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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
Indians want Michael Bourn to get back to his base-stealing ways
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Indians want outfielder Michael Bourn to get back to his base-stealing ways, according to the Plain Dealer

Prior to joining the team, Bourn had compiled five straight seasons with at least 40 steals. Since joining the team, he's stolen 33 bases in two seasons. Injuries have played a role in his decline. Bourn admitted he had some trouble adjusting to the American League in his first season with Cleveland. He tore his hamstring on the final day of the season, and had offseason surgery, but the issue still plagued him in 2014. 

Manager Terry Francona agreed, saying "When he gets on base, he has to disrupt the game." Francona added, "he wants to do it really bad, he just wasn't in position to do it the last couple of years. Hopefully, those injuries are limited and he can use his legs because he's a huge part of what we do."

Bourn, 32, hit .257/.314/.360 over 444 at-bats last year.


Rockies, Adam Ottavino avoid arbitration
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Rockies have avoided arbitration with pitcher Adam Ottavino, according to MLB.com.

Ottavino agreed to a one-year deal with the club. Ottavino will make $1.3 million next season, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

The 29-year-old posted a 3.60 ERA over 65 innings last year.


Astros looking at pitcher Kevin Correia
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Astros are looking to add pitcher Kevin Correia, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Houston is said to be seeking a backend starter, and Correia fits the bill. The 34-year-old posted a 5.44 ERA over 154 innings with the Twins and Dodgers last year. 


Angels hopeful Garrett Richards will be ready for opening day
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Angels are hopeful that pitcher Garrett Richards will be ready by opening day, according to the Orange County Register

If Richards isn't ready for the start of the season, the team expects him to be back shortly after that. Richards had knee surgery in August, but he's been able to make progress. General manager Jerry DiPoto said he was "optimistic" about Richards' status. Richards has been able to increase his running on a treadmill, and hasn't experienced any issues with his throwing program, according to DiPoto. Richards is currently throwing from 125 to 150 feet about five times per week.

Richards posted a 2.61 ERA over 168 2/3 innings last year.


Orioles' Matt Wieters throwing from 150 feet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters has begun throwing from 150 feet, according to MASN.

Wieters underwent Tommy John surgery last season, and is working his way back from the surgery. He was cleared to start throwing from 150 feet on Monday. Wieters had previously been throwing from 120 feet. He said he's preparing as if he'll be ready for opening day.

Wieters hit .308/.339/.500 over 104 at-bats last year.


Orioles bring in Parmelee, De La Rosa on minor-league deals
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Orioles have signed outfielder Chris Parmelee and pitcher Dane De La Rosa on minor-league deals, according to MLB.com.

The 26-year-old Parmelee spent his first four seasons in Minnesota before becoming a free-agent during the offseason. Parmelee hit .256/.307/.384 over 250 at-bats last year.

De La Rosa, 31, pitched just 2 1/3 innings with the Angels last season. He had knee surgery in September.


David Buchanan will compete for one of two spots in Phillies' rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan said refininig his curveball has been a point of emphasis this offseason, as he prepares to compete for a spot in the rotation this spring, per The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I had success with (my curveball) in certain games,” he said. “It started coming along there toward the end. But it’s definitely something that has a lot of work still to go. It’s definitely something I’m working on. It’s getting better, which is all I can ask for.”

There is two spots currently open in the rotation behind Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Aaron Harang. Buchanan, Jerome Williams and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez are considered the leading candidates for the openings in the rotation. 

“There’s going to be some competition,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week. “I think that’s the only way that you can get better is by creating competition. I can’t sit here and tell you today that David Buchanan’s going to be one of our guys in the rotation, but he absolutely is going to get an opportunity to pitch in spring training and be ready and compete for one of those spots.”


Santana fine after throwing bullpen session; winter-league status is TBD
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Free agent starting pitcher Johan Santana threw a bullpen session Sunday and is said to be feeling fine, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. It is now up to his Venezuelan winter league team to decide if he will pitch for them in the finals.

Santana has been dealing with some shoulder discomfort, which has put his status for the remainder of the winter-league season in doubt. Santana is hoping to latch on with another major-league team after suffering a torn Achilles in June.

The Yankees, Padres and Blue Jays are among the teams showing interest in signing the former two-time AL Cy Young award winner.


Mariners planning on batting Smith, Ruggiano in second spot in lineup
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said he is tentatively planning to bat the right-field tandem of Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano second in the lineup, per The New Tribune.

The Mariners ranked last in the majors last season in on-base percentage (.260) from their No. 2 hitters. No other team was lower than .279.

Smith had a .367 OBP last season for San Diego, while Ruggiano had a .337 OBP in 81 games for the Cubs.


Rays' Jake McGee plays catch for first time since elbow surgery
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Rays announced Monday reliever Jake McGee played catch for the first time since undergoing elbow surgery in December. McGee is still expected to miss the start of the season.

 
 
 
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