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Spring Training 2024: Grapefruit League Report (2/24)

Welcome to another edition of the Grapefruit League Report! As a refresher, this series breaks down all the major player news coming out of Florida twice a week, including the fantasy implications. We’re here to help you eliminate the news noise and focus on what’s relevant for fantasy baseball. In this article, we’ll look at the latest news heading into the first weekend of spring training action. Let’s get to it!

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Grapefruit League News and Notes

Atlanta Braves

Spencer Strider (SP), Reynaldo Lopez (RP)

Spencer Strider added a curveball to his already-lethal arsenal. If the breaking ball is successful, hitters will be all kinds of lost at the plate this season.

Reynaldo Lopez is being stretched out as a starter and could be the favorite to land the fifth spot in the rotation. Lopez has been a reliever for the last two seasons (minus one appearance). Despite bouncing between three teams in 2023, he posted career-bests in strikeout rate (29.9%) and fastball velocity (98.4 mph) across 66 innings pitched. Those numbers won’t stick in a full-time role, but he’s an intriguing option if he lands the job. Bryce Elder and AJ Smith-Shawver are also in the mix to round out Atlanta’s rotation.

Baltimore Orioles

Kyle Bradish (SP)

Kyle Bradish will stretch out his throwing distance to 90 feet this weekend. Bradish is recovering from a partial UCL tear and will begin the season on the IL. There’s no timetable for his return, so interested fantasy managers should draft Bradish in the reserve rounds of their drafts.

Boston Red Sox

Vaughn Grissom (SS), Jarren Duran (OF), Connor Wong (C), Wilyer Abreu (OF)

The Red Sox will hold Vaughn Grissom (hamstring) and Jarren Duran (toe) out of Grapefruit League action until March 1. Keep tabs on both players.

Connor Wong is dealing with a sore shoulder. He’ll be eased into catcher duties this spring but should be ready for Opening Day.

Wilyer Abreu enters spring training as the leading candidate for the starting job in right field. Abreu has some pop and speed to go with a plus plate approach. Abreu hit 22/8/.274 with a .930 OPS across 363 plate appearances in Triple-A last season. He also held his own in 85 major league plate appearances, finishing with an .862 OPS. Abreu is worth a late-round flier in 15-team leagues.

Detroit Tigers

Tarik Skubal (SP), Kerry Carpenter (OF), Gio Urshela (1B/3B)

The Tigers will not use a six-man rotation this season. Roster Resource projects Tarik Skubal, Jack Flaherty, Kenta Maeda, Matt Manning, and Reese Olson as Detroit’s starting five. Sawyer Gipson-Long could be on the outside looking in after he suffered a groin strain earlier in the week.

Sticking with Detroit starters, Tarik Skubal hit 100 MPH in live batting practice last week. Skubal’s draft price could jump a round if he continues to throw heat.

Kerry Carpenter is dealing with a mild hamstring strain that will sideline him for a few days. Keep an eye out for updates this weekend.

Gio Urshela signed a one-year deal with the Tigers. He can play all infield positions but will compete for the third base job with Zach McKinstry and Matt Vierling.

Houston Astros

Cristian Javier (SP)

Cristian Javier reported to camp 15 pounds lighter. Javier is coming off a down season where he posted a career-worst 4.56 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. His fastball velocity also dropped a tick to 92.8 MPH. Javier attributed some of his mechanical issues and inconsistencies in 2023 to his added weight. We shall see. Monitor Javier’s spring performances, as there could be a buying opportunity.

Miami Marlins

Tim Anderson (SS), Eury Perez (SP)

Tim Anderson signed a one-year, $5 million contract with Miami. Anderson is coming off a dismal 60 wRC+ season with just one home run, 13 steals, and a .245 batting average across 524 plate appearances. As the Marlins’ new starting shortstop, Anderson should slot in the two-hole behind Luis Arraez. Expect a decent amount of runs scored, little power, and about 15 stolen bases. His batting average should also settle in the .270 range. Anderson’s signing moves Jon Berti to the bench.

Eury Perez could miss a couple of throwing sessions after he developed a cut on his hand while gripping his changeup. Nothing serious here.

New York Mets

Kodai Senga (SP)

The Mets’ rotation took a hit last week with the news that ace Kodai Senga has a shoulder strain and will begin the season on the IL. Senga will be shut down until his symptoms subside, and there’s no timetable for his return. Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi, and Jose Butto will battle for the Mets’ fifth rotation spot.

New York Yankees

Gleyber Torres (2B), Anthony Volpe (SS)

Gleyber Torres will bat in the 4-6 lineup range and could occasionally see time at the leadoff spot. Torres brings a nice blend of power and speed to the fantasy table. He’s hit at least 24 home runs and stolen at least 10 bases in each of the last two seasons. Torres should see a jump in RBI this year with Juan Soto and Aaron Judge hitting ahead of him, and he’s worth paying up for on draft day.

Anthony Volpe tweaked his swing this offseason by flattening his bat path. In 2023, Volpe sold out for power, contributing to his inconsistent rookie season. With a simpler swing path, Volpe aims to hit to all parts of the field. The new approach could lead to fewer home runs but more run-production opportunities in a beefed-up Yankees lineup.

Philadelphia Phillies

Alec Bohm (1B/3B)

Alec Bohm is managing neck spasms and will be held out of games this weekend. Stay tuned for updates.

St. Louis Cardinals

Tommy Edman (2B/SS/OF)

Tommy Edman is several weeks away from being cleared for baseball duties. He underwent right wrist surgery last October, and the Cardinals are easing him into baseball activities. Edman has been falling in drafts, likely because it’s unclear whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day. Edman is no longer a lock to bat leadoff, but a 10/30 season is still in the cards. Monitor moving forward.

Tampa Bay Rays

Amed Rosario (2B/SS)

The Rays signed Amed Rosario to a one-year, $1.5 milion contract. Rosario will likely be a weak-side platoon bat and could see time in both the middle infield and corner outfield spots. Jose Caballero is expected to be the team’s starting shortstop.

Toronto Blue Jays

Ricky Tiedemann (SP)

Ricky Tiedemann was scratched from Saturday’s opener due to hamstring tightness. The issue doesn’t sound serious, and the team is likely treating their top prospect with kid gloves. The flame-throwing lefty mowed down hitters throughout the minors and is poised to make some noise when called up to the majors at some point this season. Keep tabs on Tiedemann’s progress this spring.

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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