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.
Aroldis Chapman suspended for 30 games
Chapman should continue to post outstanding ratios once he is back on the active roster, but a 30-game absence knocks the southpaw down to projections of roughly 30 saves and 80 whiffs. Andrew Miller could accumulate roughly eight to 10 saves at the outset of the season, and his short-term ninth-inning work should combine with a full season of stellar ratios to give him significant value.
Fantasy fallout: Chapman falls out of the top tier at his position, and he should be selected roughly 10th among closers. Miller could crack the top-20 relievers, and he is a fine choice as the third reliever on a mixed-league team.
Rangers sign Ian Desmond
Relocating from pitcher-friendly Nationals Park to homer-happy Globe Life Park in Arlington should give Desmond the boost he needs to top the 20-homer mark after ripping 19 roundtrippers a year ago. The veteran is a batting-average risk given his two-year battle with strikeouts, but few shortstop-eligible players will enter 2016 with a projection of 20-plus long balls and roughly 15 steals. Desmond's arrival ends the short-lived '16 sleeper status of prospects Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara, who should open the season in the Minors. The signing is also a clear indication that the club is not counting on Josh Hamilton to be a major contributor this year.
Fantasy fallout: Desmond ranks just outside the top-five shortstops. Gallo, Mazara and Hamilton are worth no more than a late-round pick in American League-only leagues.
Jimmy Rollins relocates to the South Side
Likely to turn a Minor League deal into a starting shortstop gig, Rollins could dent mixed-league rosters. The veteran hit .224 last season, but a .246 BABIP was a contributing factor. If he can compile 500 at-bats, Rollins could hit .250 with nearly 15 homers and close to 20 steals. Tyler Saladino is expected to move from a starting gig to a reserve role.
Fantasy fallout: Because the bar for mixed-league relevance at shortstop is low, Rollins can be selected in the late rounds of standard leagues. Saladino should fall to waivers in AL-only formats.
Dexter Fowler returns to Cubs
Fowler is returning to a club with which he posted career-best stats last year, which is a good sign for fantasy owners who pick him up in 2016. If he can stay off the disabled list, this on-base machine could approach the 100-run plateau from atop the rapidly improving Cubs lineup. Fowler's return to Chicago should push Jorge Soler to a reserve role, and it may have a slightly negative impact on the at-bat totals for Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Montero.
Fantasy fallout: Capable of compiling close to 15 homers and 20 steals, Fowler is a good option as a No. 4 outfielder in mixed leagues. Soler should start the season on waivers in standard formats. Because he may not start more than 110 games, Montero is a weak option in one-catcher leagues.
Indians ink Juan Uribe
Expected to serve as the Indians' starting third baseman, Uribe could reach the 15-homer mark if he can play in 130 games. Durability could be a question, however, as the veteran will be 37 on Opening Day and has not reached the 400 at-bat mark since 2010. Youngster Giovanny Urshela will likely open the season in the Minors.
Fantasy fallout: Uribe should start the season on waivers in mixed leagues, but he will help AL-only teams. Urshela ought to open the season on waivers in all formats.
Kevin Pillar may hit atop powerful lineup
The leading candidate to hit atop a lineup that led the Majors in runs by a wide margin last season, Pillar could follow up his breakout year with an even more productive effort in 2016. The native Californian may not repeat his 25-steal season if batting in front of Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista, but he could score more than 90 runs.
Fantasy fallout: If he secures the leadoff role, Pillar could rise to the standing of a No. 3 mixed-league outfielder.
Hyun-Jin Ryu expected to be sidelined until May
Coming off shoulder surgery, Ryu is hoping to log 150 innings after he returns from a season-opening disabled-list stint. The left-hander's early-season absence opens up a rotation spot for Alex Wood. Because the Dodgers possess multiple injury-prone starters, Wood could make 30 starts.
Fantasy fallout: Wise owners will stash Ryu on their disabled list and cautiously hope that he can toss 130 effective frames after his long recovery road comes to an end. With a lifetime 3.30 ERA and a 7.9 K/9 rate, Wood should be an asset in all leagues.
Carter Capps undergoes MRI
Because Capps finished the 2015 season on the disabled list due to an elbow injury, his MRI takes on notable significance. Previously expected to battle A.J. Ramos for the ninth-inning gig, Capps will now likely focus on having a healthy start to the season.
Fantasy fallout: The results of the MRI will likely create a clearer picture, but Capps loses most of his sleeper status. Ramos can be ranked roughly 15th among relievers.
Red Sox sign David Murphy
With a lifetime .795 OPS against right-handers, Murphy could earn a role with the Red Sox. But the 34-year-old would have had a better chance for a significant role if he had joined a club with less outfield depth. This signing gives Boston the option of creating a platoon situation in left field with Murphy and Chris Young (lifetime .837 OPS vs. southpaws) if projected starter Rusney Castillo gets off to a slow start.
Fantasy fallout: Castillo could still make a leap this season, but he belongs in the late rounds of mixed-league drafts. Young and Murphy are strictly late-round options in AL-only formats.