The 2012 Major League Baseball season will begin on March 28 with the first of a two game series between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. If you haven’t set up your fantasy baseball draft yet, this would be the time to do it as this is the last weekend before ‘the games begin!’
We have gathered some Spring Training info/stats that might be helpful in getting your cheat sheet ready for draft day. What happens in Spring Training isn’t always a bell-weather of things to come but can be helpful in swaying you one way or another.
. Madison Bumgarner-SP-Giants- In 14 2/3 innings pitched so far in spring training, Bumgarner has 15K’s and just 1 walk.
. Wade LeBlanc-SP-Marlins- In 14 2/3 innings pitched the former Padre has 15 K’s and 2 walks. His career 4.54 ERA makes this sound suspect as well as his 200K’s in 300 IP career totals.
. Brian Matusz-SP- Orioles- This former 1st round pick in the 2008 draft also has a high career ERA of 5.53 but is a promising strike out pitcher. So far this spring, he has struck out 16 with 1 walk in 15 innings.
. Ryan Rayburn-2B/LF-Tigers- What Rayburn has been doing this spring sounds like an aberration or he really wants the 2B job which he’s competing for along with Santiago and Inge. As of Friday, Rayburn has 6 homers and is batting an amazing .462!
. Mike Baxter-OF-Mets- The Queens, New York native is fighting for a spot on the Mets roster as a backup to Andres Torre in left or Scott Hairston in center. Hairston (oblique) will start the seaosn on the disabled list so this a a golden opportunity for Baxter who, so far this spring, leds the team in BA .343 and in RBIs (six).
Here are some of the Furnace’s “Sports Shorts” chock full of stats and information, some of which you probably did not know. Feel free to peruse these while you’re doing some last minute research on players you’re thinking about drafting:
. Andrew Bailey-RP-Red Sox- In his last three seasons, Bailey has an average 2.07 ERA and a WHIP of 0.95. He has 174 K’s in 174 innings pitched and has converted 75 of 84 save opportunities. Surprisingly, Jonathan Papelbon is going 4 rounds before Bailey.
. Dan Uggla-2B-Braves- Uggla, who just turned 32 last week, has hit 30+ home runs in 5 of the 6 seasons that he’s been in the major leagues. Something you may not know is that no one hit more home runs after the All-Star break last year than he did. He also batted .296 after the break. His downside is his batting average throughout most of his career. Even batting .296 after the break, he finished the season with a .233 BA! Not at all injury prone, Uggla has missed only 8 games in the last three years.
. Paul Konerko-1B-White Sox- A big favorite of ours, this former 1st rounder of the L.A. Dodgers will be entering his 16th season in the majors; 14th with Chicago. Since 1999, averaging 147 games, Konerko has hit 30+ HR’s per season. He is only 1 0f 2 players in MLB to hit .300, and have 30+ HRs, and 100+ RBIs in the last two seasons. That said, Mark Teixeira who has batted .256 and .248 in the last 2 seasons is going at 24 ADP while Konerko’s ADP is 42.
. Mat Gamel-3B/1B-Brewers- Gamel will be Prince Fielder’s replacement at first base this season and that’s some pretty big shoes (literally) to fill for any player; let alone a virtual unknown. In mainly pinch hitting roles, he has 171 ABs in the fours years he’s been in the major leagues. His combined BA is a meager .222, but he comes into this season with the hope that he will live up to all the hype that surrounds him.
. Sergio Romo- RP-Giants- Closer Brian Wilson has had some elbow issues this spring which is what hampered him last year when he saw his ERA balloon from 1.81 in 2010 to 3.11. If he has any setbacks again this season, Romo would be the closer heir apparent to Wilson. In his four years on the Giants in a set up role and as a middle reliever, Romo has shown incredible control; striking out 214 in 178 innings. His career ERA is 2.33 and his WHIP is a Mariano-esque 0.89! Keep him on your radar.