Kevin Gausman (SP - BAL) - The Orioles optioned top prospect Kevin Gausman to Triple-A on Saturday. With the logjam in the starting rotation, the Orioles decided it would be better for the pitcher's development to stay stretched out in Triple-A rather than serving in the big league bullpen. Gausman had a rough debut last season, but his DIPs suggest his 5.66 ERA was grossly inflated by at least 1.5-2 runs. The rest of Gausman's stats were in line with his minor league performance, including a strikeout rate near 25% and a walk rate below 7%. He has a great fastball but needs to work on his secondary pitches while in the minors. He should get called up at some point this season and expect him to have a better showing the second time around.
George Springer (OF - HOU) - On Saturday, Springer continued to showcase his elite skills against the Rangers. The 23 year-old took Joe Saunders deep on the first pitch he saw. He finished the day 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs, a SB and 2 walks. Springer won't start the year with the Astros but he's been a popular pick late in drafts this spring. The MLBPA is considering filing a grievance against the Astros for the way they have handled Springer's service time. The team offered Springer a 7-year, $23 million contract last fall that the outfielder rejected. Had he accepted the deal, he likely would have started the year in Houston as opposed to Triple-A. As it is, the team can extend team control over Springer for another year if he spends about the first month in the minors. After hitting 61 HRs and 77 SBs to go along with a .302 batting average the last two seasons, there's plenty of reason for fantasy owners to be excited for what Springer can offer.
Danny Salazar (SP - CLE) - Salazar had a rough final outing on Saturday, giving up 6 runs (5 in the third inning) against most of San Diego's likely opening day starters. He wasn't sharp, walking a couple batters and giving up seven hits in five innings, including a solo homerun to Chase Headley. Salazar flashed an elite 14.6% swinging strike rate and mid-nineties fastballl in ten starts with the Indians last year. While this is impressive, it remains to be seen how batters will adjust to him after seeing him for the second and third times. He's a relatively risky play considering his current draft position within the first 25 starting pitchers off the board.
Yordano Ventura (P - KC) - Ventura labored through 3 innings on Saturday, throwing 74 pitches while giving up three earned runs on four hits and two walks against the Brewers. He did strike out five batters. People have had Ventura-fever after Ned Yost announced he would handle the fifth starting spot for the Royals this spring. While his triple digit velocity is enticing, short outings like this one are part of the package for high strikeout pitchers with subpar control, like Ventura offers.
Chris Archer (P -TB) - Playing their Triple-A team, Archer dominated through four scoreless innings, giving up just three hits and striking out six. This was against a lineup of minor leaguers so don't read too much into it. However, Archer is flying low on the radar this year and could be a steal on draft day. Going outside of the top-50 starting pitchers, Archer averaged more than a strikeout per inning in eight seasons in the minor leagues. While he didn't show quite this high of a strikeout rate in 23 starts for the Rays last year, he did show improved control and forced a lot of groundballs. His DIPs suggest some regression can be expected in his ERA, but he's still pitching in front of one of the better defensive teams in the league.
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