Gerrit Cole, SP (NYY)
Gerrit Cole looked like Gerrit Cole on Wednesday as the Yankees ace struck out seven batters in 3.1 scoreless innings. He hasn't allowed a run yet this spring, despite working on particular pitches during his two outings. On Wednesday he was primarily relying on his fastball, but the Cardinals were flummoxed and only tallied two hits during his appearance. Most fantasy managers seem to favor Corbin Burnes over Cole as the top pitcher drafted, but it's hard to argue with the reliability and high floor of Cole, who has struck out 500 batters over the past two seasons combined.
Justin Turner, 3B (BOS)
Turner received 16 stitches and could be back for Opening Day. It's much better than it could have been as the veteran 3rd baseman was hit in the face by a pitch on Monday and sent to the hospital. If he lands on the injured list, Bobby Dalbec and Rob Refsnyder could see more opportunities at designated hitter. Turner is in a good situation in Boston as his line-drive approach fits perfectly to pick up a bunch of hits off the Green Monster. Don't expect a ton of home runs, but besides a freak accident like what happened on Monday, playing more DH should benefit Turner's overall availability. He is a valid corner infield option in 12-team leagues.
Chase Silseth, SP (LAA)
Silseth made a case for the sixth spot in the Angels rotation on Wednesday with four innings of one-run baseball, allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts. It was Silseth's second start of the spring, and it went better than the first, when he gave up two runs in two innings against the Brewers. He has nine strikeouts in six innings after striking out 24 batters in 28.2 innings during his brief seven-start run last summer. Silseth emerged for the Angels with a strong run at AA-Rocket City in 2022, going 7-0 with a 2.28 ERA in 15 starts. The groundball pitcher benefited from a .244 BABIP and 88.8% LOB% at that level, however. At the same time, Silseth has a four-pitch mix, including a mid-90's fastball, and he has demonstrated swing-and-miss stuff in the minor leagues. He may not win the job over Tucker Davidson, Griffin Canning or Chris Rodriguez, but Silseth is likely to see major league starts at some point this season.
Tommy Henry, SP (ARI)
The Diamondbacks have a lot of talented young pitchers and Tommy Henry may be the least heralded of them all, but he has the potential to stick in the rotation. He was solid on Wednesday, polishing off four scoreless innings with three strikeouts. More importantly, he didn't walk anyone. He had walked three batters while allowing seven runs (six earned) in 4.1 innings in his previous two starts in spring training, and walks have been an ongoing problem for the big left-hander. He is not a recommended option in redraft leagues, but the Diamondbacks have something going in the future and Henry should be a part of that future.
Jon Gray, SP (TEX)
After being scratched from Friday's start last week due to back tightness, Gray returned to the mound on Wednesday, delivering three one-hit scoreless innings. He hasn't allowed a run or a walk through two starts as he attempts to reach the 150-inning mark for the first time since 2019. Gray stumbled to the finish line for the Rangers last year, but still managed to deliver a 3.46 xFIP with 135 strikeouts in 127.1 innings. He is an injury risk but the former No. 3 overall pick presents solid upside.
Tony Gonsolin, SP (LAD)
It looks likely Gonsolin will miss the start off the season following an ankle sprain suffered during drills on Monday. At first the Dodgers said Gonsolin would still make his scheduled start on Wednesday, but that didn't happen, and manager Dave Roberts said he "doesn't feel good" about Gonsolin being ready on Opening Day. Even so, the injury isn't considered serious as x-rays came back negative so he shouldn't miss more than a start or two. Gonsolin delivered spectacular results last year, winning 16 games and finishing with a 2.14 ERA, although a 3.69 xFIP tells a clearer story. Nonetheless Gonsolin always has a good chance to pick up a win and he should keep his ERA under 4.00.
Gavin Lux, 2B (LAD)
Lux underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair his torn ACL, and doctors also determined the young infielder tore his LCL. However, the surgery was considered a success and Lux should make his return to the field sometime in 2024. For now, the Dodgers have not given a timeline on his rehab. The former first-round pick was expected to take over the starting role at shortstop, replacing Trea Turner, but that job will likely fall in the lap of veteran Miguel Rojas, who the Dodgers acquired in a trade with Miami in January. Rojas is a solid option with an ADP in the 400s while Lux's role and health will be uncertain heading into '24.
Nestor Cortes, SP (NYY)
Cortes has been dealing with a hamstring strain this spring, which has kept him from appearing in any games, although he is expected to be ready at the start of the season, albeit in the fifth spot of the Yankees rotation. Manager Aaron Booone said Cortes will throw one more live batting practice before making his spring training debut. He tossed a three-inning simulated game on Wednesday. The Yankees have been taking it slowly with the veteran left-hander, but he will play a significant role in their rotation this year, especially with Frankie Montas likely to miss most of the first half following shoulder surgery. Cortes has managed to avoid home run disaster despite playing in a hitters' ballpark and giving up a near-50% flyball rate. He has posted back-to-back LOB-rates over 80%, which all amounts to the strong results that has earned him a starting role. Now he will need to continue to benefit from those underlying metrics in order to maintain his status as one of the top fantasy pitchers in the game. The likelihood of that happening is low.
Miguel Vargas, 1B (LAD)
Things look to be trending in the right direction for Vargas, who has yet to swing a bat in spring training while recovering from a broken pinky finger suffered in February. The Dodgers' expected second baseman has all the tools to become a quality everyday infielder. He offers a superb hit tool (he hit over .300 throughout the minor leagues) with strong plate discipline and moderate power and speed. He isn't likely to become a 30/30 player any time soon, but he will give fantasy owners positional versatility with safe ratios. He is a great target for dynasty points leagues.
Daniel Hudson, RP (LAD)
He has ankle tendinitis, is coming off ACL surgery and is 35 years old, and yet Daniel Hudson still appears to have the inside track to the Dodgers' closer job at some point this season. However, it's becoming less likely that will be on Opening Day, as the expectation is Hudson won't be ready and therefore Evan Phillips will serve in the role. It's entirely conceivable Phillips runs away with the position and Hudson never gets a save opportunity, but it's also possible Hudson has the job shortly after he returns. The good news is he has progressed to facing hitters in spring training. The Dodgers would like to get him into a game before the season begins, but it depends on how the veteran is feeling. He is a valid option in saves + holds leagues but a risky choice in standard 5x5 formats.
Robinson Cano, 2B (FA)
In what could amount to an unofficial audition for infield-needy teams, veteran slugger Robinson Cano hit a three-run home run for the Dominican Republic in an exhibition against Atlanta. Cano has been a free agent since refusing an assignment to AAA-Gwinnett last August, but it's possible his career isn't over just yet. He has a career .301 batting average with 335 home runs but only hit .150 with one home run in 100 at-bats in 2022.
Andrew Painter, SP (PHI)
The Phillies continue to play coy on the true health of top prospect Andrew Painter. The 19-year-old hurler went for tests after feeling tenderness in his throwing elbow. Those tests are still unknown, at least to people outside the Phillies' front office, although Todd Zolecki of MLB.com is reporting that as of now, he hasn't been told he needs surgery. Obviously the Phillies will take it easy with Painter, who has the makings of a future ace, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will have surgery. The odds of him making the jump to the major leagues this season are dropping, but if you already drafted him in deep leagues, hold on for now. The Phillies should have more clarification on his status soon.
Bailey Ober, SP (MIN)
Making his second appearance this spring, Ober looked sharp, tossing two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts. He has five strikeouts and hasn't allowed a hit through three innings, and yet he probably won't make the Twins' starting rotation. Not after the team traded for Pablo Lopez. It isn't really anything Ober did. He battled through injuries to post a 3.21 ERA in 56 innings in 2022. He has displayed spectacular K/BB numbers throughout his professional career with strong ratios, but the Twins filled their rotation with other starters. It's not like he's super young and they can wait either. Ober is 27. It's time to give him the reins. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, that time apparently isn't now.
Victor Robles, OF (WAS)
Robles injured his knee making a play in the outfield on Wednesday, although it is not considered as serious as it looked. He had to be carted off the field, but the team said it is just a contusion and he is considered day-to-day. As weak as the Nationals roster is, they kind of have a gluttony of 4th outfielders. Along with Robles, Washington has Lane Thomas, Corey Dickerson, Alex Call, Stone Garrett, Yadiel Hernandez and even Dominic Smith and Joey Meneses, both of whom have played the outfield. The one-time top prospect has never been able to hit the ball with any authority, featuring an abysmal 83.8-mph average exit velocity for his career. He offers stolen base upside, but it depends on how many plate appearances he gets, and that is uncertain in the Nats' outfield.
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP (DET)
Rodriguez delivered another strong spring start on Wednesday, striking out six batters in 3.1 innings without allowing a run. He hasn't allowed a run in 8.1 innings this spring. Rodriguez will look for more stability in his second season in Detroit, following a chaotic 2022 that saw him miss time for injuries and personal reasons. He is heading to the World Baseball Classic where he will pitch for Venezuela. Rodriguez is quite a bargain this year and should be able to accumulate innings and strikeouts while settling for a high WHIP and sitting around 4.00 for his ERA.
Mark Mathias, OF (PIT)
The tragically thin Pirates roster added veteran journeyman Mark Mathias in a minor trade on Wednesday, and it's possible he works his way into playing time. The 28-year-old plays all over the field and has a little bit of power and average speed. He is patient and draws a number of walks, which if he gets plate appearances, could be worth a look in OBP leagues. The ceiling is not very high, but on the Pirates, anything is possible.