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Setting the Trends: Trolling for diamonds in the rough

Senior Fantasy Writer
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One of the most underrated sections of the CBSSports.com website is the massive "Most Owned" list in the Roster Trends area. The top part is pretty boring -- an assortment of All-Stars and untouchables. But as you go deeper, it gets much more interesting. There are sleepers, closers-in-waiting, and an assortment of players who could see 40 percent boosts in ownership in a week if things break the right way.

But the best part of Most Owned is the section of players owned in 1 percent of all leagues. They're awesome. Do they belong on teams in mixed leagues? Probably not. They may not, in fact, belong on single-league teams. But there's treasure in those one-percenters. Will you feel like the Junk Lady from Labyrinth for sorting through them to look for value? A little bit. But who cares? Dynasty league owners already know about the one percenters, but as owners in deep leagues search for depth, there are a few players in that section who could be worth an add...or at least an add to the Scout Team:

Javier Lopez , RP, SF: can sneak in a few saves before the season is through.
Greg Dobbs , 3B, MIA: has shown some power; will definitely get some at-bats as a pinch hitter. He could also play his way into some third base or outfield starts over the last month and a half.
Steve Pearce , 1B, HOU: has hit .276 since joining Houston. Started four of last seven games for the Astros. His minor league stats suggest he can hit for power if given regular at-bats.
Paul Janish , SS, ATL: playing every day as the starting shortstop for the Braves.

On to the rest of Roster Trends!

Most Added Players (as of 8/23)
Player % increase
1. Brett Anderson, SP, OAK 31
2. Todd Frazier, 3B, CIN 27
3. Hisashi Iwakuma, RP, SEA 21
4. Kris Medlen, RP, ATL 21
5. Garrett Jones, OF, PIT 16
6. Grant Balfour, RP, OAK 15
7. Freddy Garcia, SP, NYY 13
8. Jaime Garcia, SP, STL 13
9. Miguel Gonzalez, RP, BAL 12
10. Ryan Ludwick, OF, CIN 12

Most Added Highlights

Brett Anderson , SP, OAK
Jump in Ownership: 31 percent (from 25 percent to 56)
Reason for the jump: Anderson returned from missing 13 months after Tommy John surgery with a brilliant start against the Twins, pitching seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out six.
Why you should join the crowd: Before his injury, Anderson was well on his way to becoming a star in the Oakland rotation, with a 3.66 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in his first 371 major league innings. But those numbers are a little skewed, considering that, in his final two starts in 2011, before opting for surgery, Anderson gave up 14 runs on 20 hits, while walking five, in 10 1/3 innings. Prior to the two blow-ups last season, he had a 2.84 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.
Devil's Advocate: Beware of the Rust Factor. Before his start on Tuesday, Anderson hadn't pitched in the majors since last June. And while he showed enough promise to make him an add in most leagues, there's always a chance that he has a hiccup before he's fully back to the pitcher he was before. Additionally, Anderson isn't known for striking a lot of batters out, with a career K/9 of 7.0. So if your team is in need of strikeouts, Anderson may not be your best option.

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. Mark Reynolds, 3B, BAL 49
2. David Murphy, OF, TEX 46
3. Rajai Davis, OF, TOR 40
4. Hisashi Iwakuma, RP, SEA 39
5. Justin Ruggiano, OF, MIA 27

Rajai Davis , OF, TOR
Jump in Ownership: Six percent (from 35 percent to 41)
Reason for the jump: Davis has been running wild on the base paths. He is now tied with Mike Trout for the MLB lead in steals, with 39.
Why you should join the crowd: Davis' steals are not a fluke. In the last four seasons -- including this one -- he has averaged 41 steals per season. He has also hit for a decent average (.273) in that timeframe, and has a career-high six home runs so far this year.
Devil's Advocate: The Blue Jays -- even after the deadline trade of Travis Snider to the Pirates and Eric Thames to the Mariners -- still have plenty of outfield options. What's scary about this -- at least as far as Davis is concerned -- is that it might be easy for the Blue Jays to spend September giving its younger players (Moises Sierra, Anthony Gose) some time in the outfield, which could have a negative impact on Davis' at-bats.

(Still) Got Melky?
Useful players owned in fewer leagues than Melky Cabrera (59%)
Player % owned
1. Brett Anderson, SP, OAK 57
2. Ross Detwiler, SP, WAS 55
3. Greg Holland, RP, KC 55
4. Russell Martin, C, NYY 53
5. Carlos Marmol, RP, CHC 51

Grant Balfour , RP, OAK
Jump in Ownership: 15 percent (from 32 percent to 47)
Reason for the jump: Balfour has pretty much pushed Ryan Cook out of the way and regained his closer role.
Why you should join the crowd: Look, any closer is a good thing to have this late in the season, especially in Roto leagues, where every save counts. But Balfour has been amazingly effective lately -- since July 1, he has a 0.48 ERA, with 19 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. His last five appearances have all resulted in saves, and he hasn't given up a hit or walked a batter since being handed back the closer's role. Over the last 14 days, Balfour is seventh in points leagues among closers.
Devil's Advocate: Balfour had us convinced earlier this year that he could pitch at this level; from March 28 to April 28, he had a 1.38 ERA and six saves. Also complicating things? The presence of Ryan Cook. For as well as Balfour has been pitching lately, there's still a chance --albeit, a slim one -- that the A's mix in Cook, who has a 2.58 ERA, for a save here or there.

Backstop help
The most-added catchers
Player Percentage increase
1. Wilin Rosario, COL 7
2. John Jaso, SEA 7
3. Ryan Doumit, MIN 4
4. Josh Donaldson, OAK 2
5. Eric Kratz, PHI 1

Billy Hamilton , SS, CIN
Jump in Ownership: Four percent (from 21 percent to 25)
Reason for the jump: Hamilton, currently playing in Double-A, has set the record for most steals in one season, with 148.
Why you should join the crowd: There's no guarantee this will happen, but there is a theory that my colleague, Al Melchior, has presented a few times, where Hamilton could get a September call-up to Cincinnati and serve as mainly a pinch runner (like the Mariners did with a young Chone Figgins). Hamilton could cause a lot of havoc in this role: if he pinch runs 15 times, he could steal 12-15 bases. at the very least, he's a great keeper candidate for dynasty leaguers looking ahead to the future.
Devil's Advocate: There's always a chance that Hamilton could not get called up.

Erik Kratz , C, PHI
Jump in Ownership: One percent (from 5 percent to 6)
Reason for the jump: Kratz is starting for the Phillies in place of the injured Carlos Ruiz.
Why you should join the crowd: Kratz is quietly putting up a really impressive season. Of catchers with 50 or more at-bats, Kratz has the highest OPS (1.091). In his 65 at-bats, he has seven doubles, seven home runs, and a .292 average. He's also scored 10 runs and driven in 16. In 11 minor league seasons, Kratz has five seasons of double-digit home runs (but he did this having reached 400 at-bats just once). And Ruiz, according to the original timetable for his plantar fasciitis, should be sidelined for at least another three weeks.
Devil's Advocate: Kratz has never had a season with an OPS higher than .892. While he has shown flashes of power, his career minor league average is just .258. However, his average has risen in the past four seasons. All of this, however, may be moot once Ruiz comes back-- the catcher took batting practice this week and said he was close to being ready to return.

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
Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon dealing with an illness
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:07 am ET) Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable Friday night against the Braves due to an illness, reports MLB.com.

Papelbon, who said earlier this week he would be disappointed if the Phillies continue to lose and don't trade him to a contender, has struck out six and allowed only one baserunner over 6 1/3 scoreless frames to start the season. He has converted all three of his save chances and holds a 1.15 FIP.


A's unable to cash in on seven scoreless innings from Scott Kazmir
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:15 am ET) Athletics starting pitcher Scott Kazmir tossed seven scoreless innings Friday against the Astros. However, he did not factor into the decision, as the game went to extra innings.

Kazmir was involved in quite the pitcher's duel with Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. While Kazmir went seven scoreless innings, Keuchel threw nine scoreless innings. Kazmir allowed five hits and three walks, while striking out seven.

The veteran left-hander lowered his ERA from 1.33 to 0.99. His next scheduled start is for Thursday against the Angels.


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by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:10 am ET) Astros reliever Chad Qualls earned his second save of the season during Friday's 5-4 win in 11 innings at Oakland, after closer Luke Gregerson and reliever Pat Neshek both struggled to close out the win.

Gregerson blew his first save of the season in the 10th inning, allowing Oakland to tie the game at 2. Neshek then came on to open the bottom of the 11th inning, but he was gone after allowing two runs on three hits in two-thirds inning. 

Astros manager A.J. Hinch brought on Tony Sipp to face Sam Fuld for the final out, but Sipp walked Fuld to put two runners on base. Hinch then called on Qualls, who retired Brett Lawrie on a fly out to deep center to end the rally.


Astros' Gregerson earns first win after suffering first blown save
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:57 am ET) Astros closer Luke Gregerson earned his first relief win of the season Friday against the A's.

The right-hander entered the game in the bottom of the 10th inning, with Houston ahead 2-0. Unfortunately, he could not hold the lead, as he allowed Oakland to tie the game on a two-out, two-RBI double by Josh Reddick.

He was charged with two runs on three hits and no walks, while striking out one in one inning of work. He suffered his first blown save Friday.

Gregerson (1-0) picked up the win as Houston won the game, 5-4, in the 11th inning. Friday was the first time all season Gregerson allowed a run. He had opened the season with seven scoreless innings.


Astros' Dallas Keuchel throws nine scoreless innings in no-decision
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:51 am ET) Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel tossed nine scoreless innings Friday against the A's. Unfortunately, he did not get the win, as Friday's game was scoreless after nine innings and wasn't decided until the 11th inning.

Keuchel allowed just two hits -- both singles in the third inning. He also walked two and struck out four.

The left-hander, who is 2-0, has now allowed zero runs in three of four starts. He has a 0.62 ERA.

Keuchel will be back on the mound Wednesday at San Diego.


Dodgers reliever Yimi Garcia picks up first save of season
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(1:45 am ET) Dodgers reliever Yimi Garcia (S, 1) tossed a perfect ninth inning against the Padres on Friday to earn his first save of the season.

Garcia struck out two of the three batters he faced.

Garcia has now allowed just one run in 9 2/3 innings (0.93 ERA) this season.

Padres' Andrew Cashner tosses seven strong innings but takes loss
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(1:36 am ET) Padres starter Andrew Cashner (1-3) gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings on Friday but suffered the loss against the Dodgers.

Cashner gave up a home run to Carl Crawford, the left fielder's first of the season.

Cashner struck out six and walked one in the defeat.

Cashner's next start is scheduled for Wednesday against the Astros.

Dodgers SP Zack Greinke moves to 3-0 with seven shutout innings
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Greinke lowered his ERA to 1.35 following Friday's performance.

Greinke will look to stay perfect in his next start set for Wednesday against the Giants.

Indians' Nick Swisher totals three hits in first rehab game
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(1:31 am ET) Indians first baseman/outfielder Nick Swisher (knees) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Friday. Swisher had a pretty good game, going 3 for 5 with two runs and one RBI. He also struck out twice.

Swisher is expected to stay with Columbus through the weekend before the Indians re-evaluated his status early next week.


Nationals' Rendon doubles as he begins rehab assignment Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (knee) began a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg on Friday. He went 1 for 2 with one double before being lifted from the game.

Rendon is expected to play at least five days on a rehab assignment.


 
 
 
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