2017 Spring Training Updated Position Battles

by Tyler Gettmann
2017 Spring Training Updated Position Battles

We are officially only a couple of weeks until Opening Day. All Spring Training long players have given their blood, sweat and tears to try to battle to make the major league rosters. I have already gone over a few battles that are happening this spring that are something to keep an eye on. This is an update on those battles.

2017 Spring Training Updated Position Battles

Boston Red Sox Fifth Starter

I originally had Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez fighting for this role. My guess was that Pomeranz was going to end up being the fifth starter for the Red Sox. By omission, it looks like they will both be in the starting rotation with David Price probably opening the season on the DL.

Eduardo Rodriguez is having such an excellent Spring Training that it is going to be hard to take him out of the rotation when Price comes back. Obviously, his performance will make him either stay or go to Triple-A. His fastball and changeup have been really working this March. He has also worked on the release point of his slider to give it more depth.

To be honest, what a luxury it is to have these two be the next in line to step up as the new fourth and fifth starter when a player goes to the DL. Drew Pomeranz is considered day-to-day right now as he left his last start with his triceps tightening up. He was already confident that he was not going to miss his next start and should be ready to roll entering 2017. It is always tough to decipher how a rotation is going to start as well as end up in a full season.

Both are still draft worthy, but I like Rodriguez’s upside more. So much more, I do have in one of my leagues already.

New York Yankees First Baseman

One of the newer Baby Bombers has now out dueled a couple Yankee veterans to be the starting first baseman for them entering 2017. Just this past week, manager Joe Girardi announced that Greg Bird was going to be the opening day starter at first base for the Yankees. Bird quickly thanked the skipper by hitting two bombs against the Phillies while also collecting five RBIs.

This was actually an easier one for me to take a look at in the position battles I was talking about earlier this year. I feel like the Yankees are turning a page and becoming younger in various positions on the field. I say good for them. As many veterans are leaving and being sat on the bench now, Girardi is making sure he is using his young talent to their full potential. He explains, “In a sense, everyone’s job in here is in jeopardy in a year, two years. That is the quality of players that we have in camp. People are starting to pass people up."

After coming off of shoulder surgery, Greg Bird does not seem to feel any ill effects from it. He is currently hitting .439 this spring and has been the Yankees best hitter during this time period. During his rookie campaign, it seems that he was bothered by his shoulder then as well. Knowing this and the way he is playing early, he could be in line for a solid year.

Los Angeles Angels Closer

I will say it again, Cam Bedrosian is the best pitcher the Angels have in their bullpen and it looks like he is going to get his chance the beginning of the season to prove it. This may be one of the top closers I am eyeing up in most of my drafts. I think he can end up being a top-10 closer by the end of the season.

It seems like Huston Street has been around forever. I can still remember watching him in the College World Series pitching for the Texas Longhorns. He still is only 33, but with the horrible 2016 and an ailing lat strain I do not see Street peaking like he has in the past. Bedrosian is also dealing with a minor groin injury, but he should be good to start the 2017 season.

Even though Mike Scioscia has an infatuation with his veteran players, I think it is time to let his youth prevail. I have a feeling he is going to like the way Bedrosian is pitching and then when Street comes back he is going to stick with Bedrosian as the closer. I would certainly draft Bedrosian, but not Street.

Colorado Rockies Leftfielder

Unfortunately, in early March David Dahl suffered a stress reaction in his sixth rib. Dahl is glad that it is nothing more than a rib, but it is certainly frustrating. Dahl explains, “I worked hard, and it's a big Spring Training for me. For that to happen is unfortunate. But it's happened, so I've got to prepare and get ready to come back." It was supposed to be a big Spring Training for him as he had Gerardo Parra breathing down his neck.

With all this being said, I was wrong on an account of an injury. Gerardo Parra will be starting in left field for the Rockies. Dahl hopes to be back sometime in April as he thinks he is going to only miss a week or two of the beginning of the season. The team will then have to come up with a recovery plan as they wait for the specific results.

I believe that Parra doesn’t really offer much fantasy value especially this early in the season when all outfielders are in play. I still think that Dahl will have the stronger season and should be drafted to be stored for later use.

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Detroit Tigers Centerfielder

This might have been the biggest question mark of who is going to start for the Detroit Tigers at Centerfield than any other position battle that I talked about. I brought up various names like Mike Mahtook, Tyler Collins, Anthony Gose, Jacoby Jones, Andrew Romine and so on. The list seems to keep going as much as the answer. They have a wide range of candidates who could fill the position.

To be honest your guess is as good as mine. I still believe Mike Mahtook will end up being the starter for the Tigers. The Tigers traded for Mahtook this offseason from the Rays. I can’t see trying to get a player and not really having him as a front runner to start for them. Whoever ends up winning the position, it looks like the Tigers are going to have a youthful outfield for years to come.

Best of luck to all those who are drafting this week!

Be sure to check out our Rankings, Position Preview and much more in the 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit.

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