Dodgers - Has Gavin Lux Won the 2B Job?
Not officially, but hitting .400/.444/.440 is a good start. Sure we'd love to see more than a .040 ISO, but not everyone can have a 1.038 SLG like Corey Seager. The Dodgers are surly hoping he wins the job, as they would probably rather deploy Chris Taylor in his usual super-utility role. The Dodgers seem to have good luck with the prospects they don't trade, so with Lux still on the roster, they clearly like him and will give him every chance here.
Dodgers Rotation - Julio Urias' Rotation Hopes Fading?
Not quite yet, but that last start wasn't ideal (five runs but just one earned). Urias did fan five in 2.1 innings, so no reason to panic just yet. Lots of fans think Urias should be deployed in a multi-inning Jose Hader type role, and that may eventually happen, but he still has the lead on the No. 5 starter job. Tony Gonsolin is attempting to make things interesting, having allowed just one baserunner with seven strikeouts in six innings. David Price is probably the No. 4 starter, and Dustin May seems likely to open as a long reliever. Urias should win this job, but it's not 100% just yet.
Giants - Joey Bart and the Catching Position
Bart has been optioned to minor league camp, ensuring the Giants' Opening Day catchers will be Buster Posey and Curt Casali. Bart held his own this spring, going 6-for-18 with a home run, but after last year's .233/.288/.320 slash that included a 36.9% K%, the team clearly wanted him to get regular at-bats, and that wasn't coming with the Giants. Bart is a former #2 overall pick, so he's worth waiting on, but it's tough to see him having much value this season.
Giants - And the Closer Is...
Candidates: Jake McGee, Tyler Rogers, Reyes Montoya, Matt Wisler
Manager Gabe Kapler isn't exactly an old school manager who prefers a "ninth inning guy" / traditional closer, so this is screaming "committee" for now. It's a bit early to say who is the best bet to lead the team in saves, but McGee has allowed just one baserunner with five strikeouts in four innings. It's easy to see Kapler taking it game-by-game and playing the matchups, though at some point, maybe someone emerges. If the Giants are looking to the future, perhaps that is the 28-year-old Montoya with the 97+ mph fastball and 11.2 career K/9. To take the next step, however, Montoya will need to locate the plate more frequently (5.2 BB/9).
Rockies - Garrett Hampson's Role
It's unknown whether Brendan Rodgers' hamstring will land him on the IL, but his injury doesn't seem serious. A former #3 overall draft pick (2015), Rodgers is now 24 and has yet to stay healthy consistently and hit at the big league level (.462 OPS in 102 PA). He has a shot at the second base job along with Garrett Hampson and prior to the hamstring, he was looking solid, batting .348/.400/.652 with a pair of home runs in 23 at-bats. Hampson is doing just find as well, hitting .310/.412/.345, though with just one XBH (2B) among his nine hits. Hampson should see time at multiple positions, including the outfield where he's battling with Sam Hilliard and Ramel Tapia for at-bats alongside Charlie Blackmon. Either way, Hampson should see plenty of playing time initially, though with a mediocre .245/.305/.385 slash across parts of three seasons, he's no lock to stay in the lineup. That said, in those 559 PA (about a full season combined), Hampson has 13 homers and 23 stolen bases, so there is fantasy upside.
Rockies - Who's On First?
The candidates: CJ Cron, Josh Fuentes, Greg Bird
Cron was probably the favorite coming in, and with a .323/.344/.581 slash in 31 AB, he's staked his claim. Bird is probably out (.148 BA) barring a torrid finish, but Fuentes remains in the mix, batting .290/.333/.419. Cron may find his way to 500+ at-bats, and in Coors Field, that translates to 30+ home runs and a BA in the .240-.250 range. Fuentes could also make the club as a 1B/OF, though he would be on the wrong side of a LF platoon in any case. Bird was a solid prospect six years ago with the Yankees, but he's never been able to stay healthy. Bird probably opens in Triple-A where he needs to show he can stay on the field.
Evan White, 1B, SEA
I whiffed on this guy last year, but after a slow start to his spring, White is 3-for-6 with six RBI in his last two starts. White won a Gold Glove last year after signing a six-year deal prior to his MLB debut, but he also hit a paltry .176/.252/.346 in 202 PA, though the eight HR weren't bad. He did though notch a solid 52.5% hard-hit rate and the fact that he had just four games at the Triple-A level didn't help matters. He was solid overall in the minors (.296/.361/.471 with a reasonable 20.4% K%), that he should show plenty of improvement this year. The fact he's a former first-round pick with a long-term deal will give him plenty of slack.
Jazz Chisholm, 2B, MIA
Neither Chisholm nor Isan Diaz have separated themselves in the second base battle. Chisolm has been a little better at .227/.261/.500 with a pair of homers and a stolen base while Diaz has a double and triple in his 18 at-bats, though he does have five walks. Diaz is better defensively, but Chisholm has the higher ceiling at the plate by far. He's yet to log any time at Triple-A, so that may very well be where Chisholm starts off the year, but he shouldn't be down too long assuming Diaz doesn't explode offensively. Chisholm's 30.1% K% in the minors is rather concerning, but he should eventually offer 20/20 upside for fantasy owners.
Noah Syndergaard, SP, NYM
Syndergaard looks like a nice IL stash in redraft leagues right now. He reportedly threw off the mound Thursday and hit 96 mph with his fastball. That's pretty impressive coming off Tommy John surgery and it should give him plenty of time to build up to his customary 97-98 mph by his scheduled return window in Late-May / Early-June. He's still just 28, so there should be plenty of good seasons left for Syndergaard as long as his command and control return with the velocity. He's also not a bad guy to target in keeper/dynasty leagues for rebuilding squads.
J.P. Crawford, SS, SEA
It's tough to know what to make of Crawford this year. He has those good bloodlines, but when your breakout season (2020) is a solid but unspectacular .255/.336/.338 with two homers and six steals in 53 games, we're left wondering if this is who he is or whether more is coming. Crawford did hit .292/.361/.417 in his last 25 games, and his K% has dropped dramatically from 2018 (27% to 16.8%). He's just 4-for-22 this spring, but that's come with a league-leading (tied) nine walks to give him a .438 OBP. The Mariners have yet to confirm him as their leadoff man again in 2021, and that role could go to Mitch Haniger if Crawford can't get his batting average up. He reportedly gained 10 pounds of muscle over the offseason, so optimistically, perhaps he finds his way to a .340 OBP with a dozen home runs and 20+ steals.
Sandy Alcantara, SP, MIA
Alcantara leads all pitchers with 19 strikeouts this spring, and that was enough for him to be named the team's Opening Day starter. He's yet to allow an earned run in 12.2 innings while holding hitters to a .163 BAA. Walks have again been an issue, as he's surrendered eight of them. Alcantara though has seen his control improve substantially the past couple years, landing on a reasonable 3.2 BB/9 last year. If he can continue to improve in that area, the ceiling is pretty big for a guy with a mid-90s fastball. Alcantara relies a lot on his sinker to induce ground balls, which is great, but it negatively impacts his strikeouts which fantasy owners don't like. We'll have to see if the early strikeout rate this spring sticks, but if it's even close, he'll easily outperform his ADP.
Lucas Sims, RP, CIN
Sims is reportedly feeling good after a Thursday bullpen session and could be available on Opening Day. Amir Garrett would seemingly be in line to close, but he is battling a forearm issue himself. Garrett has had some issues allowing homers to RH hitters the last couple years, but it didn't prevent him from putting up career-bests in ERA (2.45) and WHIP (0.93) last year. He also lowered his BB/9 to 3.4 versus a 4.6 career mark. Sims meanwhile is also in line for late-inning duty. His ERA and WHIP matched Garrett last year, though a 3.9 BB/9 was higher than you'd like to see and his 3.69 FIP portends some ERA regression.
Yonathan Daza, OF, COL
As of Thursday, Daza was tied for the league lead in hits with 13, producing a .433/.433/.633 line that included a homer and stolen base. He's looking to win a reserve outfielder role after hitting just .206/.257/.237 in 105 PA last year. A career .333/.369/.465 hitter in the minors with a 13.9% K%, Daza was last seen in Triple-A in 2019 where he hit .364/.404/.528 with 11 homers and 12 steals in 89 games. He has very good speed, and the fact he hits right-handed on a team with three LF OF bats should help his cause to make the team. He may even have some NL-only fantasy value if things break right.
Andrew Heaney, SP, LAA
Granted Christian Yelich wasn't in the lineup Thursday, but it was still a nice step forward after a rocky first two starts for Heaney. The lefty allowed just one hit over five scoreless inning with an 8:2 K:BB to lower his ERA to 4.66. Now in his seventh full season, Heaney has made more than 18 starts just once, though he did make 12 starts in an abbreviated 2020. A former #9 overall pick by the Marlins (2012), Heaney has yet to fulfill those lofty expectations, though when healthy, he's been pretty good at times, carrying career 8.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He's had major HR issues throughout his career (1.5 HR/9), but if he can build on Thursday's start, he looks to be a solid mid-rotation fantasy option.
Jo Adell, OF, LAA
Adell is likely ticketed for Triple-A regardless what he does this spring, but he's shown some promising signs this spring. After going 0-for-1 Thursday, Adell is now hitting .250/.455/.625 in 16 at-bats, including a pair of home runs and a solid 6:6 K:BB. After a subpar 5.3% BB% and horrific 41.7% K%, the early walks are encouraging. Adell turns 22 just after Opening Day, so there's plenty of time for him to reach his vast potential. The Angels will roll out an Opening Day outfield of Justin Upton, Mike Trout, and Dexter Fowler, with the likelihood that both Upton and Fowler experience career renaissances in the same year seemingly unlikely. How many games will Adell play in the big league this year? I'd probably set the over/under at 125.5.
Sean Manaea, SP, OAK
Manaea was hit in the elbow by a ball during a Thursday start in which the lefty allowed two runs over 3.2 innings with five strikeouts and a pair of walks. The outing took Manaea's ERA up to 4.05 over 6.2 innings, including a 9:3 K:BB. Manaea finished 2020 with a 4.50 ERA over 11 starts, which on the surface isn't great, but dig deeper. He also had a 45:8 K:BB in 54 innings, and over his last seven starts, Manaea posted a 2.77 ERAW, 0.95 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, and 0.95 WHIP. Sure, a guy who sits in the 89-91 mph range with his fastball may have limited fantasy upside due to the lack of strikeouts, he also posted a 3.22 ERA over 32 starts from 2018-2019, so maybe he's a (very) poor man's Tom Glavine. A 44.6% career GB% helps mitigate the lack of velocity. Manaea doesn't have a huge ceiling by any means, but if healthy, he can possibly contribute in 12-team mixed leagues.