Fantasy Baseball 2014: Player News and Updates for 1/29
Fantasy Baseball Off-Season Update 1/29/14: Howard's Potential Value, Bogaerts and More
January 29, 2014
Even though spring training is still pretty far off, our thoughts can’t help but wander to the baseball diamond, and thus the upcoming fantasy season. We’re starting to see some significant developments and news updates that will be affecting the impending campaign, so with that in mind let’s take a look at a few of the players out there who are making headlines. Here’s the latest.
Nate Jones, RP, Chicago White Sox: With Addison Reed moving down to Arizona this year, the White Sox have a conspicuous vacancy in the closer’s role. They’ve been shuffling their feet when it comes to naming a guy to replace Reed, and likely won’t make a decision until they’ve got some spring training games out of the way.
One of the potential candidates to win the job is Jones, a two-year vet with a triple-digit fastball. Attitude-wise, he seems like he’s solid enough to be an effective closer, but will have to let his pitching do the talking this spring.
Also vying for the job along with Jones are Matt Lindstrom and Daniel Webb, who will all be buy-low lottery tickets in early fantasy drafts. Our money is on Jones at the moment, but a lot could change between now and opening day.
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Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies: After a solid six-year run, Howard’s numbers have taken quite a dip over the past two seasons. He’s been bitten by the injury bug in consecutive years, frustrating fantasy owners who have taken a chance on him returning to form.
Although there’s still a lot of upside to Howard in fantasy, he still carries quite a bit of risk. Over the past two seasons, he’s hit only .173 against left-handed pitching, and Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has talked about potentially benching Howard against lefties this season if his numbers don’t improve in a hurry.
That said, hopes are high in Philadelphia and Howard is supposedly 100 percent. Still, if he’s on your draft radar, you’ll have to watch his left-handed pitching numbers in spring training and try to gauge whether or not he’ll be able to succeed in the long-term.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox: With the Stephen Drew contract talks dragging on (and on, and on…), the Red Sox have made it clear that if he signs elsewhere, Bogaerts will be the team’s starting shortstop. The youngster showed some promise last season, splitting time between 3B and SS during 17 games. He put up 11 hits, seven runs and five RBI in 44 at-bats.
The team seems to like Bogaerts quite a bit, so even if Drew comes back he should see a fair amount of playing time as a platoon guy. He should be able to deliver across-the-board numbers for lower-end fantasy owners looking for a reliable name.
John Jaso, C, Oakland Athletics: Though it’s probably gone unnoticed in most circles, the A’s backstop situation has some relatively significant fantasy impact. Jaso is expected to serve mostly in a DH role, which is good news after a concussion shortened his 2013 campaign (his last game was July 24). Taking his spot behind the plate will be the combination of Stephen Vogt and Derek Norris, with Vogt likely getting the larger role and thus more lower-end fantasy value.
As for Jaso, the DH role would help tremendously as far as his health, and he’s now in play as a backup catcher or even a starter in certain two-catcher fantasy formats. Keep him in mind.
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