Every spring, several jobs remain up for grabs late into March. This year has been no exception. We’ll give you an update on notable position battles below in order to help prepare for your drafts this weekend. Good luck!
SS Tyler Pastornicky vs. Andrelton Simmons
Pastornicky is hitting .224 with one walk and five Ks in 49 at-bats, while Simmons is hitting .206 with two walks and six Ks in 34 at-bats. Simmons’ lack of professional experience should preclude him from winning this battle, as he has just one full season above rookie ball, and that came in Class-A Advanced.
LF Endy Chavez vs. Nolan Reimold
Chavez is hitting .500 with three walks and three Ks in 28 at-bats this spring, while Reimold is hitting just .179 with one walk and eight Ks in 28 at-bats. Chavez should get most of the playing time in LF while hitting leadoff. I took a flyer on Reimold in one league, but he’s on his way off my team.
Boston Red Sox
SS Mike Aviles vs. Nick Punto vs. Jose Iglesias
Aviles is hitting .263 with no walks and two Ks in 38 at-bats, and Punto is hitting just .222 with four walks and four Ks in 18 at-bats. Top prospect Iglesias is hitting .235 with one walk and one K in 17 at-bats. Aviles should open the season as the starter, but obviously, no one has set himself apart this spring.
C Ryan Hanigan vs. Devin Mesoraco
Hanigan is hitting just .185 with no walks and five Ks in 27 at-bats, while Mesoraco is hitting .200 with one walk and two Ks in 25 at-bats. Call it a war of attrition. Mesoraco is getting drafted as a solid second catcher in leagues right now, but Hanigan is still expected to start a majority of the games in the early going.
3B Lonnie Chisenhall vs. Jack Hannahan
Chisenhall is hitting .242 with one walk and an incredible 15 Ks in 33 at-bats, while Hannahan is hitting just .222 with no walks and two Ks in 18 at-bats. Neither player has hit for any power. After his struggles, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chisenhall start the season in the minors to work on his swing. Hannahan’s glove at the hot corner is crucial with their ground-ball pitchers.
3B Casey Blake vs. Jordan Pacheco vs. Brandon Wood vs. Nolan Arenado
Blake is 0-for-14 with no walks and five Ks this spring while battling neck stiffness. Pacheco is hitting .414 with four walks and two Ks in 29 at-bats, while Wood is hitting .250 with no walks and 12 Ks in 32 at-bats. Top prospect Arenado is hitting .192 with one walk and four Ks in 26 at-bats and should spend the year in the minors. It would surprise if Wood made the team at this point, while Pacheco looks like the front-runner at the hot corner.
3B Chris Johnson vs. Jimmy Paredes
Johnson is hitting .367 with no walks and five Ks in 30 at-bats, while Paredes has been sent to Triple-A, leaving Johnson as the starting 3B for the Astros. A poor K:BB ratio is going to suppress Johnson’s average this season, so don’t think of him as a quality option in mixed leagues.
RF Brian Bogusevic vs. Travis Buck vs. Jack Cust
Bogusevic is hitting .115 with three walks and eight Ks in 26 at-bats, while Buck is hitting .350 with no walks and three Ks in 20 at-bats. Cust is 0-for-24 with four walks and eight Ks. Bogusevic is likely to start, but Buck could be working his way into the mix. Obviously, mixed leaguers should stay far, far away.
Los Angeles Angels
DH Kendrys Morales vs. Mark Trumbo vs. Bobby Abreu
Morales finally played in his first spring game on Thursday, going 2-for-3 at the plate. Trumbo is hitting .333 with no walks and seven Ks, as well as two HRs in 24 at-bats. Abreu is hitting .138 with three walks and six Ks in 29 at-bats. Morales will likely see as much time at DH as his recovery will allow, with Trumbo filling a utility role for now and likely getting 2-3 starts per week.
3B Josh Donaldson vs. Eric Sogard
The battle to replace the elite bat of Scott Sizemore rages on. Donaldson is hitting .231 with five walks and 14 Ks, while Sogard is hitting .341 with five walks and four Ks in 44 at-bats. Sogard also has two HRs, meaning he’s outplayed Donaldson every step of the way. A winner hasn’t been declared, but Sogard has done more than enough to open the season as the starter.
3B Pedro Alvarez vs. Casey McGehee
Alvarez is hitting .133 with one walk and 13 Ks in 30 at-bats, while McGehee is hitting .276 with one walk and two Ks in 29 at-bats. Alvarez clearly doesn’t belong starting in the majors at this point, so it would make sense to let him get work in Triple-A and go with McGehee for now. Hopefully Alvarez can build some confidence and find his swing in the minors.
San Francisco Giants
SS Brandon Crawford vs. Ryan Theriot
Crawford is hitting .333 with seven walks and three Ks in 30 at-bats. Theriot is hitting .219 with three walks and four Ks in 32 at-bats. The familiarity of Theriot’s name may get him called late on draft day, but Crawford is looking like the clear starter at this point.
St. Louis Cardinals
2B Tyler Greene vs. Daniel Descalso
Greene is hitting .250 with five walks and nine Ks in 40 at-bats, while Decalso is hitting .344 with 10 walks and four Ks in 32 at-bats. Greene is still the favorite to start despite the numbers, but Descalso has made an argument to at least be the lefty portion of a platoon. Continue to monitor this situation, as one of these guys will have sleeper potential if named the everyday starter.
CF Julio Borbon vs. Craig Gentry vs. Leonys Martin
Borbon is hitting .345 with six walks and five Ks in 29 at-bats, while Gentry is hitting .136 with two walks and three Ks in 22 at-bats. Gentry has also had to deal with a wrist sprain this spring. Martin is hitting .231 with four walks, five Ks and two HRs in 26 at-bats. While Josh Hamilton remains an option in center, right now it looks like Borbon will open the season as the starter.
Toronto Blue Jays
LF Eric Thames vs. Travis Snider
Thames is hitting .324 with four walks and seven Ks in 37 at-bats, while Snider is hitting .325 with four walks and 13 Ks, as well as four HRs in 40 at-bats. Both players are performing very well, and that means there’s no clear winner right now. I still consider Thames the likely starter at the beginning of the year, but Snider should manage 2-3 starts per week until one distinguishes himself.
CF Rick Ankiel vs. Roger Bernadina
Ankiel is hitting .364 with two walks and three Ks in just 11 at-bats as he’s dealt with a quad injury this spring. Bernadina is hitting .194 with five walks and 11 Ks in 36 at-bats. If he remains healthy, Ankiel should be the starter in center, provided the Nats don’t bring a new starter in via trade (they were previously linked to Jason Bourgeios).
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse and Razzball. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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