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Roto Roundup: Kenta Maeda, Billy Hamilton,and others

Ray offers some quick thoughts on Kenta Maeda, Billy Hamilton and others in Wednesday's Roto Roundup.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a quick update on a few players that I have read about recently, and how that impacts their fantasy 2016.

Kenta Maeda

The Dodgers seem to like to sign pitchers who are damaged goods, it appears. I was reading the most recent update on the Maeda contract on ESPN, and these two paragraphs really caught my eye:

The sides agreed to a deal before the new year, but a source told Crasnick that concerns arose over he pitcher's elbow during a physical. A source told ESPN's Jim Bowden that the Dodgers also see an issue with Maeda's shoulder and that a ligament in his elbow is indeed compromised. However, the 27-year-old has been pitching with both issues.

According to a source, the Dodgers know that Maeda will require surgery at some point but feel that signing him is still worth it if they can get three or four useful years out of him.

If this is true, then why did the Dodgers back out of the Iwakuma deal? That said, Maeda's contract is loaded with incentives, so the Dodgers probably already knew about the shoulder and elbow issues when they agreed to a contract.

Friday is the deadline for Maeda to sign with an MLB team, as he had 30 days from the time he became a free agent to sign a contract, We should learn more about the details of his contract by Friday, or over the weekend, I imagine.

This news certainly doesn't help his fantasy value, and the terms of the contract will be a very good tell about how serious his shoulder and elbow injuries are.

Rangers Mchael Young on Nomar Mazara

We all knew that Rangers outfield prospect Nomar Mazara is one of the top 10-12 prospects in the game, but Rangers assistant to the GM Michael Young couldn't stop raving about his prospects in a recent podcast:

Toward the end of the podcast, though, Young was asked about which Rangers prospect folks should be excited about this season:

Young: "I'm looking forward to people seeing Nomar Mazara. This guy can flat-out hit. I mean, I'm talking -- not just hit -- I'm talking impact, big-time run producer in the game. Great kid. Has the ability to be a clubhouse leader, a big positive-impact guy. Man, he's a stud. I can't wait for people to see him."

Grant: "Could we see him in the big leagues at some point this year?"

Young: "Absolutely. No question about that. Now, it's a matter of fit. Like you said, we do have some left-handed bats. We have Delino (DeShields), who is a fantastic young player. What if (Shin-Soo) Choo is out there doing his thing like he did in the second half and Josh (Hamilton) is playing like a healthy Josh can do, now it's a matter of fit. But ability wise, and I'm sure production wise, he'll be banging down the door.

I think we do see Mazara this season, as Hamilton will inevitably land on the disabled list and DeShields is no sure thing. Mazara ended his 2015 season in AAA, where he hit .358-.409-.444 with a home run, 11 runs scored and 13 RBI in 88 plate appearances. In AA, Mazara hit .284-.357-.443 with 13 home runs, 57 runs scored and 56 RBI in 470 plate appearances. In his 2015 preseason scouting report on Mazara, former FanGraphs prospect writer Kiley McDaniel projected him to be a 25-30 home run hitter, so the power will come.

Mazara should be a late round stash in leagues that allow you to roster minor leaguers and stash them on your bench. If not, then you should definitely keep your eye on his performance in AAA this season, as well as how DeShields and Hamilton are performing for the big league club.

Billy Hamilton recovering from shoulder surgery

The Reds had their offseason Fan Fest recently and I was surprised to read that outfielder Billy Hamilton had shoulder surgery back in September. Or maybe my memory is just failing me. That said, at the time of the surgery, it was reported he would begin baseball activities in 4-6 weeks, which would be around the middle of November.

According to Mark Sheldon, Reds beat reporter for, Hamilton was cleared to resume hitting in early December and throwing this month. Maybe his timetable is off by a few weeks, but for a weak hitter like Hamilton, shoulder surgery certainly isn't going to help him at the plate, at least at the beginning of the season.

I have never been a real fan of Hamilton for fantasy purposes, but this news/old news tells me to move him down my outfield rankings several spots. He has trouble hitting and getting on base as it is, and he will start the 2016 season coming off shoulder surgery. Add in the fact that the Reds have considered asking Hamilton to abandon hitting left-handed, and he could end up being a platoon outfielder as soon as this season.

Shin-Soo Choo

Rangers beat writer Evan Grant held an online chat over at the Dallas Morning News recently, and was asked about outfielder Shin-Soo Choo:

  • Should we expect a very good year from shin soo choo? by Cole 12:46 PM yesterday
  • The way Shin-Soo Choo played the second-half of last year, he gave the Rangers everything and more that they expected when they signed him to the long-term deal before 2014. He was relaxed and confident at the plate and not concerned about "living up to his contract." With Choo, I think it was a product of being too timid out of fear he'd fail to meet the contract expectations. He's past that. Providing he doesn't get hurt, I expect another year of high OBP and legit 20-homer power. by Evan Grant 12:48 PM yesterday
Choo did have a very slow first half of the 2015 season, but caught fire in the second half hitting .343-.455-.566 with 11 home runs, 56 runs scored and 44 RBI in 305 plate appearances. As a Choo owner in an AL keeper league, I am happy to read what Grant had to say about him above.