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Sunday 10th Dec 2017

Assorted Rants, Rumblings and Ruminations from the Mind of a “So-Called” Expert

Harper 2017 CATCHER: Matt Wieters exercised his option thus will be back behind the dish. Youngster   Pedro Severino is the backup, at least for now.

 INFIELD: Can Ryan Zimmerman make it through another season unscathed? Daniel   Murphy will start in the DL, possibly paving the way for Wilmer Difo to play second   opening day. Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon are fixtures on the left side.

 OUTFIELD: Bryce Harper is the centerpiece, with Adam Eaton returning along with   Michael A. Taylor. At some point, Victor Robles is expected to get the call, this time for good.

BENCH: Brian Goodwin adds outfield depth with Difo eventually the utility infielder. There's a good chance the Nats add some reserves.

max scherzer fullROTATION: Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark are obviously solid. With Joe Ross recovering from TJS, A.J. Cole, Erick Fedde and Austin Voth are in-house options for the fifth spot, or Washington can seek help from outside the organization.

BULLPEN: Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson stabilized a spotty bullpen and return as the primary high-leverage options. Enny Romero, Koda Glover, Shawn Kelley and Matt Grace comprise the bridge.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: Top prospect Victor Robles was mentioned, he's a five category contributor with more speed than power and has the chance to be a fantasy stud. Fellow outfielder Andrew Stevenson is close as well, but has nowhere to play.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: Look for a backup catcher and a fifth starter to head the Nationals wish list.

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joshdonaldson CATCHER: Russell Martin returns as starter, but for now long? Luke Maile is the backup,   that's not the issue. Danny Jansen is close, and with Max Pentecost exposed to the Rule 5   draft, Jansen's path is devoid of a possible obstacle.

 INFIELD: Justin Smoak finally had the long-awaited breakout season. Can Devon Travis   stay healthy? We know Troy Tulowitzki can't. Unless he is traded, Josh Donaldson will play   third. Ryan Goins backs up both injury-prone middle men.

 OUTFIELD: Kevin Pillar's glove keeps him in the lineup. After that, things are unclear. Steven Pearce is looking for a rebound season. Teoscar Hernandez got a decent look down the stretch. Ezequiel Carrera had a good first half but fizzled.

 DESIGNATED HITTER: Kendrys Morales is one of the few designated hitters worth owning.

BENCH: When everyone is healthy, Goins and Carrera are reserves. Toronto may fortify their starters, pushing some of the above to the bench. Gift Ngoepe came over from Pittsburgh to help fortify the middle.

aaron sanchez fullROTATION: Steady Marcus Stroman is the staff anchor. J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada follow. Joe Biagini was groomed as a starter last season, showing enough to continue the transition.

BULLPEN: Roberto Osuna defeated some personal demons last season and should be one of the better closers. Ryan Tepera, Dominic Leone and Aaron Loup are part of a unspectacular, albeit useful group.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: The two gems, both legacies, Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are a ways away. Rowdy Tellez hasn't developed, and is blocked, but was protected from the Rule 5. Jansen was already discussed. Richard Urena got a September look and could be back. Lastly, if Anthony Alford has a good start in Triple-A, he may be called up.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: At one point, Donaldson was on the block but that buzz has quieted. If the Jays feel they can compete, look for a bat to be brought in to replace Jose Bautista. Some rotation depth is also possible.

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kevin kiermaier CATCHER: The Rays signed Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal more for 2018 than 2017.   Jesus Sucre is the primary backup.

 INFIELD: Brad Miller could move back to first base but he's better as a utilityman. If Matt   Duffy is finally healthy, he'll play, perhaps second base with Adeiny Hechavarria at   shortstop or maybe Duffy plays short with Miller at second. The only lock is Evan   Longoria at the hot corner.

 OUTFIELD: Kevin Kiermaier's leather keeps him in the lineup so long as he's healthy.   Steven Souza Jr. holds down one spot. Currently, Mallex Smith grabs the other, but that   could change. 

 DESIGNATED HITTER: Corey Dickerson could dabble in the outfield, or even first base, but his best position is DH.

BENCH: Daniel Robertson adds to the infield depth. The outfield reserves are currently scant. New readers - how many fantasy analysts do you know use the word scant?

Archer DFS 2017ROTATION: At last check, Chris Archer was still with the club. Jake Odorizzi, Blake Snell, Jacob Faria are set. The fifth spot could go to Matt Andriese but don't forget about Nathan Eovaldi, returning from TJS. Brent Honeywell and Jose DeLeon are long shots to break camp, but both could be a factor in-season.

BULLPEN: The Rays are likely to trade Alex Colome, leaving the closer competition to Brad Boxberger and... um... Dan Jennings? Andrew Kittredge, Austin Pruitt and Xavier Cedeno comprise an uncharacteristically pedestrian group.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: The Rays rely on home grown talent to compete with reinforcements are on the way. Honeywell was mentioned as a rotation piece, he could be a good one. Willy Adames is close and should contribute this season while outfielder Jake Bauers isn't far off. Shohei Ohtani may be a hot button topic but keep in mind Tampa has a two-way prospect in Brendan McKay, though he's a couple years away. 

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: The cost-conscious Rays aren't likely to make a big splash, but a power hitting first baseman, decent outfielder and bullpen help could be on the menu, either by trade (Archer, Colome) or free agency.

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rougned odor CATCHER: Robinson Chirinos took over after the Jonathan Lucroy trade and is the   clubhouse leader heading into 2018. Brett Nicholas is the current backup.

 INFIELD: When Adrian Beltre is healthy, he'll man third base, pushng Joey Gallo across   the diamond. Elvis Endrus and Rougned Odor are back as the double-play commbo.

 OUTFIELD: Nomar Mazara and Shi Soo Choo patrol the corners. Delino DeShields Jr.   deserves to play every day in center, let's see if he gets it. Willie Calhoun could work in,   though he's at a disadvantage since he's a lefty swinger like Mazara and Choo.

 DESIGNATED HITTER: Calhoun is a possibility, but chances are a bat is acquired, pushing Choo here, or even Gallo.

BENCH: Jurickson Profar fell out of favor last season. If he's out of the doghouse, he could serve as bench fodder. Ryan Rua, Drew Robinson, Jared Hoying and Phil Gosselin are in the mix.

Hamels DFSROTATION: Cole Hamels is at the top, flanked by Martin Perez, A.J. Griffin and the newly acquired Doug Fister. Nick Martinez is the likely fifth, though Texas may not be done fortifying their staff.

BULLPEN: Alex Claudio ended 2017 with the closer gig and could begin 2018 with the job. Matt Bush, Keone Kela, Jake Diekman and Jose Leclerc will battle for setup innings.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: Calhoun has been discussed and is in line to make a contribution, though others like his bat more than I do (take that with my untutored, non-scout eye grain of salt). Yohander Mendez saw some starts last year, he could be called upon again.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: I don't think the Rangers are done. They're short one bat and one starter, along with possibly bringing in an established closer.

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robinson cano CATCHER: Mike Zunino may finally have hit enough to maintain the full-time job all   season. Or maybe he keeps the gig because Mike Marjama and David Freitas will battle   for backup.

 INFIELD: The recent acquisition of Ryon Healy completes a set group including Robinson   Cano, Jean Segura and Kyle Seager.

 OUTFIELD: Mitch Haniger and Ben Gamel displayed enough last season to be penciled in   the corners this year. Who plays in between is in jeopardy, with Guillermo Heredia the current in-house option.

 DESIGNATED HITTER: Nelson Cruz is showing no signs of aging and is one of the reasons the club can experiment a bit with the outfield.

BENCH: Tyler Motter is the jack-of-all-trades. Andrew Romine and Kirk Nieuwenhuis were both brough in to bolster depth.

Paxton DFS 2017ROTATION: If healthy, James Paxton has ace potential. Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake offer veteran presence while Ariel Miranda and Erasmo Ramirez attempt to build on last season. Andrew Moore and Marco Gonzalez have MLB experience. Drew Smyly may make a cameo at the very end.

BULLPEN: Edwin Diaz, who overcame a couple rough patches, is back as closer. Nick Vincent, David Phelps, James Pazos, Shae Simmons, Tony Zych, Dan Altavilla and Marc Rzepczynski are a nice group of relievers.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: No one of consequence is close, with top prospect Kyle Lewis at least a year away. Speaking of which, Lewis was pulled from the Arizona Fall League after feeling something in his surgically repaired knee. It's reportedly not an issue, but it's worth monitoring this spring for those in keeper and dynasty formats.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: A center fielder and perhaps middle of the rotation starter make sense as the squad isn't that far from being in the wild-card hunt.

Do you want to win your league?

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