Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spring Training Fantasy News and Notes: Closers On The Mend, (Baltimore, Toronto), Oakland, Minnesota

Going His Ray

Baltimore Oriole's closer Chris Ray said his rehab is going well and he expects to stick to his current throwing program. He said he was pleased with how his elbow was feeling and hoping for a late season comeback.

Fantasy Impact

While it is good that Ray feels his rehab is going well, it does not look like he will be worth drafting this season. Best case scenario calls for an August return (at best) for the O's closer, meaning most of the season will be over by then. George Sherrill, obtained in the Erik Bedard trade, is the preseason favorite to get saves for the O's this season. Keep an eye on Jamie Walker as well on Baltimore, as he might gather a save or two as well over the season. If you want, keep an eye on Ray's health, grab him in July, stash him on your team's DL and hope he returns by the season. Of course even if he does comeback by the end of the year there is no guarantee he will get saves.

Ryan Could Be Ready

Only ten months removed from Tommy John surgery it is looking more and more like B.J. Ryan could be ready for opening day. Manager John Gibbons said, "We're being cautious about it. We've got the okay from the doctors. But I'll tell you what, from what I've seen, he hasn't missed a beat."

If Ryan's surgeon gives him the go ahead he could throw batting practice Thursday and work a simulated game as early as Sunday. While it may seem like the Jays are rushing him along, it should be noted that Gibbons also stated, "...we're being smart about it... we don't want any setbacks."

Fantasy Impact

For the next few weeks, Ryan will only be allowed to throw every once every three days.
As he comes back more and more and proves he is healthy and ready, he will be allowed to throw the ball more often. As of right now, I think he is a decent late round pick for a closer, most people will avoid him because he has been hurt, but he is healing quickly and by season's start he might be able to throw every other day. Draft Jeremy Accardo also, who was the closer last season when Ryan got hurt, if you want to "handcuff" the closers on Toronto.

Bobby Bubbling For Season to Start

Oakland A's SS Bobby Crosby says he is completely healthy for the first time in a while and is looking forward to getting the regular season underway. Crosby has battled numerous injuries over career. Amongst other things, Crosby's five stints on the DL include a chronically bad back, broken left hand, and a stress fractures to his ribs.

Fantasy Impact

Crosby is a disaster. He has never hit above .276 in a season, and has not played in more than 96 games in the last three seasons. He appears to be more of apart of the Oakland A's Hypemachine, than the All-Star player many thought he would become just a few years ago. The injuries are many, the games are few, and batting average is low.

If he wasn't on the A's I doubt anyone would even consider drafting him. He is is not a good fantasy option. Please do not draft him.

Overbay Hopes He Is Over It

Toronto 1b Lyle Overbay hopes to know soon if his fractured right hand is fully healed yet. Overbay broke his right hand last June and limited to only 122 games. He hit only.240, well below his mark of .312 that he hit in 2006. "My strength is there," said Overbay, "so its just a matter of making sure it doesn't flare up too much."

Fantasy Impact

Overbay could still be a solid fantasy 1B, if he can over come the broken hand form last season. He will go under the radar in most drafts, and could be a decent sleeper. Do not expect anything overwhelming from him, but .300m with 17HR, 85RBI, isn't totally out of the realm of possibility.

A Lamb In Minnesota

The early word out of Minnesota has many predicting that Mike Lamb will be the team's most productive 3B since Corey Koskie. Lamb has been around a while, and has been able to produce at almost every team he has played with. Last season he hit 311 with 11HR, 40RBI and 45R. If you roughly double the at bats, to account for a full season you are looking at 22HR, 80RBI and 90R.

Fantasy Impact

I love Lamb as a sleeper this season at 3B. He is awful defensively but (in most leagues) Errors don't count against players. Minnesota even signed defensive whiz Adam Everett to play SS, to help account for some of the shortcomings they will have to deal with from Lamb. He should fit in well in Minnesota, and should be counted on to put up very respectable by season's end.

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