Fantasy Baseball 2014: Player News and Updates for 2/12
Fantasy Baseball Off-Season Update 2/12/14: Kemp, Bogaerts and More
February 12, 2014
The MLB season still seems like it’s pretty far off, but in reality it’s coming up fast. Fantasy baseball leagues are popping up everywhere, a trend that will continue until opening day. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the noteworthy fantasy players out there who are making headlines right now. Here’s the latest.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox: Prospective Bogaerts owners will likely have one less position to flex him between this season. He’s projected to be the team’s starting shortstop (unless something weird happens with Stephen Drew), and will reportedly play there exclusively this year. The team apparently doesn’t want to overload the youngster, which seems like a good decision from a development standpoint.
Fantasy-wise, let’s consider Bogaerts’ value for a moment. In 44 at-bats last year, he produced a .250 average, one homer, five RBI and seven runs. He’ll probably get in the neighborhood of 60 RBI and 70 runs this season, which puts him somewhere on the second or third tier at that position.
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Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers: Here’s an interesting development. For most of the off-season, the Tigers were pretty pessimistic about Verlander being ready for the team’s opener. That sentiment seems to have changed, as he’s reportedly very far ahead of schedule in his recovery from core muscle surgery.
Verlander threw 20 pitches off a mound yesterday, and everything apparently went well. The team plans for him to pitch five spring training games, which will act as the real barometer in how far he’s come since the surgery.
We’ve seen Verlander ranked everywhere from top 3 to top 12 among fantasy starters, and the reality is probably somewhere in the middle of those two points.
Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: We’ve got our daily (or so it seems) Kemp update this morning, and his outlook isn’t quite as rosy as Verlander’s It’s quite the opposite, in fact: Kemp is tracking behind schedule in his recovery from shoulder and ankle surgery, even though he’s been able to do a few baseball-related activities with teammates this week.
The real hurdle seems to be Kemp’s ankle: He still doesn’t have a timetable for being able to run, which will be the most important hurdle he overcomes in his recovery. Unfortunately, this isn’t a new scenario for him: He played in just 73 games last season due to injury.
Draft-wise, we wouldn’t start looking at Kemp until the mid-teens at his position, and if you take a chance just keep the whole injury risk thing in mind and have a backup plan ready.
Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians: Brantley made headlines this week when he signed a four-year, $25-million extension with the Tribe, so let’s survey his fantasy prospects while he’s in the news.
Brantley is coming off a nice year, producing 10 homers, 73 RBI, 66 runs and 17 steals with a .284 average. We expect to see more of the same in 2014, though you may see the BA dip a little bit.
Come draft day, you’ll likely be able to get Brantley at a pretty good value. We’ve seen him in the 50-70 range among outfielders and think his ceiling is higher than that. Keep him in mind when you get down there.
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