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:
Masahiro Tanaka: "Lost velocity not coming back this season"
We all know the deal when drafting Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka. He has a partially torn ligament in his right elbow that could result in Tommy John surgery at some point down the road. Knowing that, his fantasy value took a hit this season, as his injury risk is pretty high right now. When healthy, he is probably a top 10-12 starting pitcher in mixed leagues.
Yesterday we received some bad news from Tanaka himself. This from ESPN's Andrew Marchand:
Tanaka said today his velo is down and it is not coming back this year.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) April 4, 2015
Marchard later mentioned that Tanaka knows he will have to make some adjustments on the mound as a result of the lost velocity. Losing velocity has hurt many pitchers in the past and Tanaka probably won't be the dominating starter we saw last season. His ERA and WHIP should jump, but I could see his strikeout rate staying in the 23-26% range this season due to his splitter.
Yasmany Tomas sent to AAA
Well, the Diamondbacks weren't afraid to send their big offseason acquisition to AAA. The Diamoncbacks sent outfielder Yasmany Tomas to AAA last night, and here is more from Diamondbacks beat writer Nick Piecoro:
Dbacks are planning to have Yasmany Tomas in right field and Peter O'Brien in left field for Triple-A Reno.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) April 5, 2015
Based on that tweet, it appears the team has ended the third base experiment for now. Tomas struggled mightily at third base this spring, and due to the fact that their outfield is full right now, Tomas will spend time in AAA, learning to play right field. After reading several reports on him this offseason, I came away thinking he would struggle to hit for a high average in the big leagues, but he owns the power to be a 25 home run hitter every year. With Mark Trumbo set in right field for now, the Diamondbacks will have to trade Trumbo to open up an outfield spot for Tomas.
We learned on Friday that outfielder David Peralta, one of their few left handed hitters, will play every day in left field vs right handed pitchers. I learned last night that Peralta will actually bat cleanup in the DBacks lineup, in between Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo.
Sending Tomas to AAA also means that third base prospect Jake Lamb will be their starting third baseman on Opening Day. Lamb had a solid spring hitting .364-.434-.606 with 8 extra base hits in 66 at bats.
I am very curious who new manager Chip Hale will bat leadoff in the DBacks lineup. I imagine it could be second baseman Chris Owings. If so, that decision improves Owings fantasy value as he should score more runs and probably be given the green light to run more this season.
Is Taijuan Walker ready for a breakout season?
Mariners young starter Taijuan Walker has been one of the top pitching prospects for what seems like years, but this year, he will finally get a chance to start the season in the Mariners five man rotation. The Mariners are poised for a very good season in 2015, and Walker's young arm could put them over the top in the tough AL West. He is coming off a very good spring, and here is more from Thomas Harding at MLB.com:
Walker gave up a home run to Justin Morneau, which raised his spring ERA to 0.67, in two innings of the Cactus League finale, a 6-3 victory over the Rockies on Saturday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
If not for the homer -- the third of the spring for Morneau, the defending National League batting champ -- Walker would have finished with the best spring ERA (minimum 20 innings pitched) in Mariners history. Matt Young's 0.44 mark in 1983 remains the best.
At any rate, Walker, who fanned two on Saturday, finished with 26 strikeouts against 10 hits and five walks in 27 innings. He will pitch at the back of the Mariners' rotation.
Walker pitched well in his 38 innings last season, going 2-3 with a 2.61 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, striking out eight batters per nine, while walk a little over four batters per nine. He will have to limit the walks this season, and seems to have done that in spring training, walking just five in 27 innings of work. He should have a solid strikeout and ground ball rate, but will have to show that the improvements he has shown in the spring carry over into the regular season. If so. the Mariners could have a future ace in their rotation behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
Walker is a sleeper and could easily outperform his ADP this season.
Who will close for the Dodgers with Kenley Jansen on the DL?
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen will begin the season on the disabled list, but should return to closing in late April or early May. In the meantime, the Dodgers appear to be headed for the dreaded closer by committee. Here is more from ESPN's Anthony Witrado:
Before the roster moves were announced, Mattingly was asked who he saw occupying the ninth inning, or who he was most comfortable with having the role.
"There's a number of guys in the back, from J.P. to Peralta to Hatcher to Yimi (Garcia) to (Pedro) Baez to Aardsma to (David) Huff to, uh...," Matting spouted off before being laughed into submission by the media for ducking the question.
The closer's role can sometimes carry overrated importance with it. Not all high-leverage situations happen in the ninth inning, and the middle of the opposing team's lineup is just as likely, at the very least, to come up in the seventh or eighth innings as it is to come up in the ninth.
"Everybody would like to know exactly when they are going to pitch, kind of like Kansas City had last year, but it's very seldom you can get that," Mattingly said. "For the most part, most teams aren't able to do that. But guys will have a pretty good feel for what area of the game to be prepared for.
"(We want) a closer from the standpoint of getting into a high-leverage situation, in the seventh or in the eighth, where we want that guy to pitch. But from the guys' standpoint, they look at it differently."
Mattingly and the executives believe they can ride their closer-by-committee while Jansen is out because they have enough statistical data to know where certain guys will succeed. Likewise, they have an idea of when not to use someone based on situations and matchups.
This excerpt tells us loud and clear that the Dodgers are going to use statistics to decide who will pitch the 7th-8th and 9th innings while Jansen is on the disabled list. Not good for fantasy owners, so we will have to see how the situation plays out in the first week or two before wasting FAAB or a waiver wire pick on one of the Dodgers middle relievers.
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