Not a whole lot of exciting news in the American League West this spring, except for those in AL-only leagues hoping to bank on rookie pitchers Jarrod Parker and Brad Peacock in Oakland are going to have to wait awhile after both were sent to the minor leagues. Tyson Ross looks like he will snag one of the last two spots and while Graham Godfrey or Parker could serve as the 5th starter when the team needs one in mid-April, Dallas Braden will be back by the end of the month and in the rotation.
Los Angeles Angels – still too many players and not enough at bats to go around which is good news for manager Mike Scioscia, but bad news for fantasy owners. Starting pitcher Jerome Williams has been out of action for two weeks with a strained hamstring which has opened the door for Garrett Richards to get in the mix and he has responded with two runs allowed in nine innings and seven strikeouts. Richards struggled like most pitchers do making the jump from AA to the major leagues last season, but is worth stashing on reserve in AL-only leagues if Williams is not ready.
Oakland Athletics - Tyson Ross figures to start the season in the rotation but I am not rushing out to pick him up regardless of his spring training numbers, as for one thing, spring training stats don’t matter 99% of the time. The other reason is he still doesn’t have enough experience with just 294 career innings pitched and he still has work to do on his control.
Seattle Mariners- the rotation is a mess after Felix Hernandez as the team waits for its top pitching prospects to reach the major leagues. Blake Beavan (2.35 ERA, eight strikeouts in 15 innings) and Kevin Millwood (3.21 ERA, 12 strikeouts in 14 innings) have been the second and third best pitchers in camp from a numbers standpoint, but I would stay away from any starter not named Felix unless you play in a very deep AL-only league with 12-14 owners in it.
Texas Rangers – starting pitcher Neftali Feliz’s shoulder felt better today after he left yesterday’s outing with stiffness. While no MRI is currently scheduled, I would stay away from him in drafts as I am not a big fan of relievers converting to starting pitchers in their first season. If they start out struggling or if the bullpen falters, they can always be moved back. I would much rather see Feliz throw 160+ innings this season and own him next year if he holds up rather than taking him in 2012. Even more so now that he had shoulder stiffness in his start yesterday.