There’s been a flurry of moves today with both surprise demotions and promotions. Because many leagues are entering their first FAAB windows, I felt it’d be helpful to aggregate some of the news lest it be lost in your never-ending timelines.
Yu Chang, SS (CLE)
The fantasy world held its collective breath when Jose Ramirez needed to be carted off after fouling a pitch off his leg today. Managers have been able to exhale a little bit now with news that x-rays revealed a bone bruise, but with no timetable set for return. Yu Chang, who was blocked Ramirez and Francisco Lindor (also hurt), should get some April playing time. He grades out as a second-division regular, flashing some power and struggling a bit with strikeouts. His 2017 power outburst where he hit 24 home runs took a step back last year when he hit just 13. He’s worth an add in AL-only leagues and 14-team leagues with MI spots.
Chance Sisco, C (BAL)
Demoted to Triple-A. Why? I seriously don’t know. There’s no logical argument. He had a 1.148 OPS with a 10/9 BB/K in 34 spring training at-bats. He played 63 games last year (which granted, were bad). The Orioles are going to finish last in their division. What’s the point of not playing the young guys?
Dakota Hudson, RHP (STL)
Hudson earned the final spot in the Cardinals’ rotation. He gave up three earned runs in 21.2 IP this spring and perhaps most encouraging just six walks (with 20 punchouts). Hudson broke into the bullpen last year where his power sinker generated a 60 GB%, but command eluded him and led to a 15 BB%. He’s a risky roster and I’d wait a start or two to see how he looks to make a determination for my fantasy team. Along with his mid-90s fastball, he has a slider and cutter that sometimes blend together. He’s reportedly added a changeup and is toying with a breaker that mimics a curveball.
Tyler O’Neill, OF (STL)
Forearm Man earned a bench role with the Cardinals. There’s not much to mention here. My favorite stat from last year is he was the only minor leaguer to hit at least 25 home runs in fewer than 80 games…and he did so in 64. Barring injury, Marcell Ozuna and Harrison Bader should have a tight hold on LF and CF, respectively. Therefore it’s up to Dexter Fowler to trip up for O’Neill to wrest at-bats, but keep in mind he might have Jose Martinez to contend with. I wouldn’t roster in anything but deep leagues yet.
Kyle Wright, RHP and Bryse Wilson, RHP (ATL)
Well, this was a pleasant surprise. Both were announced as starters in the Braves’ first series against the Phillies. Before you ask, if you could only choose one, I’d go with Kyle Wright. I’ve long been a Wilson fan, but I think Wright’s four-pitch mix led by a fastball and slider that flash plus is going to enable him to turn lineups more. When Mike Foltynewicz returns, my gut tells me Wilson is the first to be removed from the rotation. I don’t expect Wright to blow us away with his numbers, but I do expect that he could be a top 65-80 fantasy pitcher. In other words, mixed league relevant in even 12-team leagues.
Touki Toussaint, RHP (ATL)
Demoted to Triple-A. Yeah, I was surprised too. I thought Toussaint had the inside edge as he was the most experienced of the three and has the nastiest stuff, but no one can deny the command problems. Cut bait in shallow mixed leagues.
Pete Alonso, 1B (NYM)
The Mets GM said Alonso’s “put himself in a great position” thus far in spring to make the team. He has a 1.041 OPS in 68 spring at-bats with four home runs and an 11/3 K/BB. The team says they won’t announce decisions until Wednesday. Throwing a wrench into things is Dom Smith, who’s had a strong spring himself slashing .333/.382/.431. It’s clear who should be the guy, but I can see a hysterical situation where Smith tears the cover off the ball early on and screws up Alonso’s playing time.
Domingo German, RHP and Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP (NYY)
German made the 25-man roster. It hasn’t been announced but I expect him to stay in the rotation, at least in the early going. CC Sabathia has been limited to simulated games and a couple of spring training innings. He and Gio Gonzalez need to build innings. Luis Severino is out until at least May. That leaves two rotation spots open. I expect Loaisiga, who was optioned, to get the call back to the Bronx after Sabathia serves his five-game suspension. Both possess intriguing upside useful in mixed leagues thanks to awesome whiff-inducing breakers.
Chris Paddack, RHP, Logan Allen, LHP and Cal Quantrill, RHP (SD)
So, there hasn’t been any word on Chris Paddack officially joining the rotation, but if it’s being reported that Quantrill and Allen are duking it out for the final spot, then, uh, should I just assume Paddack made the team? We’re long past the point of Paddack being someone to acquire via pool. In the last week of NFBC drafts he has a 188 ADP with a min. pick of 128. Get your wallet out if you want him, but be wary in H2H leagues — he won’t be there for your playoffs. Allen and Quantrill both surrendered six runs today, so I’m not sure either distanced himself. As fantasy owners, we’re rooting for Allen who has command of a 93-94 mph fastball (above-average velo for LHP) and his second-best pitch is a changeup that flashes plus and could be used to attack righties. Ultimately we’re looking at streamers in standard leagues with Allen and Quantrill.
Pablo Lopez, RHP, Sandy Alcantara, RHP and Caleb Smith, LHP (MIA)
While the Marlins aren’t naming anyone in the rotation outside of Opening Day starter Jose Ureña, we can safely assume Trevor Richards will be in there (a personal favorite of mine) as well as Dan Straily. With the news Wei-Yin Chen is moving to the bullpen (for real, bravo for this move), that leaves Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith and Pablo Lopez to fight for final two spots. My instinct tells me Lopez and Smith win the jobs. Lopez has been fantastic in spring, surrendering just two runs in 24.1 IP with a 24/2 K/BB. He’s added velocity as well. Caleb Smith got a late start but that hasn’t slowed “Dr.K”, who’s punched out 19 in 13.1 innings with just one walk. He easily possesses the highest strikeout potential of any rotation candidate. And while Alcantara has struck out 21 in 15.1 innings, he’s also walked 11 showing his command still needs work. I expect he’ll head to the bullpen as a long relief guy. Smith and Lopez should be adds in 14-team leagues and deeper.