With the season one day away, some players have seen a shift in their value based on winning a job or an injury. Here are a few players that are rising.
IF Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
Wow! Tatis is going to open the season with the Padres. This was stunning news, but the Padres are being aggressive and believe Tatis is ready for the majors. Most expected him to be called up in May or June. Tatis, 20, is one of the top prospects in baseball and will start at shortstop. He had a slash line of .265/.345/.490 with two home runs, four RBIs and two stolen bases. Tatis has a lot of raw power, but does swing and miss a lot. He has yet to appear in a game at Triple-A. Last year, in 88 games at Double-A he had a slash line of .286/.355/.507 with 77 runs, 16 home runs, 43 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 353 at-bats. Tatis was drafted in most leagues and if he’s available, grab him.
OF/IF Enrique Hernandez, Dodgers
Hernandez will be the every day second baseman and qualifies at several positions in most leagues. He likely went undrafted outside of deep formats since few expected him to start. Hernandez improved his contact rate last season and showed the ability to hit right-handed pitching with a higher OPS against righties (.833) than lefties (.780). He had 21 home runs in 402 at-bats last season.
SP Corbin Burnes, Brewers
More than one week ago, I was able to take Burnes in the reserve rounds of a 15-team NFBC auction league. Days later, he named to the starting rotation. Burnes pitched well in the spring with a 26:4 K:BB ratio in 22.1 innings.
SP Julio Urias, Dodgers
Urias wasn’t supposed to begin the year in the starting rotation, but with Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw injured to start the year, Urias gets his shot. The Dodgers will monitor his innings, and he will move to the bullpen at some point, but he’s worth having now. Urias, 22, threw four perfect innings and struck out four in his final spring start. In 15.2 spring innings, he had a 1.72 ERA and a 15:3 K:BB ratio.
RP Greg Holland, Diamondbacks
Many expected Archie Bradley to be the closer, but the Diamondbacks announced Holland as the closer to open the season. He was terrible with the Cardinals last season but was better after going to the Nationals. Holland didn’t pitch well in the spring, and the velocity wasn’t great, but he has the job for now. He should be owned, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t hold the job.
C/OF Blake Swihart, Red Sox
Swihart doesn’t have much value now outside of AL-only leagues, but he’s going to be the backup catcher. He batted .406 in 33 plate appearances in the spring, but in deeper mixed leagues with the state of the catcher position, he could be a decent second catcher if you drafted Chance Sisco, who the Orioles sent to the minor leagues.
OF Albert Almora, Cubs
Manager Joe Maddon said Almora could see more time against right-handers and it makes sense with Ian Happ beginning the season at Triple-A. Almora added a leg kick and hit three home runs with a 1.000 OPS in the spring. Almora has hit left-handers well and will get a shot to show he can improve against righties.