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.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
The face of the franchise will bat third. This may affect his stolen base productions slightly, kind of in the manner that a similar move affected Hanley Ramirez's. But that could be a function of aging too quickly, in Han-Ram's case. McCutchen is poised to add a touch more power production to his resume, so the upside is looking greater all the time.
Gio Gonzalez, SP, Oakland Athletics
Take hint: Be careful with Latos
Teammates, scouts, anyone who watches the lefty is raving about how he appears to have put it all together, finally. If his stellar 2010 second half is a sign of things to come, then you should get on board. The walks won't just disappear, however. Gonzalez could be on the verge of the kind of step forward that Jonathan Sanchez took last year. That still screams mighty nice upside.
Sean Burnett, RP, Washington Nationals
This guy was already a good nobody-thinks-about-him bet for a few saves this year. Jim Riggleman confirmed it. Tyler Clippard has had a forgettable spring. Todd Coffey is ... serviceable. Drew Storen is working through his early exhibition troubles.
The second-year man and 2009 draft pick is still easily the favorite for saves in the nation's capital, but the southpaw will cherry-pick a few, at least in the early going. FAAB him on the cheap if you're looking for a tide-you-over source.
Melky Cabrera, OF, Kansas City Royals
Slimmer, trimmer and, it doesn't rhyme, but, fifth in the order for KC. How long that lasts is anyone's guess, but Melky is not as bad a bet to maintain AL-only relevance as many will have you believe. Alex Gordon is also primed for that breakthrough season we keep waiting for.
Brandon Beachy, SP, Atlanta Braves
Winner, in an upset. Beachy seems to have a tendency to allow base runners, but you wouldn't know it from his spring numbers. In fairness, Mike Minor had a good spring too, but Beachy was sharper. By the end of the year, it won't shock anyone to see the roles reversed, but something always happens in Atlanta that ends up opening up a spot for someone.
Andrew Cashner, SP, Chicago Cubs
There's distinct upside here. The right-hander sits in the mid-90s easily and has electric stuff. He's still a work-in-progress in terms of learning to harness that ability, and he issues free passes in bunches. But evidence of the upside (along with the danger of owning him) was no further evident than in his most recent ST start: The Texas Rangers shelled Cashner for five runs (three earned) in the first inning; then, he settled down, pitched his way out of a jam and went scoreless in the next four to notch a W. Tuck him away, NL players. (Adieu, Carlos Silva!)
Rick Ankiel, OF, Washington Nationals
The lefty swinger won the center field job with a strong ... no, solid - wait ... sub-par - yeah, sub-par - ST performance, plus his pulsing ... pulse. Ankiel will not hit for average because he doesn't make contact often enough, but he still socks away a bit of power and will help for short stretches in related categories.
The Nats have probably tired of Nyjer Morgan's act, because they shipped him to the Milwaukee Brewers for a blah prospect. Although Roger Bernadina gets the short end initially, he's still a sleeper, and now he might be dirt cheap. Jerry Hairston Jr. will no doubt log some time in the outfield. And, most notably, this ensures ST standout Mike Morse (.841 slugging percentage) of at-bats in some fashion, which is a good thing for roto owners. Don't be afraid to go the extra buck on this potential breakout player.
Brad Emaus, 2B, New York Mets
Emaus has pop and a job. Don't get terribly excited, but do investigate in your NL league, should you get down this far. Keep in mind that Daniel Murphy remains a threat and could present a platoon problem for the right-handed hitter, Emaus. Murphy's comfort defensively and usefulness in other areas will make this an interesting situation. OK, sort of interesting.
Zack Greinke, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Nothing about his outlook post-recovery has changed, but the length of recovery time has. He's still a very nice-looking No. 2 mixed league starter, but owning Greinke will require a little patience.
Mat Latos, SP, San Diego Padres
This Gio worth the ride
He is headed for the DL. He is not. He is. The shoulder capsule thing this young right-hander is dealing with is probably not a big deal. But please keep in mind the bad signs here, RE: the youngster's production, when he does get on a mound. Latos didn't have much in the way of legit spring activity, he's coming off a large workload increase, and some of his numbers are due for some correction. Oh, and then there's the whole run support thing.
Johnny Cueto, SP, Cincinnati Reds
The young right-hander shouldn't fall much on your draft board, but the shoulder inflammation he has battled in the latter half of this month will sideline him for a couple of weeks in April, at least. Assuming that this isn't a sign of something more serious, he still looks good to take another step forward in 2011, at least in the K department, but in less time.
Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Seattle Mariners
The 28-year-old has stomach problems related to his digestive tract, and they have presented complications for ... going on a year now. It causes him to feel weak, it seems. Expect him to begin the season on the disabled list, and although it seems natural to be optimistic about a short stay there, don't put anything down in ink. A related ailment kept him on the sidelines in the final week of the 2010 season, so it's a little troubling that someone hasn't found a solution by now.
Most of us aren't doctors, but we can try to play them on the Internet - except in this case. It may very easily be something Gutierrez can manage once doctors pinpoint the problem, but first they have to do so. In the meantime, Gutierrez is not a smart mixed league play and has very mild upside in AL leagues.
Nyjer Morgan, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
If you haven't drafted yet, Morgan has become a more enticing target. He'll theoretically lose at-bats in Milwaukee; Carlos Gomez is "assured" of his starting spot. It's not necessarily a make-or-break year for Gomez, but the Brew Crew is a team primed for a playoff run, with Prince Fielder set to walk post-2011. Morgan is Gomez-meltdown insurance, to be sure. That's not to say Morgan won't have a meltdown of his own, however. Price and value go down, level of interest goes up (a little).
Mike Minor, SP, Atlanta Braves
This southpaw had a solid spring training, too, but Brandon Beachy beat him by a nose for the Bravos' final rotation spot. Don't doubt that Minor will get his shot at some point this year. There's nothing indicating that he's worth stashing in mixed leagues, unless they're extremely deep, though. His killer K/BB track record and solid pedigree suggest he'll make a mark, even if it's inconsistent, in 2011.
Kevin Millwood, SP, New York Yankees
The righty sucked it up and signed a farm deal with the Yanks. With no obvious opening and some time needed to get up to speed in the minors, there are fewer big league innings forecasted for Millie than there were at the start of spring. The location means little, except maybe an extra W or two, if you're really lucky.
Clint Barmes, SS, Houston Astros
Barmes has a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his left hand. Expect that to affect his performance a little when he gets back sometime in May. Also, expect not to notice the effect much in his statistics. But, he'll probably still be a starter then, so he has that going for him.
Tommy Hunter, SP, Texas Rangers
The right-hander will miss as much as six weeks. The Rangers have rotation depth issues, but they also have a couple of candidates who could use this stretch to audition for a spot and Scott Feldman (knee) on schedule to return not long after. Hunter had a veteran edge over his comp, but he doesn't earn a roto pass. Alexi Ogando may provide AL owners with another reason to follow him, but this gig could be short-lived.
Carlos Silva, SP, free agent
He has no team. Whether that changes doesn't affect your desire to avoid him.
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.