2021 Fantasy Baseball American League News Roundup

by Jonathan Chan
2021 Fantasy Baseball American League News Rundown

With just two days until Opening Day, Fantasy managers are scrambling to fine-tune their teams for the season. As teams finalize their rosters, several camp battles have finally been resolved. The news comes fast and furious so it's time for a quick roundup of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball American League News.

All the news from the past few days won't be covered in this article, just some of the most recent and Fantasy relevant pieces. While it won't have its own blurb, Eduardo Rodriguez's dead arm is worth mentioning.

After a 2020 filled with health problems E-Rod is once again dealing with an injury and was forced out of his Opening Day start. He was seen throwing again and the Red Sox are encouraged with his progress.

The Orioles have named Bruce Zimmerman their third starter but he is only relevant in the most desperate of streaming situations. Injury fallout for George Springer, Eloy Jimenez will also be discussed.

Tomorrow we will cover the National League but for now, let's begin to roundup the last-minute 2021 Fantasy Baseball American League News.

2021 Fantasy Baseball American League News Roundup

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AL East

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Baltimore Orioles - Tanner Scott in line to close

Presumed closer Hunter Harvey was placed on the 60-Day IL with an oblique injury and is expected to return in late May. In his absence, it appears that Tanner Scott will be first in line to earn saves for the O's.

In 20.1 innings last season, the 26-year-old finished with a 1.31 ERA and 23 strikeouts. Scott is just 21 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues and could be a cheap source of saves.

Boston Red Sox - Matt Barnes tests positive for COVD-19, Adam Ottavino to close

Matt Barnes tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and manager Alex Cora says he will be away from the team for at least 10 days. Adam Ottavino will pick up save chances while Barnes remains out.

Barnes doesn't have a solid return timetable but will likely take the ninth inning back upon his return.

New York Yankees - Luke Voit lands on the IL

Luke Voit will undergo surgery after partially tearing his meniscus. He will be held out of baseball activities for at least three weeks and his return date is up in the air.

Veteran Jay Bruce will take over as the Yankees' first baseman until Voit returns. The 33-year-old's lefty power will play very well at Yankee Stadium. He is just three-percent rostered in Yahoo leagues.

Tampa Bay Rays - Nick Anderson out past All-Star break

More bullpen news from the AL East.

The Rays' bullpen picture got even more crowded with news of Anderson's absence. Some combination of Peter Fairbanks, Diego Castillo, and Chaz Roe will be called upon to save games. The bullpen is a mess for managers looking for saves but a goldmine for those in holds leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays - Alejandro Kirk makes the Opening Day roster

Kirk has made the Opening Day roster and will likely come off the bench to start the season. Danny Jansen has struggled at the dish in his major-league career but his defense will keep him in the lineup.

Kirk slashed .292/.333/.584 this spring after hitting .375 in his 2020 cup of coffee. There's no doubt his bat deserves to be in the lineup but he will likely split time with Jansen, making it difficult to rely on him as a No.1 catcher. If George Springer's oblique injury keeps him out, Kirk could see some time as the DH with Randal Grichuk moving to the outfield.

AL Central

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Chicago White Sox - Andrew Vaughn gets outfield reps

Eloy Jimenez has injured himself on an outfield wall for the second-straight season. This time he will be out five-to-six months with a torn pectoral.

In his stead, manager Tony La Russa has put top-prospect Andrew Vaughn in left-field. The much-hyped first baseman now has a much clearer path to playing time and should be a fixture in the young White Sox lineup. He could move back to DH once Adam Engel returns, but it shouldn't cost the young slugger many at-bats.

Cleveland Indians - Oscar Mercado, Bradley Zimmer fail to make the roster

Two of Cleveland's most obvious candidates for the center-field job failed to make the Opening Day roster. Instead, Ben Gamel and converted middle infielder Amed Rosario will compete for reps in the outfield.

It only seems like a matter of getting his defense up to speed before Rosario gets the majority of AB's. The former New York Met has hit well this spring, slashing .296/.345/.370 in 29 plate appearances.

Detroit Tigers - Casey Mize in, Michael Fulmer out

2018 No.1 overall pick Casey Mize has won the fifth spot in the Tigers' rotation, pushing Michael Fulmer into a bullpen role. Mize wasn't particularly impressive in his debut, posting a 6.99 ERA and struggling badly with his control.

Fulmer, the former AL Rookie of the Year, has failed to find his form after Tommy John surgery, posting a miserable 8.78 ERA in 2020. He wasn't much better this spring, following up with a 7.62 ERA in 13.0 innings

Kansas City Royals - Nicky Lopez optioned to Triple-A, Isbel could make the roster

Lopez was optioned to the Royals' Triple-A affiliate on Sunday, opening up an opportunity for Kyle Isbel to make the Opening Day roster. The 2018 third-round selection has hit very well this spring, slashing .341/.417/.561 with two home runs, two steals, and 10 runs scored.

He has not played above High-A but his performance in Cactus League play has convinced the Royals staff to give him a shot in the major leagues.

Minnesota Twins - Mitch Garver avoids serious injury

Garver missed three games after fouling a pitch off his finger last week. Fortunately, the 30-year-old was able to return to action on Sunday.

Garver's 2020 struggles have carried into Spring Training, as he's hit just .208 in 10 games. He should still have at least a 50/50 split of the catching duties with Ryan Jeffers but the Twins' No. 6 prospect could push for a bigger role if Garver continues to struggle at the dish.

AL West

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Houston Astros - Myles Straw out due to COVID-19 protocols

One of the candidates to hit leadoff for the Astros, Straw will miss an undetermined amount of time as he waits to clear health and safety protocols.

Straw has been given every chance to earn every day playing time by manager Dusty Baker. He has rewarded that faith with a .310 average and three steals in 16 games. Even if Straw bats at the bottom of the Astros lineup, he should be a solid source of stolen bases readily available at the end of drafts.

Los Angeles Angels - Ohtani to hit and pitch in Monday's game against the Dodgers

As Shohei Ohtani looks to put his injury woes behind him, manager Joe Maddon said the Japanese star will both hit and pitch Monday at Dodger Stadium.

This won't be a regular occurrence but it's a very encouraging sign that the organization feels he is healthy enough to perform double-duty in a Spring Training game.

Update: He left the start with the trainers, who looked at his finger.

Oakland Athletics - Montas in doubt for Opening Day

Frankie Montas is scheduled to throw a simulated game this week to determine his status for the start of the season. The 28-year-old ripped his cuticle pitching last week.

Managers should keep an eye on his status this week for the results of his simulated game. manager Bob Melvin says 70 pitches without issue is the mark for the team to feel "okay" about his status.

Seattle Mariners - Taylor Trammell makes the roster

Former top prospect Taylor Trammell has made the Mariners' Opening Day roster. A knee injury to Kyle Lewis made Trammel's inclusion a foregone conclusion after his excellent spring performance.

The 23-year-old brings a solid power-speed combo to the Mariners' lineup. In 44 spring at-bats, Trammell hit three home runs, stole two bases, and mashed his way to a 1.059 OPS.

The Mariners averaged the third-most steal attempts in 2020 and Trammell should have a permanent green light from manager Scott Servais as long as he remains in the lineup. He is another source of cheap steals at just six-percent rostered in Yahoo leagues.

Texas Rangers - Ian Kennedy in line to close

The Rangers bullpen is in absolute shambles after Jose Leclerc, Jonathan Hernandez, Brett Martin, and Joely Rodgriguez went down with injuries.

As a result, Kennedy and Matt Bush, both non-roster invitees will open the year as the Rangers' top late-inning options. Kennedy racked up 30 saves as the Royals' closer in 2019 and could be a source of cheap saves early on.

Bush is another possible option but hasn't pitched in the majors since 2018. Neither reliever is a particularly attractive option but managers who punted saves can find Kennedy (10% rostered) and Bush (4% rostered) free on the waiver wire.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Fantasy Baseball Content at Fantasy Six Pack as the Fantasy Baseball season begins to get underway.

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1 comment

2021 Fantasy Baseball National League News Roundup - Fantasy Six Pack March 31, 2021 - 7:31 am

[…] In case you missed it, here is the roundup of the latest news out of the American League. […]


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