Preseason Prep – April 2nd, 2022
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets – Well, this unfortunately came early. deGrom was shutdown for the short term as he is dealing with some shoulder discomfort to start, and that turned into a longterm shutdown after a stress reaction in his scapula was revealed. deGrom battled arm injuries for a significant chunk of time last season and it seems that they have flared up again for the future HOF’er. He’s now been shutdown from throwing for the next four weeks and they will re-evaluated him then. Tylor Megill should slot into the empty rotation spot for New York.
CJ Abrams, San Diego Padres – Abrams has had a strong spring and there’s a chance that he makes the Opening Day roster according to AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Not that it needs reminding, but the Padres are needing to fill the void in the lineup/field left by Fernando Tatis Jr and his broken wrist. Abrams is slashing .308/.333/.538 this spring with a pair of homers and a stolen base. Abrams has top of the line speed that he easily capable of swiping 35+ bases, as he swiped 13 bags in 42 games at the AA level last season. The power has been an intriguing development as he slugged .420 last season but it’s long been thought of in his scouting report that he had power to tap into. I’m not sure what the playing time breaks down for him but he’s capable of playing SS, 2B, and CF so there are ways to get him in the lineup despite the Padres overall depth on the roster.
Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Guardians – Gimenez is the leading candidate for the SS position according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Giminez has had a great spring hitting .438 and he’s also viewed as the team’s best defender at the position. Gabriel Arias is one of the team’s top SS prospects and he was sent to AAA on Friday and Ahmed Rosario has been receiving regular starts in the OF over the last few spring training games. There’s not a ton of power in his profile but he did post a 105 wRC+ with the mets in 2020, and showed above average ability on the bases with eight stolen bases in 49 games. If he’s able to take and hold the position we’ve got a shot at 15+ steals for a guy who’s basically undrafted, there’s some value here if he’s able to post a solid average to go with it.
Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox – Kopech made his spring debut on Friday and tossed two innings. Kopech has been a little behind getting ramped up for the start of thse season after he suffered an illness over the offseason. Kopech sat between 95-98 MPH on his fastball and said that he felt good after the outing with also throwing his curveball consistently for strikes. Kopech is slated to join the rotation this year after a dominant year in the bullpen in 2021, but there’s a chance he’s not quite fully built up for his first turn through the rotation quite yet.
Garrett Crochet, Chicago White Sox – Crochet left his appearance on Friday with some arm discomfort and on Friday we got the worst news possible about the situation as it appears that he’ll need to undergo Tommy John Surgery. This will knock him out for the full season and likely we’ll have a chance to see him in the middle of the season for the White Sox. Crochet had a chance to be thrust into a more important role with Kimbrel being traded, but I think Kendall Graveman would be the top handcuff option to Liam Hendricks due to Aaron Bummer being just one of two lefties currently slated to make the pen.
Trent Grisham, San Diego Padres – Grisham is going to play centerfield for the Padres virtually every day according the Bob Melvin. Centerfield is the one spot on the Padres that they don’t have many option for the position that are good fits. CJ Abrams is making a case for the opening day roster but it’s still going to be Grisham’s spot for the year. Last season Grisham posted a 103 wRC+ with 15 homers and 13 stolen bases over 132 games. While it was his second straight season reaching double digits in both categories, in 2020 he hit those numbers in just 59 games in the shortened Covid-season. While his average exit velocity remained the same, his hard-hit rate dropped by 5% and his groundball rate climbed yet again and is up to 41.7%. There’s a solid power/speed combo here that’s available later in drafts, but he also has some concerning aspects as well.
Alex Cobb, San Francisco Giants – The Giants might be up to their old, or I guess new, tricks again as Alex Cobb is reportedly hitting 97 MPH this spring. Cobb joined the Giants on a two year deal after spending last season with the Angels. Cobb has arguably his best season of his career last year over 93.1 innings with a career high 24.9% K%, a career low HR/FB rate of 8.2% which helped him combine for a 2.92 FIP. And now his throwing with an increased velocity while under the eye of what is currently one of the best pitching development programs in the league? I’m in. Cobb according the FantasyPros ADP is pitcher #100 off the board, and there’s no chance he hurts you at that price if he reverts to the Cobb we were used to seeing.
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox – Sale received positive news regarding his rib injury. The MRI revealed that the issue is healing but he’s still without any sort of timeline to begin a throwing program. Obviously being available for the beginning of the season wasn’t going to happen with his injury, but now we’re going to have to start wondering how many weeks or months that he’ll be out of the rotation. Sale being out helped Michael Wacha and Rich Hill most likely nail down the final two spots in the rotation according to Roster Resource’s latest rotation projection.
Austin Meadows, Tampa Bay Rays – Meadows returned to left field for the Rays Friday as he’s been dealing with and oblique issues that has kept him out of the lineup for a few days. Meadows had a bit of a bounceback season in 2021 hitting 27 homers and batting .234, one year after hitting .205 with four homers (36 games). Meadows has seen a drop in his hard-hit rate from 44% to 37.6% last year, while also maintaining his 53% fly ball rate from the year 2020. His best season, 2019, saw him post a 42% fly ball rate and his highest LD% (23%) and when he combined that with his 42.9% hard-hit rate he hit .291 for the year. Even in the fly-ball era that the league is in, Meadows could do himself some good if he can level out more pitches instead of hitting everything quiet so much in the air. Meadows unfortunately has not run much as well outside of that breakout 2019 season.
Craig Kimbrel, Los Angeles Dodgers – If you’ve been drafting Craig Kimbrel in hope he got dealt, goodness did you get the best case scenario today. Kimbrel has been dealt from the White Sox to the Dodgers and GM Brandon Gomes immediately has said that he’s going to be the team’s closer. Kimbrel’s 2021 started shaky but after a rough month early in the season he was his usual dominant self and now he’s going to be stopping games for arguably the most talented team in the majors. If you drafted early and snagged him congrats, if you’re drafting this weekend and wanting to snag Kimbrel be prepared to pay top 3 closer price now.
AJ Pollock, Chicago White Sox – Pollock was shipped to the White Sox in a 1-for-1 deal with Kimbrel heading to LA. The White Sox were in need of an outfielder as their experiment with moving Andrew Vaughn out of position again was met with a hip injury for him, so Pollock helps give the team an actual corner outfield option they can rely on most days. Pollock had 422 plate appearances with the Dodgers last year and hit .297 with 21 homeruns, and incredible pace considering he was a part of the Dodgers rotation of outfielders. This move should give him more consistent playing time and also clears room in LA for Gavin Lux to get more regular at bats.
Reid Detmers, Los Angeles Angels – Detmers was officially named the Angels’ sixth starter to begin the season. Detmers had a cup up coffee in the majors last year with some mixed results but he’s been fantastic this spring with 11 strikeouts over 5.2 innings with no walks. He can provide some elite strikeout upside after striking out 42% of the batters he faced in the minors last season, but he didn’t see that translate over his 20.2 major league innings with just a 18.8% strikeout rate. His CSW (Called Strikes+Whiffs) was 28.2% which is just a tick below league average so he’s due for some positive regression in that aspect. The Angels likely will deploy six starters all year again due to Ohtani only throwing on Saturday’s, so don’t be too shy when you see him labeled as their sixth.
Max Scherzer, New York Mets – Scherzer had a small hamstring tweak but Jon Heyman reports that Scherzer isn’t concerned about that issue. He’s coming off six innings against the Cardinals on Sunday and it appeared that things were all systems go until this issue popped up. Scherzer now is the starter who’s most likely to start Opening Day for the Mets so this is a very important issue that we are tracking this weekend heading into Thursday.
Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers – Greene left Friday’s game after fouling a ball off his foot and he was taken for x-rays. I’m not super concerned about this as Greene stayed in the game, tripled, and scored a run following the foul ball and was replaced in the following half inning when it was time to go into the field. Greene has had an absolutely outstanding spring and played his way into the Opening Day roster conversation with a .400/.480/.950 triple slash line. Depending on the outcome of the x-rays maybe it delays his debut by a week or so, but it’s not something as of now that looks concerning for the big picture.
Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies – Bohm reportedly doesn’t have a roster spot locked down as of yet and the team has been giving Byrson Stott more and more looks at the hot corner as of lately. Bohm is coming off an awful second season where he recorded just a 75 wC+ and played awful defense at the position. This spring has gone poorly as well with a .208/.296/.375 triple slash line. Stott has been playing extremely well this spring and has a shot to win either the third base spot, or even grab the shortstop position from DiDi Gregorious. Considering the fact that Stott could almost be considered the starter at two spots makes me think he’s made the club, and Bohm having options available plus performing badly makes me think that he’s in fact going to be the odd man out.