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Spring Training Fantasy Baseball Update: Top Performers To Target

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 18: Oneil Cruz #15 of the Pittsburgh Pirates watches his home run in the top of the sixth inning off Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Urakami/Getty Images)

Amazing!!! The regular season starts next week (not counting the Seoul Series, which has already started). Teams are starting to ramp up in Florida and Arizona in anticipation of Opening Day.

This is the time of year when pitchers take their craft more seriously, throw more pitches, and go deeper in games. The days of them dabbling with new pitches are over … either they’ve perfected it, or it will stay in Florida and Arizona.

Hitters are playing deeper into games and facing real MLB pitchers instead of some 14th-rounder out of Vanderbilt. Rosters are being cut down in earnest. This is also the time of year when injuries start to pop up, which can create openings for players on the bubble. It seems like there are an inordinate amount of injuries this Spring … but I say that every year at this time.

This is also a wonderful time for fantasy baseball players. Drafts are ramping up, with tens of thousands of players getting ready to start their seasons. I just completed my first draft on Monday, have my second on Thursday, and have my league of nearly 30 years on Saturday morning to kick off a weekend of debauchery. It is an AL-Only 10-team high-stakes keeper league. The league began in 1997, and I joined it in 2004. Now that my kids are older, this week leading up to this draft has overtaken Christmas Week as my favorite of the year … who am I kidding, even when my kids were younger, this week still towered over Christmas week in excitement and anticipation.

But excitement can turn to dread without proper planning. With that in mind, I like to look at Spring Training stats during this week. Most of Spring Training is over, and there is a decent sample size to see how players are performing.

For some players, neither a good nor bad Spring matters. Any upper-echelon player’s job is secure, and a .238 AVG or 5.26 ERA won’t change anything. But a good Spring for some younger players can be an eye-opener and secure them a roster spot — if not on Opening Day, sometime in the near future.

Here are 11 hitters and 10 pitchers who are having stellar springs. Other than Juan Soto, Rafael Devers, and Spencer Strider, these aren’t necessarily household names, but they are players you should consider targeting in your fantasy drafts.

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Spring Training Fantasy Baseball Standouts
  • Juan Soto, New York Yankees: .300 AVG, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 1.110 OPS
  • Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox: .344 AVG, 4 HR, 1.198 OPS
  • Kyle Stowers, Baltimore Orioles: .297 AVG 7 HR, 13 RBI, 1.181 OPS
  • ONeil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates: .296 AVG, 5 HR, 11 runs, 1.258 OPS
  • Miguel Andujar, Oakland A’s: .333 AVG, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 1.107 OPS
  • Colton Cowser, Baltimore Orioles: .364 AVG 4 HR, 1.245 OPS
  • Zack Gelof, Oakland A’s: .344 AVG, 4 HR, 12 runs, 1.127 OPS
  • Jordan Luplow, Philadelphia Phillies: .323 AVG, 4 HR, 1.159 OPS
  • Jack Suwinski, Pittsburgh Pirates: .324 AVG, 4 HR, 1.126 OPS
  • Michael Toglia, Colorado Rockies: .333 AVG, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 1.168 OPS
  • Daulton Varsho, Toronto Blue Jays: .364 AVG, 6 SB, .931 OPS
  • Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves: 18.2 innings. Zero earned runs, 29 Ks
  • Tanner Houck, Boston Red Sox: 15 innings, 16 Ks, 2.40 ERA, 0.87 WHIP
  • Garrett Whitlock, Boston Red Sox: 15.2 innings, 16 Ks, 3.45 ERA, 0.96 WHIP
  • Ryan Weathers, Miami Marlins: 18 innings, 21 Ks, 3.00 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
  • Reynaldo Lopez, Atlanta Braves: 16.2 innings, 13 Ks, 2.16 ERA, 0.96 WHIP
  • Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals:16 innings, 12 Ks, 2.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
  • Joe Boyle, Oakland A’s:15.1 innings, 15 Ks, 2.93 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
  • Chris Bassitt, Toronto Blue Jays: 14.2 innings, 14 Ks, 3.07 ERA, 0.82 WHIP
  • Bowden Francis, Toronto Blue Jays: 14 innings, 12 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
  • Alec Marsh, Kansas City Royals: 14 innings, 17 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP

These performances don’t guarantee success in the regular season. And some of these players won’t even break camp with the big league squad. But, for some, this hot spring could very well carry over into the regular season.

I am particularly high on ONeil Cruz, Zack Gelof, and Daulton Varsho for the hitters. And I love the upside potential of Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock, and Joe Boyle. They are all throwing the ball great and will get plenty of opportunities pitching on teams with awful staffs.