Miguel Sano (3B) - The Twinkies third baseman is generating a fair amount of chatter around the league for various reasons. Coming off a season in which he was limited to 114 games due to a major shin injury, Sano has other questions surrounding him. The 24 year old has also been accused of assault in the off season, and has reported to camp overweight, with some reports having him tipping the scales at 290 pounds. All of these question marks overshadow the fact that he is 0 for 8 at the plate so far this spring. To be fair, it is only 8 AB, and with all of the questions surrounding him, including a suspension, or not starting with the Twins for health reasons, it may be a good idea to look elsewhere to fill your third base spot in 2018.
Jose Berrios (SP) - The Twins' young ace is a popular breakout candidate in 2018, and his spring showing so far indicates we could be in for an entertaining season from the 23 year old. In 2017, which was Berrios' largest taste of the Majors, he posted a 3.89 ERA, in 25 starts, and saw a big step forward in a few stat categories. His HR/9 fell almost a full point, while he decreased his BB/9 by nearly THREE walks. So far he looks impressive in a small spring sample, and there is no reason to believe another step forward will take place. His ADP,which is right around pick 100 overall, could prove to be a HUGE bargain.
Matt Olson (1B) - Does 35 home runs from pick #125 sound good? It could be the scenario when taking Olson at his current ADP. He flashed serious pop in a 2017 59 game sample, hitting 24 bombs, driving in 45 runs and sporting eye - popping totals of a .392 ISO, 162 wRC+, and a .651 SLG. Obviously these video game metrics will come back down to earth, but Olson will still use his power to contribute across many categories. A slash of .255/.330/.440 with 35 home runs and 90 RBI is a more likely outcome. If his spring start is any indicator (.313/.389/.688 with 2 HR) he will be a useful piece in all formats, especially at the price point.
A.J. Puk (SP) - Oakland has a knack for grooming pitching talent, and Puk has superstar potential. The youngster throws strikes in bunches, as evidenced by his 13.2 K/9 in 2017. He topped out at AA in his first pro season, and while he will not start with the big club out of the gate, he will force his way up with a solid AAA performance. So far this spring he has yet to allow a run in five innings, and has allowed just one hit while striking out four and walking one. A bit more polish at the minor league level and Puk will be up with the big club. He easily has a higher ceiling than any of the A's current starters.
Kyle Tucker (OF) - The Astros sit in a great spot right now. They were able to add an impact starter in Gerrit Cole without giving up either prize OF prospect. Tucker is making serious noise this spring. The problem is, the Astros OF is already good, and while his talent is obvious, there is no need to rush him to the show. The 21 year old is hitting .381 so far in Grapefruit League play, along with crushing three home runs and driving in eight. He makes for an excellent stash in deeper yearly leagues in case there is an injury at the big league level. He figures to push for playing time no matter what, and could be a trade chip if the 'Stros feel like they need to add another starter for a postseason run. Stay tuned.
Dallas Keuchel (SP) - Keuchel made his spring debut Monday, and didn't have his sharpest stuff, allowing two runs on four hits in just 1.2 innings. He did strike out three, and figures to round into form as the spring goes along. If you believe in contract year hype, Keuchel is a man to target, as it is believed he will hit the market after the 2017 season. At his current ADP of 61 has him as the 17th starting pitcher off the board. He makes for a nice SP2 target in all formats.
Around the League
Diamondbacks Closer Situation - Despite acquiring Brad Boxberger, signing experienced Japanese import Yoshihisa Hirano, 2017's best D'Back bullpen arm Archie Bradley figures to be first in line to get a crack to the job. However, Bradley excelled in the middle relief role, so he may be called upon to stay there. Boxberger has been dealing with "general soreness" in his arm, while Hirano has allowed five hits and three runs in his three innings of work. It appears to be a fluid situation, and while it is murky at this point, Bradley would be the arm to target, but Hirano and Boxberger could be late speculatory picks if they inherit the job. Monitor this situation heading into your draft.
Corey Kluber (SP - CLE) - Kluber continued his ace-like ways into this spring with a dominant outing in Sunday Cactus League play. The veteran allowed one run on four hits while striking out five in three innings of work. Coming off a dominant Cy Young winning season, Kluber is an ace. Pick any stat you want to support the argument. A 2.25 ERA, a 7.3 WAR, an 82.6% strand rate? I could go on for a while, but feel good about getting him as your SP1 heading into 2018.
Dee Gordon (OF - SEA) Another victim of the Marlins' fire sale, Gordon has been adjusting nicely to the spot. As we know, he definitely has the wheels to man the position, but has also shown solid arm strength, as well as taking proper angles on catches. Gordon is hitting .429 so far this spring with a homer, but has yet to steal a base (which is ok, we want him to save those for the season right?). With the position change, Gordon's value is hurt a bit since his main contribution is speed, however, he will retain one more year of eligibility at second, which makes him extremely valuable as he has 50 stolen base upside.
Cameron Maybin (OF-MIA) - The 30 year old veteran is off to a slow start this spring, and yes, he did sign with a lowly Marlins team that will struggle offensively. However, if you're looking at Maybin late, you're looking for stolen bases. While his steal numbers have been in decline in recent years he was able to swipe 33 bags in 2017. If he hits towards the top of the lineup, his chances of helping you in the runs category increase slightly, but once again, he's a Marlin. At ADP 366, if you are targeting some late round speed, he is a good direction to look in.
Blake Swihart (C-BOS) The once highly touted prospect has been trying to find a place to play in Boston while swinging a hot stick this spring, hitting .429 with a homer and five doubles. He has played at catcher, first base, and outfield so far this spring, and despite his solid offense, he has no clear path to playing time. If he is able to earn a super utility role in Boston, or get traded before opening day and crack a lineup, he is still worth a late round look, or a waiver add after your draft. He is not a source of power, as his career 26.4% hard contact rate suggests, but in the right situation, he could produce some counting stats in your deep league.
Brendan Rodgers (SS-COL) Rodgers will start the season in the minors, but will force the hand of the Rockies all season. His defense paired with his bat could make Trevor Story a trade chip if the club finds themselves in the running for the postseason. Rodgers will need to learn to take a walk before being called up, as his 2.5% BB% at Adv. A suggests, but he doesn't strike out a ton, so his OBP of .323 isn't going to kill you. He may not be someone you have room for in a yearly format, but put him on the watch list, as he will be worth some serious FAAB bucks upon his call-up.
Paul DeJong (SS-STL) The Cardinals showed their confidence in the young slugger by signing him to a six year, 26 million dollar extension on Monday. After posting a BB/SO of 0.17 in 2017, it will be tough to have the same level of confidence from a fantasy standpoint. Owners can expect another 25-30 home runs, as he will clearly be the starter, but he will need to learn to be a little more disciplined at the plate to be your starter at short. DeJong is more of a middle infield spot target in drafts.
Estevan Florial (OF-NYY) The Yankee outfield is crowded enough at the major league level, and now one of their top prospects is making serious noise. Florial is hitting .286 so far this spring, but has struck out five times in 14 AB's. The main knock on his game is a K% that consistently hovers over 30%. Luckily, there is no rush to bring him up, and he can refine his plate approach in the minors for 2018. In dynasty formats, there are few guys with such raw tools. With his lefty swing,above average pop and fielding to go along with his elite speed, target him early and often in your minors drafts.
Whit Merrifield (2B-KC) Merrifield is out to prove that 2017's 19 homer, 34 steal performance was no fluke. So far this spring he has been on fire, hitting at a .529 clip. The main negative on the 29 year old is the lineup around him, which figures to give the Marlins a run for their money in fewest runs scored. However, Merrifield has legit 20 home run, 30 stolen base potential, while posting a nice slash line, although a few more walks to bump up the OBP would be a welcome sight.
Trevor Bauer (SP-CLE) To say Bauer has had an up and down career is an understatement. He is currently being drafted as the 36th starting pitcher, and upon looking at the list, that could be a bit too low. In 2017, he gave owners 176 innings, and a 10 K/9, while making some adjustments to the type of pitches he threw. Upon entering the famed age 27 season, he makes for an excellent value in 2018, and his spring numbers (one run, zero walks, seven strikeouts in five innings) back that up.