9 Biggest Rankings Movers (2019 Fantasy Baseball)

Mar 20, 2019

Ryan McMahon appears to have won a spot in the Opening Day starting lineup for the Rockies

The final big drafting weekend is fast approaching. While fantasy owners shouldn’t put too much stock in spring training performances, it’s always wise to have a general idea of who dominated or fell flat over the last month. This would enable you to find some great value later on in your draft and find some unheralded players, like Miami’s Trevor Richards, who could end up helping you secure a playoff spot late in the season. In contrast, it’s also crucial to note which athletes have had very poor springs to either A) give you an idea of which lesser-known guys you might want to think twice about selecting, or B) push down the ADP of a player who entered the spring with some buzz, like Harrison Bader. Another thing to consider is that some players may have had solid springs, but their situation won’t allow them to get the playing time they deserve, which is potentially the case for Luke Voit.

All in all, we know it’s difficult to keep tabs on everyone’s spring training production. That’s why we’ve reached out to our featured experts and asked them each to name players who have made the biggest moves both up and down their rankings over the last month. See their responses below.

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Q1. Which player have you moved up your rankings the most based on their spring training performance and why?

Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B – COL) 
“Forget the numbers, which are downright insane, and look at the narrative for McMahon. He entered spring training in a battle for a starting position — he’s eligible for multiple in most fantasy leagues — and has done everything in his power to win it. However, because Garrett Hampson looms, McMahon is not nearly getting the love he deserves. His average draft position is outside of the top 300…three hundred. He’s listed in the top 150 for me, and his steady climb is largely due to his display of rising to the occasion. Managers take notice of such a standout performance, and fantasy managers should do the same.”
– Mario Mergola (Sporfolio)

“The biggest spring training mover in my rankings is Ryan McMahon. I’m actually not sure he’s a great player, but he has nothing left to prove in the minors and we’ve been waiting two seasons to see him get a real chance at the Major League level. His move in the rankings is based on the opportunity for playing time that he seems to have won rather than the numbers themselves. I still like taking Garrett Hampson because who knows what the Rockies, aka the ‘Mountain Mets,’ will do.”
– Brandon ‘B_Don’ Myers (Razzball)

Jordan Hicks (RP – STL) 
“Heading into spring training, I wanted little to do with Hicks. Last season’s 3.59 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 7.4 K/BB% with a subpar 9.4% swinging-strike rate did little to match the sizzling hype. After watching him strike out 11 of 28 batters faced while reaching 103 MPH, I realized the foolishness of abandoning a 22-year-old jetpacked straight from Single-A to the majors last season. While his control remains dicey, he’s an elite talent capable of imitating Josh Hader’s path to stardom.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Jon Gray (SP – COL) 
“The meaningfulness of spring training stats can be debated, but research has found that K% and BB% in the spring do carry some weight as far as season performance goes. The man who has dominated in both of those departments this spring is Gray. He has accumulated 22 Ks with just one BB over 17.2 IPs this spring. Many fantasy owners were let down by his shaky performance last season, but this hot spring has given me comfort in grabbing him as one my sleeper pitchers this year.”
– Luke Gloeckner (Mr. Cheatsheet)

Matt Strahm (SP/RP – SD) 
“Strahm was someone who was always on my radar as a waiver-wire speed-dial guy in case he made the rotation and performed up to his ceiling. Based on what he has accomplished in spring training, however, he appears to not only be a lock for the rotation, but likely to be one of this year’s breakout starting pitchers. He has been an absolute beast every inning he has been on the mound in his short big league career, posting a similar ERA, WHIP. and K/9 to Noah Syndergaard. Granted, he has been in the bullpen, but like Carlos Martinez and Chris Sale, a move to the rotation may not change much.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Q2. Which player have you moved down your rankings the most during spring training performance and why?

Jose Berrios (SP – MIN) 
“Keeping in mind that K% and BB% in the spring can actually be an indicator of regular season performance, one pitcher that has been a bit wild this spring is Berrios. His spring hasn’t been all bad, but his 6.3 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 hasn’t given us that dose of optimism that we were hoping for. Berrios is a borderline sleeper being drafted towards the end of the early rounds, but his spring gives me some pause about taking him as my SP2 at his current draft position.”
– Luke Gloeckner (Mr. Cheatsheet)

Willie Calhoun (OF – TEX) 
“I initially pegged Calhoun as a top post-hype target, but the odds of him securing an Opening Day roster spot are decreasing by the day. While the 24-year-old wields a .557 OPS in spring, Hunter Pence is locking down a big league invite with five doubles, three homers, and six steals. Because of his defensive limitations, Calhoun would need to demand a second chance with resounding offensive results in the minors. As a result, he has dropped outside my top 300 as someone merely to monitor in standard mixed leagues.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Tyler Glasnow (SP/RP – TB) 
“It hurts to say, but I’ve gone from reaching on Glasnow to taking him behind his ADP, meaning I have very few shares. We’ve seen this version of Glasnow at times, and perhaps he will snap out of it, but I’m not taking a chance in the 14th round anymore on someone who seems to have a 50/50 shot at blowing up my ratio statistics. Perhaps he will prove to be a buy-low or even end up on the waiver wire within a few weeks. If that is the case, I’ll be glad to make that type of investment.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Luke Voit (1B – NYY) 
“I’m not one to ‘sell’ a player because of a bad spring, but I will jump off the bandwagon if one gets too hot or fails to produce a reward. In the case of Voit, it’s both. Voit entered spring training in a legitimate battle for the starting first base job, and his numbers would suggest that he already won it. Except he hasn’t. The Yankees clearly feel like Greg Bird is going to remain in-the-mix and, if Voit’s outstanding spring statistics won’t allow New York to budge, I’m afraid nothing will. Will he hit if given at-bats? It certainly looks like it. But will he get those at-bats? Probably not.”
– Mario Mergola (Sporfolio)

Chris Taylor (2B/SS/OF – LAD) 
“Taylor was a favorite late pick of mine early in draft season, but he seems to be losing playing time through spring training. He’s actually not much different than my positive mover in Ryan McMahon, but playing time matters, and while I don’t take much from spring training numbers, it matters to the manager and front office when they’re making roster cuts.”
– Brandon ‘B_Don’ Myers (Razzball)

Thank you to the experts for taking the time to name their biggest rankings movers. Please be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice. Also, check out our latest podcast episode, which is available below.

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