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2013 Draft Prep: Standard Rotisserie auction


Are you one of those owners who likes to spend freely on top-shelf talent? Then you would have fit right in with the 12 owners who took part in our recent mixed league Rotisserie auction.

The early nominations tend to set the tone for the rest of the auction, and that was certainly the case here. After the proceedings were kicked off with a $10 winning bid on Nationals' closer Rafael Soriano, the bidding got serious with four of the next five nominees (Miguel Cabrera, $45; Mike Trout, $44; Robinson Cano, $47; Ryan Braun, $45) netting more than $40. The aggressive bidding continued, as eight of the next 17 nominations drew winning bids of at least $30, and several others wound up in the upper 20s.

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With so much money spent early on, there were plenty of bargains to be found throughout much of the auction. While Craig Kimbrel required a $25 bid with the 16th nomination, no other projected closer went for more than $12. Similarly, potential aces like Matt Cain, Jered Weaver and R.A. Dickey went for $20 or less. Dustin Pedroia ($27), Ian Kinsler ($26), Evan Longoria ($26) and David Wright ($24) may not have technically been bargains, but they all cost far less than Cano or Cabrera. Judging by average draft position, Cano and Cabrera are the consensus top players at their respective positions, but given the gap between their prices and those of the other top second base and third base options, it might have made sense to refrain from heated bidding in the early going.

Then again, auctions can be unpredictable. While bidding on midrange first basemen typically topped out in the lower-to-mid teens, Billy Butler ($24) cost substantially more, even though Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo and Mark Teixeira were still on the board. When Rizzo went for $18, the impact of position scarcity appeared to be kicking in, but then Freeman was available for $13 just eight nominations later. Bidding on Joe Mauer also defied the general pattern, as he cost only $18 despite the healthy bidding that was taking place in the early going. And Josh Beckett for $22? That was the artifact of a motivated owner who was flush with funds after spending modestly early on.

Here's the roster of our mostly spend-happy bidders.

1. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
2. Peter Madden, Director, Fantasy Sports
3. Al Melchior, Data Analyst
4. Ed Gauna, Fantasy Writer
5. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
6. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
7. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
8. Igor Mello, Fantasy Writer
9. Adam Moore, Fantasy Writer
10. Bill Passonno, Fantasy Writer
11. Michael Hurcomb, Fantasy Editor
12. Adam Aizer, Fantasy Video/Podcast Host

And here's how the bids unfolded in descending order of value. If you want to see them ranked by winning owner or bid amount, you can resort them and relive the auction however you choose.

2013 Mixed Fantasy Auction Draft (sortable)
OrderPlayerPosPriceBid Won by
18Albert Pujols, LAA1B$37Peter Madden
53Joey Votto, CIN1B$35Adam Aizer
35Prince Fielder, DET1B$29Jeff Tobin
37Edwin Encarnacion, TOR1B$26Adam Aizer
54Adrian Gonzalez, LAD1B$26Chris Towers
73Billy Butler, KC1B$24Scott White
27Allen Craig, STL1B$21Ed Gauna
100Anthony Rizzo, CHC1B$18Igor Mello
98Paul Goldschmidt, ARI1B$13Bill Passonno
108Freddie Freeman, ATL1B$13Chris Towers
79Mark Teixeira, NYY1B$11Al Melchior
120Ryan Howard, PHI1B$9Adam Moore
234Justin Morneau, MIN1B$9Michael Hurcomb
118Ike Davis, NYM1B$8Peter Madden
106Eric Hosmer, KC1B$7Jeff Tobin
132Paul Konerko, CHW1B$6Peter Madden
188Kendrys Morales, SEA1B$4Bill Passonno
249Adam LaRoche, WAS1B$4Igor Mello
175Corey Hart, MIL1B$3Scott White
121Matt Carpenter, STL1B$2Jeff Tobin
148Brandon Moss, OAK1B$1Al Melchior
263Michael Young, PHI1B$1Michael Hurcomb
264Brandon Belt, SF1B$1Bill Passonno
269Mitch Moreland, TEX1B$1Ed Gauna
282Adam Dunn, CHW1B$0Michael Hurcomb
290Mike Olt, TEX1B$0Ed Gauna
300Lance Berkman, TEX1B$0Scott White
306Yonder Alonso, SD1B$0Michael Hurcomb
311Mark Reynolds, CLE1B$0Ed Gauna
321Chris Carter, HOU1B$0Al Melchior
325Adam Lind, TOR1B$0Scott White
328Chris Parmelee, MIN1B$0Al Melchior
336Gaby Sanchez, PIT1B$0Adam Moore
5Robinson Cano, NYY2B$47Scott White
48Dustin Pedroia, BOS2B$27Jeff Tobin
25Ian Kinsler, TEX2B$26Adam Aizer
44Jose Altuve, HOU2B$17Al Melchior
91Rickie Weeks, MIL2B$14Igor Mello
89Jason Kipnis, CLE2B$13Nando DiFino
96Aaron Hill, ARI2B$12Ed Gauna
90Brandon Phillips, CIN2B$11Chris Towers
182Chase Utley, PHI2B$8Peter Madden
187Dan Uggla, ATL2B$7Michael Hurcomb
154Marco Scutaro, SF2B$5Al Melchior
242Danny Espinosa, WAS2B$4Peter Madden
162Neil Walker, PIT2B$3Adam Aizer
156Dustin Ackley, SEA2B$1Adam Moore
235Howard Kendrick, LAA2B$1Bill Passonno
256Daniel Murphy, NYM2B$1Bill Passonno
299Jurickson Profar, TEX2B$0Igor Mello
315Kelly Johnson, TB2B$0Peter Madden
326Gordon Beckham, CHW2B$0Igor Mello
329Tyler Greene, HOU2B$0Nando DiFino
2Miguel Cabrera, DET3B$45Al Melchior
4Hanley Ramirez, LAD3B$27Adam Moore
31Adrian Beltre, TEX3B$27Michael Hurcomb
67Evan Longoria, TB3B$26Bill Passonno
137Ryan Zimmerman, WAS3B$26Michael Hurcomb
49Chase Headley, SD3B$25Scott White
60David Wright, NYM3B$24Ed Gauna
47Brett Lawrie, TOR3B$14Scott White
115Aramis Ramirez, MIL3B$12Michael Hurcomb
68Will Middlebrooks, BOS3B$11Jeff Tobin
134Pablo Sandoval, SF3B$11Chris Towers
170David Freese, STL3B$7Igor Mello
185Mike Moustakas, KC3B$7Nando DiFino
62Kevin Youkilis, NYY3B$5Adam Aizer
173Todd Frazier, CIN3B$5Nando DiFino
131Kyle Seager, SEA3B$4Al Melchior
158Manny Machado, BAL3B$4Igor Mello
119Jedd Gyorko, SD3B$3Adam Aizer
209Pedro Alvarez, PIT3B$3Nando DiFino
283Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE3B$0Bill Passonno
314Trevor Plouffe, MIN3B$0Ed Gauna
332Josh Donaldson, OAK3B$0Jeff Tobin
340Jeff Keppinger, CHW3B$0Adam Aizer
345Nolan Arenado, COL3B$0Al Melchior
353Alex Rodriguez, NYY3B$0Nando DiFino
24Buster Posey, SFC$28Adam Moore
42Carlos Santana, CLEC$20Adam Moore
43Mike Napoli, BOSC$19Peter Madden
33Joe Mauer, MINC$18Chris Towers
72Matt Wieters, BALC$16Igor Mello
75Yadier Molina, STLC$16Adam Moore
52Salvador Perez, KCC$14Ed Gauna
76Wilin Rosario, COLC$13Ed Gauna
165Miguel Montero, ARIC$8Michael Hurcomb
230Alex Avila, DETC$8Adam Aizer
113Jonathan Lucroy, MILC$7Al Melchior
128Ryan Doumit, MINC$7Al Melchior
135Jesus Montero, SEAC$7Bill Passonno
147Brian McCann, ATLC$6Chris Towers
218J.P. Arencibia, TORC$6Michael Hurcomb
97Carlos Ruiz, PHIC$4Jeff Tobin
205A.J. Pierzynski, TEXC$4Peter Madden
206Jarrod Saltalamacchia, BOSC$4Jeff Tobin
229Russell Martin, PITC$4Bill Passonno
181Tyler Flowers, CHWC$2Nando DiFino
240Yasmani Grandal, SDC$2Igor Mello
261Travis d'Arnaud, NYMC$2Scott White
247Chris Iannetta, LAAC$1Adam Aizer
251John Jaso, OAKC$1Scott White
254Welington Castillo, CHCC$1Nando DiFino
307Rob Brantly, MIAC$0Bill Passonno
334Kurt Suzuki, WASC$0Peter Madden
335A.J. Ellis, LADC$0Ed Gauna
28David Ortiz, BOSDH$14Al Melchior
99Victor Martinez, DETDH$7Ed Gauna
355Travis Hafner, NYYDH$0Bill Passonno
6Ryan Braun, MILOF$45Jeff Tobin
3Mike Trout, LAAOF$44Scott White
22Matt Kemp, LADOF$38Adam Aizer
23Giancarlo Stanton, MIAOF$37Igor Mello
8Andrew McCutchen, PITOF$36Peter Madden
70Carlos Gonzalez, COLOF$32Al Melchior
13Jose Bautista, TOROF$30Igor Mello
20Yoenis Cespedes, OAKOF$29Jeff Tobin
11Bryce Harper, WASOF$27Chris Towers
64Justin Upton, ATLOF$27Bill Passonno
34Josh Hamilton, LAAOF$26Peter Madden
40Jay Bruce, CINOF$26Nando DiFino
66Jason Heyward, ATLOF$25Chris Towers
61Ben Zobrist, TBOF$23Scott White
65Adam Jones, BALOF$23Adam Aizer
58Jacoby Ellsbury, BOSOF$22Bill Passonno
112Shin-Soo Choo, CINOF$18Nando DiFino
111Matt Holliday, STLOF$17Michael Hurcomb
15Melky Cabrera, TOROF$16Igor Mello
142B.J. Upton, ATLOF$16Nando DiFino
140Mark Trumbo, LAAOF$14Nando DiFino
141Alex Rios, CHWOF$14Michael Hurcomb
166Desmond Jennings, TBOF$13Peter Madden
210Austin Jackson, DETOF$13Bill Passonno
93Alex Gordon, KCOF$12Scott White
95Curtis Granderson, NYYOF$12Michael Hurcomb
102Michael Bourn, CLEOF$12Adam Aizer
51Josh Willingham, MINOF$10Adam Moore
80Carlos Gomez, MILOF$8Scott White
160Martin Prado, ARIOF$8Peter Madden
255Hunter Pence, SFOF$8Chris Towers
83Nick Markakis, BALOF$7Ed Gauna
101Adam Eaton, ARIOF$7Nando DiFino
163Shane Victorino, BOSOF$7Al Melchior
129Brett Gardner, NYYOF$6Adam Aizer
136Peter Bourjos, LAAOF$5Ed Gauna
143Wil Myers, TBOF$5Scott White
164Norichika Aoki, MILOF$5Jeff Tobin
239Michael Cuddyer, COLOF$5Adam Moore
178Ichiro Suzuki, NYYOF$4Peter Madden
184Chris Davis, BALOF$4Nando DiFino
186Carl Crawford, LADOF$4Bill Passonno
190Nelson Cruz, TEXOF$4Jeff Tobin
191Andre Ethier, LADOF$4Scott White
202Josh Reddick, OAKOF$4Peter Madden
215Dexter Fowler, COLOF$4Igor Mello
19Cameron Maybin, SDOF$3Adam Moore
107Michael Saunders, SEAOF$3Ed Gauna
172Jon Jay, STLOF$3Jeff Tobin
203Alejandro De Aza, CHWOF$3Chris Towers
213Ryan Ludwick, CINOF$3Adam Aizer
227Carlos Beltran, STLOF$3Igor Mello
259Jayson Werth, WASOF$3Ed Gauna
179Torii Hunter, DETOF$2Ed Gauna
231Ben Revere, PHIOF$2Bill Passonno
250Logan Morrison, MIAOF$2Chris Towers
196Emilio Bonifacio, TOROF$1Al Melchior
219Alfonso Soriano, CHCOF$1Chris Towers
220Michael Morse, SEAOF$1Al Melchior
228Nick Swisher, CLEOF$1Adam Moore
260Denard Span, WASOF$1Adam Moore
267Colby Rasmus, TOROF$1Adam Moore
271Domonic Brown, PHIOF$1Michael Hurcomb
273Starling Marte, PITOF$1Michael Hurcomb
277Angel Pagan, SFOF$0Scott White
278Leonys Martin, TEXOF$0Igor Mello
279Lorenzo Cain, KCOF$0Chris Towers
281Dayan Viciedo, CHWOF$0Nando DiFino
284Coco Crisp, OAKOF$0Jeff Tobin
288Jason Kubel, ARIOF$0Adam Moore
289Carlos Quentin, SDOF$0Adam Moore
297Aaron Hicks, MINOF$0Al Melchior
298Juan Pierre, MIAOF$0Chris Towers
304Justin Ruggiano, MIAOF$0Al Melchior
305Tyler Colvin, COLOF$0Nando DiFino
310Rajai Davis, TOROF$0Peter Madden
312Matt Joyce, TBOF$0Adam Moore
313Michael Brantley, CLEOF$0Adam Moore
316David Murphy, TEXOF$0Adam Aizer
318Lucas Duda, NYMOF$0Bill Passonno
319Jeff Francoeur, KCOF$0Michael Hurcomb
322Cody Ross, ARIOF$0Chris Towers
327Travis Snider, PITOF$0Chris Towers
330Darin Ruf, PHIOF$0Michael Hurcomb
338Delmon Young, PHIOF$0Ed Gauna
339Darin Mastroianni, MINOF$0Peter Madden
341Oscar Taveras, STLOF$0Jeff Tobin
347Raul Ibanez, SEAOF$0Igor Mello
350Vernon Wells, LAAOF$0Igor Mello
357Drew Stubbs, CLEOF$0Adam Aizer
358Will Venable, SDOF$0Peter Madden
359Justin Maxwell, HOUOF$0Ed Gauna
9Clayton Kershaw, LADP$36Chris Towers
12Justin Verlander, DETP$36Ed Gauna
82Felix Hernandez, SEAP$31Igor Mello
21David Price, TBP$29Al Melchior
10Stephen Strasburg, WASP$28Bill Passonno
7CC Sabathia, NYYP$25Adam Moore
16Craig Kimbrel, ATLP$25Al Melchior
26Cole Hamels, PHIP$24Michael Hurcomb
14Zack Greinke, LADP$23Ed Gauna
30Cliff Lee, PHIP$22Peter Madden
244Josh Beckett, LADP$22Nando DiFino
94Madison Bumgarner, SFP$21Bill Passonno
77Matt Cain, SFP$20Adam Moore
56Max Scherzer, DETP$19Nando DiFino
55Adam Wainwright, STLP$18Jeff Tobin
74Chris Sale, CHWP$18Ed Gauna
78Jered Weaver, LAAP$18Bill Passonno
124Yu Darvish, TEXP$18Adam Aizer
50Johnny Cueto, CINP$17Adam Aizer
71R.A. Dickey, TORP$17Scott White
123Gio Gonzalez, WASP$16Peter Madden
150Mat Latos, CINP$16Nando DiFino
39Kris Medlen, ATLP$15Igor Mello
59Jeff Samardzija, CHCP$15Jeff Tobin
114James Shields, KCP$14Al Melchior
127Yovani Gallardo, MILP$14Michael Hurcomb
130Aroldis Chapman, CINP$14Michael Hurcomb
152Matt Moore, TBP$14Chris Towers
171Jordan Zimmermann, WASP$14Michael Hurcomb
149Roy Halladay, PHIP$13Nando DiFino
161Jon Lester, BOSP$13Nando DiFino
159Josh Johnson, TORP$12Igor Mello
168Joe Nathan, TEXP$12Adam Moore
139Jason Motte, STLP$11Adam Aizer
246Brett Anderson, OAKP$11Bill Passonno
1Rafael Soriano, WASP$10Jeff Tobin
38Matt Harvey, NYMP$10Bill Passonno
92Mike Minor, ATLP$10Scott White
105Lance Lynn, STLP$10Peter Madden
122C.J. Wilson, LAAP$10Igor Mello
125Jonathan Papelbon, PHIP$10Peter Madden
155Mariano Rivera, NYYP$10Adam Aizer
126Dan Haren, WASP$9Bill Passonno
167Tom Wilhelmsen, SEAP$9Adam Moore
174Jake Peavy, CHWP$9Chris Towers
180Brandon Morrow, TORP$9Al Melchior
189Tim Lincecum, SFP$9Chris Towers
221John Axford, MILP$9Nando DiFino
29Glen Perkins, MINP$8Ed Gauna
84Steve Cishek, MIAP$8Chris Towers
151Ian Kennedy, ARIP$8Ed Gauna
198Fernando Rodney, TBP$8Igor Mello
208J.J. Putz, ARIP$8Michael Hurcomb
212Greg Holland, KCP$8Michael Hurcomb
103Jim Johnson, BALP$7Peter Madden
116Jeremy Hellickson, TBP$7Peter Madden
176Huston Street, SDP$7Nando DiFino
195Anibal Sanchez, DETP$7Jeff Tobin
204Sergio Romo, SFP$7Igor Mello
224Grant Balfour, OAKP$7Jeff Tobin
41Jonathan Broxton, CINP$6Nando DiFino
200Hiroki Kuroda, NYYP$6Adam Aizer
222Joel Hanrahan, BOSP$6Jeff Tobin
153Jarrod Parker, OAKP$5Jeff Tobin
183Jonathon Niese, NYMP$5Chris Towers
223Doug Fister, DETP$5Scott White
226A.J. Griffin, OAKP$5Peter Madden
232Jason Grilli, PITP$5Al Melchior
81Shelby Miller, STLP$4Igor Mello
207A.J. Burnett, PITP$4Chris Towers
216Chad Billingsley, LADP$4Ed Gauna
225Alex Cobb, TBP$4Igor Mello
236Alexi Ogando, TEXP$4Chris Towers
241Addison Reed, CHWP$4Igor Mello
243Shaun Marcum, NYMP$4Adam Moore
57Mike Fiers, MILP$3Al Melchior
117Andrew Cashner, SDP$3Bill Passonno
138Kenley Jansen, LADP$3Michael Hurcomb
157Ryan Madson, LAAP$3Adam Aizer
169Tim Hudson, ATLP$3Jeff Tobin
192Ryan Dempster, BOSP$3Adam Moore
201Marco Estrada, MILP$3Scott White
217Johan Santana, NYMP$3Jeff Tobin
233Rafael Betancourt, COLP$3Scott White
238Carlos Marmol, CHCP$3Scott White
245Chris Perez, CLEP$3Scott White
248Clay Buchholz, BOSP$3Bill Passonno
85Kyuji Fujikawa, CHCP$2Al Melchior
109Ricky Romero, TORP$2Nando DiFino
145Ernesto Frieri, LAAP$2Peter Madden
177Jaime Garcia, STLP$2Al Melchior
199Matt Garza, CHCP$2Ed Gauna
253Homer Bailey, CINP$2Ed Gauna
257Trevor Cahill, ARIP$2Bill Passonno
258Casey Janssen, TORP$2Adam Aizer
272Wade Miley, ARIP$2Adam Moore
274Andy Pettitte, NYYP$2Adam Moore
45Tyler Skaggs, ARIP$1Adam Aizer
69James McDonald, PITP$1Adam Aizer
87Kyle Lohse, STLP$1Chris Towers
133Julio Teheran, ATLP$1Scott White
193Tommy Milone, OAKP$1Scott White
262Colby Lewis, TEXP$1Al Melchior
265Brandon League, LADP$1Peter Madden
266Jose Veras, HOUP$1Ed Gauna
270Phil Hughes, NYYP$1Adam Moore
275David Phelps, NYYP$1Michael Hurcomb
276Zack Wheeler, NYMP$1Michael Hurcomb
280Vance Worley, MINP$0Al Melchior
285Matt Harrison, TEXP$0Adam Aizer
287Bruce Rondon, DETP$0Ed Gauna
291Wei-Yin Chen, BALP$0Peter Madden
292Hyun-Jin Ryu, LADP$0Adam Aizer
293Hisashi Iwakuma, SEAP$0Jeff Tobin
294Trevor Bauer, CLEP$0Bill Passonno
295Bobby Parnell, NYMP$0Michael Hurcomb
296Tommy Hanson, LAAP$0Nando DiFino
301Ryan Vogelsong, SFP$0Scott White
302Jason Hammel, BALP$0Igor Mello
303Dillon Gee, NYMP$0Chris Towers
308Dylan Bundy, BALP$0Jeff Tobin
309Chris Tillman, BALP$0Adam Aizer
317Jason Vargas, LAAP$0Jeff Tobin
320Drew Smyly, DETP$0Nando DiFino
324Erasmo Ramirez, SEAP$0Scott White
331Rick Porcello, DETP$0Bill Passonno
333Edwin Jackson, CHCP$0Adam Aizer
337Mark Buehrle, TORP$0Adam Moore
343Sergio Santos, TORP$0Michael Hurcomb
344Dan Straily, OAKP$0Nando DiFino
346Felix Doubront, BOSP$0Chris Towers
348Brandon Beachy, ATLP$0Scott White
349Vinnie Pestano, CLEP$0Scott White
351Justin Masterson, CLEP$0Chris Towers
354Gerrit Cole, PITP$0Michael Hurcomb
356Ervin Santana, KCP$0Jeff Tobin
360Brandon McCarthy, ARIP$0Adam Moore
17Troy Tulowitzki, COLSS$35Adam Moore
46Jose Reyes, TORSS$29Nando DiFino
36Starlin Castro, CHCSS$23Ed Gauna
32Ian Desmond, WASSS$18Al Melchior
88Elvis Andrus, TEXSS$14Ed Gauna
86Jimmy Rollins, PHISS$12Chris Towers
214Asdrubal Cabrera, CLESS$10Adam Moore
197Josh Rutledge, COLSS$9Igor Mello
63Derek Jeter, NYYSS$7Nando DiFino
110J.J. Hardy, BALSS$7Jeff Tobin
104Everth Cabrera, SDSS$4Jeff Tobin
194Alcides Escobar, KCSS$4Bill Passonno
144Alexei Ramirez, CHWSS$3Peter Madden
211Andrelton Simmons, ATLSS$2Adam Aizer
237Erick Aybar, LAASS$2Scott White
146Billy Hamilton, CINSS$1Igor Mello
252Stephen Drew, BOSSS$1Chris Towers
268Jed Lowrie, OAKSS$1Michael Hurcomb
286Jean Segura, MILSS$0Peter Madden
323Hiroyuki Nakajima, OAKSS$0Igor Mello
342Yunel Escobar, TBSS$0Bill Passonno
352Zack Cozart, CINSS$0Al Melchior

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Player News
Mets' Jacob deGrom working on perfecting his curveball
by Chris Cwik |
(1:42 am ET) Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom is working on perfecting his curveball this spring, according to the New York Post

"This spring is so different," deGrom said. "I can really come in here and work on things. Last year when I was over on the big league side, I didn’t throw my curveball one time because I was trying to make the team and prove I could get outs in spring training."

After experiencing some success in the majors, deGrom said he is more willing to work on stuff this time around. While he actually started using his curve more late last season, it seems like deGrom is going to work on perfecting the pitch during camp. 

"It’s a great pitch whether it be strike one or a strikeout pitch," deGrom said. "Talking to Gee, Wheeler and all those guys and see how they throw theirs and taking little bits of information from them and trying it in bullpens. Sometimes I throw it at 78 (mph) and that’s a big difference from the slider. It gets the hitter off balance."

deGrom, 26, posted a 2.69 ERA over 140 1/3 innings last season.

Rockies' Charlie Blackmon hoping for more consistency
by Chris Cwik |
(1:15 am ET) Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is hoping for more consistency in 2015, according to the Denver Post

Blackmon had a breakout season in 2014, but admits it's hard to be on every single game. "Last year, I swung the bat really well at certain times," he said. "But you go through a lot of ups and downs over 162 games, and that was a learning experience. I think that's going to help me this year."

Blackmon said his strong start made him a target for other teams, and that may have contributed to a slight slump during the season. Blackmon added that he's hoping to hit the ball to all fields this season.

Manager Walt Weiss is hoping Blackmon can deliver more of the same. "I don't know if he necessarily has to have an encore. I'm thinking more of the same," Weiss said. "I think Charlie would say that he wants to be more consistent."

The 28-year-old Blackmon hit .288/.335/.440 over 593 at-bats last year. 

Twins' Gibson feels 'a little more comfortable' with curveball
by R.J. White |
(12:29 am ET) Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson surrendered one run on two hits and one walk in two innings while striking out two in his spring debut Thursday, using the outing to work on his curveball, the Associated Press reports.

"I felt really good," Gibson said. "I'm working on some stuff, and some stuff worked out that I was working on. I threw more curveballs than normal. That's what spring training's for. It's just fun to be able to work on a particular pitch. I feel a little more comfortable."

Gibson, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011, completed his first full major-league deal in 2014, going 13-12 with a 4.47 ERA and 107:57 K:BB ratio in 179 1/3 innings.

Blue Jays' Barton hoping his glove wins him a spot
by Chris Cwik |
(12:28 am ET) Blue Jays first baseman Daric Barton is hoping his glove can win him a spot on the 25-man roster, according to the Toronto Sun.

Barton isn't much of a power hitter, but gets strong marks for his defense at first. Manager John Gibbons is well aware of Barton's skills. "One thing that put Daric on the map was that he was such a disciplined hitter and a great defender," Gibbons said. He added that the first baseman is involved in a large chunk of plays, so defense at the position is probably more important than people realize.

With that said, Barton may need a trade to make the opening day roster. As currently constructed, the Blue Jays may carry three catchers. If the team retains Dioner Navarro, Barton could find himself in the minors.

The 29-year-old Barton hit .158 over 57 at-bats last year.

Pirates' Pedro Alvarez feeling comfortable at first
by Chris Cwik |
(12:21 am ET) Pirates infielder Pedro Alvarez is feeling comfortable at first base, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

After playing third the past couple of seasons, Alvarez will transition to first base full-time in 2015. The 28-year-old is still getting used to the position, but he seems comfortable with the change.

"It’s just a matter of getting used to seeing the field from that point of view, get the reps in so that the responsibilities that come with playing the position become second nature," he said. "That’s just with time and repetitions."

Alvarez hit .231/.312/.405 over 398 at-bats last season. 

Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman gets strong marks at first
by Chris Cwik |
(12:17 am ET) Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman received strong reviews after playing his first game at first base this spring, according to

"He is still in the stages of having to think about it out there, because it's not natural yet," manager Matt Williams said. "He looked fine. He has fantastic hands." Zimmerman was tested during the start, and had to make two scoops in order to prevent possible throwing errors. 

He's been taking extra practice at the position this spring, and was fairly happy with how his first game turned out. "You can do so many drills, exercises and things like that until you have to go out there and play," Zimmerman said. "So it's nice to have a few chances. The more I play over there, the more comfortable I will get. I feel fine."

Zimmerman, 30, hit .280/.342/.449 over 214 at-bats last year. 

Orioles' Brian Matusz tosses scoreless inning in return
by Chris Cwik |
(12:09 am ET) Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz tossed a scoreless inning in his return to the mound.

Matusz came into camp dealing with a shoulder issue, but said he was pretty close to 100 percent. He allowed one hit during his one inning of work, and struck out one batter. Matusz is expected to open the season in the team's bullpen. 

The 28-year-old posted a 3.48 ERA over 51 2/3 innings last year.

Red Sox's Rusney Castillo wouldn't alter plan if sent down
by Chris Cwik |
(12:06 am ET) Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo won't be upset if he winds up being sent down to the minors, according to the WEEI.

That's not a likely outcome, but with his recent oblique injury, there's a chance Castillo could fall behind the other outfielders on the roster. "To me it wouldn’t be anything that would alter my plan, or my attitude, or my perspective," he said. "If that’s what it’s got to be, that’s what it’s got to be. I’m just worrying playing and continuing to get reps and reps wherever they may come."

Castillo did note that he's feeling a lot better, and is expected to return in about a week. Castillo hit .333 over 36 at-bats in the majors last year. 

Red Sox's Jackie Bradley Jr. showing off new swing
by Chris Cwik |
(3/5/2015) Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is showing off his new swing this spring, according to the Boston Herald

Bradley started working out at the team's facility in November, and started hitting in January. He worked with assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez for a good portion of the offseason. "Jackie was dedicated," Rodriguez said. "He listened, too. He was open to what we talked about."

Manager John Farrell has noticed the change in Bradley's approach. "In BP, to me, it seems like there’s more of a willingness to stay in the middle of the field and not look to lift a ball too much," Farrell said. "I think it’s more of his natural swing, which he was drafted with."

Bradley said his swing has been a "work in progress." While it doesn't appear Bradley has a starting role, his defense should make him a useful major-league asset.

The 24-year-old hit .198/.265/.266 over 384 at-bats last year. 


Molitor: Eduardo Escobar 'will be' important part of Twins in 2015
by R.J. White |
(3/5/2015) Twins manager Paul Molitor marked infielder Eduardo Escobar as "an important part" of the team in 2014 and believes he will be the same this season, the Star Tribune reports.

"He was an important part of our team last year," Molitor said. "He will be this year, too."

Escobar delivered the best performance of his career in 2014, hitting .275/.315/.406 with six home runs and 37 RBI in 433 at-bats. However, he arrived at camp to learn he was in a competition for the shortstop role with last year's center fielder, Danny Santana. Breaking the news to Escobar was a delicate conversation for the manager.

"Obviously," Molitor said. "You’ve got a guy who came in and played every day for you last year, and then you’re thinking about doing something different. I’ve tried to explain it to him the best I could. His answers, at least for now, are, 'No problem. I understand.'"