The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

Spring Training 2024: Grapefruit League Report (3/6)

Spring training continues to cruise along, leaving a heavy dose of player-related news in its wake. The Grapefruit League Report will keep you up to date with all the latest news and what it means for fantasy baseball. From prospects knocking on Major League’s door to the latest injury news, we have you covered. There’s a lot to get to this week, so let’s get started!

Ready to make the 2024 MLB season the best yet? Fantrax offers a fantasy baseball league for everyone. Want to get started right away? Then jump into a Best Ball League or a Draft and Hold. Maybe you have an existing league but want the most customizable fantasy baseball platform in existence? Then you definitely need to check out the Fantrax Commissioner! And of course, whether you play roto or points, you can head to the Fantrax Mock Draft Lobby to start your draft prep for the 2024 fantasy baseball season.

Grapefruit League News and Notes

Atlanta Braves

Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF)

Dr. Neal ElAttrache confirmed that Ronald Acuna Jr. has an irritated right meniscus. Acuna will continue to ramp up his baseball activities and should be on track for Opening Day, barring a setback. It’s unclear how the injury will affect Acuna’s performance this season, so fantasy-wise, it’s all about risk tolerance. The top half of the first round is loaded, so if you want to pass on Acuna in drafts, you really can’t go wrong with the guys going right behind him.

Baltimore Orioles

Kyle Bradish (SP), Colton Cowser (OF), Cedric Mullins (OF)

Kyle Bradish continues to ramp up his throwing activities while working his way back from a partially torn UCL. He recently played catch from 140 feet and could see some mound action soon. If you want to take a shot on Bradish in drafts, target him in the reserve rounds of your draft. Also, he’s a better pick in leagues with an IL spot.

Colton Cowser is giving the Orioles something to think about. He’s 4-for-16 with three dingers, six RBI, and a stolen base across six games this spring. Baltimore’s outfield is locked, but if Cowser continues to rake, he could push for a bench spot on Opening Day. Cowser is a nice add in draft-and-holds and other deep formats.

Cedric Mullins left Monday’s game with hamstring soreness and will undergo an MRI. Stay tuned.

Boston Red Sox

Lucas Giolito (SP), Vaughn Grissom (SS), Jarren Duran (OF)

Lucas Giolito was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL after experiencing elbow soreness in his last spring outing. There’s no word yet on his treatment, but season-ending surgery is in the cards. Unless the Red Sox sign a free agent, Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock are all but assured a spot in the Opening Day rotation.

Keep tabs on Vaughn Grissom over the next couple of weeks. The second baseman is dealing with a groin injury that could sideline him for spring training and Opening Day. Emmanuel Valdez will operate at the keystone in the interim.

Jarren Duran left Tuesday’s game after experiencing ankle tightness. Duran is expected back in the lineup Thursday, so this is likely a minor issue. However, keep tabs throughout the week.

Houston Astros

Justin Verlander (SP), Jose Urquidy (SP)

Justin Verlander needs more time to ramp up and will begin the season on the IL. Assuming there are no setbacks, he should be eligible to return to action on April 11. Keep tabs.

Jose Urquidy is expected to fill Justin Verlander’s spot in the starting rotation. In 2023, Urquidy spent three months on the IL with a sore shoulder and posted career worsts in strikeout rate (16.4%) and walk rate (9.1%). He spent the offseason working on a new glove movement to avoid tipping his pitches, which Urquidy attributes to some of his struggles.

Miami Marlins

Eury Perez (SP), Braxton Garrett (SP), A.J. Puk (RP)

Eury Perez‘s latest outing was cut short after he broke his right middle fingernail. While it’s likely a minor issue, it’s worth watching to ensure it doesn’t affect his grip or feel of the ball.

Braxton Garrett will start the season on the IL. The Marlins are being cautious with Garrett as he works his way back from shoulder soreness he developed this spring. A.J. Puk is the favorite to fill the rotation spot, as he was already being stretched out as a starter this spring. Puk is a flame-thrower who posted a 32.2% strikeout rate and 5.4% walk rate across 56.2 relief innings last season. Those numbers will regress as a starter, but Puk oozes with upside and is worth a dart throw in 12-team leagues and deeper.

Minnesota Twins

Edouard Julien (2B), Anthony DeSclafani (SP), Carlos Santana (1B)

Edouard Julien worked on adjusting his swing against lefties this offseason. Hitting southpaws was a dent in the rookie’s otherwise fantastic season. He finished with a 136 wRC+ and .839 OPS across 408 plate appearances. But that also came with an unsightly .447 OPS versus lefties. If Julien can improve this aspect of his game, it would be a boon for his fantasy value.

Anthony DeSclafani is slowly ramping up after experiencing elbow soreness late last week. He’s thrown two bullpen sessions without incident, but the Twins will likely be cautious with the veteran, as he missed much of 2023 with a flexor issue. While DeSclafani should still be ready for Opening Day, Louie Varland is the upside play in fantasy.

Carlos Santana could see everyday playing time at first base this season. There’s not a lot of flash to his game, but Santana is durable and has a strong plate approach. He’s coming off one of his better seasons of late, finishing with a 23/78/86/6/.240 stat line across a combined 619 plate appearances in Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Santana is a solid play in deep formats where late-round playing time is iffy.

New York Mets

Jeff McNeil (2B/OF), Tylor Megill (SP)

The Mets have shut down Jeff McNeil from hitting while he deals with left biceps soreness. Be on the lookout for updates, as a delay could affect his readiness for Opening Day.

Tylor Megill is reportedly the favorite to land the Mets’ fifth rotation spot. He’s looked good this spring and is well worth a flier, given his current 450-500 ADP.

New York Yankees

Anthony Rizzo (1B)
Anthony Rizzo has been crushing it this spring, going 4-for-13 (.308) with a pair of home runs, two doubles, and seven RBI in five games. It’s encouraging to see Rizzo back on track after a concussion-derailed 2023 season. He’s primed for a bounce-back year in a loaded Yankees lineup, making Rizzo a steal at his current 259 ADP.

Pittsburgh Pirates

David Bednar (RP)

David Bednar is shut down with right lat tightness. It’s worth monitoring, as back-related issues cost Bednar time in 2022. His draft cost has dropped about a round, which seems fair at this point. Grabbing Aroldis Chapman as insurance could come in handy.

St. Louis Cardinals

Lars Nootbaar (OF), Tommy Edman (2B/SS/OF), Sonny Gray (SP), Steven Matz (SP)

Lars Nootbaar is looking for more oomph on the power front, taking a more pulled-ball approach this season. Nootbaar brings pop and speed to the fantasy table in addition to a plus plate approach. While he’s coming off a solid 118 wRC+ season, his hard-hit and barrel rates took a step backward. If his revamped swing is successful, he makes an already-appealing fantasy profile more intriguing.

Tommy Edman hasn’t been cleared to face live pitching, and it’s looking like an uphill battle to be ready for Opening Day. If he starts the season on the IL, expect Dylan Carlson to be the Cardinals’ center fielder.

Sonny Gray is dealing with a mild right hamstring strain and is unlikely to be ready Opening Day. Despite the “mild” tag, it’s worth noting that Gray spent time on the IL in 2022 for the same injury, so this bears watching. I’d push Gray down a couple of rounds until we get more information. Matthew Liberatore and Zack Thompson should be in the mix for the open rotation spot.

The Cardinals plan to slow-roll Steven Matz this spring. Due to his injury history, Matz won’t be as fully stretched out as the team’s other starters. He should be ready for Opening Day, but watch for any delays.

Tampa Bay Rays

Shane Baz (SP)

Shane Baz tweaked his oblique, pushing his throwing program back a week. Baz is recovering from Tommy John surgery and likely won’t debut until sometime this summer. Given that he’s logged only 40.1 innings in the last two seasons, expect around 100 carefully managed innings from Baz in 2024. Draft accordingly.

Toronto Blue Jays

Kevin Gausman (SP), Alek Manoah (SP)

Kevin Gausman is dealing with shoulder fatigue. An MRI showed no structural damage, but be sure to monitor as Gausman has yet to pitch in a game this spring.

Alek Manoah was scratched from his weekend start due to shoulder soreness. This, combined with a brutal spring outing and a disastrous 2023 season, is another reason to steer clear of Manoah in drafts. Mitch White and Bowden Francis could open the season in the rotation if either Gausman or Manoah isn’t ready to go.

Washington Nationals

James Wood (OF)

James Wood is making some noise, slashing .474/.600/.947 with three homers and one steal across 25 plate appearances. If the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect continues to tear it up, he could break camp with the team — especially if Stone Garrett isn’t ready for Opening Day. Keep tabs on Woods’ at-bats this spring.

For more of the great fantasy baseball rankings and analysis you’ve come to expect from FantraxHQ, check out our full 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit! We’re here for you all the way up until Opening Day and then on into your championship run.

Fantrax is one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites in the fantasy sports industry, and we’re not stopping any time soon. We are the most customizable, easy-to-use, and feature-rich platform in the industry, offering the greatest fantasy experience for your dynasty, keeper, redraft, and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports doesn’t sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level now at!
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.