Cockcroft: Who to watch in spring

Updated: February 20, 2007, 3:48 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com
Spring training is finally upon us! We're only a little more than a week away from the start of the exhibition season, the first time fantasy values experience extreme shifts since the hot-stove season in November and December. I'm not one to take spring-training statistics too seriously, but player performance is absolutely something you should be tracking for the next month-plus. Keep tabs on player health, and pay closest attention to the depth charts and performances in those late-March contests, when rosters are mostly whittled down close to the 25-man opening-day rosters.

Here are the players I'll be most closely monitoring this spring, as their values could change the most dramatically based on how they look in exhibition games:

Octavio Dotel, RP, Royals: He didn't look close to his old form after returning from Tommy John surgery last summer, but keep in mind it takes pitchers time to regain the feel for their pitches coming off that kind of operation. Before he got hurt, Dotel managed a 2.68 ERA, 1.021 WHIP and 11.15 strikeout-per-nine inning ratio from 2002-05, numbers that demonstrate how dominant he can be at peak form. He couldn't ask for better job security than he has as Kansas City's projected closer today, but Dotel's going to need to look a lot stronger in March than he did last August/September to be a fantasy success.


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