2019 Fantasy Baseball Spring Training Risers-Fallers

by Joe Bond
2019 Fantasy Baseball Spring Training Risers-Fallers

Spring Training results should be taken with a grain of salt for sure. I think everybody knows that by now. Of course, it is great to see guys doing well and you get excited by the prospect of them being able to replicate it during the season.

However, there are a lot of things the stats alone don’t tell us. One of those things is what pitcher the batter is facing. Without knowing that, it is possible that the guys that are playing well are being overblown.

On the flip side, when it comes to the players that we've known to trust, we like to see them do well. What does it mean when they don’t? In most cases nothing. A lot of the veterans don’t really want to be there and don’t put in max effort.

However, in some cases, there is cause for concern and you need to move said players down your draft board.

2019 Fantasy Baseball Spring Training Risers-Fallers

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Domingo Santana, OF, Seattle Mariners

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Santana had a poor 2018 after his breakout 2017. A lot of this had to do with playing time in Milwaukee, so the move to Seattle where he has a clear path to playing time should help a ton.

So aside from the move, a good Spring is helping current and potential fantasy owners feel good about things. Santana has already hit four home runs this season and is also hitting .455. No, the batting average is not going to stay even remotely that good, but it is a good sign to see since his average dipped to .265 last season.

Jung Ho Kang, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates

Kang is back with the Pirates good-graces after a lot of legal issues held him out of action for almost two seasons. This Spring he has gotten plenty of playing time and has taken full advantage of it hitting four home runs to date.

It is hard to think back this far, but in 2015 and 2016 he hit a combined 36 home runs in 229 games. There are discussions that he will become the primary third baseman for the Pirates over Colin Moran so if that happens, his value skyrockets.

I’m willing to take a late-round flyer on Kang to see if he sticks in the lineup to provide some pop for my team. This is especially true if I need some extra power and/or I don’t have a strong third baseman.

Lewis Brinson, OF, Miami Marlins

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The former top prospect has fallen out of favor with fantasy players and for good reason. After the Spring he has had so far you might want to reconsider as a late-round pick.

In 29 plate appearances, he is hitting .423 with five home runs. That kind of pace will clearly not continue into the season, but he was not a top prospect for nothing. I’d be willing to take a late-round flyer on him in case he makes enough adjustments to reach the potential so many thought he had.

Tyler O'Neill, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

O’Neill was considered a top prospect in the Cardinals organization last year. This was backed by his minor league numbers, which were pretty insane, especially the power numbers.

Once he hit the majors last year, the power was still there, but he had trouble making consistent contact and his batting average dipped considerably. This led to him not staying in the lineup consistently.

This Spring he is making it hard for the Cardinals to not play him as he has hit four home runs already. He is clearly outplaying his competition, Harrison Bader, who is struggling to even hit the ball.

O’Neill could be the type of player that takes a huge step forward this year and is worth a late-round pick.

Austin Hays, OF, Baltimore Orioles

Hays was super-sleeper pick last season only to succumb to injuries. Even when he got on the field in the minors, his play was sub-par.

Now a year removed from all that, he is a forgotten man in Baltimore… or so we thought.

This Spring he has made everybody remember why he was thought of so highly before the 2018 season. In 31 at-bats he has hit four home runs, 11 RBI while hitting a cool .355. He was not projected to be the everyday right fielder on a lot of depth charts, but that has changed.

You probably do not have to draft him with his ADP being so low. However, I would keep an eye out for him and scoop him up before somebody in your league does.


Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

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Votto is the poster child for someone who struggled last year but due to being an elite player for years is still getting drafted early. Just to go on record, I agree with him being drafted early and think he will figure things out.

However, you would feel much better about the pick if he was mashing this Spring, but he is not. You can’t help but be concerned about it. It is only 16 at-bats so perhaps we give him the benefit of the doubt. With Votto, I think I will, but hitting just .125 is not a good sign, especially for someone who had such a disappointing season in 2018.

Jose Martinez, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

I mentioned Harrison Bader as a Cardinal who is struggling earlier, but Martinez who was a big breakout player last year is also struggling. It already wasn’t going to be easy for Martinez to find playing time with the acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt, so this is even more concerning.

Best case is a platoon in the outfield. But it would help to have a strong Spring hitting the ball. This is especially true since defense in the outfield is not a strong trait of his.

Unfortunately, he is only hitting .185 so far with zero home runs. It looks as though Martinez has a lot of work to be done before he will get regular playing time for the Cardinals.

Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates

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I mentioned Kang above and how he might replace Moran as the primary third baseman. Well, Moran is likely not going to sit on the bench and be a backup after the season he had in 2018.

I say all this because I’ve read that Moran and Bell could platoon at first base now. Bell's play this Spring is a big reason why this is even an idea. He too is hitting under .200. And to add to that he has struck out in almost a third of his at-bats.

He better turn things around if he wants to keep the job all to himself.

Jurickson Profar, 1B/SS/3B, Oakland Athletics

Profar had himself quite the nice season in 2018. Surprised many, including myself.

The Athletics acquired him up this offseason to replace Jed Lowrie and will get plenty of chances to prove that last year wasn't a fluke. Well, he is not starting out very strong batting below .200 in Spring Training.

I’m not a big believer of Profar after so many years of disappointment, so this only helps me avoid him more in drafts.

DJ LeMahieu, 2B, New York Yankees

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LeMahieu was already in a bad situation after signing with the Yankees. He walked in without having a primary role on the team.

A lot of people thought he should play over Troy Tulowitzki, but it was undetermined just how the Yankees were going to play it. There was a lot of talk that DJ was going to be in more of a utility role.

His poor start to Spring Training, hitting under .200 with nothing else to show for it, isn’t helping his cause. If you had any hope for him to have a regular role, it should be gone by now.

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1 comment

Thursday, March 14, 2019 – Fantasy Baseball Links | FantasyRundown.com March 14, 2019 - 3:09 pm

[…] identifies the players whose stock is rising and falling based on Spring […]


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