Bloomberg Sports rolled out a demo of their new fantasy baseball product in New York this afternoon. Through a partnership with MLB Advanced Media, the goal is to lure fantasy players away from competitors like Yahoo! and ESPN. While it will surely appeal to the already fantasy-savvy, the new portal through MLB.com signifies an effort to mainstream fantasy baseball in a way that can increase interest in the sport, similar to what fantasy football has done to the NFL.
It’s a nice start, but I’ve always believed that there is a ceiling to how successful a fantasy baseball model can be, at least in comparison to the NFL. The reason fantasy football has become the behemoth it is today is because its schedule requires less of a time commitment on behalf of the average person, while baseball involves a rigorous day-to-day schedule. This reflects in the insane television ratings and sales of NFL Ticket, as the average fantasy player has a stake in every regular season game, while in baseball, they do not. That said, I’ll root for anything that improves the quality of analysis and evaluation and growth of the game and fantasy baseball. Having great minds like Jonah Keri on board will certainly help towards that end.
Anyhow, while you’ll have to wait until February 18 to use Bloomberg’s draft kit, you can purchase Rotoworld’s Draft Guide right now, with special appearances by me scattered throughout! You’ll get analysis, projections, and profiles for over 1,000 players, as well as articles covering prospects, keeper-league strategies, mock
drafts, sleepers and busts. There are customizable, printable cheat
sheets, updated depth charts for
all teams and ADP projections. Basically anything and everything you need to be prepared for your fantasy draft, constantly updated throughout Spring Training. Let those guys stick to stocks and bonds, we got this fantasy baseball thing covered.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.