Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. 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
 
 
 

Setting the Trends: Blackley meeting old expectations

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  
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!

Travis Blackley was, many years ago, one of the best pitching prospects in the Seattle Mariners organization -- the "crown jewel" -- according to then-manager Bob Melvin.

But after a poor showing in his first go-round with the team in 2004, coupled with nagging arm injuries and a poor attitude, Blackley became -- and he said this himself -- "Triple-A filler," bouncing between the farms teams of Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Arizona, Oakland and the Mets. He went through the gamut of being "kicked around," as the Australian was traded, released (twice), added off waivers and even selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

After making his Major League debut in 2004, Blackley pitched 8 2/3 additional innings in 2007 with the Giants before being cast into obscurity. In 34 2/3 total major league innings -- with a shoulder surgery in between -- Blackley managed a 9.35 ERA, 2.077 WHIP and gave up 11 home runs. He wouldn't see the majors again until 2012.

Before we get to the 2012 part of Blackley's story, though, it's important to note that he pulled a move that once changed the fortunes of Ryan Vogelsong and, in a stretch of a comparison, Cecil Fielder: spending a season (2011) in Asia (in this case, South Korea, pitching for the KIA Tigers in the Korean Baseball association). He also spent some time in Mexico and Australia.

In February, Blackley signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants and was assigned to the PCL. In 23 1/3 innings with the Fresno Grizzlies, Blackley went 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA. He was called up to San Francisco, thrust into a relief role and released after putting up a 9.00 ERA in five innings. Days later, the A's -- managed by ... Bob Melvin! -- picked up the discarded lefty, who threw six relief innings before being tabbed to start against the Twins on May 28. He allowed one run in five innings and, outside of giving up five runs in his next outing against the Rangers, Blackley has been stellar. As impressive as his current 3.15 ERA is, it gets even better when you just isolate his stats as a starter: a 2.92 ERA with the WHIP staying at 1.05. He even got his revenge on Texas five starts after they tagged him for five runs, holding them to one run in seven innings on July 1.

There's no telling how long this will last for Blackley. On one hand, there's very little in any set of numbers he's produced in the last seven years that would suggest he will keep this up. On the other hand there is everything else the numbers don't show -- a renewed work ethic, a Vogelsongian season in Asia, his former top prospect status and a refreshing outlook on how he approaches each game. For a Fantasy team looking to go for broke and make a run at the title this year, Blackley makes for a very intriguing option.

On to the Roster Trends!

Most Added Players (as of 7/25)
Player % increase
1. Josh Rutledge, SS, COL 24
2. Homer Bailey, SP, CIN 23
3. Ben Sheets, SP, ATL 22
4. Francisco Rodriguez, RP, MIL 14
5. Francisco Cordero, RP, HOU 18
6. Danny Espinosa, 2B, WAS 17
7. Paul Maholm, SP, CHC 17
8. Lorenzo Cain, OF, KC 17
9. Casper Wells, OF, SEA 16
10. Jose Quintana, RP, CHW 10

Most Added Highlights

Josh Rutledge, SS, COL
Jump in Ownership: 24 percent (from five to 29)
Reason for the jump: Rutledge is Colorado's new starting shortstop and is hitting .341, with one home run, six RBI and five doubles over 11 games.
Why you should join the crowd: First, Rutledge has the job right now, which sometimes is the most important factor when dealing with players owned in less than 30 percent of leagues. But he also has an impressive track record, with a .320 career minor league batting average. In 87 games with Double-A Tulsa this year (Rutledge skipped Triple-A entirely on his path to the majors), he had hit 13 home runs and stolen 14 bases. And, at least through his first 11 games in the majors, Rutledge has shown that he can hit at this level.
Devil's Advocate: The biggest obstacle between Rutledge and universal ownership -- right now -- is the eventual return of injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. When that happens, one of three things could occur:
1. Marco Scutaro, currently starting at second base, will be traded or moved to third (currently manned by Jordan Pacheco and D.J. LeMahieu), clearing the way for Rutledge to start at second base.
2. Rutledge moves to third base.
3. Rutledge is optioned to the minors.
Those three scenarios will probably play out in that order, from most-likely to least. The Rockies are currently 17.5 games out of first place in the NL West and 16 behind the second wild card spot. They are likely seeing what Rutledge is capable of and would probably embrace the fact that they now have a tradeable asset in Scutaro if Rutledge can keep this up.

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. Carlos Marmol, RP, CHC 48
2. Mark Reynolds, 3B, BAL 47
3. J.D. Martinez, OF, HOU 45
4. Erik Bedard, SP, PIT 45
5. A.J. Griffin, SP, OAK 38

Francisco Cordero, RP, HOU
Jump in Ownership: 18 percent (from five to 23)
Reason for the jump: Cordero is the new closer for the Houston Astros.
Why you should join the crowd: From 2007 to 2011, Cordero had 194 saves, an average of 39 per season. His ERA over that span was 2.94 and he struck out, according to Baseball Reference, 8.7 batters per nine innings. He was a two-time All-Star in that span and finished among the top five in saves in the National League four out of those five years.
Devil's Advocate: Cordero's 2012 has been far ... uglier. His 5.60 ERA is the highest of any season in his 14-year career and his 1.76 WHIP ranks as his third-highest. He's also giving up hits at a much higher rate (12.2 H/9) than he has at any other time in his career (8.1 lifetime average). On top of it all, Cordero is 37 and faces a possible challenge in the Houston bullpen from Wilton Lopez, who has a 2.68 ERA and 1.03 WHIP so far this season.

End game in demand
The most-traded closers
Player Number of trades
1. Jose Valverde, RP, DET 316
2. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, PHI 305
3. Aroldis Chapman, RP, CIN 303
4. Rafael Soriano, RP, NYY 285
5. J.J. Putz, RP, ARI 284

Casper Wells, OF, SEA
Jump in Ownership: 16 percent (from three to 19)
Reason for the jump: With the trade of Ichiro Suzuki to New York, Wells is pretty much cemented in a starting role with the Mariners.
Why you should join the crowd: Wells showed some power and speed in the minor leagues, with highs of 27 in home runs and 25 in steals.
But...: Both of those highs came in the same season (2008), when Wells split time between Single-and Double-A. They haven't really carried over to any other seasons.
Back to the Good Stuff: Wells probably won't hit for much in the way of batting average, but that power may be for real -- he had 11 home runs last year in just 215 at-bats and has six so far this year. Adding to the fun of owning Wells is that he could find himself batting anywhere from first to third -- he has hit from all of the top three spots in the last four days.
Devil's Advocate: Wells will see some of his power sapped by his home park, and will likely lose at least a little bit of value by not having Ichiro in the lineup. With Justin Smoak now in the minors, Wells may also be looked upon to carry more of the offensive load, leading to him possibly pressing and seeing his numbers drop a little off their current pace.

Cody Ross, OF, BOS
Jump in Ownership: 12 percent (from 61 to 73)
Reason for the jump: In his last six games, Ross has hit .333, with three home runs, nine RBI, and a 1.152 OPS.
Why you should join the crowd: Even having missed a month between May and June with a foot injury, Ross still has 16 home runs on the season. With Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury back in the lineup -- and with Adrian Gonzalez having a solid July (.382 average, three home runs) -- Ross has plenty more chances to drive in runs from the fifth spot in the lineup, where he's been hitting lately. On top of that, Ross has been playing a good amount of DH with David Ortiz sidelined, allowing him to give his previously-broken foot a bit of a rest from all the running in the outfield.
Devil's Advocate: Ross' career high in home runs is 24, and he's only hit 20 or more home runs twice in his career. In the last three seasons he's averaged just 15 home runs.
The Devil's Advocate's Devil's Advocate: Ross has played most of his career for teams with pitcher-friendly parks (Florida and San Francisco, most recently). Fenway Park seems to be far more accommodating to his shots to left field. If Ross was still playing in San Francisco, for instance, he would have lost at least two home runs thanks to the park's dimensions, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker. In short, Fenway Park, which has turned plenty of decent hitters into 30 home-run threats, could do the same for Ross.

Desperate Measures
Players owned in less than five percent of leagues who could be helpful
Player % owned
1. Carlos Gomez, OF, MIL 4
2. Jonny Gomes, OF, OAK 4
3. Cody Ransom, SS, MIL 3
4. Logan Forsythe, 3B, SD 3
5. Hisashi Iwakuma, RP, SEA 2

Jayson Werth, OF, WAS
Jump in Ownership: Four percent (from 66 to 70)
Reason for the jump: Werth is on a rehab assignment and is close to returning to the Washington lineup.
Why you should join the crowd: Before going down with a broken wrist in May, Werth was enjoying the beginnings of an Adam Dunn-style renaissance season, with a .276 average, three home runs and three steals through early May. He has the capability to hit 15 home runs the rest of the season with 10 steals, 15 doubles and a .275 average. He'll also return to a Nationals lineup that includes a little more offensive pop in the form of Bryce Harper.
Devil's Advocate: Werth admitted that, while his wrist feels great, his timing is a little off at the plate, so it might take him a few games to get back to early season form. And there's no guarantee that he won't just revert to 2011 form, either -- Werth was a disaster in his first season with the Nationals, hitting .232 with just 20 home runs and a .718 OPS.

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 .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Miguel Gonzalez gets back on track Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:13 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez bounced back with the win Friday night at home against the Twins, improving to 7-7 on the year. The right-hander permitted one run on four hits and one walk while striking out six over seven innings of a 9-1 victory.

Over his last three starts covering 19 1/3 innings, Gonzalez has permitted only four earned runs. He owns a 3.61 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP over 127 innings of work. He will make his next start Wednesday at home against Cincinnati.

Trevor May coughs up eight runs, stays winless
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:12 pm ET) Twins pitcher Trevor May was hit hard again on Friday against the Orioles in Baltimore, dropping to 0-4 on the year. The right-hander was shelled for eight runs on six hits and one walk while striking out eight over 4 2/3 innings of a 9-1 defeat.

May has allowed five-plus runs in each of his last two starts. He owns a whopping 10.42 ERA over 19 innings of work. He will look to pick up the pieces Wednesday at home against the White Sox.

Jacob deGrom picks up the win Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:54 pm ET) Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom turned in a great start Friday against the Phillies.

deGrom allowed one unearned run on four hits over seven innings. He struck out five and walked two during the outing. The Phillies scored their only run in the seventh inning. After a leadoff single, Grady Sizemore reached on a throwing error by Lucas Duda, allowing the leadoff runner to advance to second. That run would come around on a single. It would be an unearned run for deGrom.

With the win, deGrom improved to 7-6. He'll take on the Marlins in their next start. 


David Buchanan turns in strong start, but can't win
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:49 pm ET) Phillies pitcher David Buchanan turned in a strong start Friday against the Mets.

Buchanan allowed one run on four hits over six innings. He struck out three and walked one during the outing. Buchanan gave up his only run in the fourth inning. With one out, Buchanan allowed a single to David Wright. Wright was able to advance to second on a groundout, and came around to score on a single. Despite giving up the run, Buchanan was able to get through two more scoreless innings.

Buchanan actually left the game in line for the loss. The Phillies managed to battle back, giving him a no-decision. Buchanan will take on the Braves in his next start.


Eric Hosmer to begin rehab stint Saturday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:48 pm ET) Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer will begin a minor-league rehab assignment on Saturday with Triple-A Omaha, MLB.com reports. Hosmer has been sidelined since July 31 with a hand issue. 

Edinson Volquez fantastic during no decision
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:47 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez tossed a fantastic start Friday against the Reds.

Volquez gave up one run on three hits over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three during the outing. Volquez was exceptional to open the game. He didn’t give up a hit until the seventh inning. Volquez gave up another hit against the next batter, but managed to work his way out of the inning. He wasn’t as fortunate in the eighth inning. Volquez put two men on during the inning, and was pulled from the game. Tony Watson gave up a run-scoring single after Volquez left. The run was charged to Volquez.

Volquez left with the game tied, picking up the no-decision. He’ll take on the Cardinals in his next start. 


Mike Leake turns in excellent start Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:46 pm ET) Reds pitcher Mike Leake turned in an excellent start Friday against the Pirates. 

Leake allowed six hits over seven scoreless innings. He struck out one and did not issue a walk during the appearance. Leake didn’t really put himself in a bad situation all night. The only inning where he fell into some trouble was the sixth. After getting the first two outs, Leake gave up a double and a single. He was able to pitch out of it, though. It was the only inning Leake put more than one man on base. 

Leake was matched by Edinson Volquez throughout the start. Despite the strong performance, he picked up a no-decision. Leake will take on the Orioles in his next start.


Mariners tweak weekend rotation
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:42 pm ET) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters that pitcher Chris Young will have his next start pushed back to Monday. Roenis Elias will start in his place on Saturday, per the Seattle Times.

Jason Motte able to throw bullpen session
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:09 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Jason Motte was able to get through another bullpen session Friday, according to FoxSports.

It's the third time Motte has thrown off a mound since his injury. Motte said he was able to throw at full intensity. He's not sure what's next in the recovery process. 


Matt Garza able to get through simulated game
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:03 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Matt Garza was able to get through a simulated game without any issues, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Garza is attempting to come back from an oblique injury. He was able to throw all his pitches during Friday's simulated game. Garza should return next week. 


 
 
 
Rankings