Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spring Training Fantasy News and Notes: Mike Piazza, L..A. Dodgers, Cleveland, Boston

Piazza Delivery

Mike Piazza's agent has said that the FA catcher will make a decision on if he wants to play next season and if so, for what team. Piazza has narrowed his choices down to two teams, but if he finds either not to be an ideal situation, he could choose to retire instead.

Fantasy Impact

Piazza should make his decision before most drafts begin, so keep an eye on him. If he is a full time DH for an A.L. team he could put up some decent numbers, for a catcher, of course. He couldn't stay healthy in 2007, but the injury he had last season was sprained right shoulder, caused by a collision with Boston 3B Mike Lowell. If he can stay healthy this season, expect about .275AVG with 20HR with 75RBI. Tampa Bay seems like one logical choice, as does Seattle, but thats just pure speculation on my part.

Billingsley Bounced Back

The L.A. Dodger's Chad Billingsley will miss his first scheduled spring training start on Thursday, with tightness in his right groin. He will be replaced by non-roster invitee Jason Johnson

Fantasy Impact

Billingsley started 20 games last season, went 12- 5 in those starts and struck out 141K in 147 innings. The Dodgers did a great job in not pushing the 24 year old too many innings last season, starting him in the bullpen and then moving him to the rotation (Look for the Yanks to do something similar with Joba Chamberlain this season). The tight groin doesn't seem like too serious of a thing, in fact manager Joe Torre said he would still throw in a simulated game on the same day. Draft him where you normally would, in that middle tier of pitchers. The biggest loser in this news is Jason Johnson getting the start for him, where he'll be knocked around and once again exposed as being horrendous.

Westbrook Misses Start

Jake Wesbrook was pulled before his scheduled spring training start Thursday because of soreness in this right (throwing) arm. Westbrook said this sort of soreness is normal for him at this time of spring training, because of the amount of bullpen sessions pitchers throw

Fantasy Impact

Westbrook probably is not on your draftboard, and I don't blame you. He doesn't strike a ton of guys out, and has the ability to get lit up, and let games get out of hand quickly. He can also go on runs where he pitches very well, and can handle a line up well. Do not bother to draft Westbrook, but keep an eye on him during the season and look out for a Westbrook Hotstreak.

Colon Movement

Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said that early on Bartolo Colon seems to be a bit ahead of where they expected him to be this soon into spring training. He will probably start his first spring game on March 9, and we should have a better idea of where he really is in his rehab/ workout program. Keep in mind he will still be a long shot to be healthy enough to travel with north (or I guess east) with the team when the season starts.

Fantasy Impact

I still don't like Colon. He has never been one to workout, or even attempt to lose weight. His large frame, and lack of physical conditioning have finally caught up to him. Credit the Red Sox with taking a chance, but in this case don't expect great results.

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