Welcome to the opening Spring Training edition of Groovin’ With Govier! If you’re new here (regulars: skip), I dissect various players and strategies related to the current fantasy baseball landscape. Don’t forget our 2023 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide is available right now. Save a couple bones with my promo code MJGOVIER when you sign up so you can get access to Eric Cross, Matty Davis, Vlad Sedler and many more FTN whiz-kids! Now let’s stop wasting time and get down to business. I hear Wandy Peralta is lurking and I want you to have time to absorb this article without the threat of Wandy quick-pitching us out of here. 


Fool Me, We Can’t Get Fooled Again

During a recent Pallazzo Podcast episode, 2022 darling Tyler Anderson came up in conversation. Suddenly, there was a powerful urge calling to me from deep within the certainly grotesque crevices of my gut! I felt like Audrey II from Little Shop of HorrorsFEED ME SEYMOUR! What was the name of that dude from the Texas Rangers in 2019 who produced that clearly once-in-a-career outlier of a season that he would definitely fail to live up to in the following year? The only other factoid I knew about him was that he signed as a youngster with the Minnesota Twins. He had impressive tools but was stricken with the classic “raw” moniker. Have you figured out who it was yet? Eventually I recalled his name. He was none other than the often tantalizing, but never duplicated Danny Santana

What Santana did in 2019 never seemed to make much sense based on what we knew about his past. He could almost be lumped in with the late arrival of another recent Ranger who displayed a similar power/speed profile named Adolis García. The difference was that Garcia backed up his out-of-the-blue 2021 with an improved 2022. In 2019, Santana hit 28 dongs, stole 21 bases and produced a .251 ISO, a .283/.324/.534 slash line and a slightly above-average 111 wRC+ in 511 PA. It’s possible he may have been thrown off by the COVID-19 bozo season in 2020, but he only had 190 more PA in MLB. Unfortunately, it was always going to be this way. I have the receipts making it crystal clear in 2020 that Danny Santana was not worth his ADP after that magical 2019 run. Whether you prefer the fairy tale of Cinderella (not to be confused with Spinderalla who was always on point) or the true to life disappointment that was Adam Morrison’s career, anybody with a few years of experiential knowledge watching sports will tell you that one shining moment doesn’t last for most athletes. Especially when they produce way beyond the norm of a large sample size to analyze.

So what does Tyler Anderson have to do with Danny Santana? Well, just like Brandon Crawford in 2021, all three of these dudes were too weird to live and too rare to die. Crawford defenders will tell you he had shown similar power and patience in other seasons comparable to 2021. That’s where the story ends. His .298/.373/.522 slash line paired with 138 wRC+ goes way beyond his career norms in those departments. So you enjoy the season for what it is: A fluke that remains the possible constant for every player who isn’t Mike Trout. That’s why these guys play the game! Every season, hundreds of dudes are giving their all, clinging to the hope that they too can seize the glory of a season like any of these three players were able to do. Sometimes it happens in shorter bursts where we’re all stupefied by a player’s unexpected prowess for only a month instead of a season. Former Detroit Tiger Chris Shelton hit 9 homers in his first 13 games in 2006. He finished the season with 16. He was also a beautiful ginger

The takeaway from all this is clearly that regression is coming for Tyler Anderson. To use his own words after signing with the Angels in the offseason: It’s a no brainer! Anderson has flashed stretches of impressive ball in his career outside of his stellar 2022 campaign. Even though his 3.31 FIP gives some credence to his 2.57 ERA, he still got a bit lucky by finishing with a career best 77.8% strand rate last season. Clearly his 261 ADP since March 1 in NFBC expresses the lack of trust most high stakes players have in Anderson repeating his 2022. I rarely miss on these regression candidates. With that said, I would like to officially claim Tyler Anderson as 2023’s Danny Santana Tribute Award winner! Brandon Crawford wanted to be here to hand over the trophy from the 2022 season, but he couldn’t be here. 

Don’t Believe the Hype

Spring training is a time of hope. It is also a time of hype. And when the hope meets the hype, you better take cover, son. Right now some poor fantasy manager is in their bedroom gently turning their lamp on and off again while whispering to themselves about how they will not fall for the Jarred Kelenic hype again. Kelenic is only 23. He could still get this thing rolling. Hell, he may have been a victim of the New York City media machine hyping him up to legend status after the Mets traded him away. Some of those media members may have had an axe to grind with former Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen (yep, that really happened). Despite time still being on Kelenic’s side, there have been many spring flings in the past that have left many of you feeling like an abandoned booty call wishing that you had never responded to that initial, “Hey, you up?” text. With the final authority that is hindsight on our side, I am going to review a few examples of hitters who displayed spring training prowess from years past and then label those spring flings with judgment because this is the fantasy baseball way. Compare. Contrast. Judge. Repeat. 

Jung Ho Kang, 2019

I admit there was a moment around 2015 when I thought Jung Ho Kang was going to be a stellar starting slugging staple in the Three Rivers area for years to come. He finished third in the ROY voting in 2015, and that was after Kang’s knee was thrashed by Chris Coghlan in September. Unfortunately, Kang’s story gets grim from there. He had a serious issue with alcohol and was accused of sexual assault in Chicago. Let’s skip ahead to his spring fling of 2019 when Kang was finally in camp for the first time since 2016. He didn’t waste the opportunity. Kang crushed 7 bombs to lead all of spring training! His ADP for 2019 came in at 322. That put him in the later rounds of leagues depending on the roster size. The hype machine was in full swing though as waiver wire write-ups like this one praised the clinic Kang put on during spring training. The end result of Kang’s 2019? His slash line of .169/.222/.395 buoyed with 10 dongs left him without a job by August as he was let go after playing in 65 games. Definitely not worth a draft pick.

Spring Fling Result: Nasty break-up

Greg Bird, 2017

For some of you, just seeing the name Greg Bird on your screen may trigger you. After Bird tallied a 170 wRC+ in 120 games at low-A, the admiration he received from the prospect Smeagols skyrocketed. Outside of a promising 46-game stint with the Yankees in 2015, Bird had almost lost his audience by the time he ripped 16 XBH including 8 homers during spring training in 2017. His 2017 ADP ended up around 246. What did you get for your troubles? 170 PA, .194 BABIP, 9 dongs and a 78.9% Z-contact rate. 

Spring Fling Result: The one that got away

Maikel Franco, 2016

To be fair, not every spring breakout ends in a depressing fast food binge in your car after midnight. Franco led the spring with 9 dongs in 22 games with a small sample OPS of 1.054. He hit a solid .294 while also leading all of spring training with 23 RBIs. Franco had yet to play a full season yet as he only played in 80 games the year prior. His spring opened the door to a full season of playing time. Though he didn’t show much patience (he never did at any point in his career) he was able to crank 25 taters, drive in 88 runs and maintain a 16.8% K rate. His didn’t hit for much average and ended up a below average player for the season (92 wRC+), but those numbers played just fine for a third baseman who had a fair amount of prospect hype around him. However, if you paid a stiffer price in drafts taking place late in spring training that season, you may have been disappointed.

Spring Fling Result: Always wonder what could have been



Beat Govier OC

At 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday, I will be drafting live in a 12-team Online Championship league on the NFBC YouTube channel while doing a livestream. If you have never drafted while being on a livestream, it’s intense. You will already have a built-in advantage against me since I’ll be drafting while talking on the air. If you think I’m a fraud and want to prove it or you’re just in the mood to draft, sign up now at this link right here. It's a standard 5x5 roto league with FAAB plus there is an overall prize grand prize for all the OC leagues of $150,000! Even if you just want to see a 12-team draft in action, come check out the live stream for further draft preparation. 

Jose Miranda

I want to make this perfectly clear to all of you: do not fret about Jose Miranda’s shoulder from a hitting perspective. I posted on my Twitter last week recalling Zac Gallen’s shoulder concern from spring training in 2022. His ADP took a hit for that. If you were one of the lucky ones to dismiss his shoulder issue, then you got yourself a starting pitcher who finished top five in the NL Cy Young race. Usually those top finishers have fantasy stats that are worthy of your time. Now Miranda is not playing 3B because of his current shoulder issue, which has happened before. He’s also sitting out the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico because of it. I drafted him last weekend because he is eligible at 1B and 3B along with the fact that he has a fantastic approach. He’s a pure hitter. His shoulder may limit his ability to throw now, but he had a double-dong game recently, which should alleviate you of any worries about his ability to be a DH or first baseman. Plus, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli is optimistic Miranda will be ready to go Opening Day. I am not letting the spring shoulder issue stop me from drafting Miranda. 

Bryse Wilson

Once a promising prospect for Atlanta, Bryse Wilson pitched last year for Pittsburgh after being dealt in the Richard Rodríguez deadline deal in 2021. He was able to throw 115 innings last year, which is good news for his ability to be a starter in 2023. He is out of options though, so that means he has to make the 26-man roster. He’s currently in camp with the Brewers. That’s basically why I mention this. Brew Crew pitching coach Chris Hook continues to make the most out of his pitching staff. If he can unlock Wilson’s once promising talent, Wilson could be a steal for those of you in deeper leagues or as a waiver wire pick-up. So far in spring he has pitched 3 innings and struck out 4. Nothing major to be sure. I mean, I just did a whole thing about spring training hype above. Clearly it’s important to be careful here. If Wilson shows further improvement and makes the roster, keep your eyes peeled. Right now the back-end starters for Milwaukee are Wade Miley and Freddy Peralta. Both pitchers struggled with injuries last year.