MLB In Full Bloom 2/21/2014

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37 – Number of days until Opening Day

Forecasting postseason award winners every year is a difficult task. Attempting to determine who is going to win the Rookie of the Year is even harder. Anyone who thinks they can predict will win the award in either league will certainly have several players to choose from this year. My three favorites in the American League are Masahiro Tanaka, Taijuan Walker, and Jose Abreu. In the National League, I like Billy Hamilton, Travis D'Arnaud and Alexander Guerrero. Next week, I will break down each player, but let's put a wrap on this week!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Andrelton Simmons and the Braves agreed to a seven-year deal on Thursday. The Braves have locked up the core of their core players that they drafted by wrapping up Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, Craig Kimbrel and now Simmons long-term all in just over two weeks. They also extended Jayson Heyward for two-years, but the other four players will be with the Braves as they open their new ballpark in Cobb County in 2017. It certainly makes sense that the Braves want to keep Simmons as he's already one of the top defensive shortstops in the game and is just 24 years old and he hit 17 home runs. 
  • Yasiel Puig was held out of baseball activities Thursday after hitting a ball off his leg on Wednesday. Puig is expected back in workouts again on Friday, so this is not a reason for concern. Puig batted .319 with 19 homers and 11 stolen bases last season for the Dodgers. He should be a fantasy monster in 2014.
  • Chris Capuano and the Red Sox agreed to one-year deal on Thursday. The left-hander will provide the Red Sox depth after Ryan Dempster announced that he will not pitch in 2014. Capuano could certainly compete with Felix Doubrant for the final spot in the Red Sox rotation, but the more realistic outcome will have Capuano in a long relief role.
  • Ryan Braun arrived at spring training Thursday an is still trying to shake the stigma of a 65-game PED suspension that ended his 2013 season. Braun continued to express remorse and a desire to leave the entire episode in the past. Braun will move to right field next season after being the Brewers left fielder since 2008. Braun was routinely selected among the top five picks in 2013 fantasy drafts, he let down his owners and fans. He'll get a fresh start in 2014, at least from a fantasy prospective, but questions linger regarding how much of his top-end production from past seasons were artificially enhanced. Expect Braun to slide a bit in your drafts.
  • Mark Teixeira (wrist) isn't likely to play in Grapefruit League games until March 3, at the earliest. The Yankees' Grapefruit League schedule begins on February 26 so he is about a week to ten days behind as he continues to rehab his right wrist. Teixeira has been hitting off a batting tee and taking batting practice off coaches.
  • Matt Harrison (back) has been throwing for two months in the offseason with no issues with his back. On the first day of full squad workouts, Harrison was a non-participant as he felt stiffness in his back that prevented him from throwing batting practice.
  • Jesus Montero arrived at Mariners camp 40 pounds over the weight to start training camp. Mariners GM, Jack Zduriencik now has "no expectations" for the first baseman. Montero's future was already looking bleak before this spring, as he's struggled since joining the M's. He moved off of catcher and last year got popped with a 50-game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal. He'll begin the season in the minors and obviously has a lot of ground to make up before he becomes relevant again for the M's and fantasy owners.