Written by: Paul Auber
Greetings everyone following Fantasy Assembly and welcome to my little corner of fantasy baseball. Thursday was opening day and the best day on the calendar in my opinion. As a matter of fact it should be a national holiday. First of all a shout out to Barry Manilow for the title to this weeks article. I’ll be writing this week about some minor league players who impressed their teams enough to be placed on the opening day roster. Most of the MLB.com top 100 prospects did not make this years opening day rosters, yet the three players listed below should make significant contributions for their respective MLB teams and thus should help your fantasy teams as well. Let’s get started.
Shohei Ohtani – Los Angeles Angels
There was never really any question that Ohtani was going to make the Angels opening day roster despite his horrendous showing in his first MLB spring training. There were rumblings last week about him spending some time in the minors, but that probably would have done little for him. Many pundits claim baseball in Japan is the US equivalent to AAA and therefore he would be just repeating a similar level.
Ohtani did most of his spring pitching in minor league games and on back practice fields. He did start 2 games where he pitched 2.2 innings TOTAL and the results were NOT pretty. Ohtani gave up 8 earned runs and 3 home runs in that short span. This resulted in a 27.00 ERA and a 4.125 WHIP with 5 strike outs. As far as batting goes, he didn’t fare much better getting 4 hits in 32 at bats and striking out 10 times for a .125 batting average. Despite these shortcomings, the Angels head coach and team management have all come out with positive comments about Ohtani’s future.
Scott Kingery – Philadelphia Phillies
“Scottie Jet-Pack” as Kingery is known matched super hyped Atlanta Braves prospect Ronald Acuna in all categories this spring. Kingery hit .411 while collecting 5 home runs, 8 runs batted in and 4 stolen bases. Despite being blocked at his natural position of second base by incumbent Cesar Hernandez, Philadelphia was so impressed with his baseball maturity, hustle, and instincts that they gave him a 6-year $24-million dollar major league contract before he even had his first MLB at bat.
The contract buys out all his controllable years and there are 3 team option years covering his first 3 years of free agency. The options combined add an additional $42-million dollars. During spring training Kingery played multiple positions and the plan in Philly is to use him as a super utility type player until a permanent spot opens up. He will most likely be the leadoff hitter for the foreseeable future.
Colin Moran – Pittsburgh Pirates
Moran was the centerpiece return to Pittsburgh in the Gerrit Cole trade last winter with Houston. The Astros were able to trade the former top prospect due to the breakout season of Alex Bregman. The Pirates were intrigued by a switch Moran made to his swing last year in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League which resulted in an increase in his home run production. As a left handed hitter, the Pirates feel the short right field line in PNC Park will play to Moran’s advantage. Despite not showing that power in spring training (0 home runs) Moran hit for a .362 batting average and drove in 7 runs. Moran will have a long leash as Pittsburgh will showcase him as much as possible this year.
David Freese and Sean Rodriguez are the planned back ups at third base and his closest minor league pressure will come from Ke’Bryan Hayes who is projected to start in AA. The trades of Cole and Andrew McCutchen have not sat well with the Pirate faithful, but a successful Moran will most certainly turn down the heat on ownership.
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