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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
Knee inflammation sidelines White Sox RF Avisail Garcia
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:48 pm ET) The knee inflammation that has plagued White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia recently has him scratched from the Friday night game against Minnesota, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

J.B. Shuck is set to play in his place.

Garcia had been hot at the plate, but struggled mightily in a four-game series against Cleveland with just one hit in 14 at-bats. He still owns a fine slash line of .319/.359//451.


Phillies SS Freddy Galvis: Cold weather made me cold at plate
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:41 pm ET) Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has blamed the cold weather in Colorado for turning him cold at the plate.

All four games against the host Rockies were played in low 50-degree temperatures, leaving Galvis to tell the Philadelphia Inquirer that his poor series was due to it being "really cold."

Galvis was 3-for-20 in the series and is now 3-for-23 in his last five games. He is still leading all National League shortstops with a .319 batting average, but it was at .353 a week ago.

Ryne Sandberg said he expected Galvis to maintain a shorter swing and "pepper the ball" this weekend against Washington.


Brandon Beachy throws to live hitters for Dodgers
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:39 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Brandon Beachy continued his rehab from elbow surgery by throwing to live hitters. 

Beachy threw a simulated inning to batters Joc Pederson and Kike Hernandez, per the Orange County Register.


Giants SP Matt Cain may face live hitters Tuesday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:37 pm ET) Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Friday that he was encouraged with Matt Cain's latest mound session and if Cain does not suffer any setbacks, he will face live hitters Tuesday, reports AndrewBaggarly.com.

Cain is attempting to comeback from a flexor-tendon strain near his right elbow and he is expected back after the All-Star break. 


Second opinion confirms no surgery for Twins' Jordan Schafer
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:34 pm ET) Twins outfielder Jordan Schafer got a second opinion on the injured knee that landed him on the disabled list.

Schafer was disabled retroactive to May 11 with a sprained MCL. He met with Dr. James Andrews on Friday, and Dr. Andrews confirmed that the MCL didn't require surgery. 


Red Sox bring up Rusney Castillo, option Jackie Bradley Jr.
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:28 pm ET) The Red Sox officially called up outfield prospect Rusney Castillo from Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, the team announced.

Castillo is expected to start in right field during Friday night's game against the Angels. Castillo is batting .293 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 18 games at Triple-A.

To make room for Castillo, the Red Sox optioned outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A.


Rangers seeking ways to keep Delino DeShields in lineup
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:28 pm ET) The return of Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton as early as Monday in Cleveland could result in changes for hot-hitting Delino DeShields.

He is making it quite difficult for that move to be a benching.

"I hope he continues to make it challenging," Jeff Banister told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "We'll do everything we can as long as the young man continues to produce and play. These things usually have a way of working themselves out."

DeShields could find himself at second base, where Rougned Odor struggled and Tommy Field and Adam Rosales have split time. DeShields has yet to play there this season, but the Rangers would likely want to keep him and his .279/.405/.393 slash line in the lineup.


Still no baseball activities for Athletics' Ike Davis
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:23 pm ET) Athletics' first baseman Ike Davis is still recovering from a quad injury and is has not yet returned to baseball activities, per the San Francisco Chronicle.

Davis hasn't played since May 12 and is on the 15-day disabled list. He is hitting .282 with two homers and 11 RBI this season.


Orioles' Bud Norris lit up in rehab start
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:18 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris had a rough outing in his first injury rehab start at Triple-A Norfolk. 

Norris is on the 15-day disabled list, recovering from bronchitis. He gave up nine runs on 12 hits over 2 2/3 innings. He gave up two home runs, didn't walk a batter and struck out one in the 72-pitch outing. 


Red Sox GM Cherington: I'm not worried about Hanley Ramirez
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:08 pm ET) The left shoulder of his left fielder is an issue, but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is claiming he's unconcerned.

"None, really," he told the Boston Herald when asked about any reservations he has about struggling Hanley Ramirez. "Physically he hasn't said anything about it. He's had some days where he's swung the bat really well and has hit some balls hard. I'm not worried about Hanley. He'll get going again."

Ramirez has not driven in a run in May. He has just 11 hits in his last 51 at-bats.


 
 
 
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