Players’ stocks are constantly changing, moving up or down at the news of any slight discomfort or great spring training performance. Here is a list of some of the news that is pushing some players’ stocks up or down lately:
– Skip Schumaker‘s transition from the outfield to second base is apparently going well after initial reports said he was struggling. Skip does not have second base eligibility yet, but he should get it early in the season and that makes him a great late-round pick.
– More Cardinals news: The fight for the closer job has tilted in Jason Motte’s favor after Chris Perez was shut down a few days ago with shoulder pain. Perez had a pain-free bullpen session yesterday, but Motte is certainly the favorite right now.
– After a scare earlier last week, it appeared Justin Duchscherer would start the season on DL. He still might start the year on the DL, but after two good bullpen sessions over the weekend he figures to not miss more than one or two starts.
– Two other possible A’s starters, Gio Gonzalez and Brett Anderson, went down with injuries last week, opening up the door for Trevor Cahill to join the rotation. Cahill has been pitching great this spring, so he makes for a great late-round flier or free agent pickup.
– The competition for the Cubs’ closer role is between Kevin Gregg and Carlos Marmol. Earlier in the offseason Gregg was trailing but after great Cactus League appearances, Gregg now has the slight advantage. Manager Lou Pinella says he will officially name the closer in the next couple of days.
– Carl Crawford is five for six in stolen bases this Spring. That is a good sign that he will reach his potential of 50 stolen bases this year
– Rockies infielder Ian Stewart may retain his second base eligibility for next season because manager Clint Hurdle says he could see time at the position this year. If you own him in a keeper league, this is good news.
– The Twins have four outfielders—Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gomez, and Denard Span—for three spots. Keep an eye on this position battle because one of these players may not start the season with a starting job.
– Earlier in the offseason Dustin McGowan had the looks of a good DL stash, but now because of a recent setback he is not expected to return until closer to July or possibly 2010. Forget about him for now.
– The hottest hitter this spring has been Giants second baseman Emmanuel Burriss. He has won the Giants’ starting second base job and is a good late-round pick in deep leagues if you are looking for that last middle infielder.
– Chris Carpenter has not given up one earned run this spring in 19 innings of work. He is another player who can make a good late-round selection.
– Kevin Youkilis‘ ankle injury suffered during the WBC was not serious and he returned to the playing field yesterday.
– Jarrod Saltalamacchia has won the Rangers’ starting catcher job, beating out Taylor Teagarden. However, the two players will still figure to be involved in a small platoon situation.
– The Orioles are saying they would like to run Nick Markakis around some more this season. After getting only 10 stolen bases last year, expect a total closer to 15-20 this year.
While it is important to stay on top of this sort of stuff, it is equally important to keep a long-term mindset when hearing of minor injury news. Although I mentioned a few Spring Training performances, generally it is a good idea to not pay attention to them unless they are influencing a manager’s decision for playing time or role, or showing a formerly injured player still “has it.”