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Setting the Trends: Quality adds to be had

Senior Fantasy Writer
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One of the most enjoyable, underused elements of Fantasy leagues are the "roster trends" pages.

They allow a gentleman to spend a night (or weekend) out on the town -- blissfully unaware of the baseball world -- then wake up, turn on his computer, and discover which players are moving up the ranks. Oh ... you didn't know that Felix Doubront was officially in the Boston rotation because that bartender with the tattoo kept making you do shots with her? Thanks to roster trends, the masses have done the work for you; click on the "most added" page, see whose ownership is skyrocketing, and your problems are solved.

Most Added Players (as of 4/3)
Player % change
1. Bartolo Colon, SP, Athletics 21
2. Mark Melancon, RP, Red Sox 21
3. Jeff Samardzija, RP, Cubs 19
4. Lorenzo Cain, OF, Royals 15
5. Felix Doubront, SP, Red Sox 15
6. Mike Aviles, SS, Red Sox 14
7. Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Athletics 13
8. Mat Gamel, 3B, Brewers 13
9. Daniel Bard, RP, Red Sox 13
10. Sean Marshall, RP, Reds 12

It's not the most exact science and you'll be behind, obviously, a great amount of other Fantasy players (perhaps even your own leaguemates), but it'll at least help cover the gaps you may have over the course of a very involved baseball season, allowing you to be a bon vivant, while remaining a competent Fantasy Baseball owner at the same time.

The "most added" standouts ...

Felix Doubront, SP/RP, Red Sox
Current ownership: 18 percent (+15 percent)
Reason for the ascent: Doubront won a role in the Boston rotation.
Should I pick him up?: It depends how deep your league is. While Doubront's place in the rotation seems safe for now, he's compiled a relatively unimpressive 3.96 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in the minors. He doesn't strike out a batter per inning, but he does come close, so for leagues with daily transactions, Doubront might be a good play to throw in every five days and let him rack up the counting stats and possible wins. He's a great option for his two-start weeks, but probably won't justify being anything more than just-above-waiver-wire/have-to-drop-him-for-someone-coming-off-the -DL material. He's the dude you release when Ryan Howard gets healthy.
How high can he go? He'll probably plateau right around 52 percent ownership.

Cody Ross, OF, Red Sox
Current ownership:
23 percent (+11 percent)
Reason for the ascent: Red sox manager Bobby Valentine mapped out his plans for the Red Sox outfield; a rotation of Ross, Darnell McDonald, and Ryan Sweeney has Ross playing every day.
Should I pick him up?: Ross flexed some decent power in pitcher-friendly parks while mixing in some steals and a .261 career average. While he isn't a slam-dunk to have a great season, he'll play virtually every day in a lineup that should produce some runs. In mixed leagues, he could be a decent fifth outfielder option.
How high can he go? Mix the overrating of big market players with the slow realization that Ross will probably continue to play every day even when Carl Crawford returns, and he should max out at about 70 percent owned.

Beat the rush on these five ...
Player % owned
1. Mitch Moreland, 1B/OF, Rangers 34
2. Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners 57
3. Chone Figgins, 3B/OF, Mariners 16
4. Grant Balfour, RP, Athletics 68
5. Daniel Bard, RP, Red Sox 51

Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs
Current ownership: 71 percent (+8 percent)
Reason for the ascent: A five-game hitting streak to end March, coupled with six home runs on the spring (as of Tuesday morning), has Soriano showing a little life in his bat. While he doesn't have any steals -- that ship has likely sailed -- his 1.061 OPS has owners thinking that maybe he has some gas left in the tank.
Should I pick him up?: Every season since 2002, Soriano has hit 20 home runs. He's averaged 25 over the last two seasons. The batting average isn't going to be there, and those in points leagues should be wary of the strikeouts, but he's got plenty of potential to be a valuable Fantasy asset at the utility or fifth outfield spots.
How high can he go? Just on name recognition alone, he's a built-in 70 percent. If he gets hot to start the season, which is well within the realm of possibility, he can hit 90 percent ownership.

As for the downers ...

Roy Oswalt, SP, free agent
Current ownership: 28 percent (-9 percent)
Reason for the descent: The novelty is wearing off and Oswalt's roster spot is being used for gambles on players who are actually on rosters, like Jon Rauch and Drew Smyly.
Should I drop him?: Hold off if you can. While it might be frustrating to use a bench spot on someone who isn't currently on a roster, he could sign with a team at any moment and still has some skill left. If he signs with a team one random night in May and you aren't one of those people who refreshes the Fantasy news page religiously, you run the risk of someone else in the league adding a top pitcher that you dropped for a ninth outfielder who didn't see one start.
How low can he go?: He'll hit maybe 15 percent, then jump to 80 if and when he signs with a team.

Potential future roster casualties ...
Player % owned
1. Russell Martin, C, Yankees 87
2. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-Backs 81
3. Alexi Ogando, RP, Rangers 33
4. Jake Peavy, SP, White Sox 68
5. Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals 76

Derek Lowe, SP, Indians
Current ownership: 12 percent (-6 percent)
Reason for the descent: In his last spring training start, Lowe went three innings, giving up two runs on three hits, before leaving with back spasms. He has just seven strikeouts in 18 innings so far this spring.
Should I drop him?: If you own him, you know what you're getting -- an extreme groundballer who isn't going to get a lot of strikeouts, but can keep his ERA and WHIP low with a sound defense behind him. Don't let the back spasms scare you into dropping him. On the flip side, if you accidentally auto-drafted him and were looking for more of an electric, high-strikeout starter, then yes, by all means, cut him loose.
How low can he go?: Probably down to about seven percent, before he dazzles with a low ERA to start the season and sees a rebound.

Most traded ...

For a brief, ironic window on Monday, the two most traded players across Fantasy leagues were Michael Pineda and Jesus Montero, who were, as we all remember, traded for each other this offseason.

But the tide changed on Tuesday, and now Julio Teheran leads the pack of most traded players, followed closely by Anthony Rizzo, Jacob Turner, Mike Trout, and Adam Lind. Even more youngsters litter the list as you read down -- Jose Tabata, Devin Mesoraco, Domonic Brown, and Shelby Miller. So what's happening?

Owners with roster holes in keeper leagues are realizing they have a day until the season starts and are filling their holes by dangling prospects. Without getting too into look at my team, everyone! annoyance, it's happening in a keeper league I'm in right now -- we're taking top prospects in exchange for some extra pieces we have in the middle infield and outfield. Some gambles worked out for us; some gambles didn't for some others and we're able to pad our keeper stable in exchange for the Brandon Crawfords of the world.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Jayson Werth sits again for Nationals on Wednesday vs. Marlins
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:33 am ET) Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth was not in the starting lineup once again on Wednesday against the Marlins. Werth, who missed the beginning of the season with a shoulder injury, was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game, though no injury is being reported.

Michael Taylor drew the start in left field on Wednesday, batting eighth in the lineup for manager Matt Williams. 


Giants' Bochy on Panik and Crawford: 'It's fun to watch those two'
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:29 am ET) Giants skipper Bruce Bochy is loving what he's getting from shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Joe Panik, both in the field and at the plate. 

"It's fun to watch those two go, how they work together," Bochy said Tuesday, per MLB.com. "Craw is so gifted, and Joe Panik has made so much improvement defensively. They're so solid out there, offensively and defensively. They make the routine plays, and when you need a double play, they turn it as well as anybody."

The two continued their offensive prowess in Tuesday's victory over the Padres. Crawford, who was moved up to the fifth spot in the batting order, reached safely in all four of his plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI and two runs scored. This was his third mult-hit performance in his last six games.

Panik, meanwhile, hit a solo home run, his second of the year, in the fifth inning. He went 1-for-4 on the evening. He has hit safely in four of his last five games.

"We have a great relationship," Panik said. "He makes my job easier -- just a great guy to play with. When you first get called up, a lot of emotions are running through you, the typical butterflies. The game tends to beat up on you. Then you look over at Brandon, and everything's fine.


Padres' Black on Derek Norris playing first: 'we're thinking about it'
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:20 am ET) With the Padres' recent call-up of prized catching prospect Austin Hedges, manager Bud Black has offered a potential solution to getting him in the lineup more often, while also playing current catcher Derek Norris. Black said Tuesday that Norris could start taking some groundballs at first base, and might see some time there this season. 

"It would just be against certain left-handed pitchers, we want to keep his bat in the lineup, like for a day game after a night game, or if he's caught consecutive games," Black said, per MLB.com. "Take the load off his feet from catching."

Norris has played just one game at first base during his career, and that was in 2013. But Black expressed confidence that Norris could handle a transition.

"It would be a gradual build-up of reps. We are working through this," Black said. "But he was an amateur third baseman. He has good hands, good feet and a good baseball mind. This will not happen quick, but we're thinking about it."


Cubs reliever James Russell makes season debut Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:05 am ET) Cubs reliever James Russell allowed one run on two hits in 1 1/3 innings during the team's 7-4 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday. After starting his career with Chicago, he was dealt to the Braves at the trading deadline last season. The Cubs signed him to a minor league contract last month, and brought him up to the team prior to Tuesday's game

"It's comfortable to be back," Russell said, per MLB.com. "It's a good feeling. The culture has kind of changed for the better. It's definitely nice."

Last season with the Cubs and Braves, the left-hander pitched to a 3.51 ERA in 33 1/3 innings. While pitching in Triple-A this season, Russell did not allow an earned run in seven appearances, and posted a 12:0 K:BB ratio.


Report: Diamondbacks could pursue C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:53 am ET) Now that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has officially been released by the Marlins, teams are starting to do their due-dillegence on the veteran backstop in preparation for making a possible run to sign him. One of those teams could be the Diamondbacks.

"He's a player that we're going to talk a little bit more in-depth about," general manager Dave Stewart said Tuesday, per the Arizona Republic. "I have to see what our scouts are saying and talk to our internal guys, and if it makes sense then we'll make the next step."

Currently, the Diamondbacks have Tuffy Gosewisch as their primary catcher, with Jordan Pacheco as the backup. Neither one has swung the bat all that well this season, though Pacheco has five hits in his last 15 at-bats. 

"Although Tuffy has done a really good job defensively, we still expect a little more offense from him," Stewart said. "He may make those adjustments, but with that being said, we have to at least go through the process internally and see if Saltalamacchia is an option to bring here."


Mariners 2B Robinson Cano collects three hits in loss Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:22 am ET) Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano recorded three hits in five at-bats, including a double, and scored a run in Tuesday's loss to the Angels. Cano, who recently broke an 0-for-18 skid, is now hitting .320 (8 for 25) over his last six games. 

Cano is still trying to get things going in 2015, as the lifetime .309 hitter is batting just .261 on the year with only one home run and seven RBI. 


Tigers CF Anthony Gose records two hits, steals base Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:16 am ET) Making his third consecutive start for the Tigers on Tuesday, center fielder Anthony Gose recorded two hits, stole a base and scored a run in the 5-2 loss to the White Sox. Gose, who has mostly been in a platoon with Rajai Davis, has started five of the last seven games for manager Brad Ausmus, and seems to be taking a grasp on the bulk of the playing time.

Gose has been fairly inconsistent in recent games, hitting .259 with 10 strikeouts (to just two walks) over his last eight games played. 


Cubs' Kris Bryant using walks to contribute while searching for power
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(2:07 am ET) Although Kris Bryant hasn't hit any home runs yet, his batting eye remains locked in as he's using the walk to contribute, showcased Monday when he took four free passes, reports the Chicago Tribune.

"I’ve always walked a good amount," Bryant said. "My junior year in college I had a pretty good amount of walks, and I think that made me a better player, just seeing a lot of off-speed pitches, and it made me the player I am today. I'm just taking that same approach."

Bryant has 16 walks in 17 games this season.

Mariners' Logan Morrison reaches base four times, extends streak
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:02 am ET) Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison reached base four times and extended his hit streak to seven games Tuesday night against the Angels.

Morrison doubled in the second, doubled again in the fourth, drew an intentional walk in the sixth and singled in the eighth. He finished 3 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored in a 5-4 victory. Morrison has three games with at least two hits during his streak. He is hitting .500 (13 for 26) with three doubles, one triple, three homers, five RBI and six runs scored over his last seven games.


Angels 1B Albert Pujols uncorks fifth HR of season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:56 am ET) Angels first baseman Albert Pujols launched his fifth home run of the season Tuesday night against the Mariners.

Pujols took Seattle starter James Paxton deep for a two-run home run in the opening frame. He reached base three times and finished 2 for 3 with a walk, a single, a home run, two runs scored and two RBI in a 5-4 victory. He is hitting .239 with 12 RBI and a .314 on-base percentage in 25 games.


 
 
 
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