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New York Mets infielder Jed Lowrie (knee) is reportedly a full go according to manager Luis Rojas and is expected to play in a simulated game on Sunday. Lowrie played just nine games in 2019 due to knee issues and has dealt with complications related to knee surgery since the spring. If Lowrie proves to be healthy by the start of the season, he will function in a utility infielder role for the Mets. As a utility infielder, however, it would take an injury to Jeff McNeil, Robinson Cano and/or Amed Rosario to guarantee consistent playing time. As such, even if healthy, Lowrie is nothing more than a waiver claim as bench depth in NL-only formats.
Washington Nationals third baseman Carter Kieboom will be the teams starting third baseman this year after beating out Asdrubal Cabrera for the job. Kieboom struggled in a brief major league stint last year with a 24 OPS+ over 11 games, but the 22-year-old is a consensus top-25 prospect and posted a .303/.409/.493 slash line in the minor leagues last season. A patient plate approach (14% walk rate in the minors last season) and solid power provide Kieboom with a relatively high floor, and hes likely to be a high-impact rookie in 2020 with the potential for an OPS above .850.
Minnesota Twins first baseman Miguel Sano tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday. Sano is asymptomatic, but hes required to self-isolate until he tests negative twice. With that in mind, Sano appears likely to be ready for the start of the season, though there is no definite timetable. If Sano does miss any time, then Marwin Gonzalez is likely to take over the first base job.
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez has tested positive for coronavirus. Perez is reportedly asymptomatic and is optimistic that he can return after self-isolating for 12 more days. That puts Perez back with the team on July 16th, likely giving the catcher enough time to be ready for the start of the season. Perez missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, and hell look to rebound from a relatively disappointing .713 2018 OPS this year. Should Perez miss any time, Cam Gallagher is likely to be the catcher for the Royals.
Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has tested positive for coronavirus. Freeman has been battling a coronavirus-related fever since Thursday, putting his chances of playing at the start of the season in jeopardy. Fantasy owners should expect Freeman to miss at least the start of the season, but its unclear how long hell remain sidelined as hell have to test negative twice before rejoining the team. Austin Riley and Yonder Alonso appear likely to gain the most playing time in Freemans absence.
Los Angeles Dodgers starter David Price announced Saturday he will forgo the 2020 season. Price becomes the highest profile opt-out as hell prioritize his health and family amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Price will sacrifice roughly $11.9 million in salary this season but should conceivably return to baseball next year in his age 35 season. With a career 3.31 ERA, Prices best days are likely behind him but he remains a serviceable arm in fantasy and real life. Pitcher Ross Stripling gets the biggest boost with Prices absence, as hell get a shot to start. Currently drafted outside the top-300, Striplings ADP is sure to rise with a strong camp.
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (head) had his CT scan come back negative and will enter the concussion protocol after being struck by a line drive during a simulated game on Saturday. It's encouraging that Tanaka didn't suffer anything worse than a concussion, but he may still miss time. Tanaka's status for Opening Day will depend on the severity of his potential concussion, and more clarity should be provided within the next couple of days.
New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday. LeMahieu will have to test negative for coronavirus before returning to the team, so his readiness for the start of the season is unclear. LeMahieu is expected to be the primary second baseman for the Yankees this season after posting an impressive .327 batting average with 26 home runs last year but fantasy owners should wait for more information on his health before drafting the 31-year-old.
New York Mets outfielder Melky Cabrera will work out at first base in addition to the outfield, according to manager Luis Rojas. With Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith rostered, the decision to work Cabrera out at first base is strictly to provide the Mets versatility during the shortened season. Cabrera is more likely to see time at designated hitter and in the outfield once the season gets underway. In 2019, Cabrera hit .280/.313/.399 with seven home runs and 47 RBI in 378 at-bats for the Pirates. Although the Mets are quite deep in the outfield, DH, and at first base, the condensed season may allow Cabrera to get decent playing time in 2020. Additionally, his value may increase if the recent injuries to Yoenis Cespedes (heel, ankle) and Michael Conforto (oblique) are not fully healed, cause recurring issues, or some Mets miss time due to the pandemic. For now, however, Cabrera is only worth a look in deep NL-only leagues.
New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (heel, ankle) drew rave reviews from fellow outfielder Michael Conforto and manager Luis Rojas on Saturday. Conforto stated that Cespedes looks motivated, "like a monster," and praised his light defensive work. Although it appears that Cespedes is well on the road to full health ahead of the season opener in late July, it is likely he will serve as the Mets regular designated hitter during the shortened season. Of course, even if fully healthy, he may face competition for playing time from Dominic Smith, Melky Cabrera, and J.D. Davis at DH or in left field. Nevertheless, if Cespedes proves to be healthy, he is a great buy-low candidate with tremendous upside in mixed and NL-only formats.
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