Every Monday of spring training we will take a look at the Fantasy Baseball gainers and decliners in our Fantasy Stockwatch.
This week's spring gainers
| Trevor Cahill, SP, OAK |
Many have debated the merits of Cahill as an elite pitching prospect, even ranking him behind his cohort below in some prospect and rookie rankings. We have been of the belief that Cahill is a tick more in command and ready to help out now. We will get to find out over the first half this year as Cahill likely has taken complete advantage of the rotation openings after the trades of Dan Haren, Rich Harden, Joe Blanton and Greg Smith and a spring training injury to Justin Duchscherer.
| Brett Anderson, SP, OK |
Anderson is Cahill's left-handed complement and an equally intriguing pitching prospect. We had little clue the A's would be ready to give them both a rotation spot, but you have to love Anderson's potential to outperform his modest late-round and low-dollar draft position.
| Kevin Gregg, RP, CHC |
We had no inclination a pitcher who failed to finish last season as the Marlins closer would have enough juice to win the closer's job out of spring training with the big-budget Cubs, but Gregg has pitched well. While we don't think he will hold Carlos Marmol off for the closer's role the entire season, just the fact he has the job out of spring training is making him a highly sought waiver wire addition. If you haven't drafted yet, Gregg is nice late-rounder at closer because of the save chances the contending Cubs can get him on a consistent basis.
| Jason Motte, RP, STL |
With the demotion of Chris Perez to the minor leagues Monday, manager Tony La Russa ostensibly handed the Cardinals' closing duties to the hard-throwing converted catcher Motte. Ryan Franklin is still around as a veteran option if the pressure gets to Motte, but we have a feeling the young gun can handle himself nicely. Motte is a hot commodity off the waiver wire right now in all leagues. Rightly so. He could get plenty of save chances from the contending Cardinals.
| Joey Devine, RP, OAK |
The third A's pitcher on this list. Yeah, they have some up-and-coming young talent. Devine has been told he will share closer's duties with the deceptive overachiever Brad Ziegler to start the season. If Devine pitches the way his talent suggests he is capable, it won't be much of a platoon. All the dynamic Devine arm needs is a chance, which apparently is what he will get at the start of the season.
Some more gainers we couldn't fit in: Brett Gardner, OF, NYY; Jordan Zimmermann, SP, WAS; Todd Helton, 1B, COL; Jordan Schafer, OF, ATL; Chan Ho Park, SP, PHI; Ryan Franklin, RP, STL; Chris Carpenter, SP, STL; Scott Downs, RP, TOR; Ricky Romero, SP, TOR; Nick Adenhart, SP, LAA; Dustin Moseley, SP, LAA; Ross Ohlendorf, SP, PIT; Dewayne Wise, OF, CHW; Kelvim Escobar, SP, LAA; Shairon Martis, SP, WAS; Justin Verlander, SP, DET and Kendry Morales, OF, LAA.
This week's spring decliners
| Brandon Morrow, RP, SEA |
Don't get us wrong: Morrow is an outstanding young arm. We were excited about his prospects of being a full-time starting pitcher, but now he will slot as a reliever long term. He just couldn't build up to be a reliable 180-plus inning starter. It also doesn't help that Morrow himself prefers closing games instead of starting them. We think he has a good enough arm to be the Mariners' closer on opening day, but that is not a team that figures to get their closer a consistent number of save chances. Morrow has the potential to be as dominant as any reliever in baseball, though, if you can deal with not getting saves every week.
| Matt Wieters, C, BAL |
Everyone figured Wieters would begin the year in Triple-A, but it still hurts to see your expensive Draft Day pick get the official assignment to the minors Sunday. Wieters will be back around June 1, we say, but stashing any minor leaguer for a couple of months is tough -- especially in leagues without reserves. Stashing a catcher is tough-squared. Wieters just needs an injury to Gregg Zaun to get an immediate call-up, or one serious hot streak to start his Triple-A season.
| Justin Duchscherer, SP, OAK |
Chalk this up as another year Duschscherer will not make it to 200 innings. And, honestly, we don't think he will ever get to that threshold. Duchscherer's hip wasn't a problem this spring, but his elbow needed surgery, which knocks him out until at least mid-May. We have little confidence he will be healthy there on out, either. And you think the inning limits placed on pitchers aren't justified? The Pitch-22 posterboy tried to transition back to starting all too quickly.
| Jeff Clement, C, SEA |
We knew Clement wasn't going to challenge Kenji Johjima as the Mariners' everyday catcher to start the season, but we figured he would at least make the roster if not get full-time at-bats at DH. The problem Clement faced this spring was a recovery from offseason knee surgery. He will head back to Triple-A, where he has nothing to prove, and wind up being a June 1 call-up. Like Wieters, it is very possible Clement comes up earlier than that and makes a significant impact in all leagues. You just shouldn't be stashing him outside of deeper AL-only leagues right now.
| John Lackey, SP, LAA |
For the second consecutive year, Lackey will be opening the season on the DL for the Angels and Fantasy owners. We significantly downgraded his projections, knocking him out of the top 25 Fantasy starting pitchers to target on Draft Day. Lackey is still a free agent to be and plenty motivated to put up great numbers over the season's final five months, but there is just some uncertainty with regard to his elbow. We haven't yet had that marquee name require Tommy John surgery this spring ... here's to hoping we don't get one.
Some more decliners we couldn't fit in: Carlos Marmol, RP, CHC; Chris Perez, RP, STL; B.J. Ryan, RP, TOR; Rich Hill, SP, BAL; Joel Zumaya, RP, DET; Jerry Owens, OF, CHW; Bronson Arroyo, SP, CIN; Cha Seung Baek, SP, SD; David Price, SP, TB; Miguel Batista, RP, SEA; Justin Masterson, SP, BOS and Tommy Hanson, SP, ATL.
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