Every Monday we'll take a look at the Fantasy Baseball gainers and decliners in our Fantasy Stockwatch.
This week's potential 'Buy Guys'
| RP Mike Gonzalez, ATL |
We were skeptical about the Tommy John survivor returning immediately in the closer's role, but he is red hot and has worked back-to-back and multiple innings with four innings/three outings in four days. That is a signal he is ready to be full go as the Braves' closer now. Consider him a solid addition in all leagues now, especially with Rafael Soriano (elbow), Manny Acosta (hamstring) and Jeff Bennett (shoulder) on the DL. Gonzalez can be a top-10 Fantasy closer in the second half, and he is available in 55 percent of CBSSports.com's leagues at this point.
| OF Cody Ross, FLA |
Fantasy owners patiently waiting for the arrival of Cameron Maybin are overlooking the 27-year-old breakthrough of Ross. He is on pace for 27 homers and 87 RBI and is now locked in at the plate as the full-time center fielder for the Marlins. He is a streaky free-swinger, so you have to expect some cold streaks in the second half, but his huge weekend in Colorado has his ownership rising from 8 percent in Week 14 to 36 percent for Week 16. His pop, hot streak and full-time status combine to make him someone owning in at least 50 percent of leagues. In fact, he has a chance to outscore All-Star Ryan Ludwick here on out.
| RP Grant Balfour, TB |
Any team with studly starting pitching and the best record in baseball should generate a lot of save chances. Balfour is the man right now and he is on a wicked tear. The scrap heap find was once a well-regarded prospect in the minor leagues before injury woes and command allowed him to fall into the Rays' lap a year ago. Troy Percival (hamstring) will resume closer's duties once healthy, but that timetable has been pushed back and the Rays are strangely in a position to be patient. Balfour certainly affords them time with the overweight and out-of-shape veteran Percival, who was once retired and might be as certain to wind up back on the DL as he is certain to return to being a top Fantasy option at the closer position. Balfour is a must-have in AL-only leagues and any Rotisserie formats. He can be productive even as a setup man come August.
| SP C.C. Sabathia, MIL |
Traded to the Brewers, C.C. wants to drop the dots and be called CC. We reserve judgment on that, but we have to be excited to see Sabathia go to the NL and a top contender in Milwaukee. They can get him consistent run support and make him the potential top-five Fantasy pitcher owners thought they would be getting this spring. He is obviously a big loss for owners in AL-only formats that lose players dealt to the other league, but NL-only owners would be wise to burn all their FAAB for the ace lefty. We will be hard-pressed to get a player to switch leagues before the trade deadline with more potential to make a huge impact.
| OF/1B Matt LaPorta, CLE |
LaPorta was a long shot to help the contending Brewers down the stretch this season, especially because Ryan Braun was manning LaPorta's position. But now the potential future Fantasy first-rounder could arrive in Cleveland, which is rebuilding. LaPorta reports to Double-A Akron for now and will play in the Futures Game this Sunday, but he could position himself for a second-half call-up if he just keeps on doing what he is doing. LaPorta fills a hole immediately in Cleveland with power and the ability to play on the corner in the outfield or infield. We won't see him before Aug. 1 at this point, but AL-only Fantasy owners would be wise to stash the minors No. 1 slugging prospect.
Some more 'Buy Guys' we couldn't fit in: SP Clay Buchholz, BOS; SP Josh Johnson, FLA; RP Masahide Kobayashi, CLE; SP Chris Volstad, FLA; SP Mark Mulder, STL; SS J.J. Hardy, MIL; C Jeff Mathis, LAA; SP Manny Parra, MIL; SP Mike Pelfrey, NYM; SP Andy Sonnanstine, TB; SS Nomar Garciaparra, LAD; SP Oliver Perez, NYM; SP Seth McClung, MIL; OF Brett Gardner, NYY; C Kelly Shoppach, CLE; C Chris Iannetta, COL; SP Sean Marshall, CHC.
This week's potential 'Goodbye Guys'
| SP Justin Masterson, BOS |
Masterson has done nothing wrong, in fact, he is a victim of his own success and the failures of the Red Sox middle relief corps. Masterson enters the Pitch-22: Good enough to start, too valuable in relief. He was sent down Monday to become a bridge for Jonathan Papelbon, which the Red Sox sorely need. Yours truly has seen this coming, especially because he has a buggy-whip breaking ball that would make him nasty on right-handed hitters in the late innings. Masterson can return right after the All-Star break, but he will do so as a reliever that won't save games. That all but kills his Fantasy value outside of the deepest of AL-only or Rotisserie leagues that use true middle men. By the way, Buchholz is a must-add in all leagues. He would be our No. 1 stock up man, if we chose to use two of the top 10 spots here on one piece of news.
| OF Ryan Church, NYM |
Not quite a victim of his own success, but a victim nonetheless. The Mets sore need of Church's bat in the lineup has caused post-concussion syndrome -- an ailment that ended Corey Koskie's career among others -- to affect him from May until now. He is held up again by migraines and he might never prove to be the same again. There is .300-30-100-100 talent here, but it is clearly not going to happen for him this year now. Consider cutting him in mixed leagues for a healthier option now. Concussions can just be so unpredictable and Church has had two real serious ones in a span of months.
| SP Jeff Suppan, MIL |
Supe's struggles have had him on the down list for weeks, if not months, but now a sore elbow and a trade for C.C. Sabathia makes him the odd man out of the Brewers' rotation. Suppan can prove healthy and effective again come August, but the contending Brewers won't be apt to rush him back right now. Suppan can be cut in all mixed leagues without DL spots, because his poor numbers will make him readily available if and when he can pitch again.
| SP Todd Wellemeyer, STL |
Yours truly has waited for months for Wellemeyer's string of good fortune to run out. It looks like it has finally come. He has struggled with his health since June 13 and he has been real hittable in his past two starts. He entered the season as a middle reliever forced into the rotation and might finish as a struggling starter forced back into middle relief. Despite his seven victories and sub-4.00 ERA, he is not a pitcher we would trust in most mixed leagues right now. Sell high if anyone is buying.
| SP Luke Hochevar, KC |
Hochevar remains a long-term talent, but he is proving far less than a future star of late. While one No. 1 overall pick dominates his way to a call-up in August -- David Price from 2007 -- the No. 1 overall pick in 2006 might be pitching his way back to Triple-A by August ... if the Royals had anyone as a viable replacement. Hochevar doesn't figure to get run support consistently from the Royals and the way he is pitching, he will need more of it more often than not. Don't trust him outside of AL-only leagues right now.
Some more potential 'Goodbye Guys' we couldn't fit in: SP Erik Bedard, SEA; SP Max Scherzer, ARI; OF Elijah Dukes, WAS; OF Andruw Jones, LAD; SP Brad Penny, LAD; SP Tom Gorzelanny, PIT; SP Sean Gallagher, CHC; SP Micah Owings, ARI; RP Kevin Gregg, FLA; RP Trevor Hoffman, SD; SP Darrell Rasner, NYY; 1B Todd Helton, COL; SP Carlos Silva, SEA; SP Jarrod Washburn, SEA; SP Brett Myers, PHI.
Emack: Well Crosby is back on the DL, but Hardy is a must-have in all leagues right now. Drop Renteria for Hardy at this point. Hardy is just too hot. He is much better than he showed in the second half of last year and the first couple of months this year.
Emack: If your league penalizes strikeouts, go with Sizemore. If not, Howard's power and run production potential make him a clear winner.
You can e-mail Emack your Fantasy Baseball Stockwatch questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Stockwatch in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.