This RBI single for Marcus Semien was just the least of his contributions Tuesday. (USATSI)
This RBI single for Marcus Semien was just the least of his contributions Tuesday. (USATSI)

We're always told spring training doesn't matter, that we shouldn't pay attention to it if know what's best for our Fantasy teams.

Well, I think that's a bunch of baloney.

At the very least, it's a cop-out. Sure, most of it doesn't matter. For established players with no threats to their playing time, injury concerns or known mechanical issues, spring training is just a red herring. But spring training was also our first clue last year that Melky Cabrera was back to form and that Jacob deGrom was more than the scouting reports let on. Rather than pick out a few interesting nuggets and risk them being misconstrued as more than just food for thought, it's easier to have a blanket policy for the whole thing. "Nope, none of it matters. Check back again in late May."

Really? This is the first baseball most of us have seen in months. Asking a true fan to ignore it is cruel and, frankly, unrealistic. "If they're going to do it anyway, they can at least do it under adult supervision." That's what all the "cool" parents said in high school, right?

Bad comparison, but you get what I'm saying. So periodically throughout this spring, I'm going to review game action from the day before, picking out the five items that I believe are of greatest concern to Fantasy owners. And I'll do my best to couch them in a responsible way.

1. Marcus Semien makes his presence known.

Semien didn't hit just one home run in his first look as the Athletics starting shortstop, but two, effectively ending whatever competition existed there before it even began. OK, so maybe he goes hitless the rest of spring training and makes us wonder what the hype was all about, but given that he's a breakout for Al Melchior and a sleeper for me, I'm only emboldened by the performance.

2. Aaron Sanchez gets off on the wrong foot.

Depending in part on his performance this spring, Sanchez could begin the year as either the Blue Jays fifth starter or just a bullpen arm. Or I guess their closer, which would probably the best scenario for his own individual value, but it would be a net loss for Fantasy owners since it would eliminate Brett Cecil as a perfectly capable closer while also eliminating Sanchez as a sleeper starter. Sanchez says he was just working on his curveball, but considering the Blue Jays have already said they'll decide his role by mid-March, he doesn't have that luxury.

3. Jung Ho Kang goes oppo boppo.


This from a player who hit .356 with 40 home runs in the Korean Baseball Organization. Of course, no one thinks he'll be that good, but how many middle infielders can hit the ball out in that direction with such ease? And oh yeah, he started at shortstop, which is the position nobody seems to think he'll be able to play in the majors.

4. Devon Travis whiffs in his first chance.

The Blue Jays don't have a starting second baseman. They have Maicer Izturis, who has impersonated one in the past, but if they wanted him starting there, they wouldn't have acquired Travis, a major league-ready second base prospect, from the Tigers this offseason. It's a good sign he got the start Tuesday, but it's not so good that he went 0-for-4. If he wins the job, I'm thinking he's at worst a speedier version of Scooter Gennett.

5. More of the same from Ubaldo Jimenez

Granted, the Orioles don't have an opening in their starting rotation, but for as much as they're paying him and as good as he was two years ago, Jimenez could probably force his way in with a strong spring. Allowing five earned runs in 1 1/3 innings isn't going to make it happen. When Madison Bumgarner says he was just working on his pitches and didn't care about results, you can take his word for it, but Jimenez has a little more at stake.