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Thursday 23rd Nov 2017

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

joey votto full CATCHER: I don't trust Devin Mesoraco to stay healthy (nice call, Lord Obvious) so I like   Tucker Barnhart has a cheap end-game backstop.

 INFIELD: The corners are set with Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. Jose Peraza should   start at shortstop with Scooter Gennett at second. The wild card is Nick Senzel, who is on   the fast track, along with Dilson Herrera. One way to clear a spot for Senzel is dealing   Gennett, moving Suarez back to shortstop and Peraza to second. This likely won't   happen right away, but the buzz is Senzel will make his debut in 2018.

 OUTFIELD: There's rumblings the Reds could move Billy Hamilton, but that's just speculation so figure Hamilton to patrol center with Adam Duvall his left flank. Right field is the question with Jesse Winker an intriguing option to win the job from the outset, leaving Scott Schebler on the outside looking in. This isn't definite, but paying full price for Schebler in early drafts is risky.

BENCH: Herrera is a good bet to be the utility infielder. Look for a fifth outfielder to be brought in, perhaps someone better if Schebler is moved.

luis castilloROTATION: Rookie sensation Luis Castillo will have a spot. Past that, there's a bunch of arms, but not many assured to be healthy. Despite registering horrible numbers for the last three seasons, Home Bailey is likely slated to start. Tyler Mahle and Robert Stephenson showed some promise down the stretch with Brandon Finnegan and Anthony DeSclafani returning from injury. Cody Reed, Amir Garrett and Sal Romano all have some prospect pedigree with a chance to figure it out.

BULLPEN: Raisel Iglesias demonstrated he can be a big league closer and could be moved. Michael Lorenzen was pretty good in setup. Like the starters, there's a lot of arms, just nothing to be excited about from a fantasy sense.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: Senzel has already been mentioned and looks to be a can't-miss prospect at the hot corner. Winker and Mahle make debuts last season and could contribute this season.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: There's a chance the club opts to bring in a veteran starter despite having a bunch in-house. They could also bring in some bullpen help, especially if Iglesias is moved.

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yoan moncada CATCHER: Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith will split time, though it's unclear who'll play   more. There's a chance Zack Collins debuts after some seasoning at Triple-A.

 INFIELD: Three-quarters is set with the underrated Jose Abreu the veteran presence for   Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson. At least for now, Moncada is ticketed for the keystone,   leaving the hot corner for Matt Davidson or Yolmer Sanchez. There's a chance the Pale   Hose bring in a veteran to challenge for the job, but they're not quite ready to compete.

 OUTFIELD: Charlie Tilson looks spry in the Arizona Fall League, giving him the leg up for center field. Avisail Garcia will grab a corner. Nicky Delmonico's second half earned him a spring look, competing with Leury Garcia and Willy Garcia.

DESIGNATED HITTER: There's no one earmarked for regular DH at bats, with a mix of the above likely rotating through.

BENCH: Tyler Saladino will be joined by those previously mentioned not securing a regular job.

Rodon DFS 2017ROTATION: Down the road, the White Sox are shaping up to sport a fine rotation, but currently, they're still raw. Lucas Giolito has the makings of an ace with the oft-injured Carlos Rodon expected back sometime after opening day. Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer are still maturing with veteran James Shields still hanging around. There's a chance another veteran is brought in until Rodon is ready, with Dylan Covey a possibility.

BULLPEN: The club dealt anyone healthy with a pulse last season, leaving Juan Minaya as the closer by default. Nate Jones could challenge Minaya if he proves healthy in the spring. The rest isn't worth considering.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: There's some buzz top pitching prospect Michael Kopech may make his debut in 2018, but I just don't see the need. Similarly, some expect outfielder Eloy Jimenez, acquired from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana deal to see time next summer. Again, I don't see the point. The chance Zack Collins joins the catching ranks was already discussed.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: Honestly, who knows? There's openings and needs, but why spend money when the window to win doesn't open until at least 2019.

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mookiebetts CATCHER: Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon both return, with Blake Swihart in the   mix. The position may not be a strength, but it certainly isn't a weakness.

 INFIELD: The left side is set with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. With Dustin   Pedroia out for a significant length of time, a decent second baseman that can   ideally back up elsewhere is needed. There's also a hole at first, hence the Eric   Hosmer rumors.

 OUTFIELD: Barring a trade to clear a spot for J.D. Martinez (Red Sox Nation has   unrealistic hopes), the trio of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts will continue to dance after every victory. With Chris Young a free agent, a right-handed reserve is likely to be brought in.

 DESIGNATED HITTER: Supposedly, one of the reasons for hiring Alex Cora is to motivate Hanley Ramirez. Good luck with that.

BENCH: Brock Holt ended the season healthy so he'll be back in his Swiss knife role. The rest depends on how the club deals with first and second.

Sale tout dailyROTATION: Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz and Rick Porcello are locks. After his playoff heroics, David Price enters the season with starting intentions. The fifth spot is up for grabs with Eduardo Rodriguez out for at least six weeks. Steven Wright and Brian Johnson are in-house candidates.

BULLPEN: Despite some playoff issues, the bullpen is fine, with Craig Kimbrel front and center. Tyler Thornburg could be back, though the history of those returning from thoracic outlet syndrome is worrisome. Carson Smith, Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes are all viable in leagues where relievers are useful.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: With Devers promoted, only Michael Chavis is reasonably close to contributing. The problem is Chavis' natural spot is the hot corner and his bat isn't ready to be an MLB first baseman.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: At least one big stick will be signed, likely to play first base. An impact infielder and perhaps pitcher is also a strong possibility.

Do you want to win your league?

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Please direct all questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Bryant kris CATCHER: Willson Contreras is one of the best in the game, it doesn't really matter who   his backup is.

 INFIELD: Three spots are set with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell.   Second base is in flux with Javier Baez, Ian Happ and Ben Zobrist all in the mix.

 OUTFIELD: Kyle Schwarber, whose best position is designated hitter, is the only one   guaranteed a spot. Jason Heyward is still in tow, and will likely play, but, well, he's good   at fielding. Happ and Zobrist both dabble in the outfield with Albert Almora Jr. deserving   of more time, let's see if he gets it.

BENCH: There's a good chance Zobrist spends more time as a reserve than regular. Tommy La Stella can also play all over the place.

LesterROTATION: Jon Lester and Jose Quintana front the rotation with stalwart Kyle Hendricks doing his thing. Mike Montgomery deserves a spot, leaving one up for grabs. Chances are the club brings someone in to replace jake Arrieta with Eddie Butler and Luke Farrell long-shot in house candidates.

BULLPEN: Wade Davis is a free agent, opening up the closer spot for Carl Edwards Jr., though the club will likely brings someone in from outside the organization. The rest of the 'pen is solid with Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson and Hector Rondon.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: The once plush system is now barren.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: Pitching will be the focus as at least one starter will be signed, as well as possibly a closer.

Do you want to win your league?

Platinum 2018, featuring the industry's earliest projections has launched. All you have to do is register an account, make sure you're logged in and click HERE.

Please direct all inquiries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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manny machado full CATCHER: With Welington Castillo declining his option, Baltimore could bring in a stop-   gap until Chance Sisco is ready, or they could hope Caleb Joseph is up for the task. Either   way, another receiver will likely be signed.

 INFIELD: Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado are among the best at their positions.   Chris Davis is coming off a terrible campaign, but is still the incumbent at first base. The   club declined J.J. Hardy's option, leaving last season's second half sensation, Tim   Beckham, to handle shortstop.

 OUTFIELD: Adam Jones is a given, though he's not as durable as his salad days. Trey Mancini earned full-time run at a corner spot. Mark Trumbo could take the other, though he's better suited for designated hitter. Joey Rickard is a capable reserve. Austin Hays and Anthony Santander are both promising prospects, with Hays more likely to contribute this season. That said, I expect the Orioles to fortify their offense in an effort to slug their way to victory, seeing as their pitching is suspect and there isn't much in the way of available reinforcements.

 DESIGNATED HITTER: Trumbo should again receive the lion-share of DH at bats.

BENCH: Especially with Trumbo able to dabble in the corner, outfield depth is OK. Infield, however, is in need of at least one utility type, though the starters are generally durable and won't need much rest.

Bundy DFS 2017ROTATION: Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are the only sure things to be in the opening-day rotation. Gabriel Ynoa, Miguel Castro, Mike Wright and Alec Asher are all on the O's roster, but none are enticing option so look for Baltimore to bring in several starters, though the inventory of quality arms is thin.

BULLPEN: Zach Britton is the man, for now, there's still a chance he's moved in the off-season. Even if healthy, don't expect Britton to approach the 40 saves he averaged from 2014-2016 as saves track closely with team ERA, which looks to be a problem. The rest of the bullpen is solid with Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and Darren O'Day all being fantasy-worthy.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: There's a chance the club trusts Hays from opening day, spending more on pitching, so he could be a major contributor this season. It's just my sense is they'll look to win games 10-8. Sisco should also see some big-league action, perhaps from opening day. Keep an eye on what the club does with backstops in free agency. On the pitching side, Tanner Scott could get a look with the rest of their starters a few years away.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: As alluded to, I anticipate at least one, probably two big bats coming on board, with whatever pitching they can muster as well.

Do you want to win your league?

Platinum 2018, featuring the industry's earliest projections has launched. All you have to do is register an account, make sure you're logged in and click HERE.

Please direct all questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Follow me on Twitter @ToddZola

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