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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
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara not utilizing fastball this season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:02 am ET) Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has been throwing an unusual amount of offspeed pitches to start the season. Uehara has thrown fastballs on just 15 percent of his pitches this season, compared to 50 percent over the last three years, according to the Boston Herald.

Manager John Farrell isn't reading too much into it.

"He's going to go with what he feels," Farrell said. "Every 3 mph is about a foot distance in traveling to home plate. So there's a little bit different reaction time. But regardless of velocity there still needs to be the use of (the fastball) just to create separation between his fastball and his split."

Uehara is 1-1 so far this season with a 4.15 ERA and three saves in 4 1/3 innings.


White Sox send reliever Daniel Webb back to Triple-A
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(4/26/2015) White Sox reliever Daniel Webb , who was called up Sunday as the 26th man for the team's doubleheader against the Royals, was sent back down to Triple-A Charlotte after the game. 

Webb pitched in 57 games last season for the White Sox but was one of the team's final cuts in spring training. 


Diamondbacks struggling to fill in void at third base
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale knew his team wasn't going to go the entire season without an injury. But the skipper was hoping to avoid the issue he currently has at third base, according to AZCentral.com.

With Jake Lamb on the disabled list with a foot injury, Aaron Hill and Yasmany Tomas have struggled to put it together, combining for a .559 OPS in the last five games.

"Yeah, that's huge," Hale said. "You're going to have injuries all year. There's going to be a multitude of them for every team. If you can't make the adjustment — if guys can't come in and fill the void — then you're going to be in trouble as a club."

Tomas is hitting .286 in 14 at-bats this season while Hill is scuffling along at .156 in 45 at-bats.


Phillies pitcher Chad Billingsley allows seven runs in rehab start
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Phillies pitcher Chad Billingsley allowed seven runs in five innings of work in his third rehab start in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, according to Philly.com.

Billingsley, who is currently on the 15-day DL with an elbow injury, added three strikeouts and two walks in the appearance. He has yet to appear in a major league game since 2013 while dealing with multiple elbow injuries.


Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez still working out of funk
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has yet to put things together at the plate so far this season. Gonzalez is hitting just .197 with two home runs in 66 at-bats and it's wearing on him a bit, according to the Denver Post.

"I'm not in a good place. I'm still hitting (.197)," he said. "But I'm happy that I'm healthy, and that I'm playing, and that we are winning. I think we are having a good month so far as a team."

Manager Walt Weiss thinks he's really close to seeing Gonzalez get all the pieces together and go on a run.

"I saw real good signs from CarGo, hitting the ball hard the opposite way," Weiss said. "It wasn't just the couple of hits he got. It was the way he got them. Those are things that he had been working on. Then, to get results like that, is always encouraging."

Report: Josh Hamilton trade expected to be completed Monday
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(4/26/2015) The trade of outfielder Josh Hamilton from the Angels to the Rangers is expected to be completed Monday, with Hamilton then reporting to Texas' spring training site in Arizona to continue his rehab from offseason surgery, per MLB.com. 

The trade was rumored to have been completed Sunday, but complications arose in finalizing the deal. The Rangers are expected to hold a press conference announcing the trade on Monday. Hamilton is expected to play several games in Triple-A before being called up to the Rangers. 


Dodgers' Jimmy Rollins not concerned with early slump at the plate
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins isn't worrying just yet about his struggles at the plate, according to the Orange County Register.

"Well, some people like to panic. That has never been my MO," he said. "I have, what, 50, 60 at-bats, I'm not sure. So if these are my worst 50 at-bats this year – I'm glad they're happening now. (If they are his worst at-bats) it’s going to be a very good year."

Rollins is hitting just .186 in 70 at-bats so far this season. He believes he's still been taking good swings at the plate, just not finding the gaps in the defense.

"It's hard to compute if you just look at numbers," he said. "I'm getting myself in good counts, just not finishing it off. I know it's coming. I'm hitting some off the end, some are getting in just a little bit. But the swing path is right. It's just a click here, a click there.

"The process is good. You have to continue to trust in the process and believe in the process. You get oriented in just results – especially at times like this – then you're trying to make all these technical changes and that's when you go from one to two to 100. So the process is right. Executing it is about fine-tuning."


Angels OF Matt Joyce hopes hit signals end of slump
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(4/26/2015) Angels outfielder Matt Joyce saw his eight-game hitless streak come to an end Sunday with an eighth-inning single that ended an 0-for-26 skid. The right fielder, who figures to be a fixture in Los Angeles' lineup with the expected departure of Josh Hamilton, said he hopes the small start will lead to bigger things, according to the Los Angeles Times

"Sometimes it's a tough game," Joyce said. "It seems like you try everything, and you put in so much time and effort and work, it gets to be frustrating. It gets to be hard to swallow and accept it, and hard to keep showing up and grinding it out."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he will continue to stick with Joyce, who is hitting just .140 on the season. 


Mets starter Jonathon Niese struggles vs. Yankees
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(4/26/2015) Mets starter Jonathon Niese was not sharp Sunday in the finale of the Subway Series against the Yankees, lasting just five innings while allowing six runs and eight hits. Niese was betrayed somewhat by his defense, which committed four errors behind him, leading to two unearned runs. 

Niese was spotted a 2-0 first-inning lead, but he quickly gave it back, allowing a first-inning homer to Alex Rodriguez and then giving up four second-inning runs as the Yankees broke the game open. 

"You can't look into it too deeply," Niese said to MLB.com. "It's a loss. It's a tough loss. Obviously we want to win, but we've just got to get through it, learn from it, move on and play better."

Niese, who threw 86 pitches, saw his ERA rise to 2.74 in absorbing his first loss of the season. 

"I just wish I could have a couple pitches back," Niese said. "But I threw them. The results were what they were. I've just got to move on."

Niese will look to get back on track Saturday against the Nationals.


Nationals considering keeping Yunel Escobar at third base
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Nationals manager Matt Williams will have a decision to make when his regular third baseman Anthony Rendon comes back from injury. With Rendon on the shelf, Yunel Escobar has shifted to third and Williams is considering leaving him there even after Rendon returns, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

The team is unsure yet what will happen when Rendon returns, but one theory has Escobar staying at third and Rendon shifting to second base, according to Heyman.

Escobar is hitting .292 with five RBI in 65 at-bats while slotted at third base.


 
 
 
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