Minor signings, a trade that impacts bullpens and more are covered as we start gearing up for the 2023 fantasy baseball season.
Francisco Alvarez is going to be a star. It’s just a matter of time for the Mets’ catcher of the future. When will that future start? A report at MLB.com suggests that it will not be at the start of the season. “Were Álvarez not so raw behind the plate, this would be a much more complicated discussion. But I’ve spoken to folks both inside and outside the organization who seriously doubt Álvarez is ready to start five-plus games per week at catcher. Using Álvarez at DH instead — while tempting, given his offensive upside — wouldn’t do him or the Mets much long-term good. Álvarez is most valuable if he can become an everyday catcher, which he’ll have a tough time accomplishing without more Minor League seasoning.” He seems nearly certain to begin the year in the minors. We will have more of a breakdown on Alvarez in the soon to be released 2023 FG.com Draft Guide.
Jack Flaherty (shoulder) is expected to be ready for the start of camp… “the expectation is he’ll report to spring training ready to start with no limitations.” Flaherty has not hit 80 big league innings since 2019. He’s a true wildcard, not in a talent sense of course, but from a health context.
Kyle Hendricks (shoulder) is up to playing catch and there is hope he will be able to pitch by Opening Day. It isn’t a lock to happen, but he’s on the right path. That said, he’s not much more than a streaming option in mixed leagues at this point, given the lack of punchouts and the unevenness of his game of late.
Liam Hendriks news…
We wish him the best, health and family is ultimately what matters most, and hope that he is able to overcome the illness and return to pitching at an elite level at some point in 2023.
Luke Jackson signed with the Giants on a 2-year, $11.5 million deal. He was really good in 2021 (1.98 ERA, 1.16 WHIP over 70 outings) but he didn’t pitch last season as he had Tommy John surgery. He’s nothing more than an NL only addition though with virtually no shot at saves with Doval/Rogers in the house.
Wade Miley will be a starter for the Brewers after singing a 1-year, $4.5 million deal. He only made it through 37 frames last season, but he was able to make 28 starts for the Reds in 2021 over 163 frames. He still posted a 1.33 WHIP that season and his 18.1 percent of lower K-rate the last three years – stinks. Not a target in mixed leagues.
A.J. Pollock signed a 1-year, $7 million deal with the White Sox. The 35 year old outfielder posted a poor .245/.292/.389 slash line last season – which was miles form the impressive .888 OPS he posted in 2020-21. He doesn’t run much anymore and has just moderate power so he’s nothing more than an AL-only play at this point since he’s looking like a platoon option for the Sox with the outfield looking like Benintendi/Robert/Jimenez with Gavin Sheets and Pollock as depth options.
A.J. Puk will get a chance to start this season for the Athletics. Once upon a time he was viewed as one of the best left-handed pitching prospects in the game. Alas, his career has been filled with starts and stops and he’s spent the majority of his big-league career in the bullpen. In fact, that’s all he has done with 84 appearances out of the bullpen with no starts. He’s posted a K-rate of 26.7 percent showing dominance, though that 8.7 walk rate has led to a merely blah 1.26 WHIP. Here are his workloads since 2018.
2018: zero innings
2019: 37.1 innings
2020: zero innings
2021: 62.0 innings
2022: 66.1 innings
Seems like it would be a minor miracle if he were able to reach 120-innings this season, and as I write that sentence I feel really dirty about it. Can he even get to 120? Can he?
Nick Senzel foot is still an issue. He’s using a scooter to get around after complications with his broken toe has still left him in a walk boot. The Reds have made moves to add talent, including Wil Meyers, in case Senzel just isn’t ready to go. Too frequently, the 27 year old just hasn’t been able to give it a go, and in his 110 games last season he posted a .601 OPS which was obviously dreadful.
Gregory Soto was dealt to the Phillies:
Phillies acquired LHP Gregory Soto and INF/OF Kody Clemens from the Tigers for INF/OF Matt Vierling, INF/OF Nick Maton and C Donny Sands.
He loses a ton of value as his path to saves is now murky at best in his new home as the Phillies continue to add bullpen talent giving them a top-2 out there of RHP Seranthony Dominguez, LHP Gregory Soto, RHP Craig Kimbrel and LHP Jose Alvarado. That’s a pretty imposing group. Meanwhile, the Tigers seem likely to let Alex Lange get first shot at closing duties over there in Detroit.
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