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Fantasy Baseball: Spring Training News

Adam Ronis looks at some of the biggest results from spring training as we approach opening day.

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This is the final week of Spring Training and many jobs are being determined. This will impact Fantasy leagues, especially those in deeper formats and mono leagues. Here are some interesting story lines to follow.

Delino DeShields Makes Rangers Roster

Delino DeShields has received little or no attention this spring. It's time to start paying attention now that he has made the Opening Day roster. The Rangers outfielder had a solid 2015 but struggled last season.

Finding cheap steals can be a difference maker in Fantasy. DeShields is batting .302 with a .448 on-base percentage and 12 stolen bases this spring. His role is unclear at this point, but there's a chance he could emerge into a starter. Nomar Mazara is going to play right field, Carlos Gomez will play center and Jurickson Profar and Ryan Rua are in the mix for left field. Shin-Soo Choo is the designated hitter and health has been a problem for him recently.

DeShields said he didn't feel explosive last season and shed the weight to regain the explosiveness that has been apparent in the spring. DeShields hasn't been caught stealing and he has walked 14 times. He should be drafted in AL-only leagues and on the radar in deep mixed leagues.

Ryu Makes Dodgers Rotation

Hyun-Jin Ryu will begin the season in the Dodgers starting rotation. Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy will vie for the fifth spot in the rotation with Scott Kazmir beginning the season on the disabled list. This doesn't include Julio Urias, who will be a key piece of the rotation at some point. Ryu has pitched 14 innings in the spring and has a 2.57 ERA with 12 strikeouts and one walk. He has pitched 4.2 innings over the last two seasons in the majors.

Ryu has dealt with shoulder and elbow injuries the last two seasons and durability is a major question for him. He pitched 192 innings in his first season with the Dodgers and 152 the next season in 2014. He had a 3.17 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.7 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in those two seasons, showing he can be relevant. Ryu's velocity has been all over the place in the spring and there are still question marks with him.

Mondesi Wins Starting Job

The Royals announced Raul Mondesi will open the season as the starting second baseman. Manager Ned Yost said the initial plan entering the spring was to send Mondesi, 21, to Triple-A before his impressive spring performance won him the job.

We still don't know if Mondesi is ready to hit major league pitching. The spring doesn't indicate much. Most of his success in the spring came against pitchers who will not be in the major leagues and he struggled against established pitchers. Mondesi came up last July and struggled. In 149 plate appearances, Mondesi batted .185 with a 48:6 K:BB ratio. We know the speed is there; he stole nine bases in 10 attempts. He clearly wasn't ready for the majors last season.

Mondesi is batting .375 with three home runs and four stolen bases this spring. He is worth speculating on if you are in dire need of speed. The middle infield spot is a good one to use for steals. There's still a question if Mondesi is ready for the majors. He only has 61 plate appearances at Triple-A and he struggled there. It wouldn't be surprising to see Mondesi falter and be send back to the minors.

Charlie Morton Makes Rotation

One of the surprises this spring has been Charlie Morton and he will start the third game of the season. In 17 innings, Morton has a 1.04 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 17 strikeouts. Morton's velocity has been impressive in the spring as he's been around the mid-90s with his fastball and a slider in the upper 80s. Morton has a good sinker and induces a lot of ground balls.

Morton appeared in four games with the Phillies last season and had an uptick in velocity before tearing his hamstring and missing the season. Morton is worth a flier in deeper mixed leagues.


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