Howie Kendrick (1B/2B/OF/DH - WAS) - Between the opt-out of Ryan Zimmerman and the addition of a DH in the NL, Howie Kendrick's value has gotten a huge boost since we spoke to you last. Kendrick has been phenomenal since coming to Washington, hitting 45 doubles, 3 triples, and 28 homers with 7 steals and an AVG around .320 in 650 or so ABs (roughly one full season). He's posted hard contact numbers of 40 and 46% in the past two seasons, and he's finally lowered the groundball rates without costing himself much at all in terms of his excellent contact ability. I think he's very underrated coming into this season, and I lament the fact that it took him 15 years to figure out how to maximize his value as a hitter. I absolutely believe he should be owned in all formats.
Carter Kieboom (SS/3B - WAS) - Despite winning the starting 3B job, Kieboom is still getting little respect around the industry, coming in as SS38 via ADP. Just 22 years of age, Kieboom is an above-average contact hitter with average-plus power and below-average speed, and I think it's very possible he could worm his way into the ROY race (I tabbed him 3rd in our predictions) depending on playing time. Asdrubal Cabrera will push him for time, and I don't think his power is all the way there yet, so I don't view him as a solid option in standard leagues this season....I do believe he will get to that point in the next year or two however.
Griffin Canning (SP - LAA) - Very exciting to see Canning look so solid on Monday in his final preseason start, as he tossed 6 scoreless innings against the Padres, allowing 3 hits and 2 walks while fanning 5. The velocity looked normal, the control looked normal, and he says he feels good.....I'm sold. I think the kid has mid-rotation potential, and the injury has scared many away from him. I believe him to be worth a rotation spot in all formats.
Tommy La Stella (2B/3B - LAA) - There seems to be a lot of skepticism surrounding Tommy La Stella after a breakout age 30 season, and I'm a bit confused as to why. He's an elite contact bat that finally got the playing time that he likely always deserved. Average power and an above-average hit tool at a relatively weak position adds up to a viable player for anyone's roster in my estimation.....the fact that he'll likely be platooned against LHP is a small negative for him. I think he's a viable MI in all formats, and currently has a 2B32 ADP.
Aaron Judge (OF - NYY) - For those of you that don't listen to the show and don't follow my Twitter feed (@SkyDombroske), Judge is my choice for AL MVP in this crazy, shortened season. While Mike Trout is and should be the favorite, I feel like this is a year where truly anything can happen, and Judge has as much upside as anyone in the game. We talk a lot about exit velocity around here, and while we use placement on that list to determine power potential for players, there isn't a ton of separation in the middle of the list....it's very much a Bell Curve distribution. Judge, though, is an outlier. His average exit velocity is a good standard deviation (or two!) away from every other player....that's how hard he hits the ball. It's going to give him high BABIP's, it's going to give him gaudy HR totals, and it'll help boost the R and RBI counting stats by extension. Judge is absolutely a top-12 OF for me and a top-40 player overall.
Jordan Montgomery (SP - NYY) - Fear not, Montgomery's "demotion" is more of a roster maximization technique than anything....he's still slated to start the 6th game of the season at this point. His velocity has been up pretty significantly this spring, and frankly he's looked extremely good. I'm very optimistic that he will be a viable rotation member in standard formats (that obviously means I have him in my top 75 SP....I am always a proponent of at least 6 SP if rules allow), and if his velocity can push up into the 93-95 range that he's shown this spring along with multiple effective breaking pitches, there's very reasonable upside.
Pablo Lopez (SP - MIA) - I'm becoming enamored with Lopez for the second straight spring, as after last year's major velocity increase (something that fizzled away in the second half, likely due to injury) he's sporting a brand-new cutter this "spring". Lopez looked pretty solid in 3 innings against the Braves in his final tune-up, allowing just an Austin Riley HR while walking one and striking out 3. At the very least I think Lopez is a solid streaming candidate when at home for both season-long and DFS purposes (3.39 ERA, 1.08 WHIP at home in '19), and it's possible that he could be a bit more than that as well.
Hunter Dozier/Franchy Cordero (OF - KC) - Setting aside the fact that you don't want to see anybody test positive for COVID at any point, I'm disappointed that Dozier's positive test is going to cost him the beginning portion of the restart. I was eager to see Dozier show that his improvement last season was legitimate enough for him to remain a top-50 OF going forward, and while he could still get to that range if he only misses a week or so of time (honestly, it'll probably be a bit more than that), we need to look at who will get the extra playing time created. Franchy Cordero was just acquired from San Diego, and while the contact issues are extreme, there's some enormous upside here in terms of power and speed if he can improve the contact rate a bit. An extreme high-risk option, I don't see Cordero as rosterable outside of deep leagues even with the expected playing time boost, but he merits watching.
Brady Singer (SP - KC) - Singer is going to start KC's second game of the season, and while everyone is typically excited about first-round draft picks when they come up, Singer isn't necessarily a high-ceiling sort of a guy. His control is good and he's a competitive guy with a decent arsenal, but he's much more of a SP4/5 type of a starter for fantasy purposes than he is a potential front-liner. He's borderline for standard formats right now in my opinion, but a clear add in deeper and AL-only leagues.
Austin Nola (C/1B - SEA) - There's very little exciting about Austin Nola, but with Tom Murphy very likely headed to the IL with a strained calf, Nola is suddenly a starting catcher in the major leagues. If you're in a 2-catcher format, there's a very real chance that Nola should now be rostered. The 30 year old discovered a bit of pop last season, hitting 17 homers in less than 500 PAs between AAA and the bigs, and he has very good contact ability to go along with it. If he plays enough, he's easily a top-20 catcher, so if he's going to play almost every day the first two weeks he's a legitimate starter for fantasy purposes.
Kwang-Hyun Kim (RP/SP - STL) - I liked Kim a decent amount when he was just a 5th SP competitor back in March, and now he's the likely Cardinal closer, which might fit his skill set (fastball/slider) even better. Needless to say, I'm in, and he should definitely be picked up in all formats. I think he could be a borderline top-10 closer, to be honest. There's some potential competition out there, which lowers the floor a bit, but I'd still want him on my squad right now.
Justus Sheffield (SP - SEA) - The perfect prescription for a post-hype prospect: a couple minor injuries, some control issues at AAA, poor superficial stats in his first exposure to MLB, 3 months of little news. Sheffield maintains quite a bit of upside and is slated to be the 5th SP for the Mariners....his new 2-seam fastball has continued to rack up the K's in this second iteration of "spring". The BABIP and HR/FB rates last season were oddly high, leaving the control as the last stumbling block for me with him. I don't mind him at all as a 6th or 7th SP in a streaming role, as I think there's a huge gap between the floor and the ceiling for him this season.
Ian Happ (2B/OF - CUB) - Really loving me some Ian Happ this, um, spring....he showed a lot of pop coming down the stretch last season, is still just 25, and has as many XBH as he does K's during exhibition games (I know, spring stats, grain of salt, etc.). If the contact rate continues to improve, he's the kind of player that could give you 30/10 with a helping AVG and multi-positional eligibility....I think he's still very underrated.
Garrett Richards (SP - SD) - Richards is one of my favorite pitchers to roster, because he's basically either good or injured. He looked pretty sharp this weekend against his old Angel team, allowing 5 hits and an unearned run over 4 ⅔, walking one and fanning 5. The velo and stuff both looked pretty normal for him, giving me confidence that he can vastly outperform his SP85 ADP. Very high on him.
Chris Taylor (2B/OF - LAD) - The surprise demotion of Gavin Lux is a positive for Taylor, who is very likely to have a lot more playing time because of the move. Whether he plays every day is still in question, but Taylor has played at least ¾ of the time since coming to the Dodgers almost 4 years ago, so it shouldn't be all that surprising that they wanted to find a way to use him more. The problem is that his performance has been deteriorating since that excellent 2017 season. Contact, power, and speed are all down even though Taylor is just approaching 30 this summer, and the defense has withered a bit as well. I believe Taylor is miscast as a regular, and I think Lux will be back before too long....the main issue will be how much of a cushion LA has. They're so deep that they could run away and hide in that division, so the impetus to make a change may not be there. As far as Taylor's fantasy value, I wouldn't be in favor of looking for much out of him besides speed and a smidge of help elsewhere. He can be a 5-category contributor, but there isn't much ceiling there and I don't like what I've seen from the contact rate the past few years. He's merely a fill-in for me.
Kyle Tucker (OF - HOU) - A point to add on Kyle Tucker, who was a 38/35 guy between AAA and the majors last year and is now likely to be the primary DH as long as Yordan Alvarez is sidelined: this guy is a stud. He's a better contact hitter than he's shown at the big league level thus far based on his minor league performances, he has plenty of power and speed, and the guy that is currently manning RF (Josh Reddick) is pretty firmly in decline and hitting under .100 in the exhibition season. There's a very real chance that Tucker starts playing every day against RHP and just never looks back this year, and his ceiling is pretty impressive for a guy barely being drafted in the top 50 OFs. I would definitely want some representation of Tucker across my rosters.