We’ll have to wait and see if Gardenhire replaces Alex Casilla with Hughes at second base, but the latter’s spring training resume has raised some eyebrows. In 56 at-bats, Hughes hit .339 with a 1.056 OPS, five bombs, 19 RBI, and 11 runs. He also stole a base. Your move Casilla. - Ryan Fowler
Opening Night LIVE from Miami
We’ve gone from Opening Morning in Tokyo, Japan last week to Opening Night in Miami this Wednesday and finally Opening Day the following afternoon. America’s Pastime is rocking around the clock.
The Marlins new stadium will make its national debut Wednesday night as will their outfield attraction (pic) slash slot machine from Hell.
Whatever you do, be sure to avoid direct eye contact with it, but soak in the following under-the-radar fantasy start suggestions for the week … – Ryan Fowler
Start 'em - Ryan Raburn vs BOS
The pressure is on Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera to hit 100 home runs and drive in 200, but what has to excite Jim Leyland is the play of a trio of Tigers this spring training.
Ryan Raburn spent most of the last decade ping-ponging between Triple-A Toledo and Detroit. With Carlos Guillen now out of the picture, he’s presented with consistent playing time. He hit six bombs, drove in 18 with a .310 batting average this spring. Raburn is eligible at second and in the outfield, which makes him even more enticing. – Ryan Fowler
Start 'em - Delmon Young vs BOS
Young hit 10 homers and drove in 44 runs after the All-Star break last season (MIN/DET). He picked up where he left off, and then some, this March. A .388 average with five home runs, 19 RBI, 10 runs and an OPS of 1.200 makes the outfielder a must-start in April. He’s owned in 79.1 percent of FOX fantasy leagues, which means you still may be able to pick him up. – Ryan Fowler
He slides over two time zones and starts up a career in Colorado. His K:BB ratio was 130:66 last season. Most importantly, Guthrie faces the Houston Astros this Friday. Everybody’s favorite to finish with the worst MLB record posted a 5.27 team ERA this spring. Opening Day starter, Wandy Rodriguez’s spring training ERA was nearly two runs higher at 7.18. Opposing hitters raked at a .318 clip against Rodriguez. Guthrie gets the win.
Fun fact: Guthrie started 30 or more games in each of the last four seasons while with Baltimore. – Ryan Fowler
Start 'em - Edwin Encarnacion
I’d be willing to bet by season’s end, Encarnacion is one of the leaders in ADD/DROP fantasy transactions. He gets passed around quite a bit. The Blue Jays DH is also eligible at third in 2012. This could prove useful the first weekend as the Tribe’s pitching staff is dinged up and struggled this spring. The opposition hit .309 with 29 home runs against Cleveland's hurlers.
Encarnacion strikes out a little more often than owners would like, but the pop is there and hitting fifth in the Jays’ lineup presents plenty of RBI opportunities. – Ryan Fowler
Start ‘em – J.P. Arencibia vs CLE
He ranked fourth among catchers with 22 home runs last season. If you’re willing to take a slight chance on a Mendoza-esque batting average, he’s your man this weekend. He led the Blue Jays with four home runs this spring with nine RBI and seven runs scored. – Ryan Fowler
Start ‘em – Eric Hosmer vs LAA
I have high hopes for the Royals’ offense in 2012. Will I also have egg on my face come the All-Star break when they are hitting .250 as a team? Doubtful.
Alex Gordon and Billy Butler produced at a high rate this spring, but Hosmer blew them away. The first baseman hit .418 with five home runs, 26 RBI and 16 runs this past March. That’s some good momentum for a guy who hit .293 with 19 home runs in 128 games with the Royals last season. – Ryan Fowler
Start ‘em – Ian Desmond vs CHC
To say Desmond strikes out a ton would be an understatement. He was punched out 18 times and walked only twice this spring. That’s the bad. The good is the fact he led the team in base hits (20) and hit .299. Not bad compared to the .253 BA he finished with in 2011. Now Desmond faces the Cubbies’ rotation this weekend and their 5.16 spring ERA. Again, these are under-the-radar starts, I could say start Joses Reyes and be done with it, but you want more. You deserve more. – Ryan Fowler