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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 .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Diamondbacks' Brad Ziegler to face hitters soon
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:33 pm ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Brad Ziegler will face hitters soon, according to FoxSports.com.

Ziegler had microfracture surgery in September, and is working his way back. He threw a bullpen session on Friday, and should face hitters pretty soon. The 35-year-old is expected to open the year in the bullpen if healthy. 

Ziegler posted a 3.49 ERA over 67 innings last season. 


Yankees' Carlos Beltran says his elbow feels fine
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11:23 pm ET) Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran said his elbow felt fine after Friday's game, according to the Journal News.

Beltran went 0-2 with a walk during the game, but didn't wear a brace on his arm. He said it's now just a matter of getting his timing down before the regular season. The 37-year-old is expected to open the season as a starter in the outfield.

Beltran hit .233/.301/.402 over 403 at-bats last season. 


Pirates' Jameson Taillon to face hitters next week
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:50 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon will face hitters next week, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Taillon underwent Tommy John surgery last April, but is working his way back. Taillon tossed a 30 pitch bullpen session on Friday. He's expected to do it again on Tuesday. If his Tuesday session goes well, Taillon will throw live batting practice on Friday.

Taillon said he's feeling pretty good about his progress. "I'm feeling really strong, throwing the ball cleaner than I ever have," Taillon said. "Everything has been feeling really good. The elbow has been responding really well."

Taillon is expected to open the season in the minors, but could be promoted to the majors if he gets off to a strong start. 


Brewers' Adam Lind dealing with back injury
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:23 pm ET) Brewers first baseman Adam Lind is dealing with a back injury, according to MLB.com.

Lind's back flared up while taking grounders on Thursday. He was scratched from Friday's game, and is considered day-to-day. Lind was acquired by the club during the offseason, and is expected to see significant time at first base.

The 31-year-old Lind hit .321/.381/.479 over 290 at-bats last season. 


Report: Mets' Daniel Murphy dealing with bruised hand
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:18 pm ET) Mets infielder Daniel Murphy is dealing with a bruised right hand, according to ESPN.

X-rays reportedly came back "OK," and Murphy shouldn't miss much time. Murphy was hit in the hand during Friday's game against the Tigers. He stayed in the game to run the bases, but was replaced at the start of the next inning. 

The 29-year-old Murphy hit .289/.332/.403 over 596 at-bats last season. 


Diamondbacks' Chris Owings takes batting practice on Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:10 pm ET) Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings was able to take batting practice on Friday, according to MLB.com.

Owings is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and has been limited early in camp. Manager Chip Hale said he was happy with Owings progress, and noted it was a big day for the infielder.

"Everything he's done has been right on time," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "We've slowed him down, because it's important that that swing is right. This was a huge day for him."

Owings will likely go through another round of BP before he's ready for game action. The team may also opt to give him at-bats in minor-league games before using him during actual spring training games.

The 23-year-old Owings hit .261/.300/.406 over 310 at-bats last season. He's expected to open the year as the team's starting shortstop. 


Angels' Matt Lindstrom feeling 100 percent this spring
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:03 pm ET) Angels reliever Matt Lindstrom is feeling pretty good after having ankle surgery last season, according to the Los Angeles Times

Lindstrom struggled with oblique and ankle injuries last season, but has drawn some rave reviews during camp. "Right now, his stuff is very similar to when he was throwing the ball well early last year," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's exciting. This guy has closer's stuff. It's just a matter of how consistent he is and if he can keep it going."

Lindstrom admitted he came back from ankle surgery too soon last year, and it impacted his numbers. He was able to rehab the injury during the offseason, though, and feels much better now. "I can tell the ball is coming out of my hand better, the way it's supposed to," Lindstrom said. "It wasn't right last year, but now, I don't have any reservations. I can concentrate on getting people out."

The 35-year-old posted a 5.03 ERA over 34 innings last season. He's competing for a role in the Angels bullpen this spring. 


Orioles sign Elih Villanueva to a minor-league deal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:54 pm ET) The Orioles have signed pitcher Elih Villanueva to a minor-league deal, according to MLB.com.

Villanueva has played in just one game in the majors. He gave up eight runs over three innings in a start for the Marlins back in 2011. Villanueva had a strong showing in the Dominican League, leading the circuit with a 2.63 ERA.


Reds' Stephenson hoping to make an impact this season
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:49 pm ET) Reds pitcher Robert Stephenson is hoping to make an impact in the majors this season, according to MLB.com.

Stephenson may not open the year in the majors, but is hoping he arrives sooner rather than later. "My goal by the end of the year is to be in Cincinnati," Stephenson said. "It's your dream growing up as a kid. It would be awesome to be there but at the same time, I want to get to a point where I deserve to be there and belong there."

Stephenson is considered the team's top prospect. He dealt with shoulder issues earlier in camp, but is cleared for action now. 

Manager Bryan Price said Stephenson has a few things to work on, but seemed optimistic about his long-term outlook. With Robert, it's command -- not necessarily throwing strikes, but the quality of the strikes," Price said.

The 22-year-old should start the year in the minors, but could earn a promotion based on how well he pitches.


Mariners' Chris Taylor homers, triples on Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:42 pm ET) Mariners shortstop Chris Taylor hit a home run and tripled on Friday against the Dodgers.

Taylor came into camp competing for the team's shortstop position with Brad Miller. While Miller likely has the upper hand, he's coming off a down season. Taylor, on the other hand, played well in the minors in 2014, and hit .287 in a brief major-league debut. It's believed whoever loses out on the starting role will be sent to the minors. 


 
 
 
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