Finally, at long last, Opening Day is right around the corner. Many of you have auctioned already, but for those of you with auctions this weekend, this update will hopefully help you with all of the last second tweaks based on job changes, injuries, or just a good or bad feeling that I have about a player. This is the most difficult update of all. Between today and Opening Day, there will be plenty of minor changes that may require you to make adjustments on the fly. But from this point forward, you are on your own.
Hopefully, you have been reading enough of my material over the last few weeks that you feel comfortable making your own bid adjustments. This is the final update; while some old school home leagues do auction the weekend after Opening Day, they are in the vast minority of fantasy leagues.
Since this is the final update, I thought I would take a different approach and focus primarily on job changes or injuries. This means that there will be a lot of closer discussion, which I know many of you love. But hopefully this will give you more of a glimpse into my process than usual.
Keep in mind that only the +/-$2 updates are included below.
Robinson Cano $29 (previous $27)
Cano’s spring buoyed the good feeling I had about him this winter. I don’t want to push him into the $30s, but I wouldn’t mind using him as a middle infield anchor on my AL-only team.
Mike Napoli $10 (previous $8)
Bret Sayre sold me a little bit more on Napoli in deeper leagues. He’s not cooked yet; with some good hitters in front of Napoli, he could see a boost in his RBI total as a full timer.
Travis Shaw $8 (previous $1)
Pablo Sandoval $4 (previous $12)
Brock Holt $7 (previous $5)
Rusney Castillo $4 (previous $10)
Shaw and Holt aren’t fixtures in the Red Sox lineup, and this situation could certainly flip in a week or in a month. But keeping Castillo and Sandoval’s bids in double-digits is folly, especially since there are no guarantees that either player gets regular playing time. Sandoval may very well be finished in Boston, and while I have little faith in Shaw, he will get regular at bats, and regular at-bats play in AL-only. Holt will be a super-sub even if Castillo starts again, which is a more likely proposition than the return of Sandoval.
Hyun-Soo Kim $6 (previous $11)
Joey Rickard $4 (previous $1)
As I write this, it is uncertain if Kim will accept an assignment to Triple-A. Regardless of what Kim decides to do, it seems clear that he will not make the Orioles on Opening Day. I am a fan of neither Rickard nor Nolan Reimold, but Rickard is worth a low end bid in AL-only if he is a starting outfielder.
Garrett Richards $20 (previous $18)
I am beginning to believe in Richards as a legitimate, top-of-the-rotation candidate for AL-only.
Roberto Osuna $14 (previous $5)
Drew Storen $3 (previous $11)
Storen will set up Osuna in Toronto, not the other way around as many had anticipated. Osuna had more perceived value as the set-up than Storen does, and Osuna’s skills speak to a closer who could hold the job all year. My bid on Osuna may be conservative, and I might move it up again in my own personal rankings this Sunday.
Dellin Betances $11 (previous $9)
Andrew Miller $6 (previous $8)
Miller has a chip fracture on his non-pitching wrist, but despite his assurances that he can pitch through it, the Yankees are likely to play it safe. Betances was already valuable for his non-saves fantasy contributions; the likelihood of six to eight saves bumps him up even more.
Dexter Fowler $17 (previous $15)
Regardless of how the Cubs decide to split the at-bats on offense, Fowler is least likely to lose playing time and has $20-plus upside. I don’t want to pay the full freight because the outfield is crowded, but I am not afraid to add a couple of bucks to Fowler’s price.
Brandon Moss $9 (previous $11)
Matt Adams $7 (previous $5)
A couple of reports out of Florida have given the impression that Adams will get more playing time at first base than initially expected, based more on a return to full health than his spring training statistics. This isn’t the best situation for fantasy managers, and in leagues where you can’t keep a player traded to the American League, I would avoid both hitters.
Trea Turner $6 (previous $8)
Danny Espinosa $6 (previous $4)
There is some profit to be had in Turner if he makes it back to the majors in a month, but there is always the risk he isn’t back up until well into the second half. Espinosa is boring and a batting average risk, but in a good lineup should produce enough in the way of runs and RBI to at least produce this kind of value.
Will Venable $6 (previous NO BID)
Tyler Goeddel $3 (previous $6)
Even in NL-only, it doesn’t pay to be too aggressive with any of the Phillies outfielders. Venable does have nice power/speed potential, and could earn in double-digits if everything breaks right. The bid isn’t higher because Venable has played more like a fourth outfielder at times and could be stretched very thin as a regular.
Jeremy Jeffress $7 (previous $5)
Will Smith $2 (previous $5)
Smith’s weird injury opens the door for Jeffress to get the first crack at saves in Milwaukee. The bid stays out of double-digits not because of a lack of confidence in Jeffress, but due to the fact that there are other options in Milwaukee who could work out as well as Jeffress could. Do not be completely shocked if the Brewers go with a quasi-committee or mix and match at the beginning of the season. If you’re thinking about cornering this bullpen, don’t. For that matter don’t corner any of the second division bullpens in the National League. This has been another installment of Mike Gianella, Fantasy Expert.
Juan Nicasio $7 (previous $4)
There is going to be the temptation by some to bid Nicasio into double-digits this weekend and to draft him aggressively in mixed formats. While it is possible that Ray Searage has performed a miracle and that Nicasio has wandered into a magical land where your cereal bowl magically refills with Lucky Charms forever and ever, some caution is warranted. Searage is the best pitching coach in baseball, but he isn’t a genie granting wishes. There is a reasonable ceiling on Nicasio based on his skills, and some risk in his profile. A $7 bid in NL-only is still fairly aggressive given Nicasio’s track record (as is my $2 mixed league bid limit). Searage is great, but he doesn’t turn pitchers into Clayton Kershaw.
Arodys Vizcaino $5 (previous $7)
Jason Grilli appears to be ready to go, and the Braves will use him in the ninth to start the season. Maybe it is just in an effort to build up his trade value, but it still means that’s where you should invest for now.
Dailer Hinojosa $4 (previous $1)
David Hernandez $4 (previous $2)
Andrew Bailey $2 (previous $6)
I don’t want to buy any of these Phillies relievers, even in NL-only. At the moment, Hinojosa and Hernandez are at the front of the line, with Bailey possibly getting sent to Triple-A in April (he has an opt out clause he can exercise on May 1st, but the Phillies do have the option to send him down). Don’t be surprised if no one in the Phillies pen cracks $10 in earnings… even in NL-only.