Fantasy baseball players must follow changes in preseason rankings, including how injuries, depth chart changes and transactions can affect their fantasy baseball teams. Stay up to date with notable adjustments in KFFL's fantasy baseball projections to outperform competitors.
Ben Francisco, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Francisco becomes a more valuable roto target all the time. Domonic Brown's poor hitting performance in camp, which he carried over from his stunting 2010 debut, and raw defensive skills already made Francisco the favorite. Fantasy owners began mixing the concrete when they heard about Brown's hand injury.
Rick Porcello, SP, Detroit Tigers
Porcello was clearly in need of an upgrade - but not to a degree that changed his value drastically. It's worth noting, though: Mixed leaguers may not be thrilled with his seemingly moderate upside, but he could be worth a late-round flier, especially given his high acumen. He's a solid AL buy because of his ability to coax the ground ball and limit walks. He improved noticeably in the latter area last season.
Brandon McCarthy, SP, Oakland Athletics
Break demonic to Domonic's value
McCarthy has to be considered the leading candidate for the A's No. 5 rotation spot. He has a combination of new habits, pitches and approaches that have resulted in nothing but positive reviews.
In his attempt to return from TJS, Josh Outman just doesn't appear ready to pitch at the major league level yet. It's not clear when Rich Harden (shoulder) will even pitch in an ST game, but at least he's throwing. Still, to preserve the fragile righty's arm, Oakland may be better served to place him in the bullpen and work up, if possible.
Nick Blackburn, SP, Minnesota Twins
Blackburn is apparently a Ron Gardenhire guy. In fact, the Twinkies' skipper has virtually guaranteed a starter's spot to everyone except Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey, and Baker seems like a pretty darn good bet as long as he's healthy. Slowey has been open to pitching out of the 'pen, and he may be trade bait.
Blackburn isn't ace material, but he really improved his ability to keep the ball down and put it on display when Minnesota recalled him last August. If he carries that over, he's a solid play to fill out an AL-only roto rotation, but he offers nothing in the strikeout department.
Jesus Montero, C, New York Yankees
The case for rostering Montero in fantasy leagues gets stronger with his occasional displays of his plate prowess and the injury to Francisco Cervelli (foot). It seems unlikely that the Bombers would keep him on the roster just to have him pinch hit and play a day or two a week. But if the bat is good enough and opportunities continue to pop up, one starts to think that the Yanks will find way to use it, at some point.
J.R. Towles, C, Houston Astros
Of Houston's in-house candidates who have a chance to replace Jason Castro (knee) in 2011, Towles has the most upside. The 27-year-old is running out of chances to prove that his minor league numbers (.297/.390/.470 altogether) have a place in the bigs. Don't hold your breath; do hold your dollars.
Humberto Quintero, C, Houston Astros
In a roto league, you can't be this desperate.
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
The fractured hamate bone that Brown suffered this past weekend and on which he will have surgery on Tuesday only further sets back the youngster's attempt to win a spot on the Phils' 25-man. His prospects didn't seem great considering his ST struggles, anyway; those trials resulted in an initial reduction last week.
NL players may still find it rewarding to stash one of the game's top prospects. Philly won't be in any hurry to get him back to the majors because this injury will undoubtedly have some effect on him at the plate, where he was already in a funk. If Ben Francisco settles in, the task only becomes more difficult. His long-term future is still bright, however.
Kevin Slowey, P, Minnesota Twins
The right-hander doesn't appear to have a great shot at winning a spot in the Twins' starting five, at this stage. Minnesota could peddle him, though, and he's first in line to step in if he leaves ST without rotation spot. His immaculate K/BB hasn't led to great big league success because he has a tendency to serve up meatballs.
Slowey could up with a different organization, and this news should drive down the price. He should become a risk-free gamble worth taking in AL leagues since some of his recent struggles could probably be attributed to injury problems that appear to be a thing of the past.
Jason Castro, C, Houston Astros
Castro suffered a torn ACL and will miss the entire season. His loss is no blow to mixed league players, but NL-only managers in two-catcher leagues aren't thrilled.
Josh Outman, SP, Oakland Athletics
Expecting the southpaw who had Tommy John surgery in 2009 to be in good enough shape to retire major league competition consistently was probably asking too much. Assuming that he doesn't win the club's race to be the fifth starter (safe bet, right now), he could become a factor in the second half (or sooner, if really needed), once he has regained his bearings.
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.