Spring training is underway, and the start of the season is three weeks away! Naturally, players are starting to get in shape but they are also coming down with illness and injuries, not to mention hot streaks and slumps.
In Fantrax’s spring training weekly notebook, you will find all the useful information you need when it comes to impactful news for your fantasy squad. Here is last week’s American League edition.
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Spring Training Notes: American League
New York Yankees
- Aaron Judge is now considered doubtful for opening day. He will undergo more tests to find out what’s the deal with his shoulder and his pectoral area. Prepare your backup plan.
- Are you a Masahiro Tanaka owner? You are surely happy, as he is having a fantastic spring training. On Tuesday, he pitched three scoreless innings against the Red Sox with five strikeouts.
- Jonathan Loaisiga fanned four in two perfect innings against on Tuesday. However, he was facing mostly minor leaguers just like last time. Take his stats with a grain of salt until he starts facing tougher competition.
- According to the New York Post, the Yankees may be eyeing Steven Matz in an attempt to bolster their rotation. Brian Cashman denied it hours later, however.
Boston Red Sox
- Chris Sale has elbow soreness and is being sent for an MRI. That’s among the worst spring training news the Red Sox could receive: you can almost see Dr. James Andrews getting the OR ready. Let’s hope that’s not the case but it doesn’t look good.
- Ryan Weber struck out six in three innings on Monday. He conceded only an unearned run. He will likely open the season as the fourth starter for the injury-depleted Red Sox.
- Xander Bogaerts, who is nursing a sore ankle, is “getting close” to a return, as he said on Monday. He should be ready for opening day.
- Nathan Eovaldi is up to five scoreless frames and eight strikeouts in five spring training innings. He is showing good velocity and excellent stuff and could be an intriguing mixed league option.
Tampa Bay Rays
- Lefty ace Blake Snell, who is nursing a sore elbow, played catch on Tuesday and will do it again on Wednesday. He could still make it to the first week of the season, but he needs to avoid setbacks.
- The whole baseball world wants to see Brett Honeywell pitch after losing most of the last two seasons because of different elbow woes. He threw his second bullpen of spring training on Tuesday, all fastballs. Not even the Rays know when he will return, but he is on the right track.
- Brendan McKay will debut on Friday. He had been battling shoulder stiffness.
Toronto Blue Jays
- Catcher Danny Jansen hit a two-run homer Monday and is now 4-for-8 with two taters and three walks this spring.
- Matt Shoemaker punched out five hitters over 2 2/3 scoreless innings in his spring debut Monday. He was having a great 2019 when a torn ACL ended his season. Keep an eye on him.
- Bo Bichette homered on Sunday. His owners are in for a treat.
- (Very) deep league alert: Rule 5 pick Michael Rucker is up to five scoreless innings this spring. He probably won’t make the rotation but could make the Orioles as a reliever and if that’s the case, provide value in HLD leagues.
- Trey Mancini, probably the Orioles’ best hitter, was removed from Monday’s game because he wasn’t feeling well. It doesn’t sound like something to worry about, though, but watch his progress.
- Asher Wojciechowski retired nine of the 10 batters he faced in his Monday start versus the Rays. He showed last season that he could be an interesting arm, but he doesn’t come without flaws.
- Marwin Gonzalez had a home run and a double in his first spring training game on Tuesday. He will play in a utility role and could gain value if a starting infielder goes down.
- Injured defensive star and perennial tease Byron Buxton is nearing a return from a shoulder issue. He could be an option for Opening Day if he can come back soon.
- Kenta Maeda, acquired this offseason from the Dodgers, let in three runs — one earned — in 2 2/3 innings on Sunday. He should help stabilize and lengthen an improved rotation.
- Mike Clevinger, who recently underwent knee surgery, could be pushing for a mid-April return. He threw off flat ground from a distance of 150 feet on Tuesday.
- Carlos Santana was a triple away from the cycle on Tuesday: he went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and a single. He is shaping up to be a great fantasy slugger, especially in OBP leagues.
- Carlos Carrasco (hip) made his spring training return and conceded a couple of runs in two innings on Tuesday.
- The Indians’ projected fourth outfielder and pinch-runner Delino DeShields went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a run on Monday.
Chicago White Sox
- Luis Robert singled, scored, walked and stole another base on Tuesday. The hype train left the station months ago.
- Dallas Keuchel looks like he could start tomorrow if need: he is already up to four innings, as evidenced on Monday. He conceded a single run.
- Lucas Giolito, who was nursing a strained chest muscle, will make his spring training debut on Friday.
- Third sacker Jeimer Candelario went 0-for-2 on Tuesday. He is mired in a 1-for-17 slump and needs to start hitting before ceding ground to Dawel Lugo.
- Travis Demeritte had two homers on Monday. Still, we think Christin Stewart and Victor Reyes are still more interesting, and the other spot in the starting outfield will go to Cameron Maybin.
- Spencer Turnbull is up to five scoreless spring training innings with seven strikeouts after shutting out the Yankees for three frames on Sunday. Despite an ugly 3-17 record last year, he is an interesting arm.
Kansas City Royals
- Maikel Franco went 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBI on Tuesday. He toys with our hearts seemingly every year, but he could be an AL-only option as the Royals’ top third baseman on the depth chart.
- Trevor Rosenthal left behind a calf issue and struck out three of the four batters he faced on Tuesday. He has seven whiffs in three scoreless innings this spring.
- Whit Merrifield went 2-for-2 with a homer and two runs on Sunday. He will be a center fielder this year but remains a surefire early-round selection.
- Adalberto Mondesi, recovering from shoulder surgery, played in an intrasquad game over the weekend.
- Justin Verlander is stretched out to approximately 50 pitches. He had 53 in his last outing, in which he allowed three runs — two earned — in 2 2/3 innings Tuesday.
- Jose Urquidy had three scoreless innings with four strikeouts on Tuesday. He should have a rotation spot all for himself and provide sneaky value.
- Kyle Tucker doesn’t have a hit in 17 spring training at-bats. Don’t panic. Buy!
- Starting pitching prospect A.J. Puk was shut down after being diagnosed with a mild left shoulder strain. An MRI came back clean but the A’s are clearly taking no risks with their prized hurler. His opening day availability is in serious doubt now.
- Chris Bassitt allowed two runs on two hits and two walks on Tuesday. His path to a rotation spot became clearer after the Puk news.
- Jesus Luzardo had three strikeouts over three scoreless frames on Sunday. Ladies and gentlemen, he is the real deal.
Los Angeles Angels
- Anthony Rendon had a three-run home run on Sunday.
- Patrick Sandoval threw two scoreless frames on Sunday against a very good White Sox lineup. He offers considerable upside if he manages to secure a rotation spot.
- Julio Teheran hurled two scoreless innings on Monday and seems to be over his hamstring issue.
- Joey Gallo tattooed his first homer of the spring training on Sunday. If health cooperates, he could lead the majors in dingers this season.
- Corey Kluber let in two runs over three innings Sunday. He could offer sneaky value after being dismissed by many following an injury-filled 2019 with the Indians.
- Kyle Gibson worked two scoreless frames on Monday.
- Jordan Lyles allowed a trio of runs in three innings on Tuesday.
- Post-hype prospect alert: Justus Sheffield pitched three innings of one-run ball on Monday. He struggled in 2019 but will have a spot in the Mariners’ rotation to open the season. He has the stuff and the pedigree to succeed.
- Pitcher Matt Festa will require season-ending Tommy John surgery. He didn’t carry fantasy value, though.
- First baseman Evan White overcame a groin issue and went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI on Monday.
For more great rankings, strategy, and analysis check out the 2020 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!
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