Thursday, March 13, 2008

AL & NL Only Update

There are certain players that are non-factors in mixed leagues with a deep free agent pool. In those leagues few care about the fourth outfielder, bench players, or even the fifth pitcher on a team's starting rotation. In AL and NL only leagues, however, good teams are separated by their in-depth knowledge of bench players, role players, and platoons. Here are several updates from Spring Training that are geared toward those AL and NL only owners.

1. Reggie Willits - Fantasy baseball owners banking on Willits repeating his impressive rookie season which saw him hit .293 with 27 steals, should think again. The Angels are toying with the idea of sending Willits down to AAA to start the season so that he can get regular at-bats.,1,628049.story

2. Cameron Maybin - Most pre-season publications list Maybin as the hands-down favorite to win the starting centerfield job for the Marlins. Obtained from the Tigers in the Dontrelle Willis/Miguel Cabrera deal, Maybin is battling mega stars Cody Ross and Alejandra de Aza for the starting job. Just seeing if you're paying attention with the mega stars comment. Maybin is off to a good start, hitting .304 in 23 spring at-bats. But even if he wins the job as expected, Maybin is likely to struggle against major league pitching.

3. A.J. Burnett - A star pitcher when healthy, Burnett let up one run in four innings pitched on Wednesday against the Pirates, and appears to be in good health. Betting he'll stay that way is like eating a big mac and supersized fries every day, and betting you'll lose weight.

4. Johnny Cuerto - Cureto pitched four shutout innings in his last spring start, and is making a strong case for a starting job behind rotation fixtures Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo.

5. Rocco Baldelli - Baldelli is out indefinitely due a medical condition that leaves him extremely fatigued. In his press conference, Baldelii raised the possibility of retirement if a cure could not be found.

6. Albert Pujols - Okay, clearly Pujols is a key player in every league format. But we thought an update was warranted since he just hit his fourth homer of the spring. Although reports suggest his elbow could blow out at any time, his performance does not appear to be suffering.

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