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Ryan Langerhans, Seattle Mariners
The left-handed hitter had a strong spring (.316 BA, two homers, nine RBIs), which may be attributable to his changed swing. Eric Wedge gave him the nod over Michael Saunders on opening day and in three of four overall, which has produced two hits (one a homer) in 13 at-bats. Saunders is 0-for-2.
Wedge doesn't plan to make any definitive decisions without more time to observe the two. Franklin Gutierrez (stomach) is out for an undetermined period; this seesaw could stop in a couple of weeks - but it could also last for quite a while.
The M's skipper is a bit stubborn, but Langerhans is a lifetime .228 hitter and, overhauled swing or not, has virtually no upside. Saunders, 24, is flawed but needs to play if he's going to test his own self-improvements. The younger center fielder had a solid spring, also - with 50 percent fewer K's and a few more free passes. Langerhans is purely a desperate PT addition; you'd be better served by stashing Saunders.
Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Pass
Brandon Beachy, Atlanta Braves
Take a cue from the 24-year-old's first outing of the season (six innings, four hits, one run, one walk, seven strikeouts). If you didn't, take a hint from his fine spring (20 frames, 18 hits, two earned runs, four walks, 21 K's). Mike Minor didn't lose the No. 5 spot in ST; Beachy, an afterthought in the battle for it, won it.
That was no big surprise, given how the Braves handle their farm system. Prior to his 15 innings of major league work last year, he had been extremely efficient in the walk department. That goes nicely with his apparently underrated ability to strike out the opposition. Atlanta doesn't care much that Beachy was an undrafted free agent, just that he gets results everywhere he goes. You should follow suit, if someone hasn't beaten you to it.
Shallow mixed: Consider
Deep mixed: Acquire
Tim Collins and Aaron Crow, Kansas City Royals
Public service announcement: The Royals major league relievers. It seems that the arms the club stocked in the bullpen can not only erase big league batters, but do so with the strikeout.
Observers have approached Collins, all 5-foot-7 of him, with skepticism for some time, but he strikes out hitters at every level. The 21-year-old has fanned six in four frames to begin 2011 (tacking on a W, without allowing a run). The southpaw generates great torque with a windup that has earned comparisons to Tim Lincecum's - in the sense that it's unorthodox, but it works. He has made small strides in the BB/9 area, and it has never resulted in long-term harm.
Crow, 24, is one of the club's best prospects. KC decided to let him compete for a bullpen job this spring. They still have designs on examining him as a rotation piece, a la Neftali Feliz, but in the meantime, Crow (three innings, one win, five K's) has an opportunity to put his hard heat and tough slider to use. He isn't immune to the pain of walks yet, but the strikeouts give him a strong chance to mellow out your roster in middle relief.
Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Consider
Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers
The lefty was a bit of a hot add in some leagues because of his spectacular outing against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday (seven stanzas, five hits, one run, two walks, eight strikeouts). Harrison, 25, used to be a solid prospect and won a rotation spot this spring, before Tommy Hunter (groin) was sidelined.
It'll be a big positive, obviously, if he can continue to limit walks as he did versus the BoSox; the trend of his output in that category wasn't encouraging, through 2010. Don't expect the K/9 to be such a large counterweight to the bases on balls, regardless, though. One analyst noted that the K zone was particularly generous on Sunday. Harrison doesn't have a track record that suggests he'll do anything short of approach 6.00 in that field, either. That's a solid mark, and he could be on his way to a breakthrough, but keep the investment tempered.
Shallow mixed: Pass
Deep mixed: Watch
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.