Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - NL
Johnson is used to hitting in a cavern. He'll enter camp expected to back up Nick Hundley, whose mild offensive promise isn't enough to ensure him starter's at-bats all year. Johnson isn't better, but he ended up on the surgeon's table multiple times before last season began, so if he's now at full strength, he could see some time.
It has been a long, long, long time since Jacobs' 32-homer, 93-RBI with the Florida Marlins, all the way back in 2008. A miserable couple of seasons afterward, he's Todd Helton insurance. Just saying, not too many places you'd rather have you a cheap slugger, if it works out.
Fields was pretty good in an extremely limited sample (September) with the Kansas City Royals, after he returned from a hip problem. He's struggling this winter; it takes players with his approach awhile to get their timing back. PT isn't likely at third. Maybe at first, but don't get excited yet.
You didn't expect Bartlett to repeat his 2009 season ever again, and you don't think that will change in sunny SD. You have seen the best his power stroke has to offer, and that remains so because he'll probably play half of his games at PETCO Park.
You know that the Friars are aggressive on the base paths, and you're intrigued by the possibility that he'll swipe 25 or so bases again - assuming that his hamstring thing isn't a precursor to something chronic.
After he cranked 18 homers in 382 at-bats with the Boston Red Sox, Hall is going to look like an intriguing deep league player in Houston. He's expected to be the everyday second sacker. His sudden reversal of fortune in his splits versus righties and lefties raises some questions. Hall might be able to provide above-average power production at second. However, this position is getting deep, and he's such a BA liability that targeting him as a consolation prize is probably unwise.
The somewhat fragile Hudson completes the Padres' overhauled double-play duo. He's even likelier to continue to offer nothing astounding in any rotisserie category, especially with the club's most dangerous player (by far) now in Beantown. There are signs that Hudson's game is deteriorating, so the move to a potentially offensively inept club isn't encouraging. If he stays healthy, he should surpass his career high of 10 thefts, though.
Can't say too many saw Betancourt's 16 ding dongs coming, and a move to Milwaukee would seem to make it likelier that he'll repeat. It's going to be interesting to see how the Brewers deal with what is going to be a pretty bad defensive infield, though. If excessive gaffes or poor range are too much to stomach, the players at the other three spots will feel much more secure.
E-Pat, the PBTNL in the A-Gon deal, will provide the Pads with some depth and flexibility. You'll have to have a pretty nice batting average foundation if you want to claim him for his stolen base assistance after Hudson gets hurt, though.
Kevin Towers expects Nady to receive between 400 and 500 plate appearances while playing either left field or first base. Considering the club's options there, for the moment, it's probably safe to assume he'll hit it, easily. After approaching that range with the Chicago Cubs in 2010, he'll be nearly two years removed from Tommy John surgery when the upcoming season begins. Nady should be ready to start pushing past the sapped power, and Chase Field is a great place to do it. This could be one of the better sleepers.
The Brew Crew included Lorenzo Cain in a package to get Zack Greinke shortly after they re-inked Gomez. His raw talent remains pretty close to elite, but the gap between it and his dedication and self-awareness remains wide. Unless that changes, a chance on him remains worthy of only a very low price.
Ankiel will compete with Roger Bernadina for playing time in left and could also push Nyjer Morgan in center, according to reports. Like Ankiel, both of those hitters are left-handed. The Nats seemed concerned about how they'd make up for the loss of Adam Dunn's power. Jayson Werth alone won't do it. Ankiel has an atrocious BA profile, but if he pops more than a few homers in ST, D.C. may give him a longer look than most would expect. Whoever pays draft day price for the title of "starter" in this outfield may be sorry.
Josh Willingham netted, in part, Brown, a 25-year-old outfielder with a little power and speed. He may not be more than a reserve outfielder in the bigs, though.
KC finally peddled this Greinke fella to someone who was willing to take on a pitcher with a treated social anxiety disorder. The right-hander should enjoy mowing down NL hitters, probably at a greater rate. What might give a pitcher who has continued to improve his ground-ball percentage anxiety is Milwaukee's infield: By replacing slick-fielding Alcides Escobar with Yuniesky Betancourt, the Brew Crew has assembled one of the worst defensive infields, if not the worst one, in the league.
Ah, full circle. This past season, after the New York Yankees traded for Wood, he made some mechanical adjustments that appeared to have a positive effect. His control rate remained an issue, as it was in 2009, and he's still, naturally, a perfect pillar of health, though. Carlos Marmol has only one of those problems, and he improved on his. Plus, he's firmly entrenched. Still, these two may not ever be as far apart as ADP will make them seem.
Guerrier isn't closer material, particularly because his indicators suggest that some part of his success is the result of smoke and mirrors. It seems highly unlikely that Guerrier is a candidate to earn saves, but the Blue is taking precautions because of the youth and question marks that fill its bullpen. He still doesn't line up as much of a speculative candidate.
Wang wanted a guaranteed deal for 2011, but that was unlikely because he never sniffed the bigs in 2010 thanks to shoulder problems and hasn't since July 2009. The right-hander's health issues of the past few years betray his sinker-ball talents. Just monitor this in case he approaches 100 percent.
The Nats hauled in one of the hardest-throwing right-handers in a package for Josh Willingham. Rodriguez has made strides in the BB/9 department in the past two seasons. He's unlikely to earn save chances, but D.C. has added another high K/9 arm to a young, high-upside bullpen, and this one could be worth deep NL consideration.
Gervacio held mild intrigue as a potential source of saves last year because of his strikeout potential and some ability to generate ground balls. He probably won't be a factor early on - or maybe not at all - because there is still uncertainty surrounding the health of his shoulder.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570. Follow @NicholasMinnix
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