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Fantasy Fix: Slouching Toward Opening Day

Spring training is wrapping up in the next day or two, leaving fantasy baseball team owners a few days without baseball to ponder whether they made the right draft decisions.

As you do so, don't let spring training stats weigh too heavily on you. Will Mike Moustakas hit .467 for the next six months? Probably not. Will Madison Baumgarner go unscored upon for the entire regular season, as he did through four spring training starts? Unlikely. Will Luis Valbuena lead the league in HRs, as he did for spring training? Well, perhaps in a parallel universe.

Those questions, of course, are unrealistic questions, but here a few a few real ones to ponder as the table is set for the regular season (or the rest of it, since MLB insisted on already playing two games last weekend).

1. Will Craig Kimbrel see his fantasy value diminished by a spate of injuries to Atlanta starters?

This is a pretty fair question, as at least three potential Braves starters have now suffered season-ending or long-term injuries. I'm guessing it will slash his save opportunities, though I think the Braves still have decent starter depth, with Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana, Alex Wood, and now introducing via free agency, Aaron Harang. The Braves also still have a potent offense. I'm still listing Kimbrel as my top closer for now.

2. Was it a mistake to draft Javier Baez?

Not if you drafted him in the last couple of rounds, when every pick is a low-risk gamble. Baez was sent to the minors, but he will be back up sooner rather than later. I'm betting he'll get 300 to 400 at-bats at the major league level this year, making him worth a bench spot if you can spare it, especially if your league is competitive about prospects. The tape measure spring HRs were fun to watch, but again, don't keep him based on that, but rather the fact that he plays a position with shallow fantasy value.

3. Will Yasiel Puig match his 2013 fantasy value?

Let's not consider his dismal spring stats, including a .122 AVG, which you could cancel out with his 3-for-5, two-RBI performance in Game 2 of the Opening Series last weekend. Character issues seem to be trailing Puig, and possibly injury concerns, as he was pulled late in Game 2. Don't panic yet. I think Puig will light up the stat sheet when he plays, but if you own him, I would invest in some outfield depth and monitor the fantasy news wire closely so you can sit/start him as needed.

Expert Wire
* XN Sports features spring training trends to watch, including the rise of Baez, if you really want to invest in sprint training stats (Don't do it!).

* Bleacher Report brings its latest position rankings.

* The Sporting News assesses the Reds' closer situation with Aroldis Chapman likely out for the first month or two after getting hit in the face by a line drive.


Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

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