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Di Fino: The art of buying low

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Fortunes have been made on being able to figure out when it's just the right time to buy something low.

Cars, stocks and bread are just a few examples. Of course, each comes with its own set of risks: the car could be a lemon, the stock could plummet further, and that day-old bread could be really stale. Still, the upside of each makes the gamble worth it; it's mainly just a case of doing some research and nosing around to see what, exactly, these things will cost you. And, since this is a Fantasy baseball column, you know what's coming next: The same can be said for [insert player's name here]!.

Look, the "buy low" column isn't a novel Fantasy concept. At all. But there is a fun science in determining which players to target. Let's just pretend I threw a couple more pop culture references in here (go see Cabin in the Woods! How about that Kate Upton baseball card? OMG guys -- Sarah Phillips!), and instead move on to the players who can help you make that push from fifth place to first.

Most Traded Players (as of 5/4)
Player # of trades
1. Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels 620
2. Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants 385
3. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins 360
4. Jose Reyes, SS, Marlins 321
5. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees 311
6. Jon Lester, SP, Red Sox 300
7. Josh Johnson, SP, Marlins 294
8. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates 287
9. Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers 280
10. Matt Holliday, OF, Cardinals 278

1. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees
Ownership: 100 percent of leagues
Why He's A Buy Low: Teixeira is hitting a frustratingly-low .226, with just three home runs through 23 games this season. He has two hits, one run scored and one RBI in his last six games.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Mark Reynolds and Victor Martinez; David Ortiz and Omar Infante; Andrew McCutchen; Bryce Harper and Mike Trout; Shane Victorino
How This Could Work Brilliantly: In his career, Teixeira has hit .239 in April; his May average rises to .286. Furthermore, his OPS jumps from .767 to .903. In 2010, he hit .136 in April, with a .559 OPS. He finished the season with 33 home runs and 108 RBI. In 2009, his OPS leapt from .738 in April to 1.138 in May. The slow April and powerful May has become an almost yearly Teixeira tradition.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: Defenses seem to be loving the shift when Teixeira is at bat, and Joe Girardi has said that his strategy for Teixeira is this: "swing the bat and hit balls hard and things will work out." So the power will likely continue, but his batting average, which has declined every year since 2008, will likely continue to suffer as a result. A career .280 hitter, Teixeira hasn't hit over .256 since 2009.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Man, I didn't realize Teixeira is already 32 years old!"

2. Huston Street, RP, Padres
Ownership: 77 percent of leagues
Why He's A Buy Low: Street has just four saves on the season so far, and has been riddled with injuries throughout his career.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Nick Markakis; Ty Wigginton; in a package deal with Pablo Sandoval for Kyle Lohse; Martin Prado
How This Could Work Brilliantly: Street pitches in a forgiving park for a team that has scored the fourth-fewest runs in all of baseball, which makes for plenty of save opportunities in close games. Street also has a 37-save season under his belt and has double-digit saves in all of his eight major league seasons -- he's averaged 28 saves over the last three years. And if San Diego's low run-scoring output frightens you, consider this: Heath Bell had three straight seasons of 40-plus saves from 2009 to 2011 as the Padres closer. In 2009, they scored the second-fewest amount of runs; in 2010, the ninth-fewest; and, in 2011, the third-fewest. Scoring the fourth-fewest runs in MLB is a bit of a luxury for the team.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: Street has the skill to be an effective closer, he just doesn't always have the health -- he hasn't pitched 65 innings in a season since 2008.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Andrew Cashner is averaging 98.3 mph on his fastball this year?"

3. Erik Bedard, SP, Pirates
Ownership: 55 percent of leagues
Why He's A Buy Low: He's won one game in five starts so far this year.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Cameron Maybin; Paul Goldschmidt; in a package deal with Justin Morneau for Vance Worley; Todd Helton
How This Could Work Brilliantly: Bedard's problem has always been with injuries -- since 2004, he's thrown over 100 innings just five times. But a healthy Bedard is an effective one: he has a 3.66 career ERA and has produced a sub-1.20 WHIP in two seasons. His trade to Boston -- and subsequent poor performance -- masked a stellar half-season in Seattle last year, where he had a 1.17 WHIP in 91 1/3 innings before the deal. On top of it all, Bedard is usually good for a strikeout per inning.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: With Bedard, there is always a chance he can get hurt. And before his start on April 28 against the Braves, the Pirates had given him a whopping .75 runs of support per game.
But ...: The Pirates have scored seven or more runs in two of their last three games.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Ugh. 1-4 but I need a pitcher bad!"

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4. Ian Stewart, 3B, Cubs
Ownership: 18 percent of leagues.
Why He's A Buy Low: Stewart is currently batting .173, with two home runs and 18 strikeouts.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Todd Helton; Chris Parmelee; Scott Rolen; Alex Presley; as a package deal with Drew Stubbs for Desmond Jennings
How This Could Work Brilliantly: Stewart's defense has been praised by Cubs manager Dale Sveum, and while that won't directly help your Fantasy stats, it will keep him in the lineup regularly, which will give him steady at-bats. And those at-bats should be getting a little better; Stewart insists that he is hitting balls well -- they're just going into the gloves of the opposing teams. The numbers actually bear this out; Stewart's batting average on balls in play is .197, and his line drive percentage is at 21 percent, implying that he's been a victim of bad luck. For a Fantasy team looking to replace an injured Evan Longoria, for instance, Stewart could be a very deep gamble that might pay off in a big way once the balls start going where the fielders aren't.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: All that being said, Stewart has a career batting average of .232 and has just one season of 20 or more home runs.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Blech. .173. I'm desperate without Longoria, though. I guess I'll relieve you of your Ian Stewart anchor. LOLCATZ."

5. Delmon Young, OF, Tigers
Ownership: 61 percent of leagues
Why He's A Buy Low: After a drunken incident in New York, Young was suspended by MLB for seven days.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Tim Hudson; Adam Lind; Colby Rasmus; as a package deal with Jacoby Ellsbury for Shane Victorino
How This Could Work Brilliantly: A former number one overall pick, Young had a bit of a breakthrough last year after being traded to the Tigers, hitting .274 with eight home runs in 168 at- bats. He has hit as many as 21 home runs and stolen as many as 14 bases in a season. Over seven MLB seasons, he has a .287 average. And this latest transgression could force him to focus on the field and explode when he returns.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: It's not an exact science, but the last time Young found himself in trouble -- in 2006, after throwing a bat in the direction of an umpire -- he hit just 11 home runs. And even though the 21-homer and 14-steal seasons are nice, they didn't come in the same year, and the next-highest were 13 home runs and 10 steals.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Man! Remember when he threw the bat at the umpire, too?? What next??"

The Strange Case of Adam Lind ...

This came up in a podcast this week, and it's worth investigating here in the column: Adam Lind has become everyone's favorite throw-in to sweeten -- or, at least, even out -- a lot of trades. He's one of the top-10 traded players on CBSSports.com. Currently batting .203 with one home run, Lind is as tantalizing a nugget as any player in Fantasy Baseball: He could hit 35 home runs. He could bat .300. He could steal three bases. But he hasn't batted over .265 since 2009. And he only once went over 30 home runs, in the same year. The gap between his own percentage and his start percentage (74 percent owned; 45 percent started) further emphasizes Lind as a complementary piece to both teams and trades -- cast in the proverbial, "I have him on my bench, and I'll start him when he gets hot, at which point I can trade Prince Fielder for a pitcher ... or I just cut him for Bruce Chen if he stinks," role.

So here's your Fun Fact: In the last two days, trades involving Adam Lind have had an average of 4.41 players.

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@cbsi.com .

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Player News
Cubs closer Hector Rondon is learning from his mistakes
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5/23/2015) Cubs closer Hector Rondon blew a save Friday night in Arizona, his third blown save of the season. The right-hander served up a game-tying two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the 10th inning in the eventual 5-3 Diamondbacks win.

But Rondon, who is in the third season of his career, knows where he went wrong.

"I need better location," Rondon said Saturday, per MLB.com. "I know that pitch ran up a little to the middle [to Goldschmidt]. I think that's why we lost the game yesterday, those pitches."

Manager Joe Maddon has expressed faith in his 27-year-old closer, and a change does not seem to be in the cards, at least for now. 

"He knows what he did wrong," said Maddon. "I'll say [to him], 'Hey, listen, everything's cool. I still have a lot of trust and support.' It's one of those things that happens in our game."

Rondon has blown two of his last three save opportunities.


Cubs OF Jorge Soler: I expect more from me
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler is having a fine debut to the major leagues this season. The rookie is hitting .267 with 14 RBI in 161 at-bats this season, but he his still hoping for more, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"So far, I don't feel good about what I've done," Soler said Saturday. "I expect more from me."

Soler has struck out 59 times so far this season, 15 more than anyone else on the team. He also noted he thinks his hamstrings will hold up this year after missing more than two months in 2014 because of hamstring injuries.


Angels pitcher Mike Morin headed to the disabled list on Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Angels pitcher Mike Morin will be placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday after suffering a left oblique injury on Saturday, according to the Orange County Register.

Morin was forced to come out of Saturday's game after facing just one batter against the Red Sox. 

"I've never dealt with anything like this," Morin said. "It's frustrating. It's been frustrating."

Morin has a 6.00 ERA in 15 innings of work this season.


Marlins 3B Martin Prado delivers game-winning RBI in 13th
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Marlins third baseman Martin Prado went 1 for 5 at the plate in Miami's 1-0 win over the Orioles in 13 innings on Saturday.

Prado was hitless when he stepped in the box in the 13th. After Baltimore intentionally walked Giancarlo Stanton to load the bases, Prado delivered on a 1-1 pitch from T.J. McFarland when he cracked a single into center to bring home the winning run.

Prado is now htting .273 with 17 RBI in 176 at-bats this season.


Marlins reliever Carter Capps strikes out six in win on Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Marlins relief pitcher Carter Capps tossed three scoreless innings on Saturday in Miami's 1-0 win over the Orioles in 13 innings of work.

Capps came on in the 11th and allowed just one hit while striking out six. Capps, now 1-0, also did not issue a walk and lowered his ERA to 1.50 in six innings of work this season.


Orioles pitcher Mike Wright strikes out four in no-decision on Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Orioles pitcher Mike Wright tossed seven scoreless innings on Saturday, allowing three hits in Baltimore's 1-0 loss to the Marlins in 13 innings, but did not factor into the decision.

Wright faced the minimum hitters through four innings, but ran into some issues in the fifth. After hitting leadoff man Martin Prado, Wright picked up two quick outs. Then after a walk put two men on, Wright forced a groundout to end the inning.

Wright, who remains 1-0, maintained his perfect 0.00 ERA in 14 1/3 innings of work. He will look to keep things rolling Thursday against the White Sox.


Marlins pitcher Dan Haren strikes out six in no-decision on Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Marlins pitcher Dan Haren tossed six scoreless innings on Saturday, allowing seven hits in Miami's 1-0 win over the Orioles in 13 innings, but did not factor into the decision.

Haren struck out six with three walks in his outing. Although Haren put himself into multiple jams, including the first inning when he put runners on first and third with one out, he was able to work out of them without allowing a run.

Haren, who remains 4-2, lowered his ERA to 3.09 in 55 1/3 innings of work. He will look to get his fifth win of the year on Friday against the Mets.


Red Sox 1B Mike Napoli blasts two home runs in win on Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli went 2 for 4 at the plate in Boston's 8-3 win over the Angels on Saturday.

Napoli ripped a solo home run over the Green Monster in the second inning off of C.J. Wilson. Then in the sixth, Napoli did the same thing when he belted a two-run shot off of Wilson, his seventh of the season.

Napoli is now hitting .193 with 17 RBI in 135 at-bats this season.


Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson tagged for four runs in losing effort
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings of work in Los Angeles' 8-3 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday.

Wilson had issues in the second inning when Mike Napoli belted a solo shot over the Green Monster. Then in the third, Wilson put runners on first and third for Mookie Betts, who singled to left center, plating another run. Wilson then surrendered a second home run to Mike Napoli, this time a two-run shot.

Wilson, now 2-3, moved his ERA to 3.36 in 59 innings of work. He will look to get back on track Thursday against the Tigers.


Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright allows two runs in win on Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright allowed two runs on four hits in  6 1/3 innings of work in Boston's 8-3 win over the Angels on Saturday.

Wright's only blemish came in the first inning when he allowed three of the first four hitters to reach safely, including back-to-back doubles by Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun, leading to two runs. Wright settled down and got out of the inning without anymore damage.

Wright, now 2-1, lowered his ERA to 3.68 in 22 innings of work. He will look to keep things rolling Thursday against the Rangers.


 
 
 
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