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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
Yankees still considering Robert Refsnyder for Opening Day roster
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:51 pm ET) Yankees second baseman Robert Refsnyder is still being considered for an Opening Day roster spot after shortstop Brendan Ryan went down with a calf injury Wednesday, reports The Journal News.

"The young man, I think, has continually improved," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's a name that I'm sure is going to fly around a lot today."

Refsnyder is hitting .333 with five RBI in 39 plate appearances this spring.

"Things can happen quick," Girardi said. "I think a lot of clubs hold their breath this time of year that you leave camp the way you are. Sometimes it doesn't happen and you've got to deal with it. … Didi and Drew are healthy, so we're going to have to look at probably more of a second baseman in a sense. You could look at a second baseman more than a shortstop because you have two shortstops."


Royals' Yordano Ventura throws four innings in spring finale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:44 pm ET) Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura made his final start of the spring Wednesday, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk in four innings while striking out three in his team's 4-4 tie with the Dodgers.

Ventura finishes the Cactus League season with a 4.50 ERA and 16:7 K:BB ratio in 18 innings. His next will come Monday against the White Sox on Opening Day.


Brewers shortstop Jean Segura working on hitting to opposite field
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:40 pm ET) Brewers shortstop Jean Segura has worked all spring on his swing at the plate. With Opening Day on the horizon, Segura is putting the finishing touches on his swing and working to hit the ball to the opposite field, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"That's my approach," Segura said. "I always hit the ball to the other side of the field. When you lose that, you want to get it back because not many players can do it in the big leagues. I'm just lucky to have the ability to do that, and I'm just trying to improve every day."

Manager Ron Roenickes is taking notice of Segura's adjustments. 

"The sound of that ball is different," he said. "You're like 'Whoa.' I'm watching as he hits and the load is different. The hands work better. He's doing a couple of things really nice."


Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw tosses three innings in spring finale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:40 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw gave up one unearned run on just one hit and two walks in three innings while striking out two in his final spring performance in Wednesday's 4-4 tie with the Royals.

Kershaw closes the spring with a 1.61 ERA and 22:7 K:BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings. He'll next take the mound Monday for Opening Day against the Padres.


Cubs' Welington Castillo to open season as No. 3 catcher
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:29 pm ET) Cubs catcher Welington Castillo has made the team's initial 25-man roster and will open the season as the backup to Miguel Montero and David Ross, MLB.com reports.

"I told him, I think he's a major-league catcher, we think he's a major-league catcher," manager Joe Maddon said. "Obviously, it's going to be more difficult to be slotted in than he'd like to be right now. There's a lot of opportunity in the latter part of the game, whether it's pinch-running for somebody else or pinch-hitting, and beyond that getting him some starts. ... Of course, somebody will get injured -- it always happens -- so be ready. He's still young. He's the kind of guy I don't think we want to lose. That's a premium position to find. You don't shake a tree and find a good catcher. We have three good catchers here and that's really nice."

Castillo has hit .257/.333/.514 with two home runs in 35 at-bats this spring.


Royals' Yost on Louis Coleman: 'He's held his own'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:24 pm ET) Royals pitcher Louis Coleman is on the roster bubble this spring as he competes for one or possibly two open spots in the team's bullpen.

"He has been OK," manager Ned Yost said. "He came in with a lot of competition. He's held his own."

Coleman has delivered a 3.55 ERA and 15:0 K:BB ratio in 12 2/3 innings. He's out of options and would need to pass through waivers in order to be sent to the minors.


Royals considering eight-man bullpen
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:20 pm ET) The Royals have yet to decide on the team's final 25-man roster and are deciding between carrying an extra position player or breaking camp with an eight-man bullpen, MLB.com reports.

Manager Ned Yost would prefer to carry another outfielder, with Paulo Orlando the most likely option to fill that role.

"Probably having the extra position player [helps me]," Yost said. "You're looking at pinch-running opportunities, defensive opportunities late in games. You're looking at whatever helps you get that one run you might need to win a game."

The team doesn't want to see pitcher Ryan Madson depart, but carrying him on the initial roster would almost certainly mean using an eight-man bullpen, as the Royals don't believe he's ready to assume full-time work.

"You would like to take him on your club," Yost said. "But I still feel like he needs to be protected. ... I've really liked what I've seen. But he hasn't pitched in three years. It's all a guess. Can he be that guy [again]? Yeah. But we haven't seen him in back-to-back games. How does he rebound? We don't know."

The Royals likely won't settle on a final roster until Sunday so they can appraise the moves other teams make over the next few days.


Dodgers' Zack Greinke tweaks mechanics in minor-league start
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:13 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke made a mechanical adjustment in the fifth inning of his minor-league start Wednesday that led to a potential breakthrough, as he induced an inning-ending ground ball and struck out the next four batters, MLB.com reports.

"I tried something with a pitch and it came out perfect," Greinke said.

Greinke allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings while striking out nine and throwing 85 pitches Wednesday.

"Not many guys can make one pitch and completely turn their game around," catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "He was like, they're not going to hit me anymore. It was a mechanical thing, [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] said something with his face or the way he was looking."

Greinke's next start will come April 7 against the Padres in his regular-season debut.


Astros pitcher Mark Appel to start year in Double-A Corpus Christi
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:06 pm ET) Astros pitching prospect Mark Appel is expected to begin the season with Double-A Corpus Christi, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Appel, who was the team's 2013 No. 1 pick, has yet to pitch in the majors.


Report: Mets place Cesar Puello on waivers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:53 pm ET) The Mets have placed outfield prospect Cesar Puello on waivers, ESPNNewYork.com reports.

Puello isn't in line to make the Opening Day roster and is out of options, so he'll need to pass through waivers before the team can send him to the minors. He went 9 for 36 with no extra-base hits this spring.


 
 
 
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