As we continue to get closer to Opening Day, now seems like an appropriate time to publish another edition of Ups and Downs. Jobs are being won, injuries aren't healing as quickly as expected, veterans are being released and rookies are being sent to the minors. Here are the ones catching my eye and the impact they could have on your fantasy baseball roster.
Stock is Rising:
- C/1B/3B/OF Jake Fox, BAL leads the MLB in home runs this Spring with seven while hitting .356 (16/45) yet still fighting to make in onto the Orioles' Opening Day roster. Let's get something straight, though. Spring stats don't matter. If Fox catches on with the Orioles as a super utility guy with catcher eligibility, he could be worth a very late round pick in deep mixed leagues with two-catcher rosters. Is he really much worse than having to select Jeff Mathis?
- 3B Chipper Jones, ATL is hitting .386 this Spring with three home runs and 11 RBI and looking healthy...for the moment. There will always be the risk of injury with Jones but at the moment, he's playing himself back into fantasy relevant. We all keep hearing that third base is going to be shallow in 2011 and even shallower if your league uses an extra CI or IF position. Keep an eye on his health as Spring winds down or at least until your league drafts.
- 1B Chris Davis, TEX has been touted as a sleeper for the last few years and hasn't produced enough when given the chance to help most fantasy owners. Well, this Spring, Davis is hitting .410 (16/39) with four home runs and an MLB-best 15 RBI as rumblings of "play me or trade me" start coming out of Texas. Will there be enough at bats to hand out with Michael Young and Mitch Moreland in the picture? Keep a close eye on how this one continues to play out over the next couple of weeks and you could truly have a sleeper on your hands as most owners are targeting Moreland late in drafts.
- OF Michael Morse, WAS seems to be playing himself into the Nationals' starting left fielder with a very hot Spring. He's hitting .385 (15/39) with five home runs and showing the 20-25 HR potential he displayed last season (15 HR in 266 AB).
- SP Jered Weaver, LAA is currently the 11th starting pitcher being drafted, according to
MockDraftCentral.com. So far this Spring, Weaver has pitched 13.1 innings and produced a 17/0 K/BB ratio. Somehow Zack Greinke is still being drafted ahead of Weaver. Absorb that information when you select Weaver as your fantasy baseball ace.
Stock is Falling:
- 2B Chase Utley, PHI makes the list of falling stocks for the second time this Spring. His knee doesn't seem to be getting any better and no timetable for his return is in place. It's hard to find the kind of fantasy numbers he provides from the second base position, so I can't recommend skipping him in drafts, but if you do draft him just make sure you also draft a serviceable Plan B.
- SP Matt Garza, CHC is having a rough Spring so far with the Cubbies. In 10.2 innings, he has a 10.13 ERA, has allowed 13 hits and 12 earned runs and walked seven while striking out eight. These are just meaningless numbers in the grand scheme of things but are worth paying attention to when you are looking to draft a 8th to 10th round pitcher.
- OF Justin Upton, ARI is having a relatively productive Spring (.289/3/7) but he's stolen one base and been thrown out FIVE times. Who does he think he is, Matt Kemp? Again, it's only Spring but something to be aware of if you are drafting him for his speed.
- C J. P. Arencibia, TOR was on many people's sleeper lists for catchers and he isn't exactly living up to the hype. So far this Spring, he's 5/38 (.132 BA) for six total bases with 11 strikeouts. Might be time to wake up that sleeper.
- SP Shaun Marcum, MIL is battling through some shoulder tightness this Spring. The numbers to like is that he currently has a 11/1 K/BB ratio. The numbers to fear are that he's allowed 15 hits in 11.2 innings pitched and reportedly lots 1-2mph off his fastball.
- OF Bryce Harper, WAS being sent down was no surprise to most. Check out how fellow BBA members and I forecasted his 2011 and beyond.
- 2B Luis Castillo, NYM was finally released by the Mets. Enough said.
At this time of year everyone is walking around telling you that Spring Training statistics are worthless. There's definitely truth to that but some numbers can't be ignored. Pay attention to what managers and coaches are saying about players and which jobs are being won and lost heading towards Opening Day.