Spring Training position battles are starting to be settled and injuries are starting to have more of an impact on the regular season. Let’s look at a temporary closer and new everyday outfielder…
Brian Fuentes | RP | Ownership: 42% Yahoo, 8.9% ESPN
Top notch closer Andrew Bailey is going to miss the start of the season due to a muscle strain in his forearm (as opposed to a more damning ligament injury), and manager Bob Geren said that Fuentes will get the lion’s share of the save opportunities in Bailey’s absence. Grant Balfour will see a few as well, depending on the matchups according to Geren. Fuentes is a pure saves pickup more than anything, but he’ll offer a little help in ERA (3.41 over the last two years), WHIP (1.24) and strikeout (8.1 K/9) categories as well. Playing in the spacious Coliseum will give his value a little bit of a boost too.
Balfour, by the way, is owned in just 3% of Yahoo! leagues and in fewer than 1% of ESPN leagues. I just get the feeling that Geren will turn to Fuentes more often than not in those spots; that “proven closer” tag can be tough for managers to ignore sometimes.
Mike Morse | 1B, OF | Ownership: 32% Yahoo, 8.4% ESPN
The Nats’ outfield picture has (predictably) cleared up as we move closer to Opening Day. Jayson Werth will handle right field, Rick Ankiel beat out the since-traded Nyjer Morgan for the center field job, and Morse will get the nod in left. The 29-year-old (finally) broke out last year, hitting .289/.352/.519 (.374 wOBA) with 15 homers in 293 PA, the vast majority of which came in the second half. The right-handed hitting Morse demolished lefties (.423 wOBA, 8 HR, 99 PA) and more than held his own against righties (.353 wOBA, 7 HR, 194 PA), but apparently he’s got the job outright. The trade of Morgan could open up the possibility of a platoon with Roger Bernadina, of which Morse draws the short end of the playing time stick. He’s risky, but there’s the upside of a solid AVG and 20 homers with playing time, not bad for a fantasy bench piece/last outfielder.