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The Rockies Outfield: Two Breakouts and The Case of the Fatty Mass with Tentacles

This post continues our Depth Chart Discussions. In an effort to suss out every team, we’ve divided them into four parts (infield, outfield, rotation, and bullpen) and will continue to break them down for you over the next few weeks. You can find the Depth Chart Discussion posts gathered here.

Just as you might expect from a Colorado Rockies team, this is an outfield in which the prospect of high production is balanced against sharp home/away splits and, in the case of one outfielder, heavy injury risk. That said, there’s plenty here to entice owners in all formats, including a former first-round fantasy stud and two players coming off breakout campaigns.
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The Marlins Bullpen: Real Value in the Magic City

This post continues our Depth Chart Discussions. In an effort to suss out every team, we’ve divided them into four parts (infield, outfield, rotation, and bullpen) and will continue to break them down for you over the next few weeks. You can find the Depth Chart Discussion posts gathered here.

The Marlins bullpen finished sixth in WAR among all big league teams last year, thanks to one of the most underrated closers in fantasy and a collection of effective setup men. Heading into 2015, owners looking to pick up both saves and holds should find reasonably priced options in Miami.
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The Phillies Rotation: Two Southpaws, Then Just South

This post continues our Depth Chart Discussions. In an effort to suss out every team, we’ve divided them into four parts (infield, outfield, bullpen, and rotation) and will continue to break them down for you over the next few weeks. You can find the Depth Chart Discussion posts gathered here.

It’s a rebuilding period for the Phillies, who fielded one of the oldest teams in baseball last year and felt the pinch in their starting rotation, as Cliff Lee’s 2014 was ruined by an elbow injury and A.J. Burnett had the worst full season of his career. Since then, Burnett and longtime right-hander Kyle Kendrick have left town, with an array of newcomers — well, new to the Phillies, anyway — looking to bring order to the back end of the staff. But behind the two lefties, who have both been the subject of trade talk all winter, it’s not a very pretty picture.
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The Mets Outfield: Golden Glove, Tarnishing Bats

It’s time for our Depth Chart Discussions to begin. In an effort to suss out every team, we’ve divided them into four parts (infield, outfield, bullpen, and rotation) and will begin breaking them down for you over the next few weeks. You can find them gathered here.

Looking for offense? Join the rest of Mets nation, whose hopes for a productive lineup rely largely on two aging corner outfielders and a glove-heavy center fielder. That said, all of the three options here have clear full-time jobs — well, heh, assuming they stay healthy — and they all have the potential to contribute in standard mixed leagues, even if they probably shouldn’t be drafted with such expectations.

First, a quick word about Citi Field. Last year, the park favored pitchers slightly overall, though it was found to increase home runs a tad, particularly for right-handed hitters. We’ll see how the Mets’ decision to move in the fences, yet again, bodes for offense, but suffice to say, the ballpark shouldn’t be viewed as a major impediment to run production.
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The Orioles Infield: Wieters and the Machado Man*

It’s time for our Depth Chart Discussions to begin. In an effort to suss out every team, we’ve divided them into four parts (infield, outfield, bullpen, and rotation) and will begin breaking them down for you over the next few weeks. You can find them gathered here.

The Baltimore Orioles offer fantasy owners an array of usable infield options, with one of baseball’s best upside bets at third, a veritable mixed league shortstop, a three-time all-star behind the dish and a true bopper at first base. And that’s before you factor in a home ballpark that’s known for boosting offense. What’s not to like?
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The Old Ballgame: A Look at 2015’s Oldest Hitters

The Steroids Era has passed, and with that comes a return to the laws of physicality: when you approach your mid-to-late 30s, your athletic productivity takes a sharp downturn. Need any proof? Last year, just 13 players in their age-37 season or above notched 200 or more plate appearances. Among them were the now-retired Derek Jeter, Paul Konerko and Alfonso Soriano, as well as part-time players like Reed Johnson, Jose Molina and Ichiro Suzuki. Of this bunch, only two — David Ortiz and Torii Hunter — posted positive WAR figures and were above average offensively.

Assuming for the moment that some Faustian agreement doesn’t produce a Joe Boyd-like debut this year, here are five players, 37 years and older, who could snag enough playing time to surface on the radars of standard leagues this year — unless, of course, Father Time catches up with them first.
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Yovani Gallardo Goes to the Lone Star State

The Rangers took a significant step on Monday toward restoring some semblance of stability to a rotation that was among baseball’s worst last year, acquiring Yovani Gallardo from the Brewers for three minor leaguers. I’ll let others pick apart the deal from a real-life perspective; at the very least, the Rangers are getting a guy who has averaged 192.5 innings a season since 2009, a period during which he’s made at least 30 starts each year.

On the fantasy side of things, however, it’s hard to see this as helping a career that has been trending downward for some time; last year, Gallardo generated slightly negative value and finished 86th among starting pitchers, according to Zach Sanders’ end of the season rankings. Now, Gallardo, who turns 29 next month, is joining a league that features the DH, while having to toil in one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball.
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Bartolo Colon, Somehow, Keeps on Chugging Along

Because I’m a hopeless dweeb starved for baseball, I was watching the Mets’ last game of the 2014 season the other day. Sure, sitting through a meaningless game between the sub-.500 Mets and the hapless Astros — when I already know the outcome — might raise questions about my insomnia and/or social life, but keep in mind that the Mets haven’t played winning, feel-good baseball since the Bush administration, and there was a lot to be positive about on Sept. 28.

Lucas Duda cranked home run No. 30 and passed the 90-RBI mark, validating once and for all management’s decision to trade Ike Davis. Bobby Abreu collected the last hit of his career and was rewarded with a heartfelt, rousing ovation from fans who had booed him for years when he was a Phillie. In general, the atmosphere at Citi Field, coming at the conclusion of a strong second half and a 15-10 record in September, hinted that 2015 could be a year of actual competitive baseball in Queens and that there was a lot to look forward to.

And Bartolo Colon notched his 15th victory.
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Back in Chicago, Jason Hammel Looks for a Return to Form

It was insert cliche here a tale of two seasons for Jason Hammel in 2014: in one, he was the surprise Chicago success story, a guy racking up strikeouts at a high clip while maintaining a sub-3 ERA. In the other, he was the acquired gun who fizzled in Oakland, getting blown apart with a 2-6 record and bloated FIP, a prime culprit in the team’s second-half choke job.

All told, Hammel finished 38th among starting pitchers in Zach Sanders’ end of the season rankings, though surely those fantasy owners who hoped that a move to the (at the time) high-flying A’s and their big ballpark would help Hammel continue his good vibes still harbor some bitterness.

A $20 million contract in hand, Hammel is now on his way back to Chicago, where he’ll look to recapture the success of his first three months of 2014. As far as fantasy owners are concerned, however, he’ll also be looking to prove that his 2015 value is closer to that of his Cubbie tenure than his brief stay in Oakland.
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Ian Kennedy Bounces Back

Coming into 2014, Ian Kennedy was not exactly in great demand in fantasy, which figures, since for a guy whose major league tenure began in the shadows of Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, being underrated is nothing new for him. That’s not to say he wasn’t borderline dreadful 2013, or that he didn’t deserve his 70 ADP among starting pitchers back in March.

But as he’s never approached the highs of his breakout 2011 season, in which he posted a 4.9 WAR and finished fourth in that year’s NL Cy Young balloting, an air of disappointment has clung to Kennedy, despite what’s been, at least overall, a very solid run as a major league starter.

That’s why it was nice to see him bounce back this year with what may have been his best season yet, as he finished 47th among starting pitchers, according to Zach Sanders’ end of the season rankings.
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