Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Di Fino: Four players in search of a team

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Sometimes, there just isn't a way to thematically pull together a group of baseball players that deserve a little more recognition in a Fantasy column.

Sure, we could loosely throw a movie reference in here, or make some punny titles for categories they fall under, but it would just seem forced. So, instead, we're just going to strip it down to the bones -- what follows are a bunch of dudes you should be looking at in deeper leagues. We call it ...

Four players in search of a team

Don't Just Play, Play to Win!
Fantasy Baseball Today Be sure to catch Fantasy Baseball 360 LIVE at 5 p.m. ET every weekday to dominate your Fantasy leagues. Our writers will have the latest news, analysis and roster trends each afternoon.
Fantasy Baseball TodayCheck out the latest episode!

J.D. Martinez, OF, Astros: For Fantasy Weeks 3-5, Fantasy owners couldn't get enough of Martinez, driving his ownership up to a peak of 93 percent. Nothing could go wrong for the Houston rookie -- he was featured prominently on Roster Trends and he was hitting .385 with three home runs in mid-April. Then things took a rather ugly turn.

On May 21, Martinez saw his average bottom out at .216. He hadn't hit a home run in over a month. It wasn't uncommon for him to strike out multiple times in a game. His Fantasy owners abandoned him as quickly as they picked him up, dropping from 86 percent to 70 percent, to his current level of 52 percent. But if there's one thing about Martinez that we knew coming into this season, it's that he could hit. Over three seasons in the minors, across 1,118 at-bats, Martinez compiled a .342 batting average. The power was developing, and he managed a steal here and there, but his average was eye-popping. He hit .348 in his first full professional season, across two levels. Even in limited action last year, with 208 at-bats, he hit .274. But, with his ups and downs in 2012 so far, he's batting .240.

Interestingly, his OBP has jumped from .319 in 2011 to .341 in 2012. And over his last eight games, he's hitting .313. His five home runs and six doubles aren't the most reassuring of power statistics, but he seems to have his bat going, with the hopes that the power will follow. It's not out of the question to think Martinez could get hot and finish the season with 17 home runs, but it's far more realistic to aim for 12, with a batting average that could hover around .310.

Brandon League, RP, Mariners: We've seen League hit a rough patch like this before. It was actually a year ago, almost exactly to the date. Currently, the former Seattle closer (and there's no indication on how temporary that "former" title may last), is sporting a 3.76 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. He's 0-4 and is currently racking up holds out of middle relief. After three blown saves in a row last year, League saw, on May 13, his ERA jump to 7.31. He then went over a month without allowing an earned run. On July 5, the day he gave up that earned run, his ERA was down to 3.44. By the end of the season, he had a 2.79 ERA with 37 saves.

As of his last two appearances, in which he struck out a combined three batters over 2 1/3 innings pitched, allowing no earned runs, League's ERA is down to 3.76. Already with nine saves, League is on pace for a smaller number than last year, as he had 15 saves by the end of May. There's no guarantee that League will snatch the job back from Tom Wilhelmsen (especially with Stephen Pryor possibly inching his way up the Closer Pecking Order), but if history has taught us anything, it's that League tends to struggle in late spring, then reclaims his swagger and holds on to the role the rest of the year.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

Lorenzo Cain, OF, Royals: There's not a ton we know about Lorenzo Cain right now. He made a huge splash in spring training this year (.371 average, five home runs, five steals), only to play just five games in the regular season before being put on the shelf with a groin injury.

Fast forward to June, and Cain seems almost ready to come off the DL. But what can we expect from an outfielder with just 184 major league at-bats? If we look at his minor league numbers, Cain managed a .294 average over 2,755 at-bats. He has four seasons of 20 or more steals, and twice hit double-digits with home runs. He's one of Kansas City's top prospects, the presumed "centerfielder of the future," and should start most games upon activation.

The interesting thing about Cain, though, is how quickly he has been forgotten by Fantasy owners. Granted, there are roster restrictions that made it tough for a lot of teams to hold on to him, but Cain, in Week 2, was owned in 77 percent of leagues. He has tumbled all the way down to 29 percent ownership. During draft season, he was drafted, on average, at the 270th spot, ahead of Alex Rios, Zack Cozart, Colby Rasmus, and Mike Aviles. Smart Fantasy owners, who have been hoarding closers- in-waiting or seventh outfielders on their bench, might want to consider making a sneaky scoop-up of Cain in the next couple of weeks, before everyone else catches wind of his activation. He likely won't be on the same level as someone like Carlos Quentin, but he could be more valuable to a Fantasy team than a Dayan Viciedo or David DeJesus.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Baseball.

Daniel Nava, OF, Red Sox: Not sure if anyone's noticed this, but Daniel Nava has been batting leadoff for the Red Sox, the team that currently ranks third in the major leagues in runs scored. Nava has played in six of the last seven games for Boston and has batted first three times, eighth once, and second twice. Among all players with 75 or more at-bats, Nava (.445) ranks fourth, in all of baseball, in on-base percentage, behind Joey Votto (.477), David Wright (.464), and Paul Konerko (.451). Just for fun, looking at Nava's situational stats, we see that, batting first, he has a .458 OBP. He's scored 19 runs on the season, and driven in 18. While his power numbers weren't overwhelmingly impressive in the minors -- Nava's career-high in homers is 12 -- he had a .317 average and .414 OBP over 444 games played. His career minor league OPS is .911.

More importantly, for Nava, it seems like he's earned Bobby Valentine's trust playing the Green Monster in left field. He practices caroms off the wall before the games and has three assists and 30 put-outs in just 26 games so far.

Which, of course, brings up a dilemma: when Carl Crawford shows up in about a month, needing a position, the Sox are going to have to do something with Nava. Perhaps, by that point, the Will Middlebrooks-Adrian Gonzalez-Kevin Youkilis rotation will have figured itself out, leaving right field somewhat open (Ryan Sweeney and Scott Podsdnik also stand in the way of Nava and every day playing time). But the day of Crawford's return still seems distant, and opinions on when it will occur change every day. For now, Nava is a very sneaky and underrated play, especially in points leagues, where Nava, who is owned in just 26 percent of leagues, has scored the 24th-most points among outfielders over the past two weeks. And he jumps up to the sixth-best outfielder in points leagues in the last seven days, despite having fewer at-bats than the top five.

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 .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Danny Salazar settles for no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:21 am ET) Indians pitcher Danny Salazar wasn't a factor into the decision despite posting a quality start Thursday night in Houston. He allowed one run on five hits and one walk while striking out nine over 7 1/3 innings of work.

Over his last two starts covering 13 innings, Salazar has allowed four earned runs. He owns a 4.02 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP over 19 starts (105 1/3 innings). His next start will come Tuesday at home against Kansas City.

Jason Kipnis departs with hamstring tightness
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:12 am ET) Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was forced out of Thursday's game against the Astros due to hamstring tightness. Kipnis left the game in the eighth inning with the injury.

He went 0 for 3 with a strikeout. He is hitting .242/.314/.332 with six homers and 41 RBI over 488 at-bats. His status remains uncertain for Friday's series opener against Minnesota.


Shelby Miller posts quality start in no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:05 am ET) Cardinals starter Shelby Miller turned in another quality outing but wasn't able to factor into the decision Thursday night at home against St. Louis. He allowed two runs -- one earned -- on five hits and no walks while striking out four over six innings of work.

Miller owns a 3.68 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP over 178 2 /3 innings. He will make his next start on Tuesday in Chicago against the Cubs.

Kyle Lohse hurls seven-plus innings in a no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:00 am ET) Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse gave his team seven-plus innings of work in a no-decision Thursday night in St. Louis. He allowed one run on four hits and one walk while striking out two over 7 1/3 innings of work.

Over his last two starts covering 14 innings, he has allowed three earned runs. He owns a 3.71 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 30 starts (189 1/3 innings). His next start will come Wednesday at Cincinnati.

LaTroy Hawkins picks up relief win Thursday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/18/2014) Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins (4-3) picked up a relief win Thursday night at home against Arizona. He needed nine pitches to retire the side in order in the top of the ninth. The offense backed him up with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. He owns a 3.51 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP over 51 1/3 innings of relief.

Yohan Flande settles for no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/18/2014) Rockies pitcher Yohan Flande had to settle for a no-decision Thursday night at home against Arizona. He allowed two runs on two hits and one walk while striking out two over five innings of a 7-6 win.

Flande owns a 4.91 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP over 55 innings of work. He will make his final start of the season on Wednesday at San Diego.

Addison Reed serves up walkoff home run
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/18/2014) Diamondbacks closer Addison Reed was hung with a blown save and a loss Thursday night in Colorado. Reed surrendered a walkoff home run to Wilin Rosario in the ninth. He was charged with two runs on two hits over two-thirds of an inning in a 7-6 defeat. He owns a 4.40 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP over 57 1/3 innings of work.

Vidal Nuno settles for no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/18/2014) Diamondbacks pitcher Vidal Nuno wasn't a factor into the decision Thursday night against the Rockies in Colorado. He allowed three runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out seven over 5 1/3 innings of work.

Over his last two starts covering 10 1/3 innings, Nuno has allowed nine earned runs. He owns a 4.60 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP over 156 2/3 innings of work. His next start will come Wednesday at Minnesota.

Brandon Workman bounces back in losing effort
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/18/2014) Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman bounced back with a decent outing in a losing effort Thursday night against the Pirates, dropping to 1-10 on the year. He permitted three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and three walks while striking out six over five innings of a 3-2 defeat.

Over his last four starts covering 17 1/3 innings, Workman has allowed 17 earned runs. He owns a 5.17 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP over 87 innings of work. His next start will come Thursday against Tampa Bay, likely his final start of the season.

Mark Melancon closes out Red Sox
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/18/2014) Pirates closer Mark Melancon struck out one and worked his way around two hits in a scoreless ninth inning to close out a 3-2 victory over the Red Sox on Thursday. He needed 15 pitches to pick up the save. He has converted 30 of 34 save chances, with a 1.88 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP over 67 innings of relief.

 
 
 
Rankings