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Setting the Trends: Free agents of all shapes and sizes

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We're going to pull back the curtain a little bit here.

Every day, in preparation for the Fantasy Baseball 360 show, we have meetings. And in these meetings, we go over the Roster Trends for that dedicated segment of the show.

It seems like Nolan Reimold has been on top of the Roster Trend list -- either as one of the 10 Most Viewed or 10 Most Added -- for a solid week. This is a pretty big deal for a player, as he will usually see two or three days of jumping to the top of the list, followed by a plateau as another player takes over. But Reimold remains. Even when he started to hit the 70 percent range, there was still room to go up. He haunts our days. He haunts our nights. If you say his name three times while looking in a mirror, he appears on your Fantasy team.

It's not all about Reimold, though. And knowing he's trending won't help many teams, as he's unowned in just 19 percent of leagues right now. So gaze upon the rest of the remaining players to see who's shooting up the charts and being added in CBSSports.com leagues.

Most added players (complete list)

Less than 50, more than 50
Players owned in less than 50% of leagues who should be owned in more than 50%
Player % owned
1. Danny Duffy, SP, Royals 47
2. Francisco Cordero, RP, Blue Jays 41
3. Bruce Chen, SP, Royals 35
4. Raul Ibanez, OF, Yankees 34
5. Drew Smyly, SP, Tigers 26

Philip Humber, SP, White Sox
Jump in ownership: 38 percent (from 29 percent to 67)
Reason for the jump: He threw a perfect game
Why you should join the crowd: Humber, a former first-round pick, seems to have finally realized his potential, and this transformation actually happened before he threw the perfect game. In 2011, Humber threw 163 innings for the White Sox, producing a 3.76 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. His 26 starts last year weren't just a career high -- they blew away his previous work, as he had only two major league starts over parts of six seasons. Credit here goes to white Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who convinced Humber to change his delivery and add a slider to his repertoire. The move seems to have paid off. Humber isn't just a knee-jerk add for owners who saw the perfect game and expected another; it likely put him on the radar and allowed Fantasy players to see just how good Humber was over almost an entire season last year.
Devil's Advocate: Since we're pulling back curtains today, and if you choose to ignore Cooper's work in harnessing Humber's talent, a look at Humber's minor league numbers may explain why he had only two career MLB starts before last year: in 669 1/3 minor league innings pitched, Humber had a 4.50 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. In 2009, pitching for Minnesota's Triple-A affiliate in Rochester, he sported a 5.34 ERA, with just 87 strikeouts in 119 2/3 innings. The following year, with Omaha (in the KC system), Humber struck out just 80 in 118 2/3 innings.

Owners are sick of these guys
Some of the most deactivated players in our leagues
Player Start %
1. Justin Masterson, SP, Indians 84 - 36
2. Chad Billingsley, SP, Dodgers 88 - 60
3. John Danks, SP, White Sox 69 - 42
4. Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins 40 - 14
5. Brandon McCarthy, SP, Athletics 62 - 37

Bartolo Colon, SP, Athletics
Jump in ownership: 37 percent (from 48 percent to 85)
Reason for the jump: Colon has a 2.62 ERA and 0.93 WHIP so far this season.
Why you should join the crowd: Colon's been pretty great so far this year, kicking off the season in Japan with an eight-inning, one-hit performance, then surviving a shaky outing and rattling off two more starts without surrendering an earned run.
Devil's Advocate: Seattle torched Colon for seven earned runs in his second start of the season. And he had two other starts against the Mariners already in 2012. Seattle isn't as hopeless as people many think -- they're bottom nine in runs scored, for instance, as opposed to botton five -- but it helps to have faced them three times already. On top of that, Colon hasn't pitched 200 innings in a season since 2005.
Why is this Colon capsule so small, dude?: It's Bartolo Colon . There's not much more to say about him except ... beware. The same way you can play games on your phone for free, but they're eventually going to hit you up for some money to play the higher levels; this cannot last forever.

Cody Ross, OF, Red Sox
Jump in ownership: 15 percent (from 36 percent to 51)
Reason for the jump: Ross is batting .283, with five home runs and 13 RBI so far this season.
Why you should join the crowd: Ross was going to play every day in the Boston outfield when it was just Carl Crawford missing from the lineup, but now that Jacoby Ellsbury is gone as well, Ross has suddenly become Boston's most valuable outfielder. He's responded by hitting five home runs through 15 games, which puts him on pace for over 50 on the season (but let's just take that with a grain of salt for now). Of his last six games, three have been multi-hit efforts. Ross also has two 20-plus home run seasons under his belt.
Devil's Advocate: Two 20-plus home run seasons are not the same as, say, four 25-plus home run seasons. Ross also hasn't hit over .270 since 2007. Boston's 2012 offense isn't as presumptively high-octane as it had been in the past, and the eventual return of Crawford and Ellsbury might push Ross into some days off as the outfield becomes more crowded. Also, Ross is batting a relatively-low seventh in the lineup.

We are the 1 percent!
Players owned in 1% of leagues who may see an ownership spike in the near future
Player % owned
1. Michael Bowden, RP, Cubs 1
2. Luke Hughes, 2B, Athletics 1
3. Andrew Miller, SP, Red Sox 1
4. Hideki Matsui, DH, Athletics 1
5. Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres 1

Ross Detwiler, SP, Nationals
Jump in ownership: 33 percent (from 13 percent to 46)
Reason for the jump: Detwiler has a 0.94 ERA and 0.56 WHIP in three starts for the Nationals.
Why you should join the crowd: Washington saw enough potential in Detwiler to send John Lannan and his large contract to Triple-A before the season began, crowning Detwiler as their fifth starter. Detwiler, the sixth overall pick in 2007, had a 3.00 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 2011 over 66 innings pitched and seems to have come into his own as a wonderful parallel to Philip Humber. So far this season, he's raised his ground ball/fly ball ratio dramatically, getting almost two-and-a-half ground balls for every fly ball (last season, it was about 1.3).
Devil's Advocate: In any season, on any level, Detwiler has never pitched more than 124 innings, bouncing back and forth from starter to reliever. His minor league numbers are rather mediocre -- he posted a 3.97 ERA and a startlingly-high 1.50 WHIP across five seasons in the Washington farm system. And while his hot start will probably not have him in the crosshairs, Chien-Ming Wang is on his way back from injury, and if Detwiler takes a downward turn, he could be the odd man out.

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 .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
David Buchanan will compete for one of two spots in Phillies' rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:08 pm ET) Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan said refininig his curveball has been a point of emphasis this offseason, as he prepares to compete for a spot in the rotation this spring, per The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I had success with (my curveball) in certain games,” he said. “It started coming along there toward the end. But it’s definitely something that has a lot of work still to go. It’s definitely something I’m working on. It’s getting better, which is all I can ask for.”

There is two spots currently open in the rotation behind Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Aaron Harang. Buchanan, Jerome Williams and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez are considered the leading candidates for the openings in the rotation. 

“There’s going to be some competition,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week. “I think that’s the only way that you can get better is by creating competition. I can’t sit here and tell you today that David Buchanan’s going to be one of our guys in the rotation, but he absolutely is going to get an opportunity to pitch in spring training and be ready and compete for one of those spots.”


Santana fine after throwing bullpen session; winter-league status is TBD
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:55 am ET) Free agent starting pitcher Johan Santana threw a bullpen session Sunday and is said to be feeling fine, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. It is now up to his Venezuelan winter league team to decide if he will pitch for them in the finals.

Santana has been dealing with some shoulder discomfort, which has put his status for the remainder of the winter-league season in doubt. Santana is hoping to latch on with another major-league team after suffering a torn Achilles in June.

The Yankees, Padres and Blue Jays are among the teams showing interest in signing the former two-time AL Cy Young award winner.


Mariners planning on batting Smith, Ruggiano in second spot in lineup
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:31 am ET) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said he is tentatively planning to bat the right-field tandem of Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano second in the lineup, per The New Tribune.

The Mariners ranked last in the majors last season in on-base percentage (.260) from their No. 2 hitters. No other team was lower than .279.

Smith had a .367 OBP last season for San Diego, while Ruggiano had a .337 OBP in 81 games for the Cubs.


Rays' Jake McGee plays catch for first time since elbow surgery
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:25 am ET) The Rays announced Monday reliever Jake McGee played catch for the first time since undergoing elbow surgery in December. McGee is still expected to miss the start of the season.

Cardinals' Carpenter hoping to build off postseason power surge
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:17 am ET) Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter hit just eight home runs with a .375 slugging percentage during the 2014 regular season, but had a much better power swing in the postseason, belting four home runs and slugging .722 in nine games.

“I took a more of an aggressive approach in the postseason,” Carpenter said, per STLBaseballWeekly.com. “Part of that was from the experience that I had gathered the year before. After a long season, going into the playoffs I felt like I wasn’t as prepared as I felt like I could’ve been. It kind of snowballed and my approach and the way I took the regular season at-bat in the postseason it wasn’t playing out well.”

Carpenter said his postseason success could have a positive impact on his power numbers in 2015.

"Certainly, I’m always going to be a guy who’s patient at the plate, but that was a good learning experience for me -- being aggressive," he said. "I don’t remember the exact numbers but out of the four home runs I hit, I think three of them were on the first pitch. That’s something typically I don’t do a lot of, and it was a good learning experience.”


Tigers' Dombrowski expecting 'real big season' for Justin Verlander
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:48 am ET) Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander said last week this is the best he's felt physically approaching the start of spring training in at least three years.

Apparently, the optimism doesn't end with Verlander. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski indicated the Tigers are expecting big things from Verlander in 2015 after he posted a 4.54 ERA in 2014, failing to make the All-Star team for the first time in six seasons.

"Justin Verlander is as prime a pitcher as there is in the game of baseball," Dombrowski said, per the Detroit Free Press. "Last year, he was not the traditional Justin. But when you look at what he came back from with the surgery, I think he's going to go out and have a real big season for us."


Sleep apnea almost caused Red Sox's Mike Napoli to retire
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) Dealing with sleep apnea almost caused Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli to retire prematurely from baseball, reports the Boston Globe.

"I couldn't do it anymore, feeling the way I was feeling," Napoli said. "I was like, 'I need to have the surgery or I'm not going play anymore.' That's how bad it was."

During the offseason, Napoli underwent facial reconstruction surgery to correct the condition, which was preventing him from getting a proper night of rest.

"It was a brutal process," Napoli said. "It was probably one of the worse things I've ever done."

With the surgery a success and Napoli recovered from losing weight due to a six-week liquid diet, Napoli is now sleeping better than he ever has.

Before the surgery, Napoli turned to medication, mouthpieces and a CPAP mask, but said those problems are now behind him.

"I wake up now and I'm ready to start my day," he said. "It's great."


Angels' Jered Weaver bulks up in effort to pitch deeper into games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:36 am ET) Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver has bulked up to 224 pounds, which is six pounds heavier than he has ever been, in an effort to pitch deeper into games in 2015, per the Los Angeles Times. Weaver dropped to as low as 199 pounds during the 2014 season.

“Numbers-wise, it was all right,” Weaver said of his 2014 season (18-9, 3.59 ERA). “But from a personal standpoint, me being ultra-competitive, I want to get deeper in games.

“The bullpen helped me a lot last year. I just want to gain some strength. I went on a different weight-lifting program last year, and it’s been paying off. I’m going to stick with it.”

The average velocity of Weaver’s fastball dipped to a career-low 86.3 mph last season. However, he said the added weight gain is more for endurance than velocity on his fastball. He averaged just over six innings per start last season and has just one complete game over the last two seasons after throwing seven complete games in 2011-12.

“I don’t care about velocity -- I just want to be stronger for the whole nine innings,” Weaver said. “If velocity comes along, so be it. I think I’ve shown I can pitch from 83 to 93 mph.”


Mariners' Austin Jackson looking to bounce back in 2015
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:08 am ET) After being acquired by the Mariners at the trade deadline last season, outfielder Austin Jackson struggled to produce for the Mariners. In 54 games, Jackson hit .229 and Jackson said the trade affected his playing ability, reports The News Tribune.

"Not making excuses, but I think getting traded and trying to get used to the travel and the sleep - those things affect your play on the field," Jackson said.

By starting the season in Seattle, Jackson said he hopes to avoid the distractions from last season and he's looking to return to his old form.

"Hopefully, getting started here and staying here, those distractions won't be there," Jackson said.


White Sox OF Avisail Garcia dropped weight during offseason
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:02 am ET) White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia dropped roughly 15 pounds during the offseason, according to MLB.com.

"I've been eating healthy, working real hard at the gym, Garcia said. "I have to be ready for spring training. I can't go there and be fat." With the weight loss, Garcia is hoping to keep his power potential. "I don't want to lose speed, I don't want to lose power," Garcia said. "I want to be in the middle. I know I can do a little bit of everything, so that's why I've been working really hard on speed, power, hitting and defense, so I can help my team win."

Garcia hit .244/.305/.413 over 172 at-bats last year.


 
 
 
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