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.


Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for…

By Kate KellandLONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored…


Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as…

By Irene KlotzNEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars…


NYPD: Man found hanging in Brooklyn subway station

A man was found hanging inside a Brooklyn subway station on Saturday morning, police said. The man, who still had not been identified on Sunday,…


Only church destroyed in 9/11 set to rebuild

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed during the terrorist attacks on 9/11, held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday to start the…


9 things we learned about 'Hannibal' Season 3…

There’s plenty of fall television to be excited about, but the crowd inside the Paley Center for Media on Saturday night only wanted one thing:…

Going Out

Watch home cooks try to impress Tom Colicchio…

Is what you’re making for dinner tonight good enough to serve “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio? That’s the standard that some of the city’s best…


‘Homeland’ recap: Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Iron in…

Carrie Mathison, what are you doing?! Don’t seduce virgins! More on that later: Lots of crazy stuff went down on the "Iron in the Fire" ep of "Homeland"!


Box office: Brad Pitt kills Nazis, also Nicholas…

This weekend, Brad Pitt's second WWII movie, "Fury," rolled into the lead, while the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, "The Best of Me," got little love.


College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU


NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front


DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.


Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin: Report

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have sent a conditional draft pick to the Seahawks for wide receiver Percy Harvin.


Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…


Health News: 5K for lung cancer, free yoga,…

Get some fresh air to benefit lung cancer research On Friday, the first-ever Brooklyn Free to Breathe Run/Walk will take place Oct. 26 at Cadman Plaza…


Can these two college students come up with…

Two Atlanta college students say they have an idea for a simple test that would quickly diagnosis the Ebola virus - and it all started…


Chances are, the average college student isn't taking…

As a bachelor’s degree becomes more expensive than ever, one new report is criticizing colleges for the content of those pricey educations. The American Council…