Setting the Trends: Going beyond Bauer, Rizzo

Senior Fantasy Writer

Just when Roster Trends seemed to be stabilizing a little bit, with the big jumps coming from newly-minted closers and two-start pitchers, the Cubs and Diamondbacks step in and call up, respectively, Anthony Rizzo and Trevor Bauer, setting the lists on fire.

Chances are Bauer and Rizzo are already rostered on a team in your league by now. And chances are even better that if someone does own them, they're not looking to move them. Rizzo is the 151st most traded player in our leagues; Bauer is the 158th. In other words, owners who rostered Bauer and Rizzo early on and then dedicated a roster spot to them for a solid two months probably want to gauge their value before selling high, while those who might need a pitcher or corner infielder are doing one of two things: gauging the value before trying to trade that good starting pitcher for one of them, or floating ridiculously lowball offers that the Bauer and Rizzo owners are swatting away with glee.

The tide will eventually turn, and Rizzo and Bauer will likely rise to at least the top 50 of Most Traded list. But, for now, there is just a whole lot of gauging going on.

On to the Roster Trends!

Most Added Players (as of 6/27)
Player % increase
1. Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves 29
2. Bobby Parnell, RP, Mets 27
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs 26
4. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox 26
5. Dillon Gee, SP, Mets 24
6. Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals 21
7. Chris Archer, SP, Rays 20
8. Cody Ross, OF, Red Sox 18
9. Jose Quintana, SP, White Sox 17
10. Brandon Belt, OF, Giants 16

Most Added Highlights

Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves
Jump in ownership: 29 percent (from 28 percent to 57)
Reason for the jump: Jurrjens announced his return to the Braves with authority on Friday, giving up one run on three hits over 7 2/3 innings pitched.
Why you should join the crowd: Before this season, Jurrjens had compiled a career 3.40 ERA over five seasons with the Tigers and Braves. In 2011, he sported a 2.96 ERA in 23 starts with a 1.22 WHIP -- and this wasn't even his career year. In 2009, Jurrjens had 14 wins with a 2.60 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. His two full seasons of sub-3.00 ERAs show that he can be a top pitcher for Fantasy owners.
Devil's Advocate: Before his demotion, Jurrjens had been putting together a horrible year, with a 9.37 ERA through his first four starts. An All-Star in 2011, Jurrjens was in the minor leagues by the end of April. Things didn't get much better there, as he compiled a 5.18 ERA in 10 starts. In those 10 starts, he gave up six runs twice and 10 runs once. To add to the discouragement, Jurrjens has seen his strikeout rate drop markedly over the last three seasons, and his walk rate so far this year (4.1 per nine innings) is the highest of his career by almost a full run.

Less than 50, more than 50
Players owned in less than 50% of leagues who should be owned in more than 50%
Player % owned
1. J.D. Martinez, OF, Astros 47
2. Coco Crisp, OF, Athletics 41
3. Salvador Perez, C, Royals 37
4. Mike Leake, SP, Reds 29
5. Andrew Cashner, RP, Padres 21

Bobby Parnell, RP, Mets
Jump in ownership: 27 percent (from four percent to 31)
Reason for the jump: Parnell's name is being mentioned as the new closer for the Mets.
Why you should join the crowd: To put it simply, a closer is a closer. Parnell may eventually get rocked here and there, but if he's closing games for the Mets -- even if it's just for a few weeks, and even if he gets hit around a couple times -- he'll still likely get at least a few saves for your team. And this is a worst-case scenario. In reality, Parnell may be better than many observers are giving him credit for; over the past three seasons, he has a 3.30 ERA with a 9.2 K/9 ratio. His 1.41 WHIP is high, but, over 125 1/3 innings since the start of 2010, he's managed to balance that out with a low ERA and lots of strikeouts. Plus, with the small amount of innings he pitches, that WHIP won't hurt your overall stats as much as his saves will help.
Devil's Advocate: Parnell isn't exactly lights out and struggled as a closer when given the shot last year. Additionally, his bullpen-mate, Jon Rauch, has collected double-digit saves three times since 2008. Rauch -- and this is wholly unscientific and subjective -- seems to pop up when a team's closer is either hurt or ineffective. He has saves with five of the six teams he has played for.

A Look Ahead
Players owned in less than 10% of leagues who should be owned in more
Player Ownership %
1. Jared Burton, RP, Twins 9
2. Tyler Greene, 2B, Cardinals 7
3. Aaron Crow, RP, Royals 6
4. Rex Brothers, RP, Rockies 5
5. Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers 4

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
Jump in ownership: 26 percent (from 49 percent to 75)
Reason for the jump: After tearing up the PCL Rizzo made his 2012 debut with the Cubs on Tuesday night, going 2-for-4.
Why you should join the crowd: Rizzo's numbers this year at Iowa were ridiculous; in 257 at-bats, he hit .342 with 23 home runs, 62 RBI, and a 1.101 OPS. The front office that took over the Cubs and eventually traded for Rizzo this offseason is essentially the front office that drafted Rizzo with the Red Sox in 2007. And with the Cubs going nowhere fast, Rizzo will have every chance to play at first base and succeed. Remember when you missed out on Mike Trout earlier this year? This is your chance to atone for that mistake.
Devil's Advocate: In 2011, Rizzo compiled a similar stat line for San Diego's PCL affiliate in Tucson: .331 average, 26 home runs, and 101 RBI, with a 1.056 OPS. He played in 49 games with San Diego, putting up a .141 batting average, with just one home run.
However: There are two factors working in Rizzo's favor this year. First, the Trout Parallel: Trout was killing the ball in the minors last year and hit just .220 over 40 games for the Angels during two stints. He started 2012 in the PCL, destroyed the ball some more, was recalled to the majors, and is now hitting .335 with seven home runs, 21 steals, and 29 RBI in 212 at-bats. The second factor working for Rizzo is that, hidden in his terrible 2011 line, he managed eight doubles. If you take his 128 at-bats and stretch those out over a full season, he would have finished with about 38, a number that would have put him in the top 20 for doubles among all players in 2011.

John Mayberry, OF, Phillies
Jump in ownership: 17 percent (from 16 percent to 33)
Reason for the jump: Since June 13, Mayberry has hit .273 with four home runs, 11 RBI, and four doubles.
Why you should join the crowd: Over the past 14 days, Mayberry has the eighth-most points among first basemen, more than Albert Pujols, Paul Goldschmidt or Mark Teixeira. He's coming off a season in which he hit 15 home runs and stole eight bases in just 267 at-bats.
Devil's Advocate: Mayberry's minor league numbers show a lot of power but a low batting average -- in almost 3,000 plate appearances, he hit just .258. Additionally, with Ryan Howard eventually coming back, Mayberry may be caught in a crunch for playing time. He already is caught in a PT triangle with Ty Wigginton and Juan Pierre. Wigginton will likely be most affected by Howard's return, but Mayberry will have to move to an already-crowded outfield, featuring Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, and Pierre. With Pierre currently hitting .317, and Mayberry at .233, there's not a solid case to bring Mayberry in any more frequently.

Out of sight, out of mind
The most dropped minor leaguers
Player % drop
1. Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals -9
2. Tyler Thornburg, SP, Brewers -3
3. Jeanmar Gomez, SP, Indians -3
4. Jacob Turner, SP, Indians -2
5. Daniel Bard, RP, Red Sox -2

Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates
Jump in ownership: 12 percent (from 41 percent to 53)
Reason for the jump: Over the last 14 days, Alvarez ranks fourth among third basemen with 55 Fantasy points.
Why you should join the crowd: When Alvarez is on, he is on. In his last 10 games, Alvarez has hit .441, with five home runs, 10 RBI, 11 runs scored, and a 1.483 OPS. Alvarez now has 13 home runs on the season, one fewer than Joey Votto, putting him in a tie for 11th in the National League. Alvarez has seen some success in the major leagues, hitting 16 home runs with a .256 average in 95 games with the Pirates in 2010.
Devil's Advocate: Alvarez gets hot in bunches. On April 20, he was hitting .067. On May 4, he was up to .260. By May 20, he was down to .202. June 15 had him at .189. And, after a 1-for-4 night on Thursday, he's up to .228. From May 4 to June 15, he hit one home run. On June 16 and 17, he hit four. Get Alvarez at the right time, and he can reward you. Dote on him too long, and you wonder why you liked him in the first place.

Everth Cabrera, SS, Padres
Jump in ownership: Five percent (from 16 percent to 21)
Reason for the jump: Cabrera is currently 18th in MLB, with 11 steals. He has played in just 36 games.
Why you should join the crowd: Cabrera has two things that can help your Fantasy team: a job and lots of speed. At the time of his recall -- over a month ago -- he was leading the PCL in steals. He's still in the top 10, even after about a month and a half with the Padres. And on top of all these steals, Cabrera has managed to slug two home runs (both, naturally, on the road) giving him as many as Yonder Alonso and just one fewer than Cameron Maybin.
Devil's Advocate: Even though he sports a .292 minor league career batting average, Cabrera has hit just .241 in 721 major league at-bats. His .266 so far this year is a career high. And while those two home runs are nice boost to owners who already have him rostered, those picking him up shouldn't expect many more.

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