We are less than a week away from Opening Day, yet that doesn’t mean things have gotten any clearer for some teams. Who may have put their jobs in jeopardy? Who is looking like a strong play? Let’s take a look:
- Cody Ross – Boston Red Sox – Outfielder – Ross is an outfielder that I have been promoting as one of the better sleepers, and yesterday’s performance helped to display why. He went 2-3 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, bringing his spring totals to .366 with 6 HR, 15 RBI and 11 R. He has homered in three straight games (4 HR) and has RBI in four straight (10 RBI). With Carl Crawford set to open the year on the DL Ross is going to get regular playing time and could easily entrench himself for the rest of the year. If you have an opportunity to stash him, I wouldn’t hesitate.
- Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers – Third Baseman – He returned to the lineup going 2-3 with 2 RBI and 1 R (both hits were doubles). Fantasy owners, who got a very big scare earlier in the preseason, can now exhale. It appears like there won’t be an issue for him to be ready for Opening Day.
- Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals – First Baseman – He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, with his other hit being a double. He is hitting .380 with 2 HR and 10 RBI this spring, but the most impressive number is probably his 9 doubles (though his 7 K vs. 6 BB in 50 AB is a close second). He has power potential, though he hasn’t really shown it yet (55 doubles in 830 AB between Double and Triple-A the past two seasons). If Lance Berkman either gets injured, or is needed in the outfield, look for Carpenter to make an impact this season. Those in deeper formats will want to keep his name in mind.
- Josh Collmenter – Arizona Diamondbacks – Starting Pitcher – Expected to have a spot in the Diamondbacks’ rotation early in the year, you really have to wonder how long he can hold off Trevor Bauer and/or Tyler Skaggs. He was rocked yesterday by the Angels, allowing 8 ER on 10 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, over 4.0 IP. He has allowed fewer than 3 ER just once this spring and is currently sporting an 11.81 ERA. He also has managed just 5 K over 16.0 IP. Don’t even bother taking the flier on him, I’d much rather stash Bauer or Skaggs and wait for them to contribute.
- Michael Pineda – New York Yankees – Starting Pitcher – There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Pineda and the potential that he opens the year at Triple-A. After yesterday, he may have sealed his fate. Taking on the Phillies he failed to finish three innings, allowing 6 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over 2.2 IP. It is by far his worst outing of the spring, and couldn’t have come at a worse time. Now, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York (click here for the article), “New York Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda said he felt “a little sore” in the back of his right shoulder during an abbreviated outing on Friday night, allowing six runs in 2-2/3 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies.” There has been a lot of talk about a drop in velocity, so time will tell. Obviously you do not want to write him off, even if he is demoted or put on the DL, but just keep him stashed on the bench and wait. We all know what he’s capable of.
- Todd Frazier – Cincinnati Reds – Utility – I know I have spoken about him before, but we need to hammer home the point. He went 1-1 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R and is now hitting .280 with 5 HR, 12 RBI, 10 R and 2 SB over 50 AB this spring. He should play the super utility role this season, much like Mark DeRosa, and see time all across the diamond. That should mean playing five games a week, and he’s showing what he can do with the bat. The potential positional flexibility definitely makes him an ideal reserve in all formats.
- Yu Darvish – Texas Rangers – Starting Pitcher – He hasn’t had the most impressive spring, but he saved his best for last. Taking on the Colorado Rockies (including Carlos Gonzalez & Troy Tulowitzki), Darvish allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 11, over 6.0 IP. He had 21 K over 15.0 IP, while posting a 3.60 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. It’s just one start, but it definitely helps show us exactly what is possible.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings: