Today we take a deeper dive into a few of the Diamondback players. One quite note: I'm not a scientist and don't play one on TV, so any thoughts on the humidor effect are pure speculation from what I've researched from other, smarter people.
Terry Lovello revealed that Paul Goldschmidt could get more days off in 2018. I can't blame the idea since he's played 159, 158, and 155 games the last three years, respectively. Goldschmidt is among those with the most to lose given the new humidor environment in Arizona. If you've read anything about it, you'll see that analysts are quite worried about the effect, which could sap home runs a meaningful amount. Folks are just guessing at this point, but an important stat to note is that Goldie's career home and away numbers are nearly identical. His average is .299 at home vs. .298 on the road, and 87 HR at home vs. 89 HR on the road. Long story short, he hasn't built a career off playing in a hitters park, but only time will tell what the effect will be on the balls.
AJ Pollock slapped a double yesterday, his first hit of the spring. Most importantly, he was out on the field - something he hasn't done consistently since his magical 2015 season. Pollock is a bit of a risk this year for two reasons: 1) his injury history makes him very difficult to project, and 2) the daunted effects on the humidor. However, Pollock isn't a huge power bat and provides ample value through stolen bases, so if he falls far in drafts (I doubt he will, but this humidor business is causing a havoc), then he represents a low risk, high upside player.
Ketel Marte continues to battle for the starting shortstop position this Spring. If things go right for Marte, he could provide excellent value as a last few round draft pick. In 2015 at just 21 years old, he had an impressive 112 wRC+. Last year in AAA for 70 days, he had a 135 wRC+, before fizzling a bit at the major league level. Of note, he improved on his K% and BB% when in Arizona. All things being said, he's in a competitive situation - which should bring out the best in him - and he's just 24 years old. Low risk, high reward.
For me, Zack Greinke is one of the hardest pitchers to project this season (barring guys coming off injury). Last year was a great year for Greinke after a miserable 2016. Positively, Greinke stands to benefit seemingly the most from the humidor in Arizona. Depending on its effect, Greinke could see a large decrease to home runs allowed, making last year seem repeatable. Negatively, Greinke turns 34 this year. That said, I'm inclined to buy given his career high SwStr% last season, but we could see erratic results.
Archie Bradley allowed four runs on two hits while walking three over an inning and a third earlier this week. While it appears devastating, Bradley was working on a changeup, which he threw just once all of last year. If Bradley wins the closer role, he'll naturally carry some pretty solid value. Even if he doesn't, he's a great late draft pick in Roto leagues given his high K rate and low WHIP. He sported a 1.73 ERA last year, and while he was somewhat fortunate on BABIP, he's a solid middle relief option.
Miguel Andujar hit his third and fourth home runs of the Spring yesterday, doing everything in his power to prove that he should be the Yankees starting third basemen this year. Andujar is the Yankees #4 ranked prospect so it will be interesting to monitor this situation the next few weeks. The rub against Andujar is his defense, but that's irrelevant for fantasy owners. Keep an eye on him as the 22-year-old oozes with potential and talent.
Byron Buxton both robbed and hit a home run on Wednesday. It feels like Buxton has been around forever and letting fantasy owners down, but he's just 24 years old. It took a bit of time, but he appeared to figure things out in the latter half of 2017. He has a very unique skill set, as there aren't many players with the ability to his 20+ HR and steal 30+ bases. All that said, he's let us down before - like really, really badly - so I'm not buying in completely, but his upside remains to the moon. He's just 24 years old.
Marcell Ozuna, batting cleanup for the Cardinals, launched a 2-0 fastball into outer space yesterday. Ozuna is poised for another great year, but I'm suspect of the average being repeatable, as he batted .312 last year vs. a career .277 average. His batted ball profile suggests that it will be tough to do again, but all that said, Ozuna is going to bat fourth in a solid lineup and has some serious power. He'll be very valuable, but avoid paying top top dollar.
It's still a longshot, but Terrance Gore of the Royals could provide a cheap source of steals if he can find his way into the Royals lineup, though admittedly that would be most likely from injury. Gore has a raw talent that may never translate to the major league level, but if it does to a moderate degree, he's immediately a 30+ steal candidate. He's off to a hot start in the spring, so it's worth keeping an eye on him despite the odds still being stacked against him.
Bryce Harper was held out yesterday and likely the next few days. He had a minor surgery to fix a toe issue. I realized "minor" and "surgery" don't really go together, but that's what Dave Martinez said. The ailment isn't expected to be serious, and it's obviously smart of the Nationals to try to get this cleared up now rather than risk any time closer to opening day.
Lance Lynn has reportedly been in talks with the Phillies. It's hard to believe Lynn is still unsigned. While it's true he was masterfully fortunate last season with his 3.43 ERA (4.85 SIERA), he's still a very consistent starter that's thrown 175 IP annually since 2012. We saw some skill deterioration on his K rate, but his SwStr% remained in line of historical last season, so it's not unreasonable to project some better results for Lynn. The team he ends up with (namely, the defense behind him) will play a large role in his value.
Ryan Braun seriously fell off the radar last year, playing just 104 games with a wRC+ of 110. It was his worst season since 2014, when he had a wRC+ of 113, but it's worth noting that he followed up that season with wRC+ of 131 and 134, respectively. It's reasonable to think Braun can post better numbers than last season, even despite his age (34). One certainty is that his days of playing 150+ games are long gone, particularly as the Brewers have a 5 man rotation to fit three OF spots and first base. This could severely hamper Braun's value in weekly leagues, as with a six game schedule he'll routinely find himself only playing 5 games, and you want as many opportunities as possible. So even if his average and peripherals look good, playing less won't help.
James Shields won't make his Spring Training debut with the White Sox until next week. Notably, Shields dropped his arm slot to three-quarters late in the summer last year, sporting a 4.33 ERA over the final 10 games. It could lead to nothing, but he's now had an entire off-season and spring training to work on the new angle. If he comes out looking like a different pitcher, there could be legitimate reason behind it, or conversely this could be a last ditch effort to revive his career.