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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
Eduardo Escobar returns to lineup Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:23 pm ET) Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar is in the starting lineup and batting ninth in Tuesday's matchup with the Diamondbacks.

Escobar has been slowed by a jammed shoulder but was able to enter Monday's game as a pinch runner and eventually smack a single in his only at-bat. He has hit .275/.315/.404 with five home runs and 29 RBI in 411 at-bats.


Aaron Hill out of lineup Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:19 pm ET) Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill is not in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Twins.

Hill dislocated his pinkie finger on a slide at home plate late in Monday's game, but he remained in to finish the game. He has hit .244/.287/.367 with 10 home runs and 60 RBI in 501 at-bats.


Adam Lind back starting against righty
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:01 pm ET) Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind was back in the lineup Tuesday against the Mariners after sitting out the previous three games with a back issues. Two of those three, including Monday's, were against left-handers, so Lind probably wouldn't have started them anyway.

Mark Teixeira able to return
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:59 pm ET) Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was in the starting lineup for the first time in three games Tuesday against Baltimore. He had been sitting with a sore wrist.

Teixeira, who received a third cortisone shot in the wrist Sunday, hasn't fared well with the injury, batting just .177 (29 for 164) since the All-Star break.


Anthony Rendon gets a day off
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:54 pm ET) Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon was on the bench for the start of Tuesday's game against the Mets, getting his second day off since the team clinched the NL East. Starting in his place wasn't Ryan Zimmerman, but Kevin Frandsen.

Dilson Herrera not back yet
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:46 pm ET) Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera sat for a second straight game Tuesday at Washington after straining his right quadriceps Saturday. The Mets have yet to rule him out for the rest of the season.

Wilmer Flores shifted over to second base to fill in for him, allowing Ruben Tejada in the lineup at shortstop.


Juan Lagares not ready to return yet
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:43 pm ET) Mets outfielder Juan Lagares was out of the lineup for a fifth straight game Tuesday at Washington. He's been sidelined by a hyperextended elbow. Kirk Nieuwenhuis got the start in his absence.

File Miguel Montero's name away for 2015
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(3:36 pm ET) Carlos Corporan, Andrew Susac, Roberto Perez, Curt Casali, David Ross. This is not exactly a who's-who of Fantasy catchers, but they are just some of the ones who have scored more runs than Miguel Montero has since July 1. Thanks to both a lack of opportunities and a severe reduction in power, Montero has scored all of nine runs over the course of his last 57 games played.

Though the Diamondbacks' catcher has done little to help owners of late, his sluggish performance could actually work to your benefit on draft day next season. There have been some positives to Montero's season, which I reviewed in detail in a recent Fantasy Baseball Today blog post, but those could be forgotten by many owners five or six months from now (if not already).

Montero still has the potential to be a good power and run producer, particularly for a catcher, and while you probably don't need to protect him in keeper leagues, he could be an inexpensive pickup in next season's drafts and auctions. As you assemble a list of potential sleepers to target in 2015, be sure to keep Montero's name handy.


Jason Kipnis gets another start
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:35 pm ET) Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, who returned to the lineup after a two-game absence for a hamstring injury Sunday only to sit again Monday, was back in the lineup Tuesday against the Royals. He started at DH both games.

Not only is Kipnis at less than full capacity right now, but he's batting just .229 in 231 at-bats since the All-Star break.


Xander Bogaerts back as expected
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(3:21 pm ET) Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was right back in the lineup Tuesday against the Rays after leaving Sunday's game with a stiff neck. The rookie will look to continue his strong finish. He's batting .312 (24 for 77) with four home runs and an .840 OPS in September.

 
 
 
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