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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 .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

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Player News
Dan Jennings starts rehab stint
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:51 am ET) Marlins reliever Dan Jennings began a rehab assignment Tuesday with their Gulf Coast League affiliate. He has been working his way back since taking a line drive to the head on Aug. 7 and sustaining a concussion.

Bullpen Session II Wednesday for Masahiro Tanaka
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) Recovering Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka is set to throw another bullpen session Wednesday. He threw 25 pitches in the first one on Saturday.

The team has not placed a timetable on his possible return to game action after sustaining an elbow injury. He has been out for six weeks.


Report: Athletics considered ousting Jason Hammel from rotation
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:37 am ET) The Athletics considered permanently removing Jason Hammel from the rotation before deciding to just skip his next turn, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Hammel who will pitch against Houston next week, has been a mess since arriving in Oakland via a trade from the Cubs. His ERA has leaped from 2.98 to 3.84, courtesy of 24 earned runs allowed in 32 innings pitched covering seven outings. He has just one quality start during that stretch.

The right-hander has blamed mechanical issues that are leaving his pitches up for his struggles, but adds that it should be an easy fix. He is also claiming no problem with the temporary move to the bullpen.

"I'm not bothered by it," he said. "You've got to check your ego at the door when you're not getting it done."

The Athletics could place Jesse Chavez or Drew Pomeranz in their rotation if Hammel continues to get battered.


It's 'thumbs-up' for Alex Rios against Marlins
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:22 am ET) Rangers left fielder Alex Rios is back in the lineup for the Wednesday game in Miami. Thumb ailments have limited him to just one at-bat since Sunday.

Rios hopes he can pick it up upon his return. He has not enjoyed a multi-hit game since July 29 and is 6 for 50 since.


Jarrod Saltalamacchia absent from Wednesday lineup
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:17 am ET) A day game following a night game has Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia sidelined Wednesday against Texas. Jeff Mathis is set to crouch behind the plate instead.

Saltlamacchia has emerged from a slump with nine hits in his last seven games and five in the last three. He has not homered, however, since July 21.


Anthony Rizzo provides only scoring in Tuesday victory
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:11 am ET) The power surge of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo continued Tuesday night - and it resulted in a rain-shortened win.

Rizzo blasted his fourth homer in eight games. His two-run shot in the first inning proved to be the only scoring. He is 4 for 6 with three runs and three RBI in the last two games to improve his stat line to .279/.378/.517.


Brian McCann goes deep again
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:04 am ET) Yankees catcher Brian McCann has found his power stroke over the last week, and he homered again in a 7-4 loss to the Astros Tuesday.

McCann got the Yankees on the board first with his fourth-inning home run, his third in five games. He finished the game 1 for 4 overall with two RBI in the loss.

McCann is still hitting just .235 for the season, but he has 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 105 games for the Yankees. 


Chris Carter's 30th homer a big one
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:53 am ET) Astros designated hitter Chris Carter continued his hot-hitting ways Tuesday, as he slugged the team to a 7-4 victory over the Yankees.

Carter was hitless with four strikeouts heading into the ninth inning, but made up for that with one swing. With the score tied at 4-4, Carter unleashed a three-run blast to put the Astros up for good.

Carter has established a new career-high with his 30th home run of the season, and he has 72 RBI to go with that, just 10 off his best total. He is hitting .233/.301/.519 in 110 games overall. 


Tsuyoshi Wada wins, Ryan Vogelsong loses in rain-shortened affair
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:43 am ET) Tuesday's game between the Cubs and Giants was called as final after five innings, with the Cubs coming out on top, 2-0.

Cubs pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada got the win after throwing five shutout innings, scattering six pitches and striking out three batters. Ryan Vogelsong took the loss for the Giants, allowing two runs on three hits and a pair of walks over four innings, while striking out four before the rain came.  


Will Middlebrooks day to day with hamstring tightness
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:09 am ET) Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks is day to day with a tight hamstring after being removed from Tuesday's game as a precaution, WEEI.com reports.


 
 
 
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