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:
Thoughts on the Craig Kimbrel Trade
The Easter/Passover holiday weekend brought fantasy owners a huge trade on the day before Opening Day. The Braves finally traded closer Craig Kimbrel, as I had expected earlier in the offseason, to the Padres, along with Melvin Upton Jr. for Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, top pitching prospect Matthew Wisler, Jordan Pouroubeck and the #41 pick in the 2015 MLB draft.
My kneej-erk reaction to this deal was to tweet that the deal makes the Padres into legitimate threat to the Dodgers in the NL West, and I really believe that. Adding Kimbrel to an already very good bullpen makes life that much easier for manager Bud Black in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.
The fantasy impact of this deal is that Kimbrel will close for the Padres, so NL-only league owners don't have to worry that he will be dealt to the American League. Kimbrel's value increases slightly, as the Padres should win more games than the Braves this season, so he should have more save opportunities.
The deal kills the fantasy value of former closer Joaquin Benoit, who will now set up Kimbrel. He could earn a few save opportunities shouild Kimbrel need a day off.
The deal improves the fantasy value of Jason Grilli, who will now close for the Braves (he earned a save on Opening Day), Cameron Maybin and Jim Johnson. Maybin should take over center field for Eric Young Jr. so he should play every day for the Braves. Young's value decreases some, but I think he can still steal 30+ bases this season, even in part-time duty. Johnson will now set up for Grilli and is the next in line for saves in Atlanta should Grilli blow some save opportunities.
I love the deal for the Braves as they add a potential top of the rotation starter in Wisler. Braves fans have to be happy with the job that John Hart has done to rebuild their farm system this offseason.
Hanley Ramirez goes yard twice
It didn't take long for Red Sox new left fielder Hanley Ramirez to prove he was worth the big contract he signed this offseason. Batting cleanup, Hanley went 2-4 with a solo home run off of Phillies ace Cole Hamels and a grand slam later in the Red Sox 8-0 win on Opening Day.
He is coming off a 2014 season where he battled several injuries, but still hit .283-.369-.448 with 13 home runs, 64 runs scored, 71 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 128 games. As long as he stays healthy, Ramirez should hit for a solid average and score and drive in a lot of runs in the Red Sox stacked lineup in 2015. He is learning a new position in Boston, which could prove difficult especially with the Green Monster in Fenway Park.
I came into the 2015 season expecting more growth from Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, telling our readers that they should target him in drafts this season. I traded Billy Hamilton for him in one of my NL only keeper leagues, and drafted him in an NL only redraft home league, as well as the Tout Wars NL only auction league, so I put my money where my mouth is.
He made me look good for one day, going 3-4 with a home run, a double, 3 runs scored and 4 RBI in the Rockies 10-0 win over the Brewers on Opening Day. Arenado showed power growth in 2014, and I expect more growth in 2015, as I see him approaching 25 home runs, 90 RBI and a .290-.300 batting average this season.
Arenado's teammate Corey Dickerson also had a solid debut to the 2015 season, going 2-5 with a double, home run and 4 RBI. Dickerson was the recipient of plenty of offseason love from the fantasy industry, and deservedly so. Like Arenado, he could put up a 25 home run, 90 RBI and .300 season at the plate in 2015.
Indians starter Corey Kluber looked like the American League Cy Young award winner in his Opening Day start yesterday, flirting with a no-hitter for 5.2 innings vs the Astros in Houston last night. But, he was out-dueled by Astros top starter, and dare I say ace, Dallas Keuchel. Kluber left with two on and one out in the eighth inning, giving up two runs on 3 hits, 2 walks and striking out 7.
A's starter Sonny Gray also flirted with a no-no last night, limiting the Rangers to no hits for the first seven innings, before leaving after eight innings, giving up one hit, no runs walking one and striking out three batters in the A's 8-0 win.
Another hitter I was high on coming into the season was Padres outfielder Matt Kemp, telling our readers to target him in drafts this season. Like Arenado, he made me look good for one day, going 2-4 with 3 RBI off of Clayton Kershaw in the Padres 6-3 loss to his former team, the Dodgers. The move to San Diego and his injury history led many in the industry to recommend avoiding Kemp this season, but I felt he was back to hitting like the Kemp of old in the second half last season, and I see that continuing in 2015.
Tigers ace David Price did his best to make Tigers fans to forget about Max Scherzer who signed with the Nationals in the offseason, as he dominated the Twins, shutting them out on five hits, no walks and five strikeouts over 8.2 innings in the Tigers 4-0 win on Opening Day. Price is a free agent after the season and is pitching for a huge payday in 2015.
We learned about several injuries that fantasy owners need to watch in the coming days, including injuries to Mets closer Jenrry Mejia, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and Giants starters Jake Peavy and Matt Cain.
Mejia was throwing in the bullpen, preparing to close out the Mets 3-1 win over the Nationals on Monday, when his elbow tightened up. He will have an MRI on Tuesday, but in the meantime, make sure you go out and grab Jeurys Familia as he is the next in line for saves until Bobby Parnell returns from the disabled list.
Braun left the Brewers 10-0 loss in the fifth inning due to a strained ribcage, which he suffered while making a catch. He could miss some time to the DL, and if he does, Gerardo Parra will be first in line to replace him in the Brewers outfield.
The Giants suffered through a very poor spring training, and things appear to be getting worse for the defending World Series champs, as not one, but two of their starters are dealing with injuries. Jake Peavy was scratched from his scheduled Tuesday start with a back injury and Matt Cain had an MRI to address some forearm tightness he experienced in spring training. Forearm tightness sometimes leads to Tommy John surgery, but we should learn more about his injury in the coming days. Ryan Vogelsong will take Peavy's spot in the rotation on Tuesday, and Tim Lincecum's start could be moved up to Wednesday in place of Cain.
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