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March 25, 2015 6:00 am

Five to Watch: National League Position Battles

7

Wilson Karaman

The latest on a handful of competitions ongoing in senior circuit camps.

Yesterday, Nick Shlain wrote about some fantasy-relevant position battles in the American League, and today we’ll turn our attention to the senior circuit. Here are a few I’ve had my eye on.

Chicago Cubs 2B: Et Tu, Javier?

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March 24, 2015 6:00 am

Five to Watch: American League Position Battles

4

Nick Shlain

Examining a handful of competitions that are unfolding in spring training.

Tampa Bay Rays SP: Nate Karns in the rotation to start the season?

Injuries to Alex Cobb (forearm), Drew Smyly (shoulder), and Alex Colome (pneumonia) have the Rays rotation in flux. Nate Karns, a 27-year-old right-hander acquired from the Nationals prior to last season, went from battling for the fifth spot in the rotation to being locked in after these injuries. Spring training statistics can be deceiving, but Karns has had a good spring (9 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K in 13 1/3 innings) after he posted a 5.08 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 27 starts with Triple-A last season.

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March 20, 2015 6:00 am

TTO Scoresheet Podcast: American League Players to Monitor

2

Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

The Outcomes discuss the junior-circuit position battles they're keeping an eye on this spring.

We’re just as excited as anyone that Opening Day is fast approaching, but we also want to be careful not to overrate its importance for Scoresheet. There’s no guarantee that a player who makes the roster for day one will stick around come May. So here, we list a player we’ll be monitoring on each AL team. Some of these guys are in position battles that potentially won’t be resolved for months. Others are finally getting an opportunity for consistent playing time. And a third group need to find that final gear to achieve (Scoresheet) stardom. Or at least be worthy of a keeper slot.

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman
We tend to argue against the value of pitching prospects in Scoresheet, and to date, Gausman has been a clear example of exuberance clouding judgment. Scoresheet owners have been expecting to build around Gausman, but to do so, he’ll have to take a leap soon, because as it currently stands, he projects to be a walk-prone back end starter who probably shouldn’t make a playoff rotation. A strong 2015 would go a long way to making him the franchise cornerstone that you may have expected.


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March 18, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Spring Training Battles to Watch

6

J.P. Breen

A few job competitions to keep an eye on in Cactus and Grapefruit League play.

Though many fantasy baseball leagues have already completed their drafts, many leagues are still holding out to ensure injuries have time to occur and spring training battles have largely been sorted out. After all, it becomes tricky in late-round situations, if you’re trying to guess whether Pitcher X or Pitcher Y will secure the fifth-starter spot—as the other guy gets sent to Triple-A and is a fantasy non-factor.

Which spring training roster battles should you be tracking over the next couple weeks? Here are a trio of competitions that could affect late-round draft strategy:

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The staff will be keeping an eye on these competitions over the next month.

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February 11, 2013 9:15 am

Overthinking It: Spring Position Battles, American League

3

Ben Lindbergh

Five positions on AL contending teams where playing time is still up for grabs this spring.

General managers put most of their roster pieces in place by the time pitchers and catchers report, but the majority of major-league teams still show up at spring training with a position or two where plans aren’t set in stone. What their depth charts will look like on Opening Day depends in part on what transpires over the next two months. Who’ll show up in better shape? Who’ll convince the manager that he wants it more? And yes, who’ll have a couple weeks of hot hitting, even if history has shown that spring training performance isn’t predictive of regular-season success?

The following five American League contenders have questions about the division of labor at one or more positions that need to be answered by the time they break camp. Here’s how those positions should shake out. (We'll tackle the National League on Tuesday.)

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