3.30.2005
 
2005 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Spring Notes

American League

  • BALTIMORE: Jay Gibbons has been rumored to be in a few trade proposals, but Sammy Sosa's arrival in Baltimore means that Gibbons will play his more natural first base spot, or DH. As of the 28th, he's hit .417 this spring but 12 of his 15 hits have been singles... Eric Bedard is a LHP that the Orioles have looked highly upon for the last few years. He's thrown 26.2 innings so far and has walked just 4 batters compared to his 17 strikeouts and 3.71 ERA.

  • BOSTON: If anyone in the Sox outfield gets hurt this year, watch for Jay Payton to step in and produce. He's had a nice spring, slugging .656, and can take any outfield spot... Matt Mantei is healthy again, and he's giving the Sox some nice depth in their bullpen. Mantei's thrown 7.1 innings so far and has 7 K's and just 2 walks. His ERA is 3.68.

  • CHICAGO: Tadahito Iguchi has hit .310 so far this spring, but he's shown little power (just 6 doubles) and has only stolen one base... Jose Crontreras is being counted on to hold a spot in the middle of the White Sox' rotation, but so far this spring he's got an ERA over 7, and he's walked 13 in 19 innings.

  • CLEVELAND: Aaron Boone has seen a lot of at bats this spring and he's hitting .360/.540. Boone's 31 this year and he has some young Indian 3Bs lurking, but so far this season it looks like he's picking off where he left Tim Wakfield... Bob Wickman has thrown 7 innings so far and has given up only 6 hits. With Wickman closing games, the Indians' bullpen is suddenly a solid group and the Indians are suddenly a contender in the Central.

  • DETROIT: Brandon Inge is hitting .310 and slugging .603 in his 58 spring at bats so far. He's locked in at third base and he's happy there... Jeremy Bonderman's BB/K rate this spring (11/17) is a little off, but he's been close to unhittable in 24 innings; giving up just 15 hits so far.

  • KANSAS CITY: I lobbied against the chances of a Angel Berroa revival this year, but he's had a good spring and he seems to feel different this year. Berroa is hitting .413/.619 and he's stolen 5 bases... Zack Greinke and Jeremy Affeldt are both being picked in fantasy drafts, but they've struggled a little early on. The guy who's had surprisingly good numbers is former closer Mike MacDougal. He's worked more on his control and less on his fastball's top speed and Mike's enjoyed a great spring as a result. In 11 innings, he's given up only 6 hits, 1 run, 6 walks, and 12 strikeouts.

  • LA ANGELS: Dallas McPherson has gotten most of the hype, but it's Casey Kotchman who people should be taking note of. Not only is Casey ranked by Baseball America higher than Dallas, but Kotchman is healthy this spring and he's hitting .379 with 16 RBI so far. There's been little power to his at bats, but that's never been his game to begin with. Kotchman is more of a gap hitter who drives in runs and that's exactly what he's done this March. If he makes the club, Casey is going to add one more face into the already crowded Angel infield... Bartolo Colon had a very bad 2004, but he's on pace to turn that around this year. Colon's pitched 15.1 innings and has given up 15 hits, while walking 3 and striking out 12.

  • MINNESOTA: Jason Bartlett should end up the Twins' starting shortstop, thanks in part to a good spring. Bartlett's hit .400/.578 and he's scored 10 runs and stolen 3 bases... Joe Mauer started his season late, but he's hit .387/.516 in the 12 games he's played in... The Twins have a lot of questions going into this year, and two of the biggest ones are Joe Mays and Kyle Lohse. The coaching staff has given each pitchers a lot of innings this spring and so far, they have been effective. Both have thrown 22 innings so far, and their ERA's are under 4, with a BB/K ratio around 1/2.

  • NEW YORK: Joe Torre has said that Tony Womack will play second and bat ninth to start the season. At that position in the lineup, he becomes a second lead-off man and he'll get plenty of chances to make things happen on the bases. Womack's hitting .439 this spring with 7 SBs in 9 chances... Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina have been knocked around a little in March, but Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright both have posted sub-2.00 ERA's.

  • OAKLAND: The one Athletic having the best spring offensively is Eric Chavez. All that is separating him from being a top 20 fantasy pick is a higher batting average and so far this spring Chavez is hitting .419/.698. Look out... Barry Zito has struggled with his control so far (10 walks, 8 Ks) but Rich Harden has been striking out batters left and right. He's got 29 Ks in 21 innings and only 5 walks.

  • SEATTLE: Yes, Ichiro is hitting .500 in 58 at bats this spring. But Raul Ibanez is also doing well, hitting .395/.605. Jeremy Reed has also shown more extra base power than I thought he'd have. He's slugged .515 this spring to go along with a .353 average... Gil Meche is continuing this year where he left off the second half of last season. Meche has thrown 13.2 innings and has given up 11 hits, 4 walks, and has struck out 15.

  • TAMPA BAY: It's becoming less likely that Jorge Cantu is going to turn into a pumpkin, and more likely that he's going to be the Rays' everyday second baseman this year. He's hitting .355/.597 this spring. The Rays are also giving Aubrey Huff a bunch of at bats in order to help him work through more quickly his usual slow start.

  • TEXAS: Richard Hidalgo must know he's going to benefit from hitting in Arlington and in the middle of that stacked Texas lineup. Hidalgo has 4 homers in just 40 spring at bats and he's hit .300/.675... Francisco Cordero has only pitched 2 innings this spring, but he's says relievers don't need that much time to be prepared. He feels he's ready to repeat his 2004 successes.

  • TORONTO: Vernon Wells is struggling. He's had 54 spring ABs but just 8 hits to go with them. His .148/.185 spring is just dismal. Gabe Gross, meanwhile, is on fire. Gross is hitting .386/1.000 and has 8 homeruns in just 44 at bats. But it's still unsure whether or not he'll make the team... Miguel Batista is in line to be the Jays' closer and he's sporting a nice spring line of: 11.2 innings, 6 hits, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts. He may continue the surprise closer trend set by Eric Gagne and Joe Nathan from the last few seasons.


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