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Fantasy Fallout: Spring battles wrap up

Jays' Sanchez, Phillies' Velasquez make rotation; Pollock to DL?
March 29, 2016

With less than one week remaining until Opening Day, 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.Sanchez makes Jays' rotationWith a 1.35 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP and a 19-to-3

With less than one week remaining until Opening Day, 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.
Sanchez makes Jays' rotation
With a 1.35 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP and a 19-to-3 K:BB ratio across 20 innings this spring, Aaron Sanchez certainly earned his rotation spot. The right-hander beat out veterans Gavin Floyd and Jesse Chavez for the fifth-starter gig in Toronto. fantasy cheat sheet: A must-have on draft day
Fantasy fallout: Sanchez may not attract immediate mixed-league attention due to his low K/9 rate (6.3) in the Majors, but he could improve in that department given his 8.8 K/9 mark as a Minor Leaguer. Those in 12-team leagues should look to stash the 23-year-old on the bench, and owners in 10-team leagues should keep a close eye on his early-season outings. Sanchez could see his overall fantasy value affected by an innings cap in the second half, but owners scooping arms off waivers now should not be looking that far down the road.
Osuna named closer; Storen to set up
The Blue Jays threw fantasy owners a curveball when they decided to keep Roberto Osuna in the ninth inning and use offseason acquisition Drew Storen as a setup man. Set to serve as the stopper for a team that remains mostly intact after coming within two games of playing in the 2015 World Series, Osuna has the potential to save 40 games.
Fantasy fallout: With the ability to produce low ratios and a high strikeout total on a winning club, Osuna is already a borderline top-10 closer. Now that Storen is expected to work in a setup role, he can be shipped to waivers in shallow formats. Osuna owners in deep mixed leagues can consider rostering Storen, as the 28-year-old could win several games and log excellent ratios.

Velasquez joins Phillies starting quintet
The Phillies named Vince Velasquez their fifth starter on Monday. Velasquez beat out southpaw Adam Morgan, and both young hurlers were effective in March.
Fantasy fallout: Owners should be excited to see a Phillies rotation with Velasquez, a swing-and-miss-inducing arm with the potential to rack up many K's. Even though he may not become a shallow-league lineup regular during April given his spot on a rebuilding club and in a hitter-friendly home venue, the 23-year-old has a high ceiling of potential and should be a fine streaming option in 12-team formats out of the gate.

Karns joins rotation as Paxton returns to Triple-A
After posting a 3.67 ERA with a 8.9 K/9 rate across 147 innings with the Rays last year, Nathan Karns secured a spot in the Mariners' Opening Day rotation. Meanwhile, James Paxton will open the season in Triple-A following a rough spring.
Fantasy fallout: Karns should be viewed as a streaming option in 12-team leagues and a permanent roster-spot holder in 15-team formats. Paxton, for his part, should not be forgotten even though he will open '16 in the Minors. With a 3.16 ERA across 30 big league starts, the southpaw will likely have a stretch of standard-league relevance at some point this year.

Smith sidelined with torn LCL
The Brewers' plans for a closer committee will have to be put on hold, as Will Smith will need to rehab a torn LCL in his right knee. With the southpaw slated to open the season on the disabled list, Jeremy Jeffress should be in line to receive all early-season save chances. With a strong April, Jeffress could lock up sole possession of the ninth-inning gig prior to Smith's return. If Jeffress falters, the Brewers could ask Corey Knebel to finish off narrow wins.
Fantasy fallout: As he may not return to a co-closer role, Smith should be shipped to waivers in most mixed leagues. Jeffress should be owned in all formats, but he will need to be consistent in April in order to be regarded as a top-20 reliever. Knebel should be stashed on NL-only benches, but Michael Blazek can stay on waivers in all formats.
Pollock may not be ready for Opening Day
A.J. Pollock has been limited this spring due to soreness in his right elbow, and D-backs manager Chip Hale recently mentioned the possibility of a season-opening stint on the disabled list. Because the disabled-list time could be backdated, the outfielder may not need to miss more than a few games.
Fantasy fallout: Pollock owners should not panic and sell low on one of their top assets. But those with late-spring drafts may want to let the 28-year-old slip behind Andrew McCutchen and Mookie Betts on their draft lists.

Forsythe set to spark Rays
Coming off a breakout season, Logan Forsythe will open 2016 as the Rays' full-time leadoff hitter. The right-handed batter has produced a lifetime .323 on-base percentage, but he recorded an impressive .359 mark last season. Set to serve as the sparkplug for an upgraded Tampa Bay lineup, Forsythe -- who ripped 17 round-trippers in '15 -- could nearly match that mark while scoring more than 80 runs and compiling a double-digit steals total.
Fantasy fallout: With the potential to be a five-category asset, Forsythe should be rostered in all leagues. But given that he has had just one productive season, the 29-year-old should not be regarded as a top-12 option among a deep group of second basemen.
Hinojosa emerges as closer candidate
The Phillies have been searching for reliable relief options this spring, and Dalier Hinojosa has emerged as a candidate to hold a high-leverage role. The native Cuban has thrown just 24 2/3 big league innings, but his swing-and-miss stuff makes him a closer candidate if he can improve his 4.0 BB/9 rate.
Fantasy fallout: Because the Phillies relief corps is completely unsettled, Hinojosa could receive save chances in April. As a result, he can be added to the bench of deep-mixed-league teams in need of saves. Owners who roster both Hinojosa and David Hernandez have a good chance of owning the Phillies' closer when the dust settles during April.

Naquin makes the team
A first-round pick in the 2012 Draft, Tyler Naquin will be part of the Indians' Opening Day roster. A left-handed hitter, Naquin may work the heavy side of a center-field platoon with veteran speedster Rajai Davis. If the 24-year-old extends his strong Spring Training results into the regular season, he could push Davis to a reserve role.
Fantasy fallout: Naquin lacks plus power, but he can hit for average and swipe some bases. He would not warrant a lineup spot in mixed leagues but can be stashed on the bench in deep-mixed formats given his potential to turn a hot start into a heavy workload.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB