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Setting the Trends: Don't be a Homer owner?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Let's just get the cute little quote at the top out of the way now.

There's always an element of not remembering the past here in Fantasy, and I'm sure George Santayana had our beloved game-based-on-a-game in mind when he coined the expression. Homer Bailey, for instance, has fooled plenty of Fantasy players into thinking that he's good enough to be owned in 77 percent of leagues. Those who remember Bailey's past roller coaster-type exploits knew enough to shy away -- even in light of a two-start week. Heck, even those who looked at his splits saw his ERA jump from May to June. But owners flocked to him in droves anyway, and now they're locked in for two June starts from the Reds pitcher in Week 10.

Of course, Santayana probably never encountered the idea of "learning a new pitch," or "playing in Japan." Or even thought of some day, many years after his death, when a man like Ray Searage would roam the earth and teach young men how to corral their talent. We know the sketchy histories of Jason Hammel, Ryan Vogelsong, and James McDonald, for instance. And yet, we ignore them, because Hammel has mastered a new pitch, Vogelsong is a different pitcher after his stint in Japan, and Searage has McDonald throwing more first-pitch strikes.

Most Added Players (as of 6/7)
Player % increase
1. Gordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox 29
2. Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies 22
3. Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies 20
4. Ernesto Frieri, RP, Angels 17
5. Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners 17
6. Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins 17
7. Quintin Berry, OF, Tigers 17
8. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-Backs 16
9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox 15
10. A.J. Burnett, SP, Pirates 15

Then again, going far deeper than Santayana probably ever wanted anyone playing a game to go with his thoughts, if we also consider that other pitchers and players along the way have made adjustments, then we are simply ignoring one set of past circumstances to appreciate a much larger past.

Right?

Bah. Shake your head a few times and unwind your mind. There are far simpler and less philosophical reasons for this week's adds and drops.

On to the Roster Trends!

Most Added Highlights

Homer Bailey, SP, Reds
Jump in ownership: 41 percent (from 36 percent to 77)
Reason for the jump: In the four starts before getting rocked on Tuesday night, Bailey was 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He also has two starts this week.
Why you should join the crowd: Hey, maybe Bailey, a 2004 first-round draft pick, has finally figured things out. He's shown flashes of greatness before and has the ability to rack up a decent amount of strikeouts.
Devil's Advocate: Bailey has a career ERA of 4.75, with a 1.43 WHIP. There have been countless instances of Fantasy owners believing he had figured things out before. His 4.10 ERA in May is the second-lowest of any month for him. The lowest is actually September, which may help explain why players keep running back to Bailey: We remember his early performances, and then remember his late-season appearances, which stick in our memories. But the hard truth is that Bailey's ERA jumps to 7.29 in June, 5.98 in July and 4.87 in August.That's a combination that makes his far more unattractive than his 77 percent ownership would suggest.

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. Jerome Williams, SP, Angels 49
2. Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals 48
3. Brian Fuentes, RP, Athletics 43
4. Anthony Bass, RP/SP, Padres 42
5. Dillon Gee, SP, Mets 37

Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners
Jump in ownership: 23 percent (from 44 percent to 67)
Reason for the jump: Since May 25, Smoak is batting .368 with five home runs, 14 RBI and a steal.
Why you should join the crowd: Hey, maybe Smoak, a 2008 first-round draft pick, has finally figured things out (sound familiar?). He's as hot as any player in baseball right now and is in the top 25 for home runs.
Devil's Advocate: Even with the hot streak, Smoak is still batting just .240 and with almost 1,000 at-bats under his belt, he has just a .230 career average. He's hit just 38 total home runs. Just to dampen the spirits of Smoak supporters even further, he's been borderline-miserable at home (.188 average, .552 OPS), but excellent on the road (.268 average, 7 HR in 32 games).
Devil's Advocate's Advocate: Smoak was a top-15 prospect before the 2009 season and while he doesn't have the booming minor league power numbers of an Alex Liddi or Matt Adams, he has shown flashes of some pop over four minor league campaigns. There's hope here that this surge might just be Smoak blossoming at age 25.

Holding Out for A Hero
The five most owned minor leaguers
Player Ownership %
1. Roy Oswalt, SP, Rangers 69
2. Trevor Bauer, SP, Diamondbacks 64
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs 46
4. Daniel Bard, RP/SP, Red Sox 34
5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B, Marlins 32

Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies
Jump in ownership: 17 percent (from 24 percent to 41)
Reason for the jump: Rosario has a .346 average and three home runs over his last nine games.
Why you should join the crowd: Unlike Bailey and Smoak, Rosario doesn't have an extensive major league track record to dampen our optimism. He saw limited time last year after pounding the ball in the minors in 2010 and 2011, with 19 and 21 home runs, respectively. His batting average probably won't get much higher than .250, but for a power-hitting catcher, that's about .030 points higher than what you'd expect anyway. As a bonus, Rosario's power doesn't seem to be solely the product of Coors Field, as his OPS is just slightly higher (.892 vs .832) at home.
Devil's Advocate: Rosario is only 23 years old and just got his 150th major league at-bat. There may be some growing pains along the way and some owners may jump on him too quickly -- passing over better catching options -- just to prove that they got "The Next Big Thing" before their league mates. Expect the power to continue to a degree (I'd guess he ends up with about 18 home runs on the year), but be prepared for the average to take a hit at some point.

Dillon Gee, SP, Mets
Jump in ownership: 16 percent (from 21 percent to 37)
Reason for the jump: The 26 year-old is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his last four games. He has struck out 28 batters in his last 27 1/3 innings.
Why you should join the crowd: While the jump in Gee's ownership is somewhat inflated by his two-start week, the numbers on his full season so far might have his new owners holding on to him after this mercenary stint. Gee has gone into Colorado and held the Rockies to three runs. He's also allowed the Blue Jays and Cardinals to score five total runs off him as well. As a bonus, Gee is currently sporting an 8.3 K/9 ratio, which is more in line with his minor league rate (7.9) than his 6.4 K/9 with the Mets in 2011. His 65 strikeouts have him 23rd in the majors.
Devil's Advocate: Gee had a decent 3.78 ERA through five minor league seasons and has a career 4.16 ERA in his MLB career. While he did hold some high-powered offenses to just a few runs, his 4.48 ERA this season can't really hide a blowout against the Giants (seven runs in 6 2/3) and the Brewers (seven runs in 5 1/3).

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. Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins 51
2. Joe Saunders, SP, Diamondbacks 52
3. Delmon Young, OF, Tigers 53
4. Tyler Clippard, RP, Nationals 54
5. Russell Martin, C, Yankees 55

Kris Medlen, RP, Braves
Jump in ownership: Four percent (from four percent to eight)
Reason for the jump: Medlen has been sent to the minors to get stretched out as a starter.
Why you should join the crowd: Eight percent is hardly a crowd, which makes the Medlen play even tastier. This is as under-the-radar as they come. Medlen had Tommy John surgery a couple years ago but he has an electric arm (he struck out 10.5 batters per nine innings in the minors) and enough talent to make his ownership double when Fantasy players saw he was going to be converted to a starter. There's little to go on as far as his effectiveness as a member of a rotation -- he only started about 23 percent of his appearances in the minors, with really good numbers in that role -- but grabbing him now, and stashing him (especially in keeper and dynasty leagues), could be a move that pays off handsomely down the road.
Devil's Advocate: Of course, this could all go terribly awry and blow up in our faces, as Medlen's last time pitching as a starter was 2010, when he bounced between the rotation and the bullpen. That year, though, he had a 3.68 ERA and 1.20 WHIP while producing a 6.9 K/9 ratio. It's also the year he hurt his elbow, so take those numbers with an even larger grain of salt. In his first start with Gwinnett -- and this is just being pessimistic here, as it's tough to make a case to not pick up Medlen right now in keeper, single, and deeper league formats -- he gave up four runs in 2 1/3 innings pitched.

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
Report: Dodgers trade Drew Butera to Angels
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:16 pm ET) The Dodgers have reportedly traded backup catcher Drew Butera to the Angels for a player to be named later or cash considerations, according to ESPN.com.

Butera was designated for assignment earlier in the week to make room on the 40-man roster. He hit .188 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 170 plate appearances in 2014.


Phillies pitcher Mario Hollands to have arm examined this week
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:03 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Mario Hollands is still dealing with an arm issue and it remains uncertain as to what is causing the issue, reports DelawareOnline.com.

Hollands will undergo an ultrasound on his common flexor tendon this week after his first MRI was unclear, according to the report. Hollands has an 11.81 ERA this spring with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings pitched.

"Having to see everyone get ready for opening day is tough," Hollands said. "It hurts. But maybe I'll be up there for opening day so at least I can put on the uniform for the day."


Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse struggles in spring finale
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:58 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse surrendered seven runs on eight hits, including three home runs, in his final start of spring training. Lohse felt it was more of a way to open his eyes to adjustments before the season starts, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"That's not exactly what I wanted, but it's not a bad thing to kind of have a little bit of a wakeup call," said Lohse. "There wasn't a whole lot of good coming out of that. I definitely put myself in some tough situations out there. Made a couple of good pitches, a lot of bad ones."

Lohse, who will be Milwaukee's Opening Day starter, finishes the spring with a 4.74 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched.

"He made some mistakes," said manager Ron Roenicke. "Tight strike zone, he made some mistakes and they didn't miss much.

"I like what he's been doing. Today, I don't know how explain it. Sometimes your command just isn't there and sometimes you're facing a pretty good team. He knows what he needs to do. We feel good with him opening up."


Indians line up rotation, Zach McAllister to pitch home opener
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:38 pm ET) Indians manager Terry Francona has set the rotation for the first week of the season, with Zach McAllister slated to serve as the No. 4 starter and pitch the team's home opener next Friday against the Tigers, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Corey Kluber draws the Opening Day assignment Monday against the Astros after winning the AL Cy Young award in 2014. He'll be followed by Carlos Carrasco Tuesday and Trevor Bauer Wednesday. McAllister will then face the Tigers Friday, with T.J. House taking the mound Saturday and Kluber pitching Sunday.


Brewers' Hector Gomez set to open season with team
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:31 pm ET) Brewers infielder Hector Gomez appears to be on track to break camp with the major-league team after a slew of roster moves Tuesday, and he credits pre-spring training work at a facility in the Dominican Republic operated by Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano for his spring success, MLB.com reports.

"[Cano] has a big complex, more than 25 players there every day," Gomez said Wednesday. "I said, 'Robby, I want to work.' He helped me. We would be on the field in the morning, then go to the gym, then back on the field in the afternoon. I was ready for this moment. I'm ready for Opening Day. I've watched on TV, and I want to be there. I want to feel that. I'm close."

Gomez has hit .240/.255/.320 in 50 at-bats this spring.


Red Sox C Christian Vazquez to undergo Tommy John surgery
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:23 pm ET) The Red Sox announced Wednesday that catcher Christian Vazquez will undergo Tommy John surgery on his injured elbow Thursday, the Providence Journal reports.

Dr. James Andrews will perform the operation on Vazquez, who is without a timetable for return but will likely miss the entire 2015 season. He was placed on the 60-day disabled list Monday.


Indians' Corey Kluber allows three runs in spring finale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:21 pm ET) Indians pitcher Corey Kluber surrendered three earned runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings while striking out five and walking none in his team's 5-2 loss to the Giants.

Kluber was able to hold the Giants scoreless through three innings before he allowed one run in the fourth and two in the fifth. He closes the spring with a 3.86 ERA and 25:5 K:BB ratio in 23 1/3 innings. Kluber will square off with the Astros Monday on Opening Day.

"It's exciting for me personally that next time out there will be when it counts," Kluber said. "I'm happy with where I'm at both physically and mentally. I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to it."


Giants' Bumgarner tosses four one-run innings in spring finale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:17 pm ET) Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner allowed just one earned run on five hits in four innings while striking out four and walking none in his team's 5-2 win over the Indians Wednesday.

Bumgarner has given up plenty of runs this spring but closes the Cactus League season on a fine note. He posted a 4.91 ERA and 18:1 K:BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings this spring. Bumgarner's next start will come on Opening Day against the Diamondbacks Monday.


D-Backs' Archie Bradley throws six scoreless innings in win
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:15 pm ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley threw six scoreless innings during Wednesday afternoon's 3-0 win over the Reds. 

Bradley struck out two batters and gave up three walks. He surrendered only one hit. Bradley faced 21 batters and threw 69 pitches. This game dropped Bradley's spring training ERA to 1.61. 

Though the Diamondbacks have already announced their starting rotation, manager Chip Hale said this most recent outing — combined with the rest of his spring performance — may cause the club to reconsider its thinking

"We've named our five, but he's pushed the envelope all the way down to the last possible chance he had," Hale said, via the Arizona Republic. "He's looked great. We'll have to sit down and evaluate everything."


Giants 2B Joe Panik (ankle) returns Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:15 pm ET) Giants second baseman Joe Panik returned to the lineup Wednesday, going 1 for 4 and scoring a run in his team's 5-2 win over the Indians.

Panik was scratched from Tuesday's game due to a minor ankle issue but was able to get back into the action just one day later. He has hit .222/.279/.444 with three home runs in 63 spring at-bats.


 
 
 
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