Fantasy Baseball 2014: Position Battles To Monitor
Oh, look. The 2014 MLB season is just a few days away.
With fantasy drafts in full swing (don’t you just love puns?), owners need to pay close attention to what ball clubs are doing. Rosters and rotations are shaping out, and those looking to win certain position battles are making that final push. That’s the difference between fantasy relevance and waiver wire territory for the time being, at least.
Let’s sort things out, shall we?
He’s fast. Like Ricky Bobby fast.
Rumblings out of LA indicate that Dee Gordon will enter the season as the starting second baseman, beating out talented Alex Guerrero. If you are drafting Gordon, you are targeting speed, plain and simple. Gordon lacks power, doesn’t walk a lot, but when he gets on base, he can steal 40 bags. In 2013, he stole 10 bases in just 38 games, only caught stealing twice. The Dodgers are flirting with the idea of batting him 9th, while the pitcher bats 8th. This would allow Gordon to see some added run potential with Yasiel Puig and perhaps the most talented lineup in baseball batting after him. Of course, Gordon needs to get on base more to be valuable, but don’t sleep on Guerrero. Gordon isn’t the greatest defender in the world, which could limit him from playing everyday.
After battling with the exciting Didi Gregorious this spring, signs are pointing towards Chris Owings opening the season as the starting shortstop for the D-Backs. This is an interesting battle, as Gregorious is by far the superior defender, but Owings provides more pop. Owings is a guy who sees the ball explode off his bat and really drives it, hitting five doubles in just 55 at-bats last year. He is a guy who can post double-double numbers if given the everyday job. I think he’s a lock for 12-15 home runs, but could also steal upwards to 10 bases, too.
Keep an eye on potential trades, too. Arizona has made Gregorious available in trade discussions, and teams like the Mets, who desperately need a shortstop. If he is dealt, it’s great news for both he and Owings, who will likely play everyday for their respective clubs.
New York Yankees, 5th SP
Both Michael Pineda and David Phelps have been battling for the final spot in the Yankees rotation this spring, but it appears that it’s Pineda’s job to lose for the time being. He’s been the better pitcher, coming off a nice outing, striking out five batters, allowing four hits and no runs in just over four innings. It’s now back-to-back quality outings for Pineda, who is beginning to solidify is spot in the rotation. Phelps, too, could serve as trade bait, assuming he doesn’t land the number five spot.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.