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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
Cardinals 3B Matt Carpenter takes a seat with Sale on the mound
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(3:58 pm ET) Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter is getting the day off and is being held out of the starting lineup Tuesday against the White Sox. Carpenter had started five straight games, collecting just three hits in 21 at-bats over that span.

And, with a .222 batting average against left-handers this season, Carpenter will be shielded from one of the finest southpaws in the game, Chris Sale, who is starting on Tuesday.

Mark Reynolds is handling the hot corner while Xavier Scruggs handles first base on Tuesday.


Cardinals 2B Kolten Wong not starting on Tuesday vs. White Sox
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(3:56 pm ET) Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong is getting just his second day off in the last 19 games, as he is being held out of the lineup on Tuesday. Wong has been hitting at a decent clip recently, batting .275 with two home runs over his last 10 games.

And, despite a strong .284 average against southpaws this season, the lefty-swinging Wong will take a seat against a tough left-hander in Chris Sale.

Pete Kozma is getting the start at second base while batting eighth against the White Sox on Tuesday.


White Sox back in NL park, Adam LaRoche back on bench
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:54 pm ET) White Sox DH Adam LaRoche was not in the starting lineup Tuesday against the Cardinals, as Chicago opened up a two-game series in an NL park. 

He also started the game on the bench for two of three games at Milwaukee in May and a two-game series at Pittsburgh in mid-June.

LaRoche is batting just .189 (10 for 53) with one home run, four doubles, seven RBI, three runs, five walks and 22 strikeouts in his last 15 games.


Pirates' Harrison sits Tuesday as HR drought reaches 37 games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:46 pm ET) Pirates infielder Josh Harrison was held out of the starting lineup Tuesday against the Tigers for the first time since June 10. It was just the ninth time in 76 games this season he did not start.

Harrison is batting .346 (28 for 81) with four doubles, four RBI, six runs, three walks, 12 strikeouts and three stolen bases in his last 19 games.

He still hasn't homered in 37 games, which is the third-longest drought of his career, according to Baseball-Reference.com. His longest home-run drought was 46 games.


Blue Jays' Martin mired in 6-for-37 slump, gets day off Tuesday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:39 pm ET) Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin received a day off Tuesday against the Red Sox for the first time in seven games and just the second time in 10 games. 

Martin is hitless in his last three games (0 for 7) and is batting .059 (1 for 17) in his last six games. He is batting average has declined from .285 to .265 in his last 12 games, as he is just 6-for-37 in that stretch.


Cubs C Miguel Montero gets the day off on Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(3:33 pm ET) Cubs catcher Miguel Montero is out of the starting lineup for Tuesday's matchup with the Mets. Montero had started five of the last six games. The one game in that stretch he didn't start, he wound up playing five innings, so he was certainly due for a rest.

The Cubs are also going up against a left-handed pitcher in Jonathon Niese, and Montero is batting just .222 against southpaws this season.

David Ross will handle the catching duties and bat seventh on Tuesday.


Cashman: Removing Warren from rotation had to do with workload
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:29 pm ET) Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday that removing Adam Warren from the rotation was based more on limiting his workload than performance, per ESPN.

Up until 2015, Warren had never logged more than 78 2/3 innings at the MLB level. He is already at 82 2/3 innings this season.

"We have to manage his innings," Cashman said. "He's pitched great but we're giving him a timeout. It doesn't mean he's out of the rotation for good. We're giving him a breather and if somebody gets hurt, he automatically goes back in."


Rangers option Joey Gallo to Triple-A on Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(3:27 pm ET) The Rangers announced they have optioned rookie Joey Gallo to Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday. Gallo's demotion opens a roster spot for Josh Hamilton, was activated from the disabled list.

Gallo showed flashes of promise in his first taste of the big leagues. The 21-year-old had five home runs and 13 RBI in 25 games. But he also posted a meager .218 batting average and struck out nearly 44 percent of his at-bats. He will get further seasoning at Triple-A, and could very well be back with the big club before the end of the season.


Cashman: CC Sabathia to remain in rotation for foreseeable future
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reiterated Tuesday the team has no intentions of removing veteran starting pitcher CC Sabathia from the rotation.

"That's not something that we're considering at this moment," Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com. "We're going to continue to give him every opportunity to work through this for the foreseeable future."

Sabathia dropped another game Monday against the Angels to fall to 3-8 through 16 starts. He has a 5.59 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, and he has allowed 19 home runs in 95 innings.

"The home runs are a big issue," Cashman said. "That's something that's new for him, in the last couple of years. If they're solo shots, they're not as painful.

"He's still competing and finding himself. I think early on he had not the best of luck or run support."


Rangers OF Josh Hamilton activated from DL, starting Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(3:23 pm ET) The Rangers have activated outfielder Josh Hamilton from the disabled list, the team announced on Tuesday. Hamilton missed about a month due to a hamstring injury.

Hamilton appeared in four rehab games since his injury. He hit .333 with three RBI in 12 at-bats. 

The veteran outfielder is in Tuesday's starting lineup against the Orioles. Hamilton is in left field and batting fifth.

To clear a roster spot, Joey Gallo has been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.


 
 
 
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