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The Roster Stash All Stars

Senior Fantasy Writer
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There comes a moment in everyone's draft where you're staring down an ages-old dilemma: do I go for that outfielder I just kind of like ... or do I draft the injured All-Star who may not be back until June?

Sure, you could gamble on Jayson Werth coming back and having a 2010-type year; but you could also really gamble and draft Ryan Howard, a man who will occupy a bench or DL slot on your roster well into May. And when he returns, there's no telling how much rust he'll have to shake off.

Some of these gambles pay off -- in 2011, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley came off the DL and, after a slow start, rattled off seven multi-hit games and stole three bases in his first month of action -- others flame out brilliantly, as Johan Santana was expected to return in late June or July last season, then mid-July, then August, September, and, eventually, 2012.

So who do you stash? And who do you let fester on another owners' bench? Stashing isn't an exact science, but here are this year's most-buzzed about stashees and their prospects for 2012. "Stashability" is based on the player's ability to help your team this season, combining time of return, setback possibility, and skill/value.

Catcher

Victor Marinez, Tigers
Stashability: 5 (out of 100)
Injury: Knee
Out until: 2013
Analysis: Martinez should be kept in every keeper format. Chances are that owners who already had him in keeper leagues at $25-$30 likely threw him back, where he was drafted by some forward-thinking Fantasy owner for about $7. If he doesn't take up a bench spot -- and can be put on the disabled list -- it's a tremendous bargain for next season. Owners in single-season leagues who picked up Martinez hoping for a miraculous recovery and late-season return aren't being hurt by his occupying of a DL slot, but if you have DL limits and another injured player, cut him loose; the chances of Martinez playing in 2012 are miniscule, at best.

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First base

Ryan Howard, Phillies
Stashability: 90 (out of 100)
Injury: Achilles
Out until: Mid-May
Analysis: Howard has hit 30 or more home runs in each of the last six seasons. While his batting average has its peaks and valleys, he's still a very valuable Fantasy commodity when playing. As a further boost to his value, he's a tremendous second-half player, with his average rising to .290 (from .262) post-All-Star Game, and his OPS increasing almost 130 points (.867 to .996) after the break. He's as solid a stash as there is this year.

Second base

Brian Roberts, Orioles
Stashability: 37 (out of 100)
Injury: Concussion
Out until: June-ish?
Analysis: Roberts was limited to 39 games last year, after playing just 59 in 2010. He told MASNSports.com in late March that, while he feels hopeful he'll play this year, he doesn't know when he'll make a return. He has yet to play in a rehab game this year but has been taking batting practice with the team, working out, hitting off a tee and playing catch. He's had a laundry list of injuries over the last two seasons, including back spasms, a root canal, and an earlier set of headaches and concussive symptoms that he received from hitting himself on the helmet with a bat after striking out. Head injuries are tricky to predict, and there's no guarantee the oft-injured Roberts won't tweak a hamstring even after returning, but he has a good deal of speed, is a career .281 hitter, and is the textbook example of "flashes of power," so he's worth at least a DL stash until a superstar needs to occupy that spot.

Third base

Chipper Jones, Braves
Stashability: 71 (out of 100)
Injury: Knee
Out until: At least mid-April
Analysis: It's no secret what Jones is capable of and with this being his last season, you know he's going to do everything he can to get on the field. Which begs the question: does an overzealous Chipper (dibs on that as a band name, by the way), rush himself back from injury -- or play a little harder -- causing more injury? Or does he blow off some of the more minor injuries he usually incurs in order to play as many games as possible in one last, stellar season? I'm going with the latter. And while he isn't the 30-homer hitting Chipper of earlier vintage, he still has the ability to hit .290, with 20 home runs and a couple steals. Especially when you throw in the extra motivation of a final season. He's only owned in 36 percent of leagues right now; that number should probably be at 60.

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Shortstop

Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
Stashability: 49 (out of 100)
Injury: Ankle
Out until: Late April
Analysis: Drew's problem isn't that he might hit some complications in rehabbing his surgically-repaired ankle, it's that nobody knows what to expect from him when he returns. Thousands of Fantasy owners have been burned by the promise of the Stephen Drew Breakout Year, having to instead be content with 15 home-run seasons and the occasional steal. "Maybe this is the year" is a familiar refrain to Drew drafters, which makes him a fairly decent stash candidate. He'll be back within a month, his ankle seems to be holding up nicely so far, and ... well ... maybe this is the year. Only owned in 47 percent of leagues, though, it seems like the majority of owners would rather wait and see him do it on the waiver wire first.

Outfielders

Manny Ramirez
Stashability: 33 (out of 100)
Injury: Bone in head
Out until: The 51st game of the season
Analysis: Ramirez is an interesting stash candidate, because he can't occupy a DL spot on your team -- he has to be put on your bench, a spot usually reserved for the Brian Matuszs and Pedro Alvarezes of the world. Serving out a suspension, Ramirez has to sit out the first 50 games, at which point he hopes to improve on the forgettable truncated run he had with Tampa Bay in 2011 (.059 average in 17 at-bats) and Chicago in 2010 (.739 OPS in 24 games). Ramirez still has skill as he turns 40, but his value may lie more in batting average than in the power categories.

Pitchers

A.J. Burnett, Pirates
Stashability: 88 percent
Injury: Eye
Out until: Possibly Mid-April
Analysis: Laugh all you want, but Burnett could be a great candidate to slide into your DL spot until he comes back from the broken orbital bone he suffered earlier this spring. He was horrible in his run as a Yankee, but so are a lot of players. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage worked wonders with the staff in 2011, and if there's anyone in need of a reclamation project, it's Burnett. His recovery is pretty far ahead of schedule and he can be a great source of strikeouts. He also has career ERAs of 3.84 and 3.86 in April and May, so a hot start and then quick trade could pay off.

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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Player News
Mariners pitcher J.A. Happ hit hard again in start Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Mariners pitcher J.A. Happ gave five runs on 11 hits in five innings of work Sunday against the Padres in his second consecutive rough outing.

"I was being way too tentative early on," Happ said to MLB.com. "I just wasn't finishing and as aggressive as I was later in the game. Maybe trying to be a little too fine after the previous outing. I think if I throw like I did the second part of that game, I'll be OK."

Happ, who is expected to be the fourth starter in Seattle's rotation, is now 1-3 this spring with a 7.90 ERA.


Rangers release outfielder Ryan Ludwick from minor league deal
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) The Rangers have released outfielder Ryan Ludwick from his minor league contract, the team announced Sunday.

Ludwick hit .200 with one home run and three RBI in 30 plate appearances during spring training.


Report: Yankees' Domingo German may need Tommy John surgery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Yankees pitching prospect Domingo German may be on the shelf for awhile. German may reportedly need Tommy John surgery for his injured elbow, according to MLB.com.

The team is yet to confirm the report. German went 9-3 in 25 starts with a 2.48 ERA in Class-A Greensboro in 2014.


Indians pitcher Austin Adams still in contention for roster spot
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Indians relief pitcher Austin Adams still has a chance to make the final roster, reports MLB.com.

Adams, who was a non-roster invitee to camp, has posted a 5.87 ERA in eight appearances this spring with nine strikeouts and 11 hits allowed.

"We wanted to tell him he'd done a really good job," manager Terry Francona said of his morning conversation with Adams, "but we still don't know."


Rangers remain undecided on pitcher Keone Kela
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Rangers pitcher Keone Kela tossed one scoreless inning Sunday with no hits and two strikeouts against the Dodgers. Kela has now gone 8 1/3 innings without giving up a run this spring, but the team is undecided still on his role this season, reports MLB.com.

"I haven't said if he was or wasn't on the team," Banister said. "That decision will be made at the appropriate time. You see what he has done. He has been impressive this spring."


Indians pitcher T.J. House gives up four runs in six innings
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Indians pitcher T.J. House, who was given a spot in the starting rotation Sunday, struggled in his appearance Sunday. House gave up four runs on six hits with two walks in six innings of work against the White Sox.

"This spring it looks a little glaring, that one inning is kind of getting to me in the box scores," said House to MLB.com. "It's nice to get them out of the way now and maybe during the season we won't see them.

"My ball kind of flattened out a little bit [in the fourth]. Besides that, I felt good. I pounded the zone and got to see some guys I'm going to see during the season, so I'll make a mental note of that."


White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson has edge in position battle
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson appears to be in the lead for the position when the season begins, reports MLB.com. Manager Robin Ventura likes what he's seen from Johnson enough to give him a vote of confidence at the position, even though nothing has been officially set.

"He's done well enough to kind of be the leading guy," said Ventura of Johnson, who had two hits in Sunday's 4-1 win over the Indians.

Third base coach Joe McEwing likes the progress Johnson has sowed on defense this spring.

"Initially what we wanted to do was try to slow things down because everything Micah does, he does fast," McEwing said. "Everything in his game is fast. Just, defensively, try to slow him down and allow him to focus on his feet and his hands and everything working together."


Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman posts another stellar performance
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman continues to impress this spring. Sunday, he went 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Manager Bob Melvin loves how the young pitcher has performed this spring, reports MLB.com.

"He doesn't blow you away, although you look at the radar gun and at times we've seen 93, 94 this spring," Melvin said. "But he's a pitcher; he's pretty cerebral in the way he does it.

"He reads swings very well. You know, it's late movement off the barrel of the bat, whether it's sink, whether it's cut, offspeed just enough. But he knows what he's doing and he's aware of what the hitters are trying to do against him."

Graveman has a minuscule 0.74 ERA in five starts this spring.

"There's a reason that he went from [Class] A-ball to the big leagues [in 2014 with Toronto], and then continued to pitch this well for us. It means he's real confident in what he's doing," Melvin said.


Nationals pitcher Doug Fister struggles again in outing Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Nationals pitcher Doug Fister surrendered six runs in four innings of work Sunday against the Marlins, pushing his spring training ERA to 7.02 in five starts. Fister gave up three more home runs in the outing.

"I can't let any of that affect me. I know I have to get the ball down regardless," Fister said to MLB.com. "I felt good today. I felt I was almost back in the swing of things. There are obviously some things I have to fine tune at the end of spring.

"I left the ball up, and it allowed the Marlins to get good contact on the ball. I don't let outside influences affect the game. It's a game I have to control and make adjustments."


Tigers targeting 200 pitches for pitcher Anibal Sanchez
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez tossed 10 strikeouts in Sunday's game against the Phillies, going 6 1/3 innings and surrendering four runs on five hits. 

"That means he's hitting his spots. It means he's locating," manager Brad Ausmus said to MLB.com. "When a guy takes a pitch, he thinks it's a ball or just off the corner and they end up getting the call. ... So he must have been locating. It looked like he was locating his fastball."

Ausmus also indicated he hopes to see Sanchez reach 200 innings this season.

"If we get 200 innings out of Sanchy, I'll be extremely happy. I think we'll be in a very good spot," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Sunday morning. "We talk about a lot of things, but if Sanchy can stay healthy, that would be an enormous plus for us."


 
 
 
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