In The Field
OF Shohei Ohtani is throwing three times a week and has progressed to hitting on the field. Ohtani is going to be a huge value in daily lineup leagues because he should be above average when in the lineup but how much he is going to play is still unknown. OF Justin Upton was placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to March 25 with turf toe. More news came out Friday and he is now expected to be out 8-12 weeks which is a huge loss for fantasy owners. The Angels are expected to use a platoon of OF Peter Bourjos and OF Brian Goodwin. Neither are particularly attractive but Goodwin does have power/speed potential and hasn't had a ton of major league at-bats because we know what Bourjos is at this point in his career. SS Carlos Correa was not in the starting lineup on Opening Day or Friday due to neck soreness and isn't expected back until Sunday at the earliest. Correa has struggled the past two years to stay on the field and it has been a variety of injuries. 1B Matt Olson was placed on the 10-day IL after undergoing surgery on his right hand. Hamate injuries are especially tough for hitters and have an effect on power, which is Olson's calling card. The Athletics made a trade for 1B/DH Kendrys Morales to fill in for Olson while he is out. Morales should see the strong side of a platoon which benefits him because he was much better against right-handers (.276 AVG/.860 OPS). This opens up playing time for 1B Rowdy Tellez in Toronto, which instantly makes him fantasy viable in all-formats. Tellez hit .314 with 4 HR, 10 R, and 14 RBI over 23 GP last year. The concern is that surface stats look great but he struck out 29% of the time with just a 3% BB. That type of profile is easily exploitable at the major league level. The good news is that he never showed high strikeout rates in the minors and he can still adjust. 2B Devon Travis had knee surgery this month and has been placed on the 60-day IL. By the time he makes it back to the big league club, he could be out of a job so it isn't worth holding onto to him in any format. 2B Jason Kipnis (calf) is looking at a possible return in late April but calf injuries are tricky for athletes just ask Josh Donaldson. The Indians signed 2B Brad Miller to fill in while Kipnis is out. Outside of his 30 HR 2016 season, Miller has not done much at the major league level. He offers a little bit of power and speed but it is going to come with a low batting average due to his propensity to strikeout. SS Francisco Lindor (calf/ankle) was officially placed on the 10-day IL with an ankle injury he suffered while rehabbing his calf strain. Lindor does not have a timetable and this was especially difficult for fantasy owners because he was nearing his return. A large part of this overall value comes from the fact that he has played 158+ games in three straight years which has allowed him to accumulate counting stats while hitting for power and speed. Something else to keep an eye on for fantasy purposes is how atrocious the Indians lineup is without Lindor and it's not going to get much better when he does return. This is going to hurt both Lindor's and Jose Ramirez's counting stats. It is also something to consider when streaming pitchers. 3B Kyle Seager (hand) isn't expected to swing a bat for eight weeks and that doesn't include getting his strength back to hit live pitching. We are likely looking at a return in June, which is a significant loss for those who were betting on a bounce-back year for Seager. 1B Dan Vogelbach was not in the Opening Day lineup due to an elbow injury that has been lingering since Spring Training. OF Mark Trumbo (knee) was placed on the 60-day IL as he continues to recover from knee surgery. He is expected back in late May. If Trumbo comes back healthy he should play every day and be a source of power. 3B Matt Duffy is going to be out for at least two weeks with hamstring discomfort. Duffy simply cannot stay on the field which has opened up playing time for 3B Yandy Diaz. The narrative with Diaz is that he hits the ball really hard but straight into the ground and that he could be a monster if he raised his launch angle. The Rays traded for him for a reason and he should get playing time to start the year so we will get a glimpse into his batted ball profile early in the season. 1B Steve Pearce was placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to March 25 with a left calf strain. It is not supposed to be a lengthy absence but as we know calf injuries are tough to nail down a timetable and his age doesn't help the situation. He will be on the short side of the platoon when he comes back. 2B Dustin Pedroia was placed on the 10-day IL with knee inflammation. At this point, you can't count on anything from Pedroia until we see him on the field for an extended period of time. 3B Miguel Sano is on the 10-day IL while he recovers from his heel injury. If everything heals as they expect he should start a rehab assignment sometime around mid-April. This is good news for those who drafted Sano hoping for a bounce back for the talented 25-year-old slugger. OF Aaron Hicks (back) has not been able to resume baseball activities which is concerning considering he has had two cortisone injections in his back. This type of injury is troublesome for hitters due to the amount of torque and rotation place on the body during swinging. Hicks has had trouble staying healthy but he proved last year he can put up big numbers in the Yankees lineup when healthy. OF Brett Gardner figures to see the bulk of the playing time while Hicks is out. C Tom Murphy was acquired from the Giants for RHP Jesus Ozoria. C Omar Narvaez could potentially lose some playing time to Murphy but the situation will become more clear once Murphy gets to Seattle. 3B Brandon Drury is hitting leadoff for the Blue Jays which is a boost to his value while he holds down third base until Vlad Guerrero Jr. is called up. 1B Miguel Cabrera was hit on the wrist with a pitch on Saturday. X-rays were negative so he is day-to-day.
On The Mound
Andrew Heaney was placed on the 10-day IL with elbow inflammation. He has stopped throwing and will go for an MRI on his left elbow, which is not a good sign and at the minimum is going to push his timetable back. This is another blow to the Angels and fantasy owners because Heany is coming off a very solid 2018 season in which he had a 4.15 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 24% K. Clay Buchholz got a late start to spring by signing late and now he is dealing with a right flexor strain that has landed him on the 10-day IL. The latest report has him throwing in minor league games which is a sign that he is close to returning. From a fantasy perspective, Buchholz is due regression after a strong 2018 season due to the lack of underlying skills. Danny Duffy (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day IL with shoulder tightness. He has been able to throw in the bullpen so this is good news for a mid-April return. Duffy is coming off a disappointing 2018 season in which his skills took a major hit with a drop in his strikeout rate and increase in his walks. He needs to get healthy first before fantasy owners even consider the southpaw. Luis Severino (shoulder) has been able to throw at 120 ft. as he recovers from rotator cuff inflammation. If things continue to progress he could be back at the beginning of April. Domingo German is going to fill in for Severino and he warrants a spot on your fantasy roster. He has plus stuff which has translated to strikeouts but he needs to hone in his command because the long ball (1.59 HR/9) hurt him last year.
In The Bullpen
Ryan Tepera (elbow) has been placed on the 10-day IL but the good news is that as of right he is not going to need elbow surgery. Ken Giles is the closer in Toronto until something major happens but Tepera did get an opportunity last season. Taylor Rogers picked up the four out save for the Twins on Opening Day. This was a matchup-based thing but it does show the level of confidence that the Twins have in Rogers. He was absolutely dominant last year with a 2.63 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 22% K:BB. Hunter Strickland saved the first two games in Japan for the Mariners but blew the save on Friday night and is headed for an MRI on his shoulder. He has been placed on the 10-day IL. This is bad news for those who dropped a healthy chunk of FAAB on Strickland in Week 1 and there is no apparent next in line for saves. Shawn Armstrong or Anthony Swarzak would have been worthy candidates but both are currently hurt so this leaves the job to a committee of Matt Festa or Cory Gearrin. Neither guys are good, so this is a dicey situation. Matt Barnes got the first save opportunity for the Red Sox and looks to be the favorite for saves in the early going until he pitches his way out of it. Jose Alvarado picked up the save for the Rays on Friday night against the Astros. He is the favorite to save the majority of games for the Rays but it is the Rays so Diego Castillo and others could get a save here and there depending on the matchups.
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