Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball Tools  |  Last updated 3/18/12


The big news this week in the American League East was the return of Andy Pettitte to the New York Yankees.  His return adds another pitcher to the AL-only league player pools while negatively impacting the value of Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia as well. Here is a look at some of the more interesting news for each team in the AL East halfway through spring training.

Baltimore Orioles – the starting rotation is a fantasy baseball landmine. Wei-Yin Chen has pitched okay in three starts with a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings with eight strikeouts and is worth a look in AL-only formats. Brian Matusz has pitched better this spring with a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings with no walks issued and 13 strikeouts. The one negative is batters are hitting .282 against him. Still no word on when second basemen Brian Roberts will see action as he comes back from a concussion. If he is not ready to start the season, Robert Andino ends up with a little value in AL-only leagues.

Boston Red Sox - so far the transition of Daniel Bard from relief pitcher to starting pitcher has not gone that smoothly as he has posted a 8.22 ERA with eight hits and seven walks allowed in 7 2/3 innings. The Red Sox could still sign a guy like Roy Oswalt or trade for a starter which is why I am avoiding Bard in drafts this season. Alfredo Aceves has pitched well in his bid to claim a rotation spot with a 1.00 ERA in nine innings with eight strikeouts. Felix Doubront has put his name into the rotation mix after throwing four scoreless innings against the Yankees this week with three strikeouts.

New York Yankees- the Yankees added more depth to their starting rotation with the return of Andy Pettitte from retirement. Pettitte returns after sitting out the 2011 season. In his last season in 2010, he posted a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts with 11 wins. It will likely take him a few weeks to get into game shape so he might be ready to pitch in the major leagues by the end of April. From a fantasy perspective, as a pitcher that missed a full season of competition and turns 40 in a few months, in deep mixed league formats, I would still be willing to take a flier on him in late rounds, knowing that he can post wins if nothing else. He has a little more value in AL-only league formats given the shortage of pitching, but I still would be looking at him as a later round pick as well. His return hurts the value of Phil Hughes who would likely move to the bullpen if Pettitte is close to his 2010 form as well as Freddy Garcia who now looks like the seventh starter in a five-man rotation.

Tampa Bay Rays – starting pitcher Wade Davis looks to be the odd man out in the Rays rotation with a 5.19 ERA and 1.85 WHIP, but then again he has never pitched well in spring training with a lifetime 6.90 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in spring. Jeff Niemann currently holds the lead for the 5th starter role, though he was unimpressive in his last start with eight hits allowed in 3 1/3 innings and four earned runs.

Toronto Blue Jays – there is a battle going on for the Blue Jays starting left fielder job right now with Travis Snider hitting .313 with four home runs and 13 RBI and Eric Thames who is batting .345 with a home run and six RBI. Since they both hit left-handed, one of them is going to win the job outright. Brett Lawrie is off to a hot start, hitting .609 with five stolen bases in 23 at bats. His value in mock drafts seems to be rising every week making it almost impossible to get any profit from him based on where he is going. Brett Cecil is someone I have been tracking since it was reported he had lost 30 pounds in the offseason. He has worked six scoreless innings so far and is a decent gamble at the end of AL-only leagues.

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