Who will sub for Chris Carpenter?
It doesn't seem like they'll sign Kyle Lohse or someone else to address the veteran's shoulder setback, which may end his career. Carp's innings will probably be filled by multiple arms throughout the season, but for the initial opportunity, count on an internal competition with headliners Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal. Joe Kelly brings up the rear thanks to his moxie-fueled, skills-tenuous profile, and the farm tossers, including Carlos Martinez, need more polish. The other two, on the other hand, should land on mixed cheat sheets.
One would think this is Miller's to win. One of their top prospects, and frequently the No. 1 in recent years, rebounded after several speed bumps in his Triple-A Memphis go-round in 2012. He needed some organizational kid gloves, but relief duty with the big club last year displayed his refined approach, including comfort with secondary offerings. Of course, his pitches won't be as suffocating over a full season (read: fewer K's), but peripherally, he's sound and even at 22 can take a big step. Deep-mixed speculators can't pass him up, especially if he retains the inside track closer to the season's start.
Rosenthal will push him, though if the flamethrower (seriously, filthy stuff) can't show control over extended periods, they won't hesitate to keep him as a reliever. Don't worry; for a last-round dart, he could give you Kenley Jansen-esque production if he's coming out of the bullpen, and he should see at least a few starting rubbers this year. This'll be one of the most watched fantasy situations in any camp.
What will the middle infield look like?
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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