Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Spring Training Risers and Fallers column!
I'll be taking a look at three players whose Spring Training performances are shooting them up the draft board and three others who may be falling.
As Spring Training continues, so does the countdown to Opening Day, and in some cases, draft day!
What better way to get ready for the draft day than to find out who the latest risers and fallers are?
Spring Training stats are not everything, but they can help pinpoint players who may be struggling, players who made positive adjustments in the offseason, and much more.
So, who are some of the biggest Spring Training risers and fallers?
Spring Training Risers and Fallers
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Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees
This spring, Volpe is hitting .320 with three doubles, two HRs, and three SBs. Not to mention, he also has a 4:6 BB:K ratio. Not too shabby for someone who's competing for a roster spot.
The only downside with Volpe is his age, as the Yankees may feel the need to send him down and let him get some more time to develop. But so far, he is showing that he can handle the challenge and even thrive.
He has no doubt seen his ADP rise and it should continue to rise. Whether he will make the team remains to be seen (in my opinion, he should), but he should no doubt make an impact this year. Volpe is well worth the current price he is going at.
This type of talent doesn't grow on trees.
Jordan Walker, 3B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Just when you didn't think anyone could one-up Anthony Volpe, Jordan Walker has something to say. This kid has come out of the gates SCORCHING hot.
He is hitting .424 with three HRs this spring and has been experimenting in the OF. To be transitioning to a different position while producing at the plate this young just goes to show how special Walker is.
At this point, Walker will undoubtedly make his MLB debut early this year, it just remains to be seen how early. After going down with a shoulder injury on March 11th, the injury does not seem to be too bad.
While there is still cause for concern with the injury, all signs point to him returning soon. He will certainly be someone to keep an eye on once back in the lineup.
There is still skepticism that Walker does not make the Opening Day roster, whether that be due to there being no room for him or service time manipulation.
However, if Walker continues to wield a hot bat, the Cardinals will have no choice but to give him a role.
Oscar Colas, OF, Chicago White Sox
This spring, however, he has shown that he may be the guy for the future. After absolutely mashing in the minors last year, Colas is hitting .400 and he seems to be showing no signs of slowing down.
While the power so far has not been the same as it was in the minors, he is still making contact and his case to be the White Sox starting RF.
Chicago did lose Jose Abreu this offseason, but they still have key players on the hitting side allowing Colas to provide some serious counting stats if given a starting role.
His 1:1 BB:K ratio is also something to keep an eye on, as he had 120 strikeouts in 481 at-bats last year (25% strikeout rate). If he can improve on that, he could really excel on a White Sox team in search of a right-fielder.
He's worth a grab in drafts. If he's able to make the Opening Day roster, Colas may start providing right away.
Luis Severino, SP, New York Yankees
Luis Severino has not been as sharp as usual this spring. Pitching to the tune of a 9.35 ERA, Severino has looked mortal. He does have 10 strikeouts over his 8.1 innings, but he has been getting hit hard.
Despite the rocky spring, manager Aaron Boone has expressed confidence in Severino and feels as though he is where he needs to be.
While this could be true, Severino's rocky spring coupled with his lengthy injury history has him falling down my draft board.
The upside is certainly there, as will be the case with all of these fallers. However, sometimes risk outweighs the potential upside. This is unfortunately the case for one of my favorite pitchers to watch, Luis Severino.
This is not me telling you to pass on him, but for me, I am personally fading him this draft season and his rocky start to the spring has further cemented it.
Kendall Graveman, RP, Chicago White Sox
Kendall Graveman was a popular candidate to lead the White Sox in saves after All-Star closer Liam Hendriks was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
However, White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said the club will not have a set closer until Hendriks returns. This means that Chicago could be going closer-by-committee to start the year off until their All-Star closer is ready to return.
Hendriks' timetable remains to be seen, however, there seems to be optimism that he can return at some point this year.
Graveman has also not been as great as advertised this spring, pitching to the tune of a 13.50 ERA. While that is only over 2.2 innings, Graveman was beginning to show signs of cracking late last year.
Whether that be him losing a step or due to fatigue remains to be seen. But with no clear closer in Chicago and his struggles as of late, I will be fading Graveman
Grab another late-round reliever as a dart throw and pass on Graveman.
Lars Nootbaar, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Lars Nootbaar was an offseason darling for the fantasy baseball community. Despite poor surface-level stats, Nootbaar was someone to love under the hood.
His hard-hit rates, exit velocities, chase rate, you name it ... were all in the upper percentiles. However (and yes, there is always a however), the emergence of Jordan Walker complicates things.
Walker has been phenomenal this spring (although he is no guarantee to make the roster), O'Neill is only a season removed from his breakout 2021, and the Cardinals apparently made Dylan Carlson unavailable in Juan Soto trade talks with the Nationals last year.
To me, Nootbaar is the odd man out. If he does not perform well this spring (only five at-bats as he currently plays in the World Baseball Classic), he could be on the outside looking in.
While Nootbaar is only a late-round dart throw, he is one I will be fading this draft season.
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