What's buzzing:

Minor Developments: Battling for the bigs

Yahoo Sports

Despite many top prospects being reassigned to minor league camps, there are still plenty of potential rookies battling for spots on their respective major league rosters. Injuries, ineffectiveness and upside are the reasons.

View photo

.

Patrick Corbin's elbow injury opens a door of opportunity for Archie Bradley in Arizona. (USAT)

With the news of Diamondbacks staff anchor Patrick Corbin likely needing Tommy John surgery, the timetable for top pitching prospect Archie Bradley immediately accelerates. While he struggled a bit in his last outing against the Mariners (2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO), the door is wide open for him to start 2014 in the majors. Bradley could use more time refining his arsenal at Triple-A, but expect strong strikeout totals from the young righty whenever his time comes. He’s very much worth a draft and stash in mixed leagues with deep benches.

The Royals have a young fireballer of their own in Yordano Ventura, who is putting together a very impressive spring. His most recent outing against Oakland gave fantasy owners a glimpse of his awesome strikeout potential (4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO). With Danny Duffy struggling this spring (9 IP, 15 H, 11 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO) and still trying to find his groove following his ’13 return from Tommy John surgery, the early nod for the Royals fifth starter spot will likely go to Ventura. Move him up your draft boards accordingly in mixers, and be sure to get involved in the bidding if you’re in an AL-only format. Guys who throw triple-digit gas regularly don’t grow on trees, and this may be the one year you can own him cheaply.

Astros outfielder George Springer is giving us what we expected from him, lots of walks (8), strikeouts (10) and steals (4). His .192 average and zero home runs are disappointing, but it’s such a small sample that you shouldn’t worry about the lack of power. Still, I believe Springer will struggle to hit for average when he finally reaches the majors as he adjusts to higher level pitching. His contact woes are very real; check out this great piece by Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs. I said last month that I believe he’s a .250-.260 hitter, a tolerable number when combined with tantalizing power and speed.

Word out of Diamondbacks camp has prospect Chris Owings with a leg up on Didi Gregorius for the starting shortstop gig, with the club opting for offensive upside over better defense. Owings offers double-digit power and speed potential, and could post a .270/15/15 line as a rookie. Continue to monitor this situation throughout the spring, but drafting Owings late would be a shrewd move for owners in mixed formats looking for combo upside.

The Cardinals have a great track record developing pitchers, and fantasy owners are hoping Carlos Martinez follows suit. He’s been solid this spring (10 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO), outperforming teammate Joe Kelly (9.1 IP, 13 H, 8 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO) by a pretty sizable margin. Despite these early results, who wins this job is very much up in the air. Martinez is the far superior talent, and an arm you want to target late in your draft. Guys like Joe Kelly are a dime a dozen, so chase the upside here.

So far, the hype has been warranted for new Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, as he’s cruised through his first three spring outings (9.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO). He works primarily in the low 90s, but can reach back for more in big spots. His splitter is a devastating swing and miss pitch, and his slider is also an effective weapon that generates plenty of whiffs. This quote from Yankees catcher Brian McCann sums Tanaka up best: "swing-and-miss stuff with four pitches. He's special.". Tanaka can be currently had in the early middle rounds of fantasy drafts, a bargain for a guy capable of ace-level production.

The White Sox are pleased with the early returns from first baseman Jose Abreu, who seems to be adjusting nicely to his first taste of major league pitching (.290, 1 HR, 6 RBI). His power is legit, but can he stay healthy over the course of a grinding major league season while also proving he can handle the inside fastball? Most projections have Abreu hitting .270-.280 with at least 25 home runs, production I’m willing to roll the dice on in the middle rounds of mixers.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rsteingall

View Comments (10)
  • Matic shines on another gloomy night for Serbia

    Matic shines on another gloomy night for Serbia

    By Zoran Milosavljevic BELGRADE (Reuters) - A 2-1 defeat by Portugal has left Serbia with only a slim hope of reaching Euro 2016 after Nemanja Matic provided the only beacon of light in another lacklustre qualifying performance by the Balkan … More »

    Reuters - 17 minutes ago
  • Ecclestone proposes championship for women

    Ecclestone proposes championship for women

    Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has proposed a controversial world championship for women drivers as part of grand prix weekends. "I thought it would be a good idea to give them a showcase," British media quoted the 84-year-old as saying … More »

    Reuters - 17 minutes ago
  • Joint leaders of Volvo Ocean Race quit with broken mast

    The joint leaders of the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team, were forced to quit the fifth leg early Monday when their mast broke in the Southern Ocean. The incident could hardly have happened in a worse spot for the Chinese boat, 240 nautical … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 13 minutes ago
  • Reus, Mueller on target as Germany ease past Georgia

    Reus, Mueller on target as Germany ease past Georgia

    TBILISI (Reuters) - World Cup winners Germany eased past hosts Georgia 2-0 in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Sunday with first-half goals from Marco Reus and Thomas Mueller enough to get their Group D campaign back on track. Reus put the visitors … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 45 minutes ago
  • Nadal crashes out in Miami, Murray wins

    Nadal crashes out in Miami, Murray wins

    By Simon Evans MIAMI (Reuters) - A struggling and edgy Rafa Nadal crashed out of the Miami Open in the third round on Sunday, losing 6-4 2-6 6-3 to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. The 31-year-old Verdasco, who is ranked 34th in the world, has … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 47 minutes ago