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2024 Fantasy Baseball: Cactus League Update – New Positions

With spring training in full swing now we can start to look for new developments that can have big ramifications for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. So far we’ve looked at important player debuts on new teams as well as early injury uncertainty for key players after offseason recovery. This week’s Cactus League update focuses on players who are adjusting to new positions this year to help shore up their playing time.

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Cactus League Update for Week 3

1. Xander Bogaerts and Ha-Seong Kim Swap Positions

A rather surprising announcement came out of Padres camp early into their spring training with news of a shakeup with infield roles. Longtime shortstop Xander Bogaerts will be moving to second base while the versatile Ha-Seong Kim will take over at short. While this may hit Bogaerts’ ego a bit due to declining defensive abilities, it’s nothing but good news for his fantasy value in 2024. With the likely addition of second base eligibility, it should put Bogaerts in a higher tier at that position and boost his overall rankings.

2. Jackson Merrill Shines in the Outfield

Probably the biggest riser in redraft league fantasy value from the Cactus League so far has been with Jackson Merrill. Not only has his move to the outfield given him early playing time in camp but he’s earned multiple starts in the leadoff spot in the lineup. Merrill is already a key fantasy asset for dynasty players but his potential to open the season as a starting outfielder has excited all fantasy baseball managers. In fact, Merrill’s ADP in NFBC leagues the last couple of days has jumped nearly 200 spots to pick #358, putting him well into 15-team mixed league drafts.

3. Sal Frelick to Take Over at Third Base

Another hyped prospect who has taken on a new position to increase playing time opportunities is Sal Frelick of the Brewers. In a reverse move to Merrill, Frelick is going from the outfield to the infield. Yet, this has similarly allowed him to secure his lineup spot at the top of the order in early Spring Training action. While most fantasy managers will likely still use Frelick in the outfield, his added position eligibility gives new roster flexibility appeal and a promise of regular playing time. This move also seemingly paves the way for Garrett Mitchell and Jackson Chourio to gain Opening Day outfield roles.

4. The Giants Move Jordan Hicks into the Rotation

Once a highly touted pitching prospect for the Cardinals, Hicks never really settled into a consistent role in the rotation or bullpen. His offseason move to the Giants has created new hope to resurrect his career as a starting pitcher, after middling in the Cardinals bullpen for years. Yesterday Hicks made his debut as a starter for the Giants and flashed his high upside potential early on by striking out three consecutive batters. That exciting stretch, however, was followed by a deep home run given up to Mitch Garver. Each outing moving forward this spring training will provide fantasy drafters will a better understanding of Hick’s 2024 season outlook.

5. Mason Miller Transitions to the Bullpen

The Aroldis Chapman comparison for Mason Miller’s career so far is quite uncanny. Both rose the prospect ranks with much hype for their outstanding fastball velocity, only to fizzle out quickly due to injury concerns. Like Chapman, Miller is now switching to the bullpen to maximize the impact of his velocity while minimizing the risk of related injuries. This transition could lead to an exciting career with elite strikeout ratios while accumulating the bulk of saves, even if on the low win-potential A’s.

We’ll keep sharing key developments in our weekly Cactus League update articles. Next week we’ll focus on players making early impressions that are turning heads to determine what’s real or not for fantasy drafters. If there’s a player you would like us to feature in a Cactus League update article, please let me know by commenting below or reaching out on X @TheToddMpls.

For more of the great fantasy baseball rankings and analysis you’ve come to expect from FantraxHQ, check out our full 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit! We’re here for you all the way up until Opening Day and then on into your championship run.

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