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  • Hou Starting Pitcher #35
    Verlander caused a stir at Astros camp when he admitted he was experiencing shoulder soreness. It appears it was just the case of a veteran pitcher needing more time to ramp up and get his arm in shape. Espada loves where Verlander “is at right now” and it seems like the 40-year-old will be ready for the start of the season barring any more setbacks.
  • FA Third Baseman #10
    Urshela can earn $500,000 in incentives for plate appearances as part of his one-year contract, so it’s essentially the same contract that Amed Rosario got with the Rays. Urshela was solid for the Angels last year, slashing .299/.329/.374 in 228 plate appearances with the Angels before suffering a pelvic fracture in June. Given his elite defense on the infield, Urshela could push for starting reps at third base but would, at worst, cut into the playing time for Matt Vierling at Andy Ibanez at the hot corner.
  • LAA Shortstop #2
    It was previously reported that first baseman Nolan Schanuel would be the lead-off hitter, but Washington apparently now sees Schanuel as the number two hitter. Mike Trout will hit third and Anthony Rendon fourth. Considering Rengifo figures to get the vast majority of playing time while working around multiple infield spots, he seems a safer bet to assume to top spot. He also struck out just 18.4 percent of the time last year, while Moniak struck out 35 percent of the time, which seems less than ideal for a lead-off hitter. Given his multi-position eligibility, Rengifo is a great target outside of the top 200 in fantasy baseball drafts.
  • Tor Starting Pitcher #70
    Normally we don’t care much who starts this early in the spring, and Tiedemann is likely to only pitch two innings at most, but he is garnering lots of buzz for coming to camp with 20 pounds of added muscle. He’s the team’s top pitching prospect and could be a major fantasy difference maker if he gets a chance in the big league rotation. Saturday will be our first glimpse at just how good he could be with his new physique.
  • Det Starting Pitcher #12
    Mize has said that his four-seam now has 18 inches of induced vertical break, rather than the 15 inches it previously had. induced vertical break measures the amount of vertical movement on a pitch when adjusted for gravity. Essentially, if you drew a straight line from the pitchers mound to home plate, it would measure how much the pitch falls below that line. A pitcher with good marks on his four-seam would throw a four-seam people would have previously said “rises.” Mize’s old marks on his four-seam were below average, but he now possesses above average induced vertical break. This could make his fastball more effective at the top of the zone and also improve the deception on his splitter. In other words, this would be very good news for Mize.
  • Det Second Baseman
    The Tigers also said the same thing to top pitching prospects Jackson Jobe and Ty Madden. The news isn’t a major surprise since Jung just reached Double-A at the end of last season, but it’s important nonetheless because it means this spring won’t change anything about where he begins 2024. Jung will shift to third base in Double-A Erie as he prepares for his eventual call-up, which means Matt Vierling and Zach McKinstry will have more time to man the hot corner until Jung is ready.
  • FA Shortstop #7
    The 30-year-old is coming off the worst season of his career, hitting .245/.286/.296 with just one homer and 13 stolen bases across 524 plate appearances over 123 games. However, he had batted at least .300 for four straight years prior to 2023 and has at least 13 steals in six straight full seasons, so there remains some deep-league fantasy upside for Anderson if he’s able to recapture some of the batting average. While he may not hit .300 again, there is nothing in his underlying metrics that suggests a decline as steep as the one he experienced last season. With Anderson now at shortstop, Jon Berti will go back to his super-utility role off the Marlins’ bench.
  • Hou Center Fielder #6
    Meyers admitted that he had been struggling with his confidence and the mental components of baseball since a major shoulder injury in 2021. He believes he rushed back from surgery in 2022 and was unable to handle the struggles that ensued from playing before he was ready. His poor 2023 and being left off the team’s ALCS roster put him “in a precarious state” so he spent his winter working with Laura Ramos, the Astros’ mental health and performance provider. The work appears to be paying off as Astros manager Joe Espada said Meyers is “in a really good place, his confidence is great.” With Meyers the favorite to start the majority of games in centerfield, he could emerge as a draft value in deeper fantasy leagues if he can recapture the production he showed in 2021 before his shoulder injury.
  • Was Starting Pitcher #71
    The 24-year-old right-hander is a former second-round pick who looked primed to make his MLB debut in 2022 before suffering the injury. While it’s great that he’s fully healthy and back in big league training camp, he understands that the road back may take some time. “I definitely think, as with any surgery, it’s going to take a year or two years just to be fully past it. I’ll still have hiccups here and there as far as just a little bit more soreness on different days. Doing new things or pitching for a little bit longer than I’m used to.” Henry hopes to pitch between 75-100 innings this season, and there’s a chance that some of those could come at the big league level if he gets off to a good start in the minor leagues.
  • NYM Shortstop #74
    Acuña, who is the younger brother of Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., is a shortstop by trade but will focus more on second base since Francisco Lindor holds down the fort at shortstop for the Mets. Before coming to the Mets as part of the Max Scherzer trade last year, the younger Acuña had played outfield in the Texas organization, but the Mets don’t seem inclined to put him out there as of now. Acuña is on the 40-man roster and spent the entire 2023 season at Double-A Frisco where he has slashed .315/.377/.453 with seven homers, 51 RBI and 42 stolen bases, so it would not be a surprise to see him work his way to the majors this season.
Fantasy Baseball 2024
Knock your draft out of the park with the Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide, which features rankings, player profiles, projections, expert mocks and more to get you ready. Don’t forget to use code BASEBALL24 for 10% off.
Eric Samulski breaks down four pitchers throwing new pitches to see what the potential impact could be on the 2024 fantasy baseball season.
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Eric Samulski breaks down last season’s rookie hitters to find the next Josh Lowe.
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Don't sleep on Bregman, Machado in fantasy drafts
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