The really big, splashy free agent signings have been made for the most part. Now teams are trying to fill in the holes. These are the kind of players you should evaluate in deep leagues and also possibly for DFS play when the season starts. It's easy to say that Carlos Correa is a prime player. Often times the difference can be made when you get down the line in your draft and the marginal difference between your lower tier players and those on other teams is key. You need to know who to look at, who to avoid, and who to keep in mind for later.
Steven Vogt- C- OAK- Vogt returned to Oakland, signing a 1-year contract yesterday. In his first tour with the A's he was an All Start twice in 5 seasons. Vogt also hit 18 homers in 2015 and 14 in 2016, his top two highs in homers in his career. Returning to Oakland likely won't help him regain a power swing, however. For one thing, although Vogt is likely to see his playing time increase, shuffling between C, 1B, and DH for the rebuilding A's, he is now 37. Also, in those power years he slugged 23 of his 32 homers on the road. The large ballpark negatively impacts him. In 2021 Vogt had some extreme reverse splits, slashing .293/.383/.390 against southpaws. This runs counter to his career trends and was in only 48 PAs. Vogt put up some useful numbers several years ago, but his return doesn't put him in as a sleeper.
Aroldis Chapman- RP- NYY- Chapman and Yankees manager have been discussing a possible change in usage for the New York closer. He may see more work in the 8th inning, particularly when he has not seen work in a few days. Boone wants to keep Chapman sharp. Whether this plan actually gets implemented for a significant portion of 2022 remains to be seen. If it does, Chapman may see his value drop a little, except in leagues where holds make a difference.
Franklin Barreto- 2B- HOU- The Astros signed Barreto to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp. He missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Barreto had been a highly-regarded prospect who can play SS as well as 2B. He had shown some power at the AAA level before COVID, hitting 19 homers in 424 PAs in 2019, 18 homers in 333 PAs in 2018 and 15 homers in 510 PAs in 2017. In brief major league playing time Barreto has hit 9 homers in 237 PAs. Houston is looking for depth, with the Carlos Correa era in the rear view mirror. Barreto could get a shot and if he can sustain his small-sample-size MLB career EV of 89, LA of 18.8, and HardHit% of 39.8% he could provide good value.
Luke Bard- RP- TB- Daniel Bard's younger brother inked a minor league contract with Tampa Bay. He missed all of 2021 with a hip injury that required surgery. Bard has not had nearly the success of his brother either at the MLB or minor league level. However, in his 49 IP with the Angels in 2019 he led the majors in four-seam spin rate. He also has had experience in an opener role. This is probably enough for the Rays to hope they can turn that spin rate on his four-seamer as well as on his slider into swing-and-miss production. He is a low-risk, potentially high-reward arm. Keep an eye on him as spring training and any minor league work progresses. If Tampa Bay can get the success they hope for, Bard could contribute in deeper leagues.
Hanser Alberto- 3B- LAD- The Dodgers signed Alberto earlier this month but he joined the team yesterday after clearing up visa issues. He may not be high at any one position on the Dodgers' depth chart, but he is on it in three different positions. Over the past three seasons Alberto has the 3rd lowest K% in MLB at 10.2%. He has slashed .292/.315/.411. He will fit in well as a utility player and his versatility would also have more value if he ends up needing to fill in for any injuries in LA.
Zach Davies- P- ARI- Davies fills the fifth starter spot for the Diamondbacks. He had a horrendous year with the Cubs in 2021, posting a 5.78 ERA and 5.45 FIP. This was quite the drop from his single season with the Padres in COVID-shortened 2020. Davies posted a 2.73 ERA and 3.88 FIP with a career-high 8.18 K/9 for San Diego across 69.1 IP that season. Except for that short time with the Padres, Davies has had home parks that favored hitters. He spent his first 5 MLB seasons with the Brewers, with an ERA above 4.00 only once. So Davies ahs shown he can put up decent numbers, even with unfavorable home venues. Still, it's been his numbers on the road that accomplish that. His career home ERA is 4.81 while on the road it is 3.38. Keep Davies in the back of your mind as a DFS starter on days when he is not at Chase Field. Give him a little time to prove that last year was not a trend before you do.
Mychal Givens- RP- CHC- Givens signed with the Cubs and is in the mix for the closer role. Last year he posted a 3.35 Era overall and converted 8 of 9 save opportunities after the Reds acquired him from the Rockies. Givens had prior experience with the Orioles also (not that they gave him many save opportunities.) His fastball pushes 95 mph and was in the 96th percentile for spin rate in 2021. His EV of 85.5 was also in the 96th percentile last season. He will have a good shot at a high-leverage role for the Cubs.
Evan Longoria- 3B- SF- Longoria has not seen any Cactus League action yet. He suffered a finger injury when hit by a pitch last August and is still working back into shape. Longoria slashed .200/.283/.388 in the last month of 2021 after losing time earlier to other injuries. Manager Gabe Kapler feels that Longoria should be ready for games soon and believes he will be the Opening Day starter. See if it seems like his finger is still impacting him when he does start some games.
Dane Dunning- P- TEX- Dunning was a key part of the trade that sent Lance Lynn to the White Sox before the 2021 season. He performed well enough to give the Rangers no regrets in acquiring him. In his first full MLB season, Dunning posted a 4.51 ERA and 8.72 K/9 in 117.2 IP. He threw a sinker more than half the time last season and used his slider the next most (21.5%.) Dunning has attempted to add another slider to his mix, which would give him a total of six pitches in his repertoire. Relying primarily on breaking stuff explains his 53.9% GB% last year and also a decent HR/9 of 0.99. Dunning's K/9 of 8.72 was not bad for his type of pitcher. If his new slider continues the movement he's seen on it (20 inches horizontally) that could increase his missed bats.
Andy Ibanez- 3B- TEX- It's now March 26 and the games start to count in 13 days. The Rangers still haven't acquired an established 3B to take the place of the traded Isiah Kiner-Falefa. So Ibanez remains at the top of the depth chart. In 4 Cactus League games he is slashing .364/.385/.636 with a double and triple in 11 ABs. Hitting is definitely Ibanez's strong suit. Unfortunately, his best defensive position is probably DH. With Josh Jung out. The Texas options at the hot corner are limited. They signed Charlie Culberson to a minor league contract but his .2343/.296/381 slash line in 271 PAs with the Rangers in 2021 does not compare favorably with the .277/.321/.435 posted by Ibanez in 272 PAs. Ibanez also slashed .342/.411/.640 in 129 PAs at AAA Round Rock last season. If they have to use him at the major league level, they will likely get offensive production from him.
Seiya Suzuki- OF- CHC- Suzuki's Cubs' debut could have gone better. He was called out on strikes in both of his at bats yesterday. However, this was in Arizona, not Wrigley Field. Suzuki's .317/.433/.636 slash line with 38 homers in Japan last year may not be what he will do in MLB in 2022, but it is more indicative than striking out looking every time. Projecting Japanese players is tough but a lot of estimates (including Insider Baseball) put him in the mid-20s in terms of homers.
Brennen Davis- OF- CHC- Spring Training is also a time to get a glimpse of some future players. One of those is Davis. He was sent to the minor league camp by the Cubs yesterday but will be back at some point, probably later this season. Davis developed power in 2021, hitting 19 homers across 3 minor league levels last season at the age of 21. He also swiped 8 bases, an aspect of his game that is likely get better. Davis is the top ranked prospect for the Cubs and currently #15 in the overall MLB rankings. Davis projects as someone who will consistently be mentioned as a possible All Star. When he comes up for good, he will be a solid pick.
Randal Grichuk- OF- COL- Grichuk was traded from Toronto to Colorado yesterday. He is a player who is extremely streaky and a great one to ride during the hot streaks. Last season he slashed .282/.333/.506 with 5 homers in the first month of the season and .295/.313/.491 with 4 homers in May. We won't talk about the rest of the season. Then there was August 2020, when he slugged 9 homers in August and slashed .287/.328/.593. We could keep going back like that. The story is the same. If you can ride Grichuk in the good times (whenever they happen to be,) he's an asset. At other times he can be a drag on your lineup. He already has performed better at home than on the road I his career, so he may not get as much of a boost from calling Coors Field home as might be expected. Grichuk is projected to slug 28 homers in 2022. He should get consistent time in the lineup.
Raimel Tapia- OF- TOR- Tapia takes his speed north of the border as he was dealt to Toronto for Randal Grichuk. Tapia swiped 20 bases last season, tied for 13th in MLB. His average dropped from .321 in the COVID season of 2020 to .273 in 2021 as his BABIP plummeted from .392 to .306. Tapia's average will be highly impacted by that kind of luck. In 2021 he had a GB% of 67.4% and has not been lower than 51.7% in the last 3 seasons. Unsurprisingly Tapia hasn't shown much power despite having Coors Filed as his home. When you keep hitting balls into the ground (LA of -4.4 last season) not may go out of the park. With a projected 19 steals for this year, though, and a batting average expected to be .279, Tapia has dome value in the hard-to-get steal category. Leaving Coors won't have much negative impact on his strengths.
Rowdy Tellez- 1B- MIL- Tellez has a hold on the incumbent 1B position for the Brewers. After coming over from the Blue Jays in 2021, he slugged 7 homers in 174 PAs. Overall, he had 11 homers in 325 PAs. Tellez's EV of 92.2, LA of 13.4 (14.5 in Milwaukee,) and HardHit% of 48.1% show him to be a legitimate power hitter. Only 3 of homers were at American Family Field (aka the Park formerly known as Miller.) If Tellez can learn to take advantage of the hitter-friendly nature of his home stadium in a full season there his power could take a jump forward.
Harold Ramirez- OF- TB- Ramirez was acquired from the Cubs in exchange for a minor leagues who the Rays had gotten as a PTBNL in a deal with the Padres before COVID hit in 2020. Ramirez posted a .268/.305/.398 slash line in 361 PAs with Cleveland in 2021 before he was waived and claimed by the Cubs. He had decent Statcast numbers, with a 91.3 EV and 46.9% HardHIt% but only hit 7 homers due to a 53.1% GB% and 6.2 LA. While Ramirez consistently hit double digits in steals in the minors and topped 20 twice, he hasn't shown that kind of speed production at the major league level. Ramirez only recorded 3 steals with the Indians in 2021. He will probably be a depth outfielder in Tampa Bay, if not getting a lot of time at AAA Durham.
With all of the player changes that will be happening in the next few weeks, you'll want stay up to date with the Fantistics Draft Advisory software. It is updated daily to show the impact of free agents signings and trades that will happen in this compressed spring training. Changing venues has an effect on player values and the Draft Advisory software will keep you on top of them. During the season you will have over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3