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Setting the Trends: Don't get too comfortable

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Many moons ago, there existed a cartoon about a somewhat-brutish, blue-suited crimefighter called, The Tick. It was one of those brilliant cult shows that never caught a lot of mainstream love, for many silly reasons. But, in 1995, an episode had The Tick caught in the grips (cushions?) of The World's Most Comfortable Chair. Seventeen years later, I will soil its beautiful memory by using it to offer Fantasy advice.

Everyone can get a little too comfortable with players -- letting the wrong one go at the absolute worst time is a mistake that can haunt a Fantasy player forever. But holding on to someone for too long can also damage the team, by not making a move once you've squeezed optimum value from your roster spot. Take, for instance, Bryan LaHair. Gambling on him early paid off -- you got your value returned by the end of May. But it soon became apparent that Dale Sveum wasn't going to play him every day. And, when Anthony Rizzo was called up, LaHair was sent to the outfield, a move that saw his stats take a marked decline:

LaHair as a 1B: 181 AB, .287 average, .899 OPS, 11 HR, 1 SB
LaHair as an OF: 90 AB, .222 average, .615 OPS, 2 HR, 1 SB

LaHair is still sporting a .266 average with 14 home runs and two steals -- numbers that have more than earned the $1 placed on him in auction leagues. But owners who have him stashed away on the bench may have waited too long to deal him. In other words, they got comfortable with LaHair, which isn't a terrible thing -- although the signs of a downturn were there, plenty of owners (myself included) still had hope that he'd homer his way into more playing time. But he didn't. LaHair owners, in retrospect, should have ripped ourselves out of The World's Most Comfortable Chair, getting value when we had the chance.

For those of you ready to make like The Tick, and rip yourself away from the comfort of some of your more familiar players, we present...Roster Trends!

Most Added Players (as of 8/7)
Player % increase
1. Dan Straily, SP, OAK 38
2. Ryan Ludwick, OF, CIN 29
3. Ross Detwiler, SP, WAS 27
4. Josh Rutledge, SS, COL 23
5. Mike Olt, 3B, TEX 22
6. Chris Johnson, 3B, ARI 20
7. Michael McKenry, C, PIT 20
8. Patrick Corbin, SP, ARI 20
9. Greg Holland, RP, KC 20
10. Blake Beavan, SP, SEA 18

Most Added Highlights

Ross Detwiler , SP, WAS
Jump in Ownership: 27 percent (from 37 percent to 64 percent)
Reason for the jump: Since his return to the rotation, Detwiler has a 2.55 ERA in eight games started.
Why you should join the crowd: When Detwiler was yanked from the rotation in late May, he had given up a total of 16 earned runs in four previous games. But his ERA was just 3.88 at the time. In a six-game stint as a member of the bullpen, Detwiler sparkled, sporting a 1.35 ERA in 13 1/3 innings. At no point this season has his ERA crept over 3.88. While he won't get a lot of strikeouts for a team, Detwiler's been a steady presence for the Nationals, and the former first-round pick could be a great source of low ERA and WHIP for Fantasy owners looking to impriove in those areas as the season winds down.
Devil's Advocate: There's always the chance that Detwiler finally figured things out this year, building on a promising 3.00 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 66 innings last season, but his previous years -- and even minor league numbers -- left a lot to be desired. Before this season, Detwiler had a 4.07 career ERA in the majors, and his career minor league WHIP was 1.50.
Still...: Detwiler got that career ERA down to 3.65 after his breakout 2012, meaning he didn't have the largest of sample sizes to turn around prior to this season.

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. Starling Marte, OF, PIT 48
2. Greg Holland, RP, KC 47
3. Todd Frazier, 3B, CIN 40
4. Tyler Colvin, 1B, COL 31
5. Kris Medlen, RP, ATL 30

Greg Holland , RP, KC
Jump in Ownership: 20 percent (from 26 percent to 46 percent)
Reason for the jump: Holland is the new closer for the Kansas City Royals.
Why you should join the crowd: Holland has been a force out of the Royals' bullpen this year, with a 3.22 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings. Since being named the new closer, Holland has pitched five scoreless innings, holding opposing batters to a .176 batting average, and getting two saves and a win.
Devil's Advocate: For as good as Holland has been lately, he did have a pretty rocky start to the season, having an ERA over 4.00 up until the end of June. His 1.50 WHIP is also high for a closer, and his 25 walks aren't pretty: they are just two fewer than Kyle Lohse (in 148 1/3 IP), and as many as Jordan Zimmermann (139 1/3 IP) and Bartolo Colon (138 2/3 IP). If he gets into some trouble, Aaron Crow could be a real alternative down the line.

Itchy trigger fingers
The most-dropped injured players who may still return
Player Change in ownership percentage
1. Carlos Ruiz, C, PHI -23
2. Emilio Bonifacio, SS, MIA -19
3. A.J. Griffin, SP, OAK -17
4. Lance Berkman, OF, STL -16
5. Yasmani Grandal, C, SD -7

Ryan Doumit , C, MIN
Jump in Ownership: Seven percent (from 69 percent to 76 percent)
Reason for the jump: Doumit has a .295 average, with 12 home runs in 322 at-bats.
Why you should join the crowd: Doumit has catcher eligibility, but has appeared at the position in just 40 games this season, racking up 35 games at DH, 12 in the outfield, and one at first base. In August, Doumit is batting .417, with two home runs, five doubles, and six RBI. He has played two of those games at DH, two in left field, and two at catcher, showing a flexibility that keeps his bat in the lineup on a regular basis. This makes him more valuable at the catcher position, where most players require occasional days off. Since the All-Star Break, Doumit ranks second among all catchers in at-bats (behind only teammate Joe Mauer), third in runs scored, first in doubles, and third in home runs.
Devil's Advocate: Doumit didn't exactly come out swinging, hitting just .250 in April and .262 in May. And, for the year, he doesn't rank in the top 10 among catchers for home runs, runs scored, steals, or walks. In points leagues, Doumit ranks 10th among catchers, and his 199.5 total points have him ranked 51st among outfielders, behind Angel Pagan, Carlos Lee, and Cody Ross.

Farm club freewheeling
The most-traded minor leaguers
Player Number of trades over the last week
1. Trevor Bauer, SP, ARI 301
2. Wil Myers, OF, KC 169
3. Lucas Duda, OF, NYM 152
4. Jacob Turner, SP, MIA 148
5. Shelby Miller, SP, STL 141

Luis Mendoza , RP, KC
Jump in Ownership: 4 percent (from 6 percent to 10 percent)
Reason for the jump: Five of Mendoza's last seven starts have been Quality Starts, and he is in the middle of a two-start week.
Why you should join the crowd: Despite a 4.36 overall ERA, Mendoza has decent numbers lately -- a 3.61 ERA in his past seven starts and a 1.20 WHIP. Additionally, Mendoza has that sexy relief pitcher eligibility, meaning points-leaguers could slot the starter in one of their RP slots, and enjoy the spoils. It's a brand of tomfoolery that I don't agree with, but it's well within the rules, and does offer a path to value for Mendoza.
Devil's Advocate: Mendoza has a 4.36 ERA and 1.44 WHIP on the season. And, over a six-year career, he has a 5.80 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. He's been good recently, but he can't be relied on for strikeouts, and is always capable of walking four batters in any given start.

Jean Segura , SS, MIL
Jump in Ownership: 7 percent (from 8 percent to 15 percent)
Reason for the jump: Segura, the main return in the trade for Zack Greinke, was called up to the Brewers this week, and will likely start the rest of the season.
Why you should join the crowd: Despite being hitless in 10 at-bats so far this year, Segura has a solid bat (.313 minor league average), and a string of high-steal seasons, with 37 so far this year, 18 in 52 games last year, and 50 in 2010. He also has decent power for a shortstop; nothing earth-shaking, but he did hit 10 home runs in 2010, and could have hit 10 again in 2011 if he didn't miss three months with a hamstring injury. In deeper leagues, where teams may be desperate for a shortstop, Segura could return a few steals and decent average.
Devil's Advocate: Don't go overboard in trying to get Segura, as he is probably not worth a roster spot in even 14-team mixed leagues. He will eventually be a good player, but will likely have a some growing pains as this season finishes up. There's always a chance he can hit for some average and steal some bases, but there are safer options that already exist on most waiver wires.

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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Joakim Soria might be worth stashing
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Mostly because the Tigers say they intend to stick with Joe Nathan as their closer. Sad face.

But let's get real here: Nathan has been terrible and has shown no clear signs of a turnaround. Since blowing his third save May 21, the longest he's gone without allowing an earned run is four appearances. That won't cut it in the ninth inning.

Soria, meanwhile, was brilliant for the Rangers even if his low save total didn't reflect it. He compiled a 2.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 35 innings. His FIP, which estimates ERA with defense and luck removed from the equation, is 1.07.

The Rangers may intend to stick with Nathan as their closer, but if both he and Soria continue to do what they've been doing, the switch could come quickly. So if you play in a league where every save matters, maybe you just stash Soria for now.


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And now with his trade to the Mariners, he's going to Safeco Field, a park known to neutralize a hitter or two. Oh noes!

Relax. We already have an idea how Morales will perform in Seattle considering he was just there last year. Of course, you would have rather seen him go elsewhere -- like to a hitter's park for once -- but if he continues to struggle like he did with the Twins, who don't exactly play in a hitter's haven themselves, the venue won't be the reason why.

After waiting half the year to sign with a team, Morales is now paying the price. While every other player is in midseason form, he's still in spring training mode -- or just coming out of it, anyway, having hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games.

Provided the Mariners stick with him every day and don't fit him into some kind of rotation with Logan Morrison and Corey Hart, he's a good bet for some cheap power numbers down the stretch. Maybe the move to a contender will even spark something in him.


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(6:57 pm ET) Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss belted a grand slam Thursday against the Astros.

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(6:53 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Jeff Samardzija turned in an excellent start against the Astros Thursday.

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With the win, Samardzija improved to 4-8 on the year. He’ll take on the Astros in his next start.


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by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:52 pm ET) Astros pitcher Scott Feldman struggled with his control Thursday.

Feldman had a rough start in Oakland. He allowed six runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. Feldman struck out four and walked five during the outing. Feldman first ran into trouble in the third inning. Josh Reddick doubled to start the inning, and Eric Sogard followed that up with a walk. Josh Donaldson singled in a run, giving the Athletics a one-run lead. After an intentional walk to Brandon Moss to load the bases, Derek Norris drove in two runs on a single. 

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With the loss, Feldman dropped to 4-8. He’ll take on the Athletics in his next start. 


 
 
 
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