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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker (hip) returned to the Cactus League lineup on Saturday against the Cleveland Guardians and went 1-for-2 with his first spring home run and a walk in the team's 6-4 win. Walker was pulled from Monday's Cactus League game early as a precaution after being hit by a pitch above his hip, but he was able to return this weekend and should be fully expected to be ready for Opening Day in a few weeks. The 31-year-old played first base on Saturday and hit cleanup for Arizona. If you choose to wait on the first base position in fantasy drafts, Walker is a fine target for his power. He hit .242/.327/.477 with an .804 OPS, career-high 36 home runs, 94 RBI and 84 runs scored in 160 games for the D-backs in 2022.
Despite an impressive performance in spring training, New York Mets top prospect Brett Baty was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Baty is the No. 2 prospect in the Mets organization and ranks 21st in all of baseball. His bat was on full display this spring after hitting his way to a .885 OPS. Baty slashed .325/.460/.425 and drove in six RBI along with one homer. Despite proving that he's capable of thriving in a major-league setting, the Mets opted to continue his development in the minors. Baty played just six games at Triple-A Syracuse last season and the Mets want him to gain some experience at a higher level before turning full pro. If he turns some heads down in Syracuse, it could stir an early call-up to the big leagues.
Colorado Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Rodgers dislocated his left shoulder while diving for a ground ball on March 6th against the Texas Rangers, and could miss the season. He went for a second opinion a few weeks ago after he was informed that it would require season-ending surgery, and the Rockies aren't too optimistic that he'll play in 2023. Rodgers was a first-time Gold Glove winner last season and even sprinkled in some production at the plate. He slashed .266/.325/.408 with 13 HRs and a 96 OPS+. With Rodgers likely missing the 2023 season, Ryan McMahon and Alan Trejo are potential candidates to become the Rockies' everyday second baseman.
Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford (foot) is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday. This comes after Crawford was scratched ahead of Friday's game due to foot soreness. It sounds like a minor issue, but the team wants to do additional testing to make sure it's not anything serious. The expectation is that Crawford should be fine heading into Opening Day. Although, fantasy managers will have to check back after the MRI for more information.
Boston Red Sox right-hander Garrett Whitlock (hip) threw four innings in a minor-league game on Friday, tossing 63 total pitches (40 for strikes) and is expected to pitch Opening Day for Triple-A Worcester on March 31. There's a chance he could pitch for the Red Sox as soon as the second series of the regular season against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but manager Alex Cora hasn't made a decision on that yet. Boston is taking things slowly with the 26-year-old after he had surgery on his hip last September, but he's making good progress and should make his 2023 debut sometime in April. There's a lot to like about Whitlock's profile, but he probably won't be as dominant as a starter as he was as a reliever in 2022, and he's also likely to have workload restrictions.
Boston Red Sox third baseman/designated hitter Justin Turner looked to be in midseason form in the team's Grapefruit League game on Friday against the Atlanta Braves, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, a run scored and a strikeout in the 9-8 win. Turner missed some time this spring after being hit in the face by a pitch and requiring 16 stitches, but he returned to the field earlier this week and will be ready on Opening Day next Thursday, March 30. The 38-year-old veteran right-handed slugger is now hitting .368 (7-for-19) with a homer, three RBI, six runs and a stolen base in nine games played. Fantasy managers shouldn't expect Turner's power to suddenly rebound in 2023, and injuries could be a problem, but he still makes for a useful corner infielder with great on-base skills and plate discipline.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida went 0-for-2 with a walk in his return to Grapefruit League action in Friday's loss to the Atlanta Braves. Yoshida returned to the team in camp after being away with Team Japan for the World Baseball Classic. The 29-year-old left-handed hitter looked great in the WBC, going 9-for-22 with two home runs and a tournament-leading 13 RBI. Boston signed him to a five-year, $90 million deal in the offseason, and he's expected to open his first big-league season as the cleanup hitter in Beantown. Yoshida's best asset is his ability to make a lot of contact and get on base often due to excellent plate discipline. Those looking to draft him this weekend should expect modest power in his first taste of big-league pitching in 2023.
With New York Yankees right-hander Luis Severino (lat) likely to begin the 2023 season on the injured list with a low-grade lat strain, manager Aaron Boone said that Jhony Brito could end up being the team's fifth starter. The 25-year-old Dominican right-hander has yet to pitch in a regular season big-league game. He had a strong 2.96 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 91 strikeouts in 112 2/3 innings over 26 appearances (23 starts) in 2022 with Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The team's No. 27 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, has shown a modest strikeout rate in the minors and probably won't draw much interest in the short term in mixed leagues if he does indeed open the year in the rotation. Brito throws hard, but his offspeed pitches could use more seasoning.
Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais said that shortstop J.P. Crawford (foot) will have X-rays on his foot on Saturday. Crawford fouled a ball off his foot in the batting cages on Friday but still took part in a full workout afterward. As a precaution, the team scratched him from the Cactus League lineup. We should know more on whether the 28-year-old will need to begin the season on the injured list by the end of this weekend. In his fourth year with the M's in 2022, Crawford slashed .243/.339/.336 with a .675 OPS, six home runs, 42 RBI and 57 runs scored in 145 games played. He's more of a defense-first player, but Crawford can provide a decent average and on-base numbers as a middle infielder in deeper leagues. But his lack of power and speed at a premium position doesn't make him all that attractive in mixed leagues.
Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris II (back) has returned to the team's Grapefruit League lineup on Saturday against right-hander Bailey Ober and the Minnesota Twins. Harris is starting in center field and batting fifth in the order. The 22-year-old was scratched from the lineup on Friday with back tightness, but it was nothing serious and he'll return to the field a day later. After a fantastic rookie season in 2022 for Atlanta, he has gone 9-for-38 (.237) with a double, triple, two home runs, four RBI, four runs scored and two stolen bases in 14 Grapefruit League contests. Last year's National League Rookie of the Year struck out 24.3% of the time, but he also squared the ball up regularly when he did make contact. There could be some growing pains for Harris in 2023, so don't overpay drastically, but this is a player with high-end upside in all categories.
The New York Yankees haven't made a decision yet on whether shortstop prospect Anthony Volpe will be on the Opening Day roster, according to manager Aaron Boone. A report surfaced on Friday that Volpe, who is hitting .277 (13-for-47) with five doubles, three homers, five RBI and five steals this spring, has support from "high-level voices" in the team's front office to make the roster. The 21-year-old prospect has put himself in prime position to open the 2023 season as the team's starting shortstop, while fellow prospect Oswald Peraza has struggled. Volpe is a hit over power prospect whose bat is far superior than his glove. Fantasy managers in dynasty/keeper leagues should already have him stashed, but he's also rising up draft boards in single-year formats with his play this spring.
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