Written By Scout C.P. Staley, www.profantasybaseball.com
Few things are harder to make sense of than spring training stats. Case in point: last season Cliff Lee posted a spring ERA over eight, but went on to win the AL CY Young award.
However, some players are able to turn strong spring performances into full-time jobs. Here are five players that have had great springs and could be in line for big things in 2009:
1. Jason Motte, RP, St. Louis
Motte has emerged as the most likely candidate to close games for St. Louis this season. He was terrific at AAA Memphis last year, striking out 110 in 66.7 innings. So far this spring, Motte has four saves and a 13/1 K:BB ratio. Motte’s ADP in Yahoo! leagues is 17.2, but his stock is quickly rising. Look to steal him in the 14th/15th round and enjoy 25-30 saves with great K numbers.
2. Colby Rasmus, OF, St. Louis
Rasmus is a talented youngster whom many thought could have won a starting job last year. He has played very well so far this spring, sporting an average over .300 with good power. Rasmus looks to be the choice to man either LF or CF for St. Louis this season, making him a nice late round gamble, and a great target in keeper leagues.
3. Jordan Shaffer, OF, Atlanta
Like Rasmus, Schaffer battled for a spot in Atlanta's OF as a 21 year old last year. This year his spring averages .396/.429/.585 and terrific defense, make it almost certain that he’ll win the job. Schaffer, 22, is best known for violating the league’s substance abuse policy last season, but if those problems are behind him, he could be in store for big things. Schaffer's a nice late round gamble in mixed leagues, and a definite target in keeper leagues.
4. Trevor Cahill, SP, Oakland
Cahill rocketed through the A’s farm system, dominating two different levels. Question marks in Oakland’s starting rotation opened the door for Cahill, and he’s seized the opportunity by pitching well throughout the spring. He’s currently projected as No. 4 or 5 in Oakland, and is a great late-round target in mixed leagues, and keeper leagues alike.
5. Kendry Morales, 1B, Anaheim
Morales has been terrific this spring, posting a .397 average with three HR and eight doubles. He won’t make anyone forget the man he’s replacing (Mark Teixiera) but he's got the first base job locked up. Morales makes for a great late-round pick and could put up numbers similar to James Loney or Connor Jackson: .290-15-85.