MLB Fantasy Grapevine

by Ryan Dodson on March 9, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT


Welcome to the 2007 MLB Draft Guide Fantasy Grapevine. In this feature, we'll detail what has gone on over the last week to cause our projections to change. Whether it's an injury, a platoon circumstance or a breakout performance, we'll keep you "in the know" in this report.

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright

Situation: Full-time starter

Analysis: We went into spring training assuming Wainwright would be a backup plan for the Cardinals' closer position. However, Wainwright has dazzled as a starter in the spring, and after setup man Josh Kinney (elbow) succumbed to Tommy John surgery, Braden Looper will probably be put back into the bullpen. Looper was battling for the fifth starter spot, but the Cards have no choice but to put him back in the setup role. We docked Wainwright's saves and re-projected him as a full-time starter.

Fantasy Tip: This didn't hurt Wainwright's value, and he's a hot topic on draft day. Look to secure him in the late rounds of your draft.

St. Louis Cardinals reliever Tyler Johnson

Situation: Added to projections

Analysis: Originally slated to be a left-handed specialist, Johnson will have to be leaned on more with the loss of Kinney, who is out for the season. Johnson was added to the projections, while Kinney was removed. Johnson has good strikeout numbers, but his ERA and WHIP are still developing.

Fantasy Tip: Johnson isn't draft-worthy material at this stage.

Atlanta Braves starters Mike Hampton and Mark Redman

Situation: Strained Oblique

Analysis: Hampton will miss two months with a strained oblique muscle, and the team quickly signed Mark Redman, who has the best shot to win the open starter slot. Hampton's numbers were reduced, and Redman's were too. We projected Redman to catch on with a team and be a regular starter, but it looks like he'll be in the bullpen when Hampton returns or released. Therefore we projected Redman for an adequate amount of innings to spot start.

Fantasy Tip: Hampton has very minimal value and isn't worth being drafted. Redman could have success with Atlanta and have value in NL-Only leagues, but it's too early to forecast that kind of transformation.

Oakland Athletics outfielders Mark Kotsay and Travis Buck

Situation: Back surgery; Buck added to projections

Analysis: Kotsay will miss most of the first half of the season due to back surgery. His numbers have essentially been cut in half. We have also added rookie Travis Buck to the projections as insurance in the outfield.

Fantasy Tip: Kotsay had very minimal value before the injury. He has zero right now. Buck could have value later in the season.

Oakland Athletics first baseman Dan Johnson

Situation: Open spot in lineup

Analysis: Johnson was originally projected to back up Nick Swisher at first base due to the crowded outfield. With Kotsay out, Milton Bradley will shift to center field and Swisher will move to right field. This opens a spot for Johnson. He's out of options, and this is a make-or-break season for him. 

Fantasy Tip: Johnson's value should rise as we get closer to the start of the season. He has good power and can hit for a good average. He's a late-round flier right now.

Kansas City Royals relievers Joe Nelson and David Riske

Situation: Nelson injured; Riske added to projections

Analysis: Nelson (shoulder) is expected to miss a couple of months due to a labrum injury in his shoulder. We feel his value is next-to-none now. As closer Octavio Dotel's insurance policy, Nelson had value, which has transferred to Riske. 

Fantasy Tip: Neither Nelson nor Riske have fantasy value. Riske will have value if Dotel gets hurt, but neither of these setup men should be drafted.

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About Ryan Dodson

Dodson is a KFFL Contributor and has been with KFFL since 2002.

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