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Fantasy Fix: The Tao of Spring Training

What did we learn from spring training this year that you can apply to management of your fantasy teams? That you should draft every Detroit Tiger available, since they won 20 spring games, and had two players - Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn - with six home runs? That you should definitely pick Chris Sale, SP, WHITE SOX, who had a 1.08 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 24 innings?

At every turn, the fantasy experts well tell you not to see spring training as indicative of future returns, but those same fantasy experts will keep mentioning that rookie Zack Cozart, SS, CIN, is having a remarkable spring.

If you want to take the part of the schedule that doesn't count as gospel, here's the team you should aim to draft:

C: Yadier Molina, STL

He hit .340 this spring, looking more like the 2009 version of Joe Mauer.

1B: Eric Hosmer, KC

His 21 spring RBIs put him on a pace for about 180 RBIs in the regular season.

2B: Ian Kinsler, TEX

Five HRs and a .390 average, but only one SB from the speedster.

3B: Joe Mather, CUBS

A .382 average and 10 doubles from the erstwhile utility man.

SS: Dee Gordon, LAD

11 SBs and a .451 OBP for the second-year SS, makes up for zero power.

LF: Tyler Colvin, COL

1.058 OPS and 18 RBIs for the former Cub - did he figure something out?

CF: Chris Young, ARIZ

1.287 OPS, but like many speedsters, not running. Maybe fear of muscle pulls?

RF: Hunter Pence, PHI

Otherwise known as the healthy Phillie, he scattered 20 hits throughout March.

UTIL: Freddie Freeman, ATL

Seven HRs gives him the edge over Albert Pujols and Brennan Boesch.

SP: Dan Haren, LAA

Three wins, 2.05 ERA for a guys who is fast becoming a chic pick for this year's Cy Young.

RP: Henry Rodriguez, WAS

Three saves and a 0.75 ERA. He may actually get a shot to close a few games with Drew Storen injured.

Does all of this mean you should draft all these guys? Probably not. Mather is a nice story for Cubs fans to follow, but he will probably play a secondary role this season unless the Cubs decide to send down Ian Stewart or an outfielder. Meanwhile, you hope for Colvin's sake he's figured something out, but his legacy as sort of a Quadruple A player suggests we need more proof.

When you get down to it, spring training is a small sample. Experienced, proven starters may not get much playing time until the final week of Cactus and Grapefruit contests. You may want to take spring training stats and look at them as the fourth or fifth reason why you draft or don't draft a particular player. Otherwise, you'll end up with a team full of Matt Hagues.

Who? Exactly.

Expert Wire
* Sporting News reports on the fantasy resurrection of Johan Santana, SP, NYM. Just in time for Easter, too.

* CBS likes what it saw this spring from Alfonso Soriano, OF, CUBS.

* Yahoo! Closing Thoughts notes that closers are dropping like flies, with Andrew Bailey now hurt.


Dan O'Shea is our man on fantasy. He welcomes your comments.

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