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5 months agoNew York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks (elbow) has been swinging a bat and working through a throwing program as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. The Yankees are optimistic that Hicks can be major league ready by this summer, and his progress so far suggests that he’s comfortably on pace for that target. If Hicks is ready by Opening Day, Brett Gardner appears in line to lose significant playing time as Hicks would likely take over the starting center field job. Although injuries have affected Hicks's performance, the 30-year-old has posted a solid .250/.359/.464 slash line over the past three seasons and should produce similarly in 2020, making him an excellent late-round pick given his recent progress.--Sam Chinitz - RotoBallerSource: Lindsey Adler
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5 months agoNew York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (back) has been throwing simulated games as he recovers from offseason back surgery. Paxton’s rehab has gone well so far, and it seems like the 31-year-old is in line to be healthy for Opening Day, whenever that may be. When healthy, Paxton is a solid fantasy option who consistently posts an ERA around 3.70 with a high strikeout rate of around 30%. Given Paxton's successful rehab, fantasy owners should draft him as if he’s fully healthy, making him a bargain at his 139 ADP.--Sam Chinitz - RotoBallerSource: Kristie Ackert
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5 months agoNew York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (rib) has continued to heal from a stress fracture in his rib and is expected to be ready at some point this summer after undergoing additional tests. That the Yankees are relatively optimistic about Judge’s chances of playing this season after he’s had additional tests is encouraging, but fantasy owners should wait for the results of Judge’s upcoming CT scan before expecting the outfielder to play in 2020. If Judge’s rib requires surgery then Mike Tauchman is likely to be the Yankees’ starting right fielder this season, boosting Tauchman’s fantasy value significantly.--Sam Chinitz - RotoBallerSource: Bryan Hoch
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5 months agoFree-agent starting pitcher Matt Harvey, who worked out for the Blue Jays in February but wasn't offered a contract, is still looking for a new team in 2020. Harvey's chances of landing with another team this year have been hurt by COVID-19. He's still only 31 years old and now injury-free, but Harvey admits he's considered the possibility that he may not get another chance to pitch in the big leagues. "I hope somebody gives me a shot. I feel like I have many more years in me." Harvey said. The right-hander was a superstar with the Mets but hasn't been the same since having surgery to fix thoracic outlet syndrome after the team made a World Series run in 2015. He was released by the Angels last summer after posting a 7.09 ERA and finished the 2019 season in the minors for the A's. Harvey feels great physically, but there's no guarantee he'll get another shot again, so he's well off the fantasy radar.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: New York Post - Dan Martin
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5 months agoThe World Baseball Classic is going to be moved from March of 2021 to March of 2023, pending approval by the tournament board, according to a source. One source said "it is not a priority right now" amid the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the country. The tournament had been set for March 9-23 in 2021 in the United States, Japan and Taiwan. The tournament would have to be renegotiated to feature MLB participation because the event was included in the current collective bargaining agreement, which runs through December of 2021.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: New York Post - Joel Sherman
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5 months agoMajor League Baseball owners have approved a proposal that commissioner Rob Manfred plans to present to players on Tuesday on a return-to-play scenario that hopes to have baseball back in home stadiums by early July, according to sources familiar with the situation. The meeting between MLB and theread more...
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6 months agoThe 2020 Major League Baseball draft will only be five rounds, according to sources. All of the players who go undrafted will be eligible to sign for a maximum of $20,000. There was a proposal to the union for the draft to extend to 10 rounds, but the sides couldn't come to an agreement. A typical first-year player draft is 40 rounds, plus compensatory picks, so this year's draft will obviously be a much smaller affair due to COVID-19. There will be a small influx of talent to minor league systems in 2020 because of this, but there could be some nice values had with undrafted free agents that don't return to college for another year of eligibility.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: ESPN.com - Jeff Passan
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6 months agoLos Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said that he hasn't discussed a contract extension with the team with the season currently postponed due to COVID-19. Turner, 35, is heading into the final year of his deal in 2020, so there's a chance he could move on from LA without playing at all this year if the coronavirus prevents it. His baseball activities have been limited during the shutdown, as he hits off a tee into a net in his backyard. Turner hits for power and average (27 homers, .290 average in 2019), but he remains an injury risk at the hot corner, especially now in his mid-30s. Because of that, his fantasy stock has fallen a bit, but he'll be a nice value in the middle rounds of drafts if he can just stay healthy. That's more likely in 2020 with a shortened season.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Los Angeles Times - Jorge Castillo
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6 months agoSt. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright said that "as long as (the Cardinals) will have me, I'd love to play again next year." Wainwright is 38 years old and is preparing to enter his 15th season with the Cardinals in 2020 if the season ever gets underway. The veteran right-hander isn't the All-Star he once was, but he can still be effective in the right matchups. He went 14-10 in 2019 with a 4.19 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 153 strikeouts in 171 2/3 innings over 31 starts for the Red Birds. Waino made just eight starts in 2018 due to injury, though, and his age makes him an injury risk, but he's worth a late-round flier in deep mixed leagues. The Cardinals have plenty of rotation options, though, so Wainwright must continue to be effective to avoid a demotion to the bullpen.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Athletic - Ken Rosenthal
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6 months agoHouston Astros starting pitching prospect Forrest Whitley, who is the team's only consensus top-100 prospect in 2020, was "not physically ready" to compete for a major league role when he arrived to spring training, according to pitching coach Brent Strom. The former first-round pick (17th overall) in 2016 has been slowed by injury, ineffectiveness and a drug suspension in the last three years. He spent time at four minor league levels in 2019, posting an ugly 7.99 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 13.0 K/9 and 6.6 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings over 15 starts and three relief outings. Whitley fared better in the Arizona Fall League last year, but he remains a work in progress and is now unlikely to make much of an impact, if at all, if the 2020 season ever gets underway.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Houston Chronicle - Chandler Rome
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6 months agoHouston Astros owners Jim Crane "made it clear" to outfielder George Springer and his representatives that the team is interested in a contract extension. Springer will become a free agent after the 2020 season, and he'll be one of the most coveted free-agent outfielders, alongside Mookie Betts, if he reaches the open market. The 30-year-old slashed .292/.383/.591 with 39 home runs, 96 runs scored, 96 RBI and six stolen bases in 479 at-bats in 2019. He's been an All-Star each of the last three seasons. Springer's style of play leaves him open to injury and he's only posted double-digit steals in one of his six seasons, but he remains a legitimate multi-category producer for fantasy owners. RotoBaller has him ranked as the No. 11 fantasy outfielder for 2020.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Houston Chronicle - Chandler Rome
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6 months agoNew York Mets closer Edwin Diaz continued to prepare for the 2020 season by throwing to live batters on Thursday in Puerto Rico. His fastball reportedly hit 97 mph and his slider reached 91 mph. Diaz had a disastrous 2019 in which he posted a 5.59 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP to go with seven blown saves in 33 save opportunities. Although he is considered a prime bounce-back candidate coming into 2020, because of peripherals that did not support his horrific 2019 numbers, all eyes will be on Diaz early in the season to see if he can rediscover his 2018 form. Diaz will be on a short leash this season, particularly with Dellin Betances, Seth Lugo, and Jeurys Familia all looming in the bullpen. At this point, Diaz still projects as a top-end closer on a competing team. With that said, owners drafting him should temper expectations since there is the risk that Diaz won't maintain the closer role if he struggles--Nick Ritrivi - RotoBallerSource: SNY.tv
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6 months agoLos Angeles Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning (elbow) posted on his Instagram story that he has been cleared to resume throwing bullpen sessions. Canning posted a video of him throwing at Angels Stadium on Tuesday. The 23-year-old (24 next month) had a solid rookie season in 2019, going 5-6 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 96 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings over 17 starts and a relief appearance. He was diagnosed with chronic changes in his ulnar collateral ligament back in February, but he's made progress and is still hoping to avoid Tommy John surgery. It remains to be seen if Canning would be ready for whenever the 2020 season starts, but he's a deep mixed sleeper now that many have likely avoided him altogether because of his elbow injury in spring training.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Athletic - Fabian Ardaya
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6 months agoBoston Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh (elbow), who is recovering from a flexor strain in his right arm this spring, said he's "about a month into my throwing program." McHugh definitely wouldn't have been ready had the 2020 season started on time, but he has a chance to be ready to go now that COVID-19 has suspended the start of the regular season. And with Chris Sale out for the year and David Price now in LA, it's possible that the BoSox will ask the 32-year-old (33 next month) to be a part of their starting rotation right from the outset. McHugh has experience starting and relieving from his time with the Astros, but injuries hurt his production in 2019 (4.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) in 74 2/3 innings (35 outings, eight starts). Health will be key here, but McHugh will have deep league and DFS streaming appeal if he's used as a starter in Boston.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Mass Live - Chris Cotillo
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6 months agoThe Chicago Cubs and shortstop Javier Baez have put any talk of a contract extension on hold. Baez said that the Cubs and his representatives have had “really good” conversations about an extension for the 27-year-old. Baez mentioned that he is very happy in Chicago and how special it would be to wear one uniform for his career, but that he’s aware that baseball is also a business. The feelings between Baez and the Cubs seem mutual and talks should continue if the baseball season starts up. Baez is one of the most exciting athletes on the diamond and should be one of the first shortstops off the board in fantasy leagues again in 2020.--Daniel Burdeen - RotoBallerSource: ESPN.com
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