Fantasy Articles
Well with rosters still being finalized, there are plenty of changes to consider and even over the next few days rosters may shift.  Rather than try to cover every roster change which has occurred we’ll mainly focus on guys who’ve locked down jobs and injured players.  Of course a lot of highly touted rookies and young players including Evan Longoria, Jay Bruce, Josh Fields and Jarrod Saltamacchia will start this season in the minors but will almost certainly return to the majors soon so drop them at your own peril.

Ratchet Them Up:

Carlos Gomez (OF, Twins):  Gomez nailed down the Twins centerfield job, but if he can hold onto it could be a question.  He has talent, but it’s raw, very raw.   Still fantasy fans should take note here.  This guy is faster than ANYONE in the majors and will contribute stolen bases, but he’ll have to get on base first.

Nate McClouth (OF, Pirates):
  After an outstanding spring, McClouth has been awarded the starting centerfield job.  He’s got speed and some power (he hit 13 homers and stole 22 last season in just 329 AB) which makes him an interesting pick up in a lot of leagues.

Jayson Nix (2B, Rockies):  Hey it’s always a good gamble to grab any Rockie with a starting job and Nix is no exception.  However he’s not likely to be a fantasy monster, especially as he’ll be batting towards the bottom of the order.  Still he’s got some speed and some power - optimistically he’ll hit about 10-12 home runs and steal about 25 bases but those numbers could be significantly lower.

Jorge Cantu (2B/3B, Marlins):  If you are looking for a long shot with upside look no further than the current third baseman for the Florida Marlins.  If he pans out, his value probably rests more in the fact that he qualifies at second in most leagues.  In a span of two seasons from 2005-2006 he hit 42 home runs and drove in 179 RBIs, while hitting about .265.  However his ugly OBP (.312 career) and high strikeout totals have haunted him.  He managed just 115 AB last year with just 1 home run.  Still he is just 26 years old and could be a surprise after a torrid spring.

Tom Gordon (CL, Phillies):  It’s hard to strongly recommend “Flash” here since Brad Lidge is due to come of the DL in the first week of the season but should he take more time Gordon could rack up a handful of saves.

Jeremy Accardo (CL, Blue Jays):
  For the moment Accardo has the Jays closing duties locked up but don’t expect his tenure to be pain free.  Towards the end of last season the league began to recognize his stuff and hit him better.  That could be costly as Accardo only has two really good pitches to rely on.  Still a save is a save - and Accardo will get them until B.J. Ryan is ready to come back.

Kerry Wood (CL, Cubs):
  Was officially named the Cubs closer.

Joe Crede (3B, White Sox):  Won the starting job despite heir apparent Josh Fields having a solid spring.  Crede may well be dealt to open up a spot for Fields, but for now he’s the everyday third baseman.

Edison Volquez (SP, Reds):
  This rookie had a very nice spring and could be a surprise for those of you desperately looking for pitching.  The Reds traded Josh Hamilton for him, which says a lot about how much the Reds think of his stuff.

Pedro Feliz (3B, Phillies):
  Feliz has four consecutive 20 home runs seasons in playing in SF where hitters struggle.  In the bandbox of Citizens Bank Park he should easily match, if not surpass those numbers.   A career year in home runs is not out of the question - dealing with his average might make you think twice though. 

Johnny Cueto (SP, Reds):  Another Reds pitcher who could be a real impact player is Cueto who has an arsenal of plus ranked pitches and had better than a 7:1 K:BB ratio in the minors.  He’s had a great spring and will open the season as the Reds third starter.

Jose Guillen (OF, Royals):  Has had his suspension delayed at least 10 days so he’ll be eligible the opening week of the season.  It’s likely that the suspension will be revoked.

Jay Gibbons (OF, Orioles): 
Has had his suspension delayed at least 10 days so he’ll be eligible the opening week of the season.  It’s likely that the suspension will be revoked.

Howie Kendrick (2B, Angels):  If you need help with batting average you might want to keep an eye on Kendrick who has devoted himself to improving his plate discipline this spring.  It seems to be working as he’s hitting over .350 in ST.   Remember he hit .322 last year at the major league level and he’s probably got the potential to hit a dozen home runs too.

Luke Scott (OF, Orioles):  Scott has 25 home run potential if he gets the at bats.  His minor league numbers suggest he’s a .285 hitter to boot.  Batting sixth should get him plenty of RBI chances too.  Best of all he’s got the job in left field.

Daniel Ortmeier (1B, Giants): 
He’s a deep sleeper - but keep an eye on this guy.  You may never have heard of Ortmeier but he’s a big boy with a typical first baseman’s build of 6-4 and the ability to .275-20-80 with 10 steals.   Now he’ll have to translate his minor league numbers to the majors to become a fantasy factor.

Felix Pie (OF, Cubs): 
Another youngster who might be worth a flier is Felix Pie.   He’s only 23 and has more power and speed than he showed in 177 AB last season.   The potential for a 20-20 season exists, but probably won’t be realized in 2008.

Ratchet Them Down:

Kelvim Escobar (SP, Angels):  Escobar may need shoulder surgery and could be done for the season.  Deal for him very carefully and if you already own him and can find a taker you might want to take whatever you can get.

Curtis Granderson (OF, Tigers):  Broke a bone in his right hand and will miss the first few weeks of the season.

Josh Beckett (SP, Red Sox):  Will start the season on the DL with an injury which has been classified as back spasms, but seems a bit more serious than that.

B.J Ryan (RP, Blue Jays):  Ryan is going to come back and take the closer job from Jeremy Accardo, but it will take him at least 2-3 weeks, possibly as many as six before he gets that chance while he waits for his elbow to finish healing and to get some arm strength back.

Adrian Beltre (3B, Mariners):
  Beltre has a torn ligament in his left wrist that was misdiagnosed last season as a muscle strain.  It causes pain when he bats and might affect his power numbers, but don’t put too much faith in that as he’s had an outstanding spring.

Gary Matthews (OF, Angels):
  Has a sprained ankle and is day to day, but that’s probably not something to get too excited about unless you are counting on him to be a big contributor to your fantasy team.

Brad Lidge (CL, Phillies):  Lidge could be activated some time during the opening week, but it’s more likely the Phillies won’t rush him back to mound as he had knee surgery a couple of weeks back.

Freddy Sanchez (SS, Pirates):
  Has shoulder tendonitis which probably will limit his ability to hit.   He probably won’t play much in the opening week even though the injury isn’t considered to be serious.

Chris Capuano (SP, Brewers):
  After being told he needed surgery on his pitching elbow - possibly the second Tommy John of his career, Capuano has decided to try rehab so that he might be able to pitch at some time this season.   Don’t expect that to be in the first half.

Scott Rolen (3B, Blue Jays):   Has had a broken finger on his right hand surgically pinned.  He’ll miss at least four weeks, probably more and need to rehab before returning.  Even then this type of injury usually effects the power stroke - and that essentially is his value.

John Smoltz (SP, Braves):  Smoltz’ surgically repaired shoulder is giving him problems and causing some pain.  He’s still on track to pitch the first week of the season, but that could change at any time, and how effective he’ll be is somewhat questionable.

Miguel Olivo (C, Royals):  Will miss the first four games of the season due to suspension.

John Lackey (SP, Angels):  Out until at least mid May with a bout of right triceps tendonitis.

Juan Pierre (OF, Dodgers):
  Looks like he’s lost a starting job to Andre Ethier and will play off the bench.  That means fewer chances for steals and a huge hit to his fantasy value.

Scott Kazmir (SP, Rays):  Is suffering elbow issues and is on the DL to start the season.  He’ll likely be out until at least the second week, if not the third week of the season.

Jeremy Hermida (OF, Marlins): 
Has a hamstring strain and will start the season on the DL.  He’ll miss at least a few games this week, but even if he comes back be cautious since these types of injuries often linger.

Nick Swisher (OF, White Sox):  Will bat leadoff until Jerry Owens returns from the DL.  That will cut down on his chances to drive in runs and there is no compensation since he really doesn’t steal.

Kaz Matsui (2B, Astros):  Will miss at least two weeks with his anal fissures - and even when he returns it probably will limit his baserunning for a couple of weeks.  That essentially limits his fantasy value to an extreme.

Yovani Gallardo (SP, Brewers):  Tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee and will miss several weeks following surgery.

Rocco Baldelli (OF, Rays):  Was placed on the 60 day DL with a mysterious metabolic issue.

Melky Cabrera (OF, Yankees):  Will miss three games due to suspension.

Andy Pettite (SP, Yankees):
  Will be returning from the DL to make a start on April 5th, be cautious.

Doug Davis (SP, Diamondbacks):  Will undergo surgery to remove thyroid cancer on April 10. It’s highly treatable, but he should miss an entire month for the rehabilitation.