The injury didn't seem to impact Rupp at the plate as his .447 slugging percentage put him among the top catchers in baseball. It did hurt his ability to slow down the run game, however, as he threw out just 27 percent of possible base stealers after averaging 38 percent his previous two seasons. The Phillies want to see Rupp improve on his game calling and pitch framing this season after he struggled in both areas last year. Phillies' bullpen coach John McLaren, who also works with the catchers, said Rupp needs to improve his focus during games. It will be important for Rupp to further develop defensively this season with top prospect Jorge Alfaro in Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. He could start pushing for Rupp's job as soon as midseason if he gets off to a strong start in the minors.
Kipnis did not participate in fielding drills during Monday morning's workout as the team decided to give him a lighter workload. Although the All-Star second baseman wasn't hindered last year, he has dealt with nagging shoulder woes in previous seasons. There's been no official word that Kipnis is experiencing any shoulder issues now, but it's worth noting this new maintenance program.
Rodriguez is competing for the job against Michael Martinez and Erik Gonzalez, both of whom had stints with the Tribe last season. Although the 24-year-old Rodriguez is the long shot, the coaches are reportedly keeping a close eye on all the possible options. Rodriguez hit .258/.293/.400 with 10 homers, 59 RBI and scored 48 runs for Triple-A Columbus last season.
Judging from manager Bryan Price's quote, however, Cingrani is the fourth option, based on the possible game situation. "I would really like to see this particular game plan we have in place work out," Price said on Sunday. "We want to look at the end of the year and we see Storen and Iglesias and Lorenzen, in particular, with some saves. That may mean Cingrani as well, if he's the best guy we have for that situation in the ninth inning."
Melancon threw a bullpen session Tuesday and reportedly felt great physically afterwards. He mentioned that he normally feels a "slowness" when beginning spring training but that was not the case this year. This is good news for both the Giants -- who recently signed their new closer to four-year deal this offseason -- and fantasy owners hoping for another solid season from one of the game's top closing options.
Raisel Iglesias and Drew Storen appear to be the primary alternatives, followed by Lorenzen and Tony Cingrani. "I would really like to see this particular game plan we have in place work out," manager Bryan Price said on Sunday. "We want to look at the end of the year and we see Storen and Iglesias and Lorenzen, in particular, with some saves. That may mean Cingrani as well, if he's the best guy we have for that situation in the ninth inning.
The thought has been that Jackson could be ready to race for an Opening Day roster spot, but that looks cloudier each week he continues to lag behind the other outfielders in camp. Manager Terry Francona said the veteran still has a ways to go before he'll be ready to compete with the group. "The biggest thing is he has to be able to make his cuts -- reacting," Francona said. "He's a good center fielder. That's part of his skill set. So, asking him to do it before he's ready isn't fair to anybody." Even if healthy and on the 25-man roster, Jackson is best-suited for deeper leagues at best.
Carrasco missed the postseason after sustaining a fractured right hand last September. Due to the time missed down the stretch, combined with the righty's stint on the disabled list between May and June (left hamstring), Carrasco was limited to 146.1 innings in 2016. This spring, Cleveland plans on being aggressive with Carrasco's Cactus League workload. Manager Terry Francona said the plan will be to ramp up his innings quickly to make up for lost time. "You'll probably see him lead our team in innings [this spring]," Francona mentioned. This latest development is a shift from the cautious approach the team was originally scheduled to take with the 29-year-old, but it sure sounds like fantasy owners will get a good look before deciding whether or not to invest in Carrasco this season.
Street turned in one of his worst seasons as a pro in 2016, posting a 6.45 ERA in an injury-shortened season. It was quite the drop off in production even in his age 33 season, so we have to take his knee injury into consideration when evaluating the lost season. It was already reported that Street had the inside track on regaining his closer role that he vacated last season, so as long as he shows up to camp and shows good health, it should be his job to lose. No official closer has been named, but Street has to be considered the early favorite heading into Cactus League action.
Allen stole 45 bases, scored 119 runs and posted an .830 OPS between High-A Lynchburg and Double-A Akron last season. While considered an important part of Cleveland's future, the 23-year-old still has a few steps to climb before he makes a splash in the fantasy world. Allen should garner attention in dynasty formats, and is worth watching as a possible late-season add in standard leagues.