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Setting the Trends: Some relief in sight!

Senior Fantasy Writer
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As far as baseball mysteries go, one of the biggest was solved this week, when Robin Ventura enlightened the masses and revealed Hector Santiago as his closer. It was one of the biggest questions entering the season, and no less than four names were thrown in the mix as potential closer candidates. But it looks like two of the pitchers who were, at certain points, favorites to win the role -- Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain -- were more valuable to Ventura in middle relief. So Santiago wins the role, and everyone runs out to get him.

Most Added Players (as of 4/10)
Player % change
1. Hector Santiago, RP, White Sox 49
2. Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays 38
3. Alfredo Aceves, RP, Red Sox 37
4. Rafael Furcal, SS, Cardinals 30
5. Kyle Lohse, SP, Cardinals 28
6. Chone Figgins, 3B, Mariners 25
7. Jeff Samardzija, RP, Cubs 24
8. Jake Arrieta, SP, Orioles 22
9. Lance Lynn, RP, Cardinals 22
10. Zack Cozart, SS, Reds 18

Or, at least, most people did. Santiago is still only owned in 52 percent of leagues, and I think this may be a result of people not realizing that Ventura named him the closer. It's almost a "fool me twice..." situation, with Fantasy owners having been burned in the last week by Mark Melancon and Joel Peralta red herrings. Santiago, however, will close until he implodes, so he's a safe -- and, apparently, still shrewd -- option for a waiver wire add.

Now, on to the rest of the Roster Trends ...

Most Added Players

Hector Santiago, RP, White Sox
Jump in ownership: 48 percent (from four percent to 52)
Reason for the jump: Named closer for the White Sox
Why you should join the crowd: If he's still a free agent in your league, you should run and grab him. Santiago has been named the closer, so there's no chance for a Melancon-type backfire, where everyone ran out and grabbed the wrong Red Sox closer based on the most logical guesswork.
Devil's Advocate: Fine, Santiago is the closer, but is he any good at it? If he turns out to be terrible at the job, he may do more harm than good for your team.

Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays
Jump in ownership: 37 percent (from six percent to 43)
Reason for the jump: He's gotten both of Tampa Bay's saves this season
Why you should join the crowd: Joel Peralta, the heretofore favorite for the closer's role in Kyle Farnsworth's absence, is manager Joe Maddon's favorite 8th-inning toy, and Rodney has a history of being an effective (with flashes of some wildness) closer. Mix it all together -- a skilled pitcher who has excelled in the role before, taking over for a pitcher with recurring elbow soreness -- and it's a recipe for a sly waiver wire pickup.
Devil's Advocate: Farnsworth is only supposed to be out for 4-6 weeks at this point. When he returns, Rodney could lose that role and be just another middle reliever. On top of that, Joe Maddon is known for his quirky strategies and could swap Rodney out for Peralta based on the situation. Keep in mind that Rodney's saves have both been of the one-out variety.

Rafael Furcal, SS, Cardinals
Jump in ownership: 29 percent (from 33 percent to 62)
Reason for the jump: Furcal is batting .435 with two steals and three runs scored, through Monday
Why you should join the crowd: There may be life left in those legs! Manager Mike Matheny has Furcal taking more pitches and trying to get the ball on the ground more often. He stole 22 bases in just 97 games in 2010 and sports a .283 career average. He could be a cheap source of speed at a relatively shallow position and he does have a little bit of power, although it could be mitigated by the ground-pound strategy.
Devil's Advocate: The last time he played in 162 games was ... never. In the last three years, Furcal has averaged 111 games played with just 14 steals. He's also 34 years old and hit just .231 last year.

Chone Figgins, 3B, Mariners
Jump in ownership: 25 percent (from 16 percent to 41)
Reason for the jump: Figgins is batting .381 with a steal and four RBI so far his season
Why you should join the crowd: He's already played four games in the outfield; one more gives him the dual eligibility in most leagues. In points leagues, his triple and double are already paying off for owners. Before 2011's disaster, Figgins had seven straight seasons of 30-plus steals, five of which he stole 40 or more.
Devil's Advocate: He's 34 and showed his age last year, when he hit .188 in 81 games. Seattle's offense isn't going to drive him in as much as they should and once Mike Carp returns, he may get squeezed for playing time if Kyle Seager (whose ownership has jumped from seven to 21 percent) remains hot.

Most Dropped

Mark Melancon, RP, Red Sox
Drop in ownership: 18 percent (from 44 percent to 26)
Reason for the drop: Melancon is 0-2 with a 36.00 ERA in one inning pitched so far this season.
Why you should join the crowd: Melancon seems like the living embodiment of a DirecTV commercial, where one bad bit of news begets another. He went from "likely closer" to "Boston anti-hero" at an incredibly accelerated rate.
Devil's Advocate: Even though Alfredo Aceves got the save Monday night, he's still far from a reliable closer; Melancon is a very good pitcher and could hit a groove in middle relief, while Aceves still falters. With the Red Sox reassuring everyone that Daniel Bard will remain a starter, Melancon is -- by process of elimination -- the next in line to be closer if Aceves falters.

Ben Revere, OF, Twins
Drop in ownership: Five percent (from 32 percent to 27)
Reason for the drop: Revere has had just six at-bats so far this season
Why you should join the crowd: Revere looks to be caught in the middle of the Minnesota outfield mess. With Josh Willingham starting in left field and Denard Span in center, Revere is staring down a possibly season-long rotation that features Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmelee, and Ryan Doumit. Without much playing time, his Fantasy value plummets.
Devil's Advocate: Revere hit .267 last season -- with 34 stolen bases -- in 450 at-bats. Plouffe and Doumit can play at a bunch of other positions defensively, so if Revere can get hot, he may eventually hammer out more starts for himself and push the other two to time-shares elsewhere.

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Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies
Drop in ownership: Four percent (72 percent to 68)
Reason for the drop: Fowler is off to a horrific start, with one hit in 11 at-bats
Why you should join the crowd: You shouldn't. But if you need a reason to do it, consider that Tyler Colvin, a former top prospect with the Cubs, played center field in place of Fowler on Sunday. Combine that with the way the Rockies demoted and called up Fowler in the past, and there's an argument. It's a bit of a stretch, and I don't necessarily believe in it -- Colvin is more of a corner outfielder/first baseman -- but it's the most likely scenario in which Fowler would lose playing time.
Devil's Advocate: It's the first week of the season and Fowler is probably just off to a cold start. While his ownership is a bit high for a career .260 batter with a ceiling of about 20 steals, dropping him now puts his owners squarely in the "panic" category.

Players with deep league appeal

Both Lucas Harrell and Tommy Hunter have nudged their "owned" levels up to nine percent with some stellar debut performances. Harrell, who is eligible as a reliever in most leagues, struck out four in seven innings against the Rockies, while Hunter struck out three in seven innings against Minnesota. The two pitchers are strikingly similar -- both have low strikeout rates, both are in their mid-20s (Harrell is 26; Hunter is 25), and both switched organizations last July. Hunter has tended to be more of a flyball pitcher in the majors, while Harrell relies on more grounders. For now, they're both deep options, but mixed leaguers would be smart to throw them on the Scout Teams, as a couple more solid starts could signal good things to come with their new organizations.

Most Traded

Just like last week, the "most traded" list is riddled with prospects and youngsters, who are likely being dealt in keeper leagues as teams try to address holes and lack of depth in 2012. A veteran popping up in the top 10, however, is Toronto's Adam Lind, who is batting .188 so far this season, with just one run batted in. Lind has averaged 28 home runs over the last three seasons, but has a career average of just .266. His 2009 season, in which he hit .305 with 35 home runs, remains his ceiling, but it seems to be a more unobtainable one as we get farther away from it. His strikeouts don't help points leagues, but his power potential makes him a relatively cheap, buy-low trade target, or a crafty throw-in as part of a larger deal.

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
Trevor Cahill earns first career save in extras
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:35 am ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Trevor Cahill made his first relief appearance of the season Friday, earning his first career save in a 4-2 extra innings win over the Dodgers.

Cahill pitched the bottom of the 12th inning after regular closer Addison Reed blew the save in the ninth. With the Diamondbacks up two, he worked a perfect frame, striking out one batter and finishing the inning on 11 pitches.

Cahill struggled mightily as a starter this season, particularly with his control, walking 13 batters in 18 2/3 innings. Still, he does have 18 strikeouts to go with his 8.68 ERA. 


Addison Reed blows first save on homer
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:30 am ET) Diamondbacks closer Addison Reed was given a one-run lead to protect Friday, and could not hold it as he blew his first save of the season vs. the Dodgers.

Reed allowed a solo home run with one out in the ninth, tying the game, 2-2. He finished the inning by recording consecutive flyball outs to send it into extra innings, where the Diamondbacks would go on to win, 4-2.

Reed now has three saves in four opportunities, and has allowed four runs in nine innings of work on the season.   


Wade Miley solid despite wildness
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:27 am ET) Diamondbacks starting pitcher Wade Miley was effectively wild Friday, but settled for a no-decision in a 4-2 extra-innings win over the Dodgers.

MIley allowed just one run in six innings of work, despite tossing five walks. He limited the Dodgers to just a pair of hits and was helped along by matching a season-high with eight strikeouts. He exited the game without a chance to win, as his seventh-inning solo home run allowed left the score tied, 1-1.

Miley has been a bit hit-or-miss this season, with just two quality starts in five trips to the mound. He is 2-2 with a 4.35 ERA in five starts, heading into his Wednesday start against the Cubs. 


Zack Greinke settles for first no-decision Friday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:23 am ET) Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke twirled another strong start Friday against the Diamondbacks, but received little help in a no-decision.

Greinke limited the Diamondbacks to just one run in six innings of work, while allowing three hits and a pair of walks. He matched his season-high in strikeouts with eight for the third start in a row, but exited the game in line for a 1-0 loss before a rally sent it to extras and got him off the hook.

Greinke has yet to allow more than two runs in any of his three starts, and all but one of his six total runs has come by way of a home run. He has 29 strikeouts to four walks in 22 1/3 innings, and is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA heading into his next start, Wednesday against the Phillies. 


Giancarlo Stanton walks Marlins off in grand fashion
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:18 am ET) Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton played a big part in Miami's 8-4 win over the Mariners, but it wasn't all positive.

Stanton cost the team an early lead with a two-run error in the second inning, and had to make amends late. He drove in one run with an RBI single in the first inning, but made his biggest impact felt late in the game. He clubbed a walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning to secure the win, fiishing the game 3 for 3 with a pair of intentional walks.

Stanton is starting to take the next step in his fifth season, and is already more than one-quarter of the way to his first 100-RBI season. Stanton leads the majors with six home runs and 26 RBI after 17 games, while batting .329/.390/.657 in 70 at-bats. 


Wilin Rosario drives in three in blowout win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:11 am ET) Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario continued his strong run production Friday, in a 12-1 win over the Phillies.

Rosario drove in three runs in the game, giving him eight in his last six games, including at least one in five. He was 2 for 5 with a two-run double, while adding an RBI groundout.

Rosario got off to a slow start, but has raised his batting average from .206 to .268 over the last six games. He has two home runs and 10 RBI in 15 games on the season. 


Troy Tulowitzki plays a big role in blowout
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:09 am ET) Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was a big part of Friday's blowout win over the Phillies, as Philadelphia's pitching staff simply couldn't get him out.

Tulowitzki reached base all four times he stepped to the plate, and was a terror each time. Slugged a three-run home run in the second inning, and then accounted for two more runs with a double in the fourth and single in the sixth. He finished the game 3 for 3 with two runs, five RBI and a walk, in the 12-1 win.

Tulowitzki had gone five games without an RBI, so he had some catching up to do. He is hitting .360/.460/.620 with two home runs, 11 RBI and 13 runs scored in 16 games this season. 


Carlos Gomez hits fifth homer
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:01 am ET) Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez continued his hot start Friday, as he slugged his fifth home run of the season in a 5-3 win over the Pirates.

Gomez took Pirates start Charlie Morton deep for a solo home run in the fifth, and that wasn't all he contributed. Gomez also drove in a run on an infield single in the sixth inning, finishing the game 2 for 5 with one run, two RBI and three strikeouts.

Gomez is among the league leaders in a plethora of categories after 17 games, ranking second in the NL with five home runs and second in runs with 13. He is hitting .329/.385/.629 in 70 at-bats. 


Steve Cishek picks up first win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:58 am ET) Marlins close Steve Cishek hasn't had many opportunities to pitch so far, as he entered Friday's game against the Mariners with the score tied, for just his fifth appearance of the season.  

Cishek pitched well in the 4-4 game, retiring all three batters faced on 16 pitches, including one strikeout. The Marlins then went on to get him his first win of the season, with Giancarlo Stanton hitting a walk-off grand slam to clinch the 8-4 victory.

Cishek is 1-0 with a pair of saves, and has yet to allow a run in five innings of work this season. 


Alberto Callaspo launches second home run of season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:56 am ET) Athletics infielder Alberto Callaspo smacked his second home run of the season in his team's 11-3 home win over the Astros Friday night.

Callaspo took starter Jarred Cosart deep for a three-run home run in the opening frame. He finished 1 for 5 with a run scored and three RBI. He is hitting .340/.404/.553 with two home runs and nine RBI in 47 at-bats.

 
 
 
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