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Setting the Trends: King Felix, 2.0?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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In Back to the Future Part II, an old Biff Tannen travels to the past to deliver a copy of the Grays Sports Almanac to himself, in order to help him win a bunch of money gambling and live a more comfortable life.

Most Added Players (as of 5/30)
Player % increase
1. Ernesto Frieri, RP, Angels 30
2. Roy Oswalt, SP, Rangers 28
3. A.J. Ellis, C, Dodgers 25
4. Felix Doubront, SP, Red Sox 21
5. Homer Bailey, SP, Reds 20
6. Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox 19
7. Tyler Clippard, RP, Nationals 17
8. Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres 15
9. Andy Pettitte, SP, Yankees 14
10. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox 14

We often talk about predicting the future in Fantasy, but here's a harsh fact: even if we knew the results of every baseball game this season, it still might be tough to take that information and use it to win a league.

Say, for instance, that we discover Tom Wilhelmsen manages 20 saves on the season. Unless we know which game he started getting the saves, the information could turn out to be useless. Should we start him every game? Should we have picked him up as a Draft Day guess and kept him activated? Wilhelmsen, it might turn out, went nutty in August and set a record in 2012 for saves in a month (20). But if all we knew was that he gets those 20 saves -- and not when -- it could do more harm than good having him sit in our lineups every day.

So what's the point of this sci-fi digression? That situational and split stats matter, to a degree. Hidden beneath 162 games of data are little quirks that can help us divine some Fantasy knowledge. For a pitcher like Ervin Santana, who has massive home/road splits buried beneath his overall numbers, knowing where the good numbers came from could be a tremendous boost for a Fantasy owner, and could help explain why some players are seeing jumps in ownership at otherwise random-looking times during the season.

On to the Roster Trends!

Most Added Highlights

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. Jordan Schafer, OF, Astros 49
2. Brian Fuentes, RP, Athletics 48
3. A.J. Burnett, SP, Pirates 46
4. Stephen Drew, SS, Diamondbacks 41
5. Casey Janssen, RP, Blue Jays 36

Felix Doubront, SP, Red Sox
Jump in ownership: 20 percent (from 45 percent to 65)
Reason for the jump: Doubront is 5-2 with a 3.86 ERA through 10 games and is in the midst of a two-start week.
Why you should join the crowd: Besides getting off to a spectacular start in 2012, Doubront has relief pitcher eligibility in most CBSSports.com formats, allowing owners in H2H points leagues to rack up starting pitcher value from a RP slot. For those owners looking at Doubront as a starter, he's been surprisingly effective so far this year. He has also managed to throw a little over one strikeout per inning.
Devil's Advocate: Doubront's minor league numbers were good, but they didn't indicate anything that would translate to wild success in the majors. Additionally, his 1.36 WHIP suggests that his ERA may currently be a bit low, meaning he could be due for a correction. On top of all that, the Red Sox have Daisuke Matsuzaka and Andrew Bailey coming back from injury soon, which could create a crunch of both a direct (Matsuzaka will require a spot) and indirect (Bailey could push Alfredo Aceves to the rotation, sending Doubront to long relief) nature.

Jeff Francoeur, OF, Royals
Jump in ownership: 14 percent (from 60 percent to 74)
Reason for the jump: Francoeur has four multi-hit games in his last six.
Why you should join the crowd: Blink and you missed Francoeur's batting average rise from .235 (on May 19) to .282 (on the 28th). Of his five home runs on the season, four have come in the last seven games. He even picked up his first steal of the season against the Orioles. Francoeur put up a 20-20 campaign in 2011 and has as many as 29 home runs in a single season.
Devil's Advocate: Those 22 bases he stole last year marked the first time in Francoeur's career that he produced double-digits in the category. And while he has a lifetime batting average of .271, that number has dipped as low as .239 during his career. He's streaky and can be one of the more frustrating players in Fantasy, rotating from extremely cold to extremely hot without warning. So beware. His season may look great in September, but there may be plenty of peaks and valleys along the way.

Thanks, But No Thanks
The five most deactivated healthy players
Player decrease in start %
1. Henry Rodriguez, RP, Nationals 31
2. Ricky Nolasco, SP, Marlins 25
3. Hiroki Kuroda, SP, Yankees 24
4. Brandon League, RP, Mariners 24
5. Edinson Volquez, SP, Padres 23

Gordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox
Jump in ownership: 15 percent (from 28 percent to 43)
Reason for the jump: Beckham entered May with a .153 average; as of Tuesday, it sat at .224.
Why you should join the crowd: Beckham, a former first-round pick, has turned his season around in the month of May. He's hit .264, with five home runs and 14 RBI. His OPS jumped .300 points over April, going from .434 to .763. Over the last 14 days, Beckham ranks as the seventh-best second baseman in Fantasy.
Devil's Advocate: Before the recent hot streak, Beckham was experiencing a three-year slide in nearly every offensive category (from 2009 to 2011). His average went from .270 to .252 to .230; His RBI, doubles, OPS, and walk totals all dropped over the three-season span while his at-bats increased. In fact, if the season ended today, his OPS would be only slightly higher than it was last year and his average would be the lowest of his four-season career.

Roy Oswalt, SP, Rangers
Jump in ownership: 10 percent and rising (from 29 percent to 39)
Reason for the jump: Oswalt has signed with the Rangers.
Why you should join the crowd: Oswalt isn't really a big mystery. Over 2,154 innings pitched, he has a career 3.21 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He's a three-time All-Star who has finished in the top five for Cy Young voting on five separate occasions. The only mystery right now is how long it will take him to get in to playing shape (guessing it will be three or four weeks).
Devil's Advocate: Oswalt's career splits at Rangers Ballpark: 2-5, 4.78 EA and 1.44 WHIP in eight starts. Granted, that's playing against the Rangers, not playing with them, but when you run into a pitcher of Oswalt's caliber, you have to look somewhere for the downside to it all.

More than 50, less than 50
Players owned in more than 50% of leagues who should be owned in less than 50%
Player % owned
1. Delmon Young, OF, Tigers 53
2. Phil Hughes, SP, Yankees 54
3. Russell Martin, C, Yankees 56
4. Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals 58
5. Trevor Bauer, SP, Diamondbacks 60

Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Mariners
Jump in ownership: Nine percent (from seven percent to 16)
Reason for the jump: Wilhelmsen looks to be the favorite for saves in Seattle with Brandon League being demoted to setup duty.
Why you should join the crowd: Besides being an awesome story -- Wilhelmsen was out of baseball for six years, backpacking around the world and serving as a bartender in Arizona -- he does look like the early favorite to get saves in League's absence. So far this season, he has 30 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings pitched.
Devil's Advocate: Wilhelmsen also has a 4.44 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Furthermore, League hit a bit of a bump last year and responded by not allowing a run from May 17 to July 5. So while he has a great story (the movie will end with Wilhelmsen pitching in the ALCS with a full count in the bottom of the ninth to Daniel Nava), it's not the most ideal of scenarios: Wilhelmsen has some pretty high ratios, manager Eric Wedge indicated that he would let matchups dictate who comes in for saves, and League could take a week off and come right back into his closer role.

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
Ryan Howard clubs 16th home run Sunday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:52 am ET) Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard belted his 16th home run Sunday against the Diamondbacks. 

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Singleton waited until the ninth inning to strike. With the bases empty in the ninth inning, Singleton hit a 92 mph fastball out to left for a solo shot. He also walked twice earlier in the contest. Singleton finished 1 for 2, with one run scored and one RBI. 


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(12:26 am ET) Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hit his fourth home run Sunday against the Marlins.

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Gregory Polanco hits fifth home run Sunday
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(12:13 am ET) Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco hit his fifth home run Sunday against the Rockies.

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Kenley Jansen picks up his 30th save
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(7/27/2014) Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen locked down his 30th save Sunday against the Giants. 

Jansen entered the ninth with a one-run lead. He responded to the pressure, tossing a perfect inning of work and striking out all three batters he faced. Jansen lowered his ERA to 3.24 with the appearance. 


Buster Posey hits 12th home run Sunday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2014) Giants catcher Buster Posey hit his 12th home run Sunday against the Dodgers.

Posey struck in the bottom of the fifth. With the bases empty, he hit a 93 mph fastball from Hyun-Jin Ryu out to left field for the solo shot. Posey finished 1 for 3, with one run scored and one RBI.


Jake Peavy loses his 10th game Sunday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2014) Giants pitcher Jake Peavy lost his 10th game Sunday against the Dodgers. 

Peavy allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits over six innings of work. He struck out five and walked two during the outing. Peavy got off to a nice start, tossing three scoreless frames to open the game. The Dodgers were able to scratch across a run in the fourth inning, tying the game. In the fifth, things were blown wide open. After a drop-third strike led to Dee Gordon reaching base, Peavy walked Yasiel Puig. A wild pitch moved both players into scoring position. Another drop-third strike brought Gordon home, making the score 2-2. Hanley Ramirez singled, and Brandon Crawford tripled, bringing in the other two runs.

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Adam Rosales leaves the yard for the first time this season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2014) Rangers infielder Adam Rosales unleashed his first home run of the season Sunday night at home against the Athletics.

Rosales took starter Scott Kazmir deep for a two-run home run in the second inning. He finished 1 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI in a 9-3 victory. He owns a .250/.333/.417 slash line with five RBI in 24 at-bats.


Adrian Beltre homers, reaches base three times
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2014) Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre reached base three times in Sunday's loss to the Athletics.

Beltre doubled in the third and launched a solo home run in the eighth inning. He finished 2 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI in a 9-3 victory. He owns a .324/.369/.519 slash line with 15 homers and 55 RBI in 349 at-bats.


Hyun-Jin Ryu wins his 12th Sunday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2014) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu won his 12th game Sunday against the Giants.

Ryu allowed three runs on six hits over six innings of work. He struck out seven and walked one during the outing. The Giants were able to chip away at Ryu at a few points during the game. He allowed run-scoring singles in both the third and fourth inning, and gave up a solo home run in the fifth. Despite the mid-start struggles, Ryu managed to hang on for the win.

With the win, Ryu moved to 12-5. He'll take on the Cubs in his next start. 


 
 
 
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