Spring Training is in full swing, and wise fantasy owners are paying close attention to the daily news out of Florida and Arizona. The following recent headlines have resulted in the greatest changes in fantasy values.LaRoche to call it a careerIn a surprise move, Adam LaRoche informed his teammates that
Spring Training is in full swing, and wise fantasy owners are paying close attention to the daily news out of Florida and Arizona. The following recent headlines have resulted in the greatest changes in fantasy values.
LaRoche to call it a career
In a surprise move, Adam LaRoche informed his teammates that he intends to retire. LaRoche's absence relieves a potential outfield logjam, as Avisail Garcia should take over as the club's regular designated hitter. Without Garcia in the outfield picture, Austin Jackson will play center field and Adam Eaton will slide over to right field.
Fantasy fallout: Garcia and Jackson are now viable late-round options in standard mixed leagues. Jackson should combine a few homers with 15 steals, and Garcia should combine a few steals with 15 homers.
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Edwin hampered by oblique injury
Edwin Encarnacion was shut down for at least one week on Tuesday, as he deals with mild oblique soreness. While he is expected to be ready for Opening Day, the slugger has already missed time this month due to the removal of an abscessed tooth.
Fantasy fallout: Assuming that he does not experience a setback, Encarnacion can continue to be an option in the second round of mixed-league drafts. The cleanup hitter is known for having scorching stretches, but his limited March playing time could impact his early-season effectiveness.
Cabrera expected to open season on disabled list
A knee injury will sideline Asdrubal Cabrera for at least two weeks, which puts his Opening Day availability into question. If the veteran requires a season-opening stint on the disabled list, Wilmer Flores will return to the starting role that he filled in 2015.
Fantasy fallout: Even though he may undergo a brief regular-season absence, Cabrera is still a viable late-round option in standard leagues. Those in search of an early-April middle infielder in deep mixed formats could give Flores strong consideration. He could bridge the early-season gap for owners of players such as Cabrera or Jung Ho Kang.
Peralta may miss entire first half
Originally expected to miss 2-3 months, Jhonny Peralta may be sidelined until midseason after undergoing surgery on his left thumb. Jedd Gyorko will get a chance during Spring Training games to prove that he can serve as the team's first-half shortstop. If the 27-year-old fails to capitalize on this opportunity, the Cardinals could look outside the organization.
Fantasy fallout: Peralta can fall to waivers in virtually all mixed leagues, but those in NL-only formats can keep him on their disabled list. Gyorko is a late-round option in deep mixed formats as long as his name is atop the shortstop depth chart in St. Louis on Opening Day.
Freese joins Bucs
Inked to a one-year deal, David Freese should serve as the Pirates' starting third baseman at the outset of the season while Kang resides on the disabled list. When Kang returns to the active roster, Freese will become a reserve player who uses his skills against southpaws to be a valuable bat off the bench.
Fantasy fallout: Freese will dent NL-only rosters at the outset of the season, but an expected short-term starting assignment means that he belongs on waivers in all mixed leagues. Because the Bucs have a deep bench, the native Texan -- who has not appeared at a position other than third base since '11 -- could be used sparingly once Kang returns.
Seager has left knee sprain
Despite having logged just 113 big league plate appearances, Corey Seager is already being treated as a top-5 fantasy shortstop. A sprained left knee injury is expected to sideline the 21-year-old for at least a week, which puts his status for Opening Day in jeopardy.
Fantasy fallout: As the Dodgers are optimistic that Seager will be part of their initial regular-season lineup, he should not yet move on fantasy draft lists. Carlos Correa is a first-round pick and in a tier all to himself at the shortstop position, but Seager belongs with Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor and Troy Tulowitzki in the next echelon.
More injuries for Martinez
Victor Martinez exited the fifth inning of Monday's game with a mild left hamstring strain. Minor Spring Training ailments do not usually warrant attention, but the veteran slugger's '15 season was greatly affected by a left knee injury. At age 38, Martinez may not be able to recover quickly from minor aches and pains.
Fantasy fallout: For the moment, Martinez should be drafted as a starting player in standard mixed leagues. But he would become a reserve-round option if his hamstring injury were to result in an extended absence.
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Wieters deals with elbow soreness
Like Martinez, Matt Wieters is dealing with a minor injury that could be of major importance. The backstop has been limited to 101 games during the past two seasons as a result of right elbow woes, and he felt renewed soreness during a Spring Training game on March 12. An MRI on March 14 did not reveal structural damage, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter expressed optimism that the soreness is not significant.
Fantasy fallout: Wieters has the potential to be a top-5 fantasy catcher, but owners will not give him a lofty ranking until he proves that he is past his elbow woes. Owners who draft the 29-year-old in the coming days may wish to spend a final-round pick on O's backup backstop Caleb Joseph.
Weaver, Wilson in holding pattern
The Angels could open the season with two starters on the disabled list. A spine specialist confirmed that Jered Weaver is dealing with a mild degenerative condition in his spine. The right-hander has struggled with his velocity this spring, and there is no timeline for him to return to game action. Meanwhile, C.J. Wilson is currently shut down from throwing after he experienced pain in his left shoulder during a bullpen session on March 12.
Fantasy fallout: Both Wilson and Weaver should go undrafted in mixed leagues. Because Wilson typically maintains a high WHIP and Weaver logs a low strikeout rate, both pitchers may struggle to help fantasy teams when they return to the rotation. Matt Shoemaker should be part of the Angels' starting quintet on Opening Day, and his lifetime ratios (3.68 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) make him a viable option for a late-round mixed-league selection. Nick Tropeano may also be in line for a rotation spot, which makes him a viable late-round option in AL-only formats.
Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB