Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
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 .

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
Royals Jeremy Guthrie gets the loss in Game 7
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie picked up the loss Wednesday in Game 7 against the Giants.

Guthrie allowed three runs on four hits over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out three and did not issue any walks during the performance. Manager Ned Yost had a quick hook with the season on the line, leading to Guthrie getting pulled despite a low pitch count. After putting two men on base to start the fourth, Guthrie was replaced by Kelvin Herrera. Herrera would allow a run-scoring single to Michael Morse. That run would be charged to Guthrie, ultimately sticking him with the loss. 


Giants' Tim Hudson gets the quick hook in Game 7
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Giants pitcher Tim Hudson got the quick hook Wednesday in Game 7 against the Royals.

Hudson lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits. He struck out one and walked one during the outing. Manager Bruce Bochy had a quick hook with the season on line, and pulled Hudson at the first sign of trouble. With the game tied 2-2, Hudson was pulled after giving up a single to Alcides Escobar. He threw 28 pitches during the outing. 


Giants' Madison Bumgarner caps World Series with save
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner capped off his dominant postseason run with a five inning save in Game 7 of the World Series.

Bumgarner came on in relief and was masterful. Pitching on just two days rest, Bumgarner was able to go five innings, giving up just two hits. He struck out four while throwing 68 pitches. Though Bumgarner wasn't technically the pitcher of record, the official scorer decided to give him the win. The ruling was later changed to give Bumgarner the save and Jeremy Affeldt the win. Bumgarner was named World Series MVP for his performance. 


Red Sox to target Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) The Red Sox will target Pablo Sandoval and Chase Headley this offseason, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Both players are set to be free-agents, though both could opt to remain in their current organizations. Boston would have interest in Aramis Ramirez if he's made available, but it's believed Ramirez will stay with Milwaukee. Will Middlebrooks hit just .191 over 215 injury-riddled at-bats last season. 


Reds sent Neftali Soto to Triple-A
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) The Reds have outrighted infielder Neftali Soto to Triple-A Wednesday.

The move frees up a spot on the team's 40-man roster. Soto received just 30 at-bats in the majors. He hit .100. 


Angels' Tony Campana elects free agency
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Angels outfielder Tony Campana has elected free agency, according to SBNation.

Campana was outrighted by the club, but declined the assignment. He'll look to hook on with another team during the offseason. Campana hit .187 over 75 at-bats last year. 


Orioles outright Evan Meek to Triple-A
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) The Orioles have outrighted pitcher Evan Meek to Triple-A, according to MASN.

The move frees up a spot on the team's 40-man roster. Meek posted a 5.79 ERA over 23 1/3 innings last season. 


Justin Smoak expects to renegotiate deal with Blue Jays
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak expects the club to decline his option, according to Sportsnet. 

Smoak is owed $3.65 million next season, but believes Toronto will decline that deal. The two sides will then renegotiate a new figure for the upcoming season. Smoak hit .202/.275/.339 over 248 at-bats with Seattle last season. 


Mets pitcher Vic Black good to go
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Mets pitcher Vic Black is good to go, according to the Star-Ledger

Black was sidelined late in the year due to neck and shoulder issues, but is expected to have a normal offseason. He'll be able to resume throwing next month, and said his shoulder feels "great."


Reds decline option on Jack Hannahan
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) The Reds have declined an option on infielder Jack Hannahan, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer

The team could have brought Hannahan back at $4 million, but decided to cut bait and pay him $2 million. Hannahan played just 26 games with the club last season. He hit .188. 


 
 
 
Rankings