Victor Robles is potentially going to rejoin the Nationals lineup on Tuesday after bruising his knee last Wednesday. Robles is expected to go through baseball activities on Monday which will determine his status for the rest of the week. Even if it takes a little longer to return, the Nats still believe that it's a minor issue for their likely everyday centerfielder. The rebuilding Nats don't have much in the way of competition for him so he'll likely slot into the lineup somewhere on an everyday basis. The main issue though is that he doesn't really do anything really well, besides steal bases, and that includes getting on base to get himself in a spot to steal. His career hard-hit rate is under 25%, his career OPS is .665, but does surprisingly not have a terribly high K% at 24%. Maybe in NL-Only leagues if you strictly need someone who's going get ABs.
James Paxton he not resumed mound work yet since straining his hamstring. The goal was for him to resume mound work last week, but the team is taking it slow with him and he hasn't received any setbacks. He's been tossing on flat ground though which is good, and at least it's not an arm injury that he's dealt with over the last handful of seasons. There's no real way to take a guess at any sort of Paxton fantasy relevance until we get an extended look at him on the mound. If Paxton can stay healthy, there's a chance he could throw meaningful innings in that rotation that isn't flush with talent top to bottom.
Lance McCullers threw on Monday in the batting cage, the second time he's thrown recently as he works back from a muscle strain he suffered last month. McCullers is still expected to miss the first few weeks of the season as he's not close to facing hitters yet, but the goal for him is to be back on the mound before the end of April. McCullers missed almost all of last season with a forearm injury, and another arm injury to start 2023 doesn't have me excited for this year unfortunately. Currently, I think there's enough starting pitching late in drafts that I like and would rather pick up for a reserve role than McCullers and I'll wait to see the next handful of updates on him before considering stashing him on the bench.
Aaron Ashby is throwing on flat ground on Wednesday as he works his way back from a shoulder impingement and a slight tear in his left labrum. Ashby isn't expected to rejoin the team until Mid-May at the earliest. Ashby had a mini-breakout for the Brewers last year throwing 107.1 innings with a 4.44 ERA, but did strikeout 126 batters in that span. He does a fantastic job at combining the whiffs with limiting hard contact, with also a 57.4% groundball rate last season. There's a little bit of a Framber Valdez starter kit here and I'll be monitoring Ashby heavily through his rehab process, though wouldn't be surprised if he did work more in the bullpen this year after already dealing with the injury.
Ricky Tiedemann was recently shut down with a sore shoulder which likely put an end to him potentially breaking camp with the big league club, and that was confirmed on Monday when he was reassigned to minor league camp. Tiedemann should find his way to the majors at some point in the first half of the season and he should be an immediate add in leagues when he does get the call. It's a trio between him, Grayson Rodriguez, and Andrew Painter (pending health) as the top three pitching prospects that could debut this year in terms of raw upside.
Vlad Guerrero Jr is expected to rejoin the Blue Jays lineup in the next few days. Vlad Jr has been dealing with some knee inflammation that caused him to have to pull out of the WBC, but running the bases on Sunday was one of the last hurdles he needed to clear to get back into game action. He saw a step back in his numbers from his incredible 2021, but Guerrero is still one of the best 1B options in fantasy and there's a chance for a bit more as well with the changes to the outfield walls in Toronto that shortens the alley in right centerfield. I could definitely see Vlad getting closer to the 40 homer mark again this season, but I don't think he'll quite get the 45+ marker we saw two years ago.
Kodia Senga threw off flat ground on Monday from around 90 feet according to reports from the team. Senga hasn't been throwing off the mound as he deals with tendinitis in his index finger on his throwing hand. Throwing is a good step for him in the right direction but it's still very up in the air as to whether he's going to be ready to start the season, despite Senga being confident that he will be. Buck Showalter said that if it were the regular season that Senga would have thrown through it, so a few more throwing sessions show get him back on track to appear in spring training games.
Justin Turner could return to games this week after getting hit in the face by a pitch last week. He's gotten the stitches from the cut removed and he's been cleared to return to baseball activities. Opening Day shouldn't be a question for him at this point if he's already getting back in game action. Roster Resource has Turner slotted in at the DH spot and he should get the primary work there on a less than stellar Sox team. He should also get a little time at first base with Triston Casas, but Casas has shown this spring that he has a solid handling of left-handed pitching as well so I'm not as worried about a platoon split here.
Jose Quintana is allegedly going to be shut down for three months according to a report out of Mets camp, but then the GM Billy Eppler said that the announcement was premature. Quintana has been nursing a rib injury that has kept him out for last few weeks. I'm just assuming at this point that Quintana is in fact going to miss the first three months of the season and that we won't see him until the all -tar break. Tylor Megill and David Peterson should battle for the final spot in the rotation now that Quintana is going to miss some time.
Alex Kirilloff was spotted taking batting practice on Monday on the backfield in Twins camp. Kirilloff is returning from wrist surgery last August to shorten a bone in his wrist and clean up some prior scar tissue with a prior injury. Kirilloff has now a not so great history with wrist injuries and with just a couple weeks to go in the season it's not expected to see him in the majors to start the season. I'd expect a AAA stint for a chunk of time before he potentially cracks the Twins rotation.
Sal Frelick is having a dominant WBC for team Italy and has started to make some noise with the Brewers regarding potentially making the club. I think more of it could lean on Garrett Mitchell's injury and if centerfield could be open as the team has some strong depth across the outfield. Frelick has provided a solid amount of power and speed in the minor leagues and in AAA he also turned in a .365 average over 46 games. He combined that with an incredible 16:19 K:BB rate. The power isn't anything overwhelming, but it was still 11 homers last year to go with the 24 stolen bases. If he does end up making the team it's a profile worth looking at, but we need a little more time with the team after the WBC to determine that.
Mookie Betts is going to hit leadoff for the Dodgers this season. He hit leadoff all of last season, but Dave Roberts mentioned early in the spring that Gavin Lux could potentially take some of the leadoff duties. Lux obviously has been lost for the year so Betts will be the everyday guy for the team now. Betts' value I feel is somehow being underrated considering he's going to snag 2B eligibility at some point this season and still sits atop one of the best lineups in baseball. Betts currently is going outside the first 5-6 players off the board and I feel represents a tremendous value in the later portion of the first round.
Nick Senzel isn't in line to play at all this spring and he'll now miss the start of the season after undergoing surgery on his broken toe in November. The good news is that there haven't been any setbacks for him, but rather it's just taking him longer to get going. The team hasn't ruled out him getting in games a little later in the spring, but he just won't have enough time to be ready for the spring. Centerfield now becomes very open for the club and we could see some sort of platoon, with Will Benson, TJ Friedl, and Stuart Fairchild all potentially getting some looks. Senzel hasn't lived up to the high draft pick billing that he had since being taken out of Tennessee. He doesn't strikeout a ton and posts solid max exit velos, but also doesn't steal a ton of bags for someone who's well above average.
Garrett Mitchell has resumed running following his hamstring issue but still isn't going to return to action until this weekend most likely. Mitchell is having an incredible spring and is the clear frontrunner for the centerfield job in Milwaukee, posting a 1.22 OPS with three homers in 18 at-bats. Mitchell saw just over 60 at bats in the majors last season, and hit .311 with two homers and eight stolen bases. Mitchell hits the ball hard, and consistently so, but the issue he's run into is the fact that he hits the ball on the ground so frequently. If he begins to lift the ball more there's legit 20 homerun kind of power. Oh, and there's 35 stolen base speed. I'm targeting Mitchell late in every draft that I do.
Tylor Megill should have the inside route for the fifth spot in the rotation now that Jose Quintana may (or may not) miss three months of the season. Megill started 2022 extremely strong for the Mets with a 1.93 ERA but then, like most Mets pitchers, ran into the injury bug. He struck out 51 batters in 47.1 innings, but fell off down the stretch to finish with an ugly 5.13 ERA. Considering his draft pick capital is basically zero I'm interested in taking the flier on him late.
Curtis Mead was reassigned to minor league camp on Monday, ending the slim chance of him making the roster for the Rays out of camp. I can't imagine that it's long before we see Mead up with the team though, as he remains one of the better offensive prospects in the high minor leagues. Mead posted a .918 OPS over his spring training at bats. He posted OPS' of .942 and .862 across his two stops in the minors leagues last season, hitting 13 homers and swiping 7 bags. He's semi-limited defensively to second base and we saw an elbow injury cost him some time last season.