Fantasy Notes: Barry’s Bat is Ready
With March Madness upon us, I’m scrambling to find minutes to break away from the TV (not to mention I’ve got to first wash the cheese doodle dust from my hands before trying to type), so bear with me for the next little while. Plenty of baseball coverage will be in the offing in the coming weeks. For now, some quick observations from training camp:
- It’s only spring training, but Barry Bonds actually seems to be having some fun, and it’s sure showing in his numbers — four dingers in 23 at-bats for a .957 slugging percentage. Clearly, his bat is ready for the season to start today. But the problem is he’s barely played in the outfield and that’s my biggest concern for Bonds heading into this season. I would have been much more bullish on Bonds’s prospects for 2007 had he finally dissolved his love-hate relationship with the Giants, and gone off and signed with an AL team as a full-time DH. But he’s back with San Francisco, meaning another season spent running around the outfield. Can his 42-year-old legs take another full year of that kind of pounding? It’s a concern that will certainly limit his draft value, but any doubt whether Bonds will still be able to bash has been laid to rest this spring, certainly. The Giants plan to get him plenty of LF action between now and the end of spring training, so hopefully that will get him in game shape and he’ll be able to stay healthy enoough this year to supply owners with 500 plate appearances.
- Lance Niekro doesn’t have a realistic chance of sticking with the Giants now that Rich Aurilia and Ryan Klesko are in the mix, but he’s doing his best this spring to draw attention from another club. Once considered the first baseman of the future and heir to J.T. Snow in San Francisco, Niekro really fell off track thanks to injuries. Now 28, and coming off a season in which he hit just .246 and got on base at a horrific .286 clip while hitting a mere five homers in 66 games, Niekro’s days as a prospect are toast. He’s out of options this season, so his days in San Francisco are likely numbered as well, but after going yard on Thursday, he’s now hitting .385 (10-for-26) through 11 spring games with a double, a triple and two homers. He has driven in six and is slugging .731. That might be good enough to draw attention from a team that could use a platoon partner for a left-handed hitting first baseman, but does not bode well for Niekro’s fantasy options. A right-handed hitting bench player who can only play first base doesn’t tend to provide much fantasy value.
- On Sunday, old timer David Wells got the first two White Sox he faced out and then was pounded, winding up with 10 hits and seven runs allowed in three innings. The 43-year-old southpaw doesn’t really care about his results at this point, as he’s just trying to prepare for the season. Still, a day like today must have made him wonder why he flip-flopped on his decision to hang ’em up. I wouldn’t recommended going over $5 for Wells in an NL-only 5×5 league.
- Opposing the portly Wells on this day was John Danks, the former Rangers prospect who had been looking pretty good in the competition for the fifth starter job on the Sox…until today, that is. Danks was bitch-slapped for six runs in 3 2/3 innings before being relieved by Gavin Floyd, perhaps his main competition for the job (although Charlie Haeger is also in the mix). Floyd has not acquitted himself well this spring, so Sunday’s effort (one run in just 4 1/3 innings) was just what the doctor ordered to help him get back in the race. For what it’s worth, Manager Ozzie Guillen was complimentary of Floyd, saying that “Everybody knows Gavin has a good arm and he can be real effective.” This one could go down to the wire, but my money’s on Floyd emerging with the job.