Fantasy Baseball 2014: Player News and Updates for 2/4
Fantasy Baseball Off-Season Update 2/4/14: Kemp, Machado and More
February 4, 2014
Now that the NFL season is completely over, it’s time to start turning our attentions fully toward the upcoming 2014 fantasy baseball campaign. We’ve still got a few weeks to wait before the draft season really starts kicking in, but in the meantime there are plenty of players out there to talk about. With that in mind, here’s a look at who’s making headlines right now.
Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: We’ve been pretty enamored with Kemp in this space over the past couple of seasons, mainly because he keeps making news by getting hurt and underperforming in fantasy. This year, it looks like we’re in for more of that attention level, if the early indications are to be trusted.
Kemp is coming off ankle and shoulder surgery, but looks to be in fine form as he prepares for the season. He’s taking things slowly as he works his way back to 100 percent health, and by most accounts there’s a strong indication that he won’t be completely ready by the beginning of the Dodgers’ season on March 22.
Fantasy draft-wise, Kemp’s stock has fallen quite a bit, but he should still rank somewhere in the 11-15 range among outfielders. There’s some risk there, but we’d say that’s a pretty good value.
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Ryan Flaherty, 2B, Baltimore Orioles: Here’s a name to keep your eye on as we cruise toward the beginning of the season. There’s quite an interesting battle heating up in Baltimore for the right to replace Brian Roberts at second base, and Flaherty is considered by some to be the lead candidate for the job. He’s got to fight off competition in Jemile Weeks and Jonathan Schoop before he can secure the everyday starter position, but appears to have the inside track in getting there.
Flaherty has two years of MLB experience under his belt, and put up a .224 average with 10 homers and 27 RBI in 246 at-bats last season. Even if he lands the job he won’t be a big name in fantasy circles, but immediately gains value as a backup or spot-start candidate. We’ll keep you posted on the position battle as the season draws closer.
Evan Gattis, C, Atlanta Braves: Now that Brian McCann has moved on, the Braves will be utilizing Gattis as their everyday catcher. He’s coming off an effective 2013, hitting .243 with 21 homers, 65 RBI and 44 runs. He certainly won’t be taking any pitchers by surprise this season, but should be able to remain relatively consistent at the plate.
Come draft time, you should be looking at Gattis as a pretty high-level catcher. He’ll probably go in the 6-10 range among backstops, or maybe higher if an owner really likes what he sees. Production-wise, you’re probably looking at 25-ish homers, a .250 average and 85 or so RBI this season.
Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore Orioles: Let’s head back to Baltimore for a moment and check in on the latest news for Machado. He was just cleared for limited baseball activity late last week, and will be making adjustments to his running form in order to alleviate potential injury risks on the base paths. He’s coming off October knee surgery.
As far as a return, Machado has said he’s optimistic about an opening-day appearance but no one can really predict anything right now. We think a best-case scenario is that he’ll get into spring training games around mid-March and be good to go by April. Stay tuned.
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