Before we get started on the fantasy baseball news, let us acknowledge and celebrate the 15th anniversary of “Futurama.” That’s right, 15 years ago my favorite cartoon — barely edging out “Rocko’s Modern Life” and “Archer” — debuted. Normally I would have a scene or clip picked out to link to, however attempting to boil Futurama down to a single clip is impossible. Since the debut and the original four seasons, it has spawned four movies (okay, really a fifth season) and two additional seasons. Personally I think Futurama’s (multiple) endings have sewn up the show for me, however I would not be against additional seasons; I’m looking at you, Netflix.
On today’s agenda:
1. Cole Hamels officially on the disabled list
2. Corey Kluber is still available
3. The hot corner on the north side
4. Archie Bradley to Triple-A
Cole Hamels offically on the disabled list
In a move that should surprise no one, the Philadelphia Phillies formally announced that Cole Hamels will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list. When it comes to pitchers, shoulder issues scare the proverbial pants off of me, but seeing Hamels throw 20 of 30 pitches for strikes in a minor league rehab game is a good sign. Assuming no setbacks, Hamels should be ready for action as soon as late April or early May.
Corey Kluber is still available
Despite nearly 150 innings of 3.10 xFIP baseball last year with 136 strikeouts to go with it, not everyone has boarded the Kluber hype train. Perhaps he is being outshone by Justin Masterson or the newest darling, Danny Salazar, but Kluber still has plenty of value to offer. I won’t bother citing spring training ERA, but two statistics of note are Kluber’s 21 strikeouts against three walks this spring. If Kluber can maintain even half of that 7:1 strikeout to walk ratio he’ll be a very good fantasy starter. It seems like CBS leagues have caught on, as he is owned in almost 90% of leagues there, however both ESPN (9.3%) and Yahoo! (60%) haven’t gotten the memo just yet.
The hot corner on the north side
No, I’m not talking about a delicious slice of Chicago-style deep dish — real deep dish doesn’t have corners — but instead the third base situation for the Chicago Cubs. Yesterday the club announced their opening day roster as well as their intention for both Luis Valbuena and Mike Olt to see playing time at third base. The left-handed Valbuena may figure to get the majority of the playing time early on, however Olt could eventually take over the job with strong hitting. Between both players and the three major fantasy sites, Olt’s 26% ownership rate in CBS formats is far and away the highest. Given his younger age and higher ceiling, one shouldn’t be shocked to see Olt owned more.
Archie Bradley to Triple-A
In a move that probably disappointed many fantasy owners — myself included — the Arizona Diamondbacks opted to send Archie Bradley down to the minors to start the season. Bradley, the top rated D-backs prospect here at FanGraphs, posted some up-and-down numbers this spring and the club claimed that he needed further development on his fastball command and continue to improve his changeup. Be it injuries or ineffectiveness in the Arizona rotation, I expect to see Bradley don the big league uniform before the All-Star break.
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