the Reds and to maximize Votto's skill to get on base. He will bat behind Billy Hamilton who is the antithesis of Votto, as Votto gets on base at a 40% clip, while Hamilton struggles to get on base at a 30% clip.
The fantasy impact of this decision hurts Votto's fantasy value, as he will see less RBI opportunities with Hamiltom, the pitcher (or pinch hitter) and Zack Cozart hitting in front of him. But, on the flip side, he should score more runs, one would think, but Votto has always scored runs, so he may see a minor bump in the runs category.
The move helps the RBI potential for the hitters behind Votto, Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco and Jay Bruce, to a certain extent, as Votto should be on base quite a bit when healthy.
Yankees closer battle
Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced yesterday that he will go with a two-headed closer role to start the season, with Dellin Betances and Andew Miller sharing the role. Betances has struggled with his control and velocity this spring, but has shown improvement in the days leading to Opening Day. While he gets back to form, he and Miller will be called upon to close games for the Yankees.
This decision hurts Betances fantasy value to start the season, and improves Milers', but I think it will be temporary while Betances cleans up some things on the mound. Once he does that, I think he will be handed the closer role for the rest of the season, assuming he is the dominating reliever he was in 2014. There is no reason for Betances' owners to panic right now.
Ervin Santana suspended 80 games for steroids
Well, Ervin Santana signed a four year, $54 million contract with the Twins this offseason and before he started one game for them, he is suspended for testing positive for stanazolol, a steroid. He shows us that PEDs are still being used in baseball, and users are still getting paid handsome contracts. Until MLB and the players union agree to ban players testing positive for using steroids or PEDs, players will still use.
Here is more from Buster Olney's Saturday morning blog:
But there are growing suspicions among some players that the use of PEDS is on the rise again -- conjecture that cannot be proven -- and the simple fact is that when a player knowingly uses a banned substance to position himself for a better performance, he is essentially setting himself up to grab money that would otherwise go to others in the union. He is stealing from his brethren who honor the rules the Players Association adopted to protect their collective health.
The next step for the union is to weigh the possibility of giving teams the option of voiding contracts for two-time offenders. This would not apply to Santana and the Twins, but it would've applied to Manny Ramirez and others. The claim of one inadvertent test might be plausible, but two times? You might have a better chance of winning Powerball.
Somehow, some way, the union must continue to pare down the possible motive to use PEDS, and right now, the decision for anyone driven to make money is easy: Once you get past the possible shame of a positive test, cheating can be lucrative.
Get ready for more suspensions of players who are looking for that big payday.
The fantasy impact of his suspension obviously kills his fantasy value for the first three months of the season, or longer. Replacing him in the rotation will be Mike Pelfrey, improving what little fantasy value he had.
Diamondbacks infield battles
The Diamondbacks front office is not your normal front office. They have traded away some of their better players - Adam Eaton and Did Gregorius, among others. Yesterday, they announced that second baseman Aaron Hill will start the season on the bench, with Chris Owings playing second base and Nick Ahmed playing shortstop.
For fantasy purposes, this hurts Hill's value for sure, and he is being replaced by Ahmed, who is not a very good hitter, and should only be rostered in NL only leagues. The Diamondbacks will now attempt to deal Hill to a team that needs a second baseman. In a text conversation with an owner in one of my home leagues, he suggested the Blue Jays deal for Hill. Hill started his career in Toronto and the team has a need for a bat at second base.
I get what the Diamondbacks are doing, as they need to get younger, but if they want to deal Hill, how about letting him improve his value early in the season, then trade him? They won't get much for him when teams know what they think of him.
The Diamondbacks have another decision to make in the next day: what to do with Yasmany Tomas. He has shown he can't play third base, and prospect Jake Lamb can play the hot corner, and has hit well this spring. Lamb has hit .359-.432-.609 with 2 home runs, 6 RBI and a 16-6 strikeout to walk rate in 64 at bats, while Tomas has hit .269-.319-.433 with 2 home runs, 12 RBI and a 15-3 strikeout to walk rate in 67 at bats this spring.
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