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Di Fino: Across the great divide

Senior Fantasy Writer
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One of the coolest things about working at CBSSports.com is the fact that because a random idea pops up on Tuesday morning, we can walk 20 feet and ask someone here at the office for a spreadsheet that shows the difference between owned and start percentages for players in our Fantasy leagues. Some people get excited because they get Keurig in the cafeteria. I love that I now have one spreadsheet that can tell me which players are owned in a lot of leagues, but not universally started (also, we can send faxes from the copy machines here, which is pretty cool).

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What's so great about having these numbers? They provide some serious insight as to which players Fantasy owners are holding on to and waiting on. They may be that last guy on the end of the bench, who will get dropped when the Next Big Thing gets called up. Or they could be a fizzling superstar, who they're waiting to break out and plug into the lineup. I personally like these numbers because they can help with trade offers. For instance, Jarrod Parker is owned in 84 percent of leagues, but started in just 38. Despite having just three wins, he has a 3.16 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 91 innings. With 211.5 points so far this season, he ranks 66th in our standard leagues. In short, he's good enough to own, but 46 percent of his owners are deeming him unworthy of their rotations. He is too dangerous, in their minds, to leave on the waiver wire, exposed for another team to scoop up and put into their starting lineups. Yet not dangerous enough to help their team win on a weekly basis.

He's still being traded, though. In fact, Parker has become a popular throw-in on plenty of deals. Of the last 60 trades made involving Parker in CBSSports.com leagues, just three have been one-for-one swaps (one for Troy Tulowitzki, one for Pablo Sandoval, the other for Michael Bourn). And Parker isn't alone in the gap between owned and started. While most of the players at the top of the list are injured, there are plenty of healthy players with whom owners just can't figure out what to do. Ricky Romero, Josh Beckett, Chris Young, and Ubaldo Jimenez are just a few. Does this make them trade targets? Possibly. There are two ways to look at it:

1. Owners of these players have no idea what to do with them and would gladly include them in a trade, just to have them off their hands. The only reason they haven't traded them yet is because they want to try and get some value back for their now-wasted high draft pick.

2. Owners of these players will ask a ton for them because they've held on to them so long and have grown attached to them on their bench. They live in fear of you getting them for pennies on a dollar in a trade, then having to watch as they turn around their seasons and punish them for not holding on that extra week.

Regardless of these players falling into the first or second categories, these numbers still have a great amount of value, just in figuring out how they're perceived among other Fantasy players. What follows is a gift from CBSSports.com to you: the most intriguing and stark differences between owned and start percentages and what they mean in the realm of Fantasy.

Ricky Romero, SP, TOR
Owned: 92 percent
Started: 48 percent
Difference: 44 percent
What it means: From 2009 to 2011, Romero had done a masterful job of improving his stats -- his ERA and WHIP took marked drops each year, while his innings pitched and strikeouts went up. And then 2012 happened. So far this season, Romero is 8-6 with a 5.22 ERA (the highest of his career) and a 1.50 WHIP (the highest since his rookie year). After a strong April (3.18 ERA) and decent May (4.82 ERA), Romero managed a 7.33 ERA in June and has a 6.38 ERA in July. Owners stashing him on their benches are looking at his previous three seasons -- even his April from this year -- and are hoping there will be some return to form for the 27-year-old.
So what do I do?: Trade for him. His velocity is the same, so that's not a concern. Either he's injured, which there's no way of predicting, really, or he gets his walks down and returns to the trajectory he was on after 2011. Romero can likely be had for pennies on the dollar right now and, if he turns it around, could be an asset in the second half.

Josh Beckett, SP, BOS
Owned: 93 percent
Started: 51 percent
Difference: 42 percent
What it means: Beckett has cemented himself as one of baseball's most intriguing pitchers -- since 2006, there has been no real indication of which Josh Beckett will show up: the incredibly good pitcher or the head-scratchingly bad one. His ERAs from 2006 on: 5.01, 3.27, 4.03, 3.86, 5.78, 2.89, 4.44. With the exception of 2010, when it ballooned to 1.54, Beckett has managed to keep his WHIP low, having it hover between 1.03 and 1.22. He's especially erratic with home runs given up, with totals ranging from 17 to 36 (which happened to come in back-to-back seasons). The 32-year-old has made 25 starts in all but one of the previous six seasons and is on pace to reach that mark again in 2012. But everything else this year has been frustratingly inexplicable. His strikeout rate (6.8 per nine innings) is the lowest of his career, while many of his other rates (HR, hits, K/BB) are either at or near his career numbers.
So what do I do?: Trade him away. As brilliant as Beckett can be, there's no way to predict when he's going to be good. There are the every-other-season theories and every-other-start ideas popping up now (driven mainly by his 55-point week following his negative-13 point week, which both gave way to weeks of 20, 1, 17, 0, 14, 0 and 17 points). when it comes down to that, you're dealing with a pitcher who can do just as much harm as good to your Fantasy team.

Chris Young, OF, ARI
Owned: 84 percent
Started: 43 percent
Difference: 41 percent
What it means: Young has put up 20-20 seasons the last two years, while averaging 35.5 doubles in the same span. His batting average has never been great, but it was a necessary burden that his owners had to carry in order to get the slugging and speed. In 2012, though, Young has pulled a bait-and-switch: a .206 average with nine home runs and three steals. Granted, he missed a month between April and May with a shoulder injury, but has been awful since his return -- he went on the DL with a .410 average and five home runs. He has hit .153 with four home runs in the 44 games since.
So what do I do?: Trade him. Like Ryan Zimmerman, Young has a ton of talent, but the only explanation for his power and speed shortcomings this year is his shoulder, which was deeply bruised and had a ligament tear in April. He was given a few days off to clear his head in June and responded with an 11-point drop in batting average over the next four games. And after the All-Star Break, Young is batting just .235 with one home run. The injury theory is just guesswork, but after being given two relatively long breaks (by baseball standards), Young has failed to turn his season around. His start numbers may continue to drop as owners grow more frustrated with him.

Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, CLE
Owned: 77 percent
Started: 37 percent
Difference: 40 percent
What it means: Like Romero, Jimenez saw his ERA and WHIP go down over three consecutive seasons (from 2008 to 2010), while his strikeouts and innings went up. Unlike Romero, though, Jimenez does have one glaring stat that we can point to for an explanation: according to FanGraphs, his velocity has dropped from 95.8 in 2010 to 92.4 in 2012. Last year, he had an average fastball velocity of 93.9. His strikeout rate has dropped to 6.9 per nine innings, the lowest of his career, and his hit and walk rates are at career-high levels. Most disturbingly, Jimenez has seen his home run rate almost double from last year and more than triple from 2010. And he spent his entire career -- up until the second half of 2011 -- pitching half of his games in Colorado.
So what do I do?: Trade him if you can, but feel free to drop him. All things considered, Ricky Romero is a much better bet to turn things around over the second half than Jimenez.

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Eric Hosmer, 1B, KC
Owned: 92 percent
Started: 56 percent
Difference: 36 percent
What it means: After a great debut in 2011, where he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting, batting .293 and hitting 19 home runs, Hosmer has taken a major step back so far this season, sporting a .225 batting average, with nine home runs and nine steals. Owners hoping for a better offensive performance from him have been sorely disappointed, but haven't been willing to cut ties with Hosmer just yet.
So what do I do?: Hold on to him. While his July (.224 average, zero home runs, two steals) has been just as miserable as the months that preceded it, he has shown signs of life. His BABIP is a healthy .310, and he has produced nine home runs and nine steals so far this year. His June (.270 average, three home runs, five steals) was impressive, and his minor league numbers suggest he should be able to produce a much higher average -- with some power and speed.

Some other notable leaders in Owned/Started Gap, who you might be able to get from a frustrated owner for pennies on the dollar:

Bryan LaHair, OF, CHC (63 percent owned, 30 percent started)
Kendrys Morales, DH, LAA (68/36)
Mike Napoli, C, TEX (97/67)
Ichiro Suzuki, OF, SEA (90/60)
Jeff Samardzija, RP, CHC (72/42)
Michael Young, 3B, TEX (95/66)
Ian Kennedy, SP, ARI (95/67)
Jon Lester, SP, BOS (97/70)
Desmond Jennings, OF, TB (92/65)
Chris Davis, 3B, BAL (64/37)
Jemile Weeks, 2B, OAK (54/30)
Ryan Vogelsong, SP, SF (95/72)
Francisco Liriano, SP, MIN (80/59)

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: Padres continue to talk to Braves about Justin Upton
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:15 am ET) The Padres continue to talk to the Braves about outfielder Justin Upton, according to Bleacher Report's Scott Miller.

Despite the fact that the Padres acquired both Matt Kemp and Wil Myers on Thursday, the team may not be done yet. It's unclear where Upton would fit into the team's plans, but he would be a clear upgrade over whoever the club is planning to start in center field. If the team were to acquire Upton, one of that trio would be pushed into action in center. While Kemp has experience at the position, he's not considered a strong defender. 

The 27-year-old Upton is coming off a season in which he hit .270/.342/.491 over 566 at-bats.


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by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/18/2014) The Rangers have shown interest in pitcher Brandon Beachy, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Beachy is coming off Tommy John surgery, but multiple teams are said to have interest in signing him. The 28-year-old has a 3.23 career ERA over 267 2/3 innings, but underwent his second Tommy John surgery in March. Beachy's representative, Robert Martin said Beachy has multiple offers, but doesn't believe a decision is imminent. 


Report: Athletics sending Derek Norris to Padres
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/18/2014) The Athletics have agreed to trade catcher Derek Norris to the Padres, according to the New York Daily News.

After dealing Yasmani Grandal to Los Angeles in the Matt Kemp deal, the Padres were in need of a new backstop. It didn't take long for them to replace Grandal, as the team acquired Norris shortly after the Kemp deal went through.

Pitcher Seth Streich will also head to the Padres in the deal, according to FoxSports.com The 23-year-old posted a 3.16 ERA over 114 innings in High A last season.

The 25-year-old Norris is coming off a season in which he hit .270/.361/.403 over 385 at-bats. Norris is under team control through the 2018 season.

The Athletics are expected to receive pitchers Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez in the deal, according to Yahoo! The 24-year-old Alvarez posted a 1.25 ERA over 43 1/3 innings at Double-A last year.

Hahn, 25, posted a 3.07 ERA over 73 1/3 innings in the majors last year. He was excellent in Double-A, posting a 1.91 ERA in 42 1/3 innings before being called up.


Padres, Rays and Nationals complete Wil Myers trade
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/18/2014) The Padres, Rays and Nationals have completed a trade that will send Wil Myers to San Diego, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

The deal had been in the works for a few days, but was finally agreed to late Thursday night. Myers, 24, will head to the Padres in the deal. He hit .222/.294/.320 over 325 at-bats with the Rays last season. Myers also missed time due to a wrist injury. 

The Padres will also receive catcher Ryan Hanigan and pitchers Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo in the deal. 

Tampa Bay will receive outfielder Steven Souza and pitcher Travis Ott from the Nationals. Souza, 25, hit .345/.427/.577 in 357 at-bats spread over three levels last year. 

The Rays will also receive catcher Rene Rivera, first baseman Jake Bauers and pitcher Burch Smith from San Diego.

Washington is set to acquire pitcher Joe Ross from San Diego. The team will also receive infielder Trea Turner in the deal. Turner was a 2014 draft pick, and cannot be traded until midseason, so he's currently considered a player to be named later.


Phillies to send Jimmy Rollins to Dodgers
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/18/2014) The Phillies have completed a trade that will send shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers, confirms CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. News that the deal was finally going through was initially reported by Yahoo!

The deal has been in place for some time, but was dependent on a separate Dodgers deal going through. The Dodgers will send pitcher Zach Eflin to Philadelphia as part of the Rollins trade, but first needed to acquire Eflin from the Padres in the Matt Kemp deal. The Dodgers and Padres finally reached an agreement late Thursday night, meaning Eflin could finally be sent to Philadelphia. The 20-year-old Eflin posted a 3.80 ERA in 128 innings at High A last year.

Rollins, 36, hit .243/.323/.394 over 538 at-bats last season. He's in the final year of his contract, and is set to make $11 million next year.


Dodgers complete Matt Kemp deal with Padres
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/18/2014) The Dodgers and Padres have agreed to a deal that will send outfielder Matt Kemp to San Diego, confirms CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. News that the deal had finally come together was first reported by Yahoo!

The trade has been in the works for some time, but was dependent on Kemp passing a physical. It was reported early Thursday that Kemp's physical revealed arthritic hips. The Padres had to to figure out insurance on the contract, which is why it took so long for the deal to go through.

Catcher Tim Federowicz will also head to San Diego in the deal. The Dodgers will send $32 million over as well. 

In return, Los Angeles is set to receive catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitcher Joe Weiland and Zach Eflin. Eflin is expected to be flipped to Philadelphia for shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

The 30-year-old Kemp hit .287/.346/.506 over 541 at-bats last year. Kemp is set to earn a little over $21 million in each of the next five seasons. 


Rockies seeking veteran right-handers to fill out rotation
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(12/18/2014) The Rockies are looking at a number of veteran right-handers to fill out the rotation, according to MLB.com.

Kevin Correia, Aaron Harang, Josh Johnson and Kyle Kendrick have all been considered by the club. With Johnson reportedly signing a deal with the Padres, that leaves the other three as options for the club. Though the team is said to be interested in all three players, it has not engaged in serious conversations with any of them. 


Cubs agree to sign Anthony Carter
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(12/18/2014) The Cubs have signed reliever Anthony Carter to a minor-league deal, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.

Carter spent last season in Japan, pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He posted a 3.97 ERA over 45 1/3 innings. 


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(12/18/2014) The Padres are set to sign pitcher Josh Johnson to a one-year deal, confirms CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Yahoo initially reported the two sides were on the verge of a deal.

Johnson will make a base salary under $2 million, but can earn as much as $8 million due to incentives. Given his recent injury issues, it's assumed those incentives will revolve around both his numbers and his ability to remain healthy. Johnson signed with San Diego last season, but was unable to pitch after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The team declined his option during the offseason, but showed interest in re-signing Johnson to a lesser deal.

Johnson posted a 6.20 ERA in 81 1/3 innings with Toronto in 2013. 


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The 30-year-old Vogt hit .279/.321/.431 over 269 at-bats last year. 


 
 
 
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