Fantasy baseball: Not all spring training stats are meaningless

Jimmy Rollins, shortstop
Jimmy Rollins is a shell of his former self. Don’t waste a draft pick on him.
Credit: Getty Images

Baseball players use spring training to work on a new swing, stretch out their arms and soak up sunshine. On the surface, preseason stats mean nothing.

But buried deeper, we can find nuggets worth sinking our teeth into.

Speed demon

With an average draft position around 127, Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton is more mid-round value than true sleeper. But those with an eye on spring will take him far closer to the fifth round than the 10th.

The 23-year-old Hamilton already has six walks and 10 hits in 33 plate appearances, squashing the concerns he won’t be able to get on base enough to use his speed. He’s tied with Dee Gordon for the most steals in spring training with nine.

Off his Roll

Last year, Jimmy Rollins hit .252 with six homers, 39 RBIs and 22 steals. Yet some are absolutely convinced he still has something left in the tank. The Phillies aren’t among those people, especially given recent rumors they want to trade him as soon as possible. Rollins is hitting .091 with one homer and one steal through 27 spring plate appearances. There’s a lot more name than game in the 35-year-old Rollins. Avoid him at all costs.

Battle royale

Just like in the NFL, position battles are crucial elements of the exhibition season. Exhibit A is in Seattle, where Brad Miller is putting a hurting on Nick Franklin for the starting shortstop gig. Miller, a 2011 second-round pick, is hitting .412 with four homers though 34 plate appearances. The beating has gotten so bad that Franklin is reportedly now on the trade block. With speed and power to burn at a scarce position, Miller is an ideal sleeper candidate.

NBA pickups …

1. Jarrett Jack, PG, Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving (biceps) could be done for the season, leaving Jack’s usage sky-high.

2. Dion Waiters, SG, Cavaliers – The gifted scorer off the bench is now the starting shooting guard.

3. Harrison Barnes, SF, Warriors – Andre Iguodala’s knee woes mean the highly athletic Barnes is a starter.

With the fantasy playoffs here, give a bump to these guys:

1. Robin Lopez, C, Blazers – LaMarcus Aldridge is banged up and Portland plays a league-high five games next week.

2. Greg Monroe, PF/C, Pistons – Andre Drummond’s scary neck injury allows Monroe to play his natural center spot.

3. Kendall Marshall, PG, Lakers – Now that Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar are done, Marshall is back to 35-plus minutes nightly.

Follow Metro fantasy writer Adam Levitan on Twitter @adamlevitan.


Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…


The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.


Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…


Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.


'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.


New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!


James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…


True Detective


Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.


Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…


Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.


3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.


Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…


Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…


How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.


A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.