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Setting the Trends: Never too late to tinker

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Lost in all the hullabaloo surrounding the Red Sox/Dodgers blockbuster trade? The fate of Boston's Fantasy Football league.

Most Added Players (as of 8/29)
Player % increase
1. Brett Anderson, SP, Athletics 39
2. David Phelps, SP, Yankees 25
3. Pedro Ciriaco, SS, Red Sox 24
4. Kris Medlen, RP, Braves 20
5. Kyle Kendrick, SP, Phillies 18
6. Coco Crisp, OF, Athletics 15
7. Bronson Arroyo, SP, Reds 14
8. Grant Balfour, RP, Athletics 13
9. Tyler Skaggs, SP, Diamondbacks 13
10. David Murphy, OF, Rangers 12

Outfielder Cody Ross gave a peek inside the team's Fantasy machinations in a diary ("weblog"?) he writes for ESPN Boston. It's a minor note at the very end of an insightful recounting of the mega-deal. Ross is a co-owner of a still-unnamed team with Jacoby Ellsbury. The duo had the first pick in the Red Sox league and planned on picking a running back, until the trade struck. "We have to re-pick the draft order, which I'm pretty upset about," Ross writes, "because four teams are gone now with the trade."

So now Cody Ross -- as pleasant a surprise as any in Fantasy this year -- gets to feel, in a very roundabout manner, the frustrations of having Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford anywhere near your Fantasy teams.

On to the Roster Trends!

Most Added Highlights

David Phelps, SP, Yankees
Jump in Ownership: 25 percent (from 13 percent to 38)
Reason for the jump: With Ivan Nova being placed on the DL, Phelps is now a member of the Yankees' rotation.
Why you should join the crowd: In 70 innings pitched this season, Phelps is 3-4 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Since re-joining the rotation, things have been a little bumpy -- he has a 4.50 ERA in his last three starts, but has been killed by home runs, giving up four in that span. His 1.11 WHIP over the three starts is what makes him attractive -- he's not putting a lot of batters on base, he's just giving up untimely home runs. Need a more silver lining? Phelps has pitched all three games in Yankee Stadium, against the Rangers, Red Sox and Blue Jays, who all land in the top nine in home runs this season. But Yankee Stadium is especially kind to left-handed batters, and the home runs were given up to David Murphy (lefty), Adrian Gonzalez (lefty), Yorvit Torrealba (righty--but his shot went opposite field and registered as the fifth-shortest of the year in the Stadium, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker tool) and Adam Lind (lefty). It's not that Phelps is going to pitch to righty-only lineups on the road this year, but he has been hit with some harsh luck in the small sample size, and should be able to bring his ERA down to a level that better matches his WHIP.
Devil's Advocate: First and foremost, Phelps could lose his spot when Nova returns from the DL. Or, for that matter, when Andy Pettitte (remember him?) returns from his DL stint. There's also a chance that home runs continue to haunt Phelps, especially at home, although his minor league numbers (0.5 HR/9 rate) don't suggest them being a huge problem.

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, Orioles 48
2. Tyler Colvin, OF, Rockies 43
3. Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers 41
4. Brandon Belt, OF, Giants 38
5. Tyler Skaggs, SP, Diamondbacks 37

Tyler Skaggs, SP, Diamondbacks
Jump in Ownership: 13 percent (from 24 percent to 37)
Reason for the jump: Skaggs, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, is 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.22 WHIP through two starts with Arizona.
Why you should join the crowd: Outside of Skaggs having the skill to succeed (2.98 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 9.9 K/9 in 389 minor league innings), Skaggs has a couple circumstantial elements that work in his favor. First, a spot in the Arizona rotation was opened up when the Diamondbacks shipped Joe Saunders to Baltimore in a trade earlier this week. Second, Skaggs only has 134 2/3 innings pitched this season, so he's probably not going to be shut down and has a fresher arm than other in-season minor league call-ups (Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin, and Mike Fiers are all 15-20 innings ahead of Skaggs).
Devil's Advocate: Skaggs has just two major league starts under his belt and while fellow prospect Trevor Bauer pitched poorly through a groin injury when he was called up, he's been on fire again recently in the minors and could get a start or two before the season is over. It's doubtful that he supplants Skaggs -- it's only questionable that he gets recalled -- but it's something to keep in mind when adding Skaggs to your Fantasy team.

5-4-3-2-1
Useful players owned in 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 percent of leagues
Player % owned
1. Justin Germano, RP, Cubs 5
2. Nate McLouth, OF, Orioles 4
3. Jeff Mathis, C, Blue Jays 3
4. Logan Forsythe, 3B, Padres 2
5. Sam Fuld, OF, Rays 1

Josh Beckett, SP, Dodgers
Jump in Ownership: 11 percent (from 75 percent to 86)
Reason for the jump: Beckett has been freed from the dysfunction of the Red Sox (as well as having to face a DH three to four times a game), landing in sunny California with the Dodgers.
Why you should join the crowd: Because there's always a chance that Beckett pulls an A.J. Burnett, turning a nightmare season in the American League East into a stunning turnaround in the National League. Beckett has the tools to do just that: he's turned in a sub-3.50 ERA four times since 2002, with a sub-1.25 WHIP six times. He has a career K/9 of 8.4, and he has finished in the top five of K/BB three times. He didn't exactly wow in his first start with Los Angeles, but he was just one out away from a quality start, which would have been his 11th out of 20 starts this season, and -- of course -- he made his Dodgers debut in Colorado, not the friendliest of ballparks for pitchers.
Devil's Advocate: You don't have to look much deeper than Beckett's 2012 stint in Boston to see how low he can go: A 5-11 record with a 5.23 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. And a career-low in strikeout rate.

Kicked to the curb
The most-dropped non-injured, non-suspended hitters
Player Percentage decrease
1. Chris Johnson, 3B, Diamondbacks -8
2. Daniel Murphy, 1B, Mets -8
3. Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays -5
4. Trevor Plouffe, SS, Twins -5
5. Eric Chavez, 3B, Yankees -5

Casey Kelly, SP, Padres
Jump in Ownership: Eight percent (from seven percent to 15)
Reason for the jump: Kelly, one of the players included in the trade that brought Adrian Gonzalez to Boston, had a solid debut on Monday, pitching six shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out four.
Why you should join the crowd: After being converted to a pitcher in 2009, Kelly put up impressive overall numbers in the minors, with a 3.77 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. This includes a 5.31 ERA in New Hampshire in 2010 -- his first full year as a pitcher. Assuming he sticks in the rotation (Andrew Cashner and Anthony Bass are making their final rehab starts this weekend), he'll pitch the majority of his games from here forward in spacious PETCO Park.
Devil's Advocate: The rotation squeeze is going to have at least two victims from a group that includes Kelly, Cashner, Bass, Andrew Werner, and Eric Stults. There hasn't been much indication on who the odd men out will be.

Mauro Gomez, 1B, Red Sox
Jump in Ownership: Five percent (from zero percent to 5)
Reason for the jump: Gomez is getting increased at-bats thanks to the Achilles injury suffered by David Ortiz and the trade of Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers.
Why you should join the crowd: Oh, hey, no big deal ... he's just this year's International League MVP. But if you need more on the slugger, Gomez showed a lot of power in the minor leagues, hitting 20 or more home runs four separate times since 2007. So far this year he's batting .292 with four doubles and a home run in 14 games. Since his recall on August 23, Gomez has started in five straight games (three at first base, two at DH), and has scored five runs.
Devil's Advocate: Gomez is 27 and had toiled in the minor league systems of the Rangers, Braves and Red Sox for nine seasons before making his major league debut this year. To go along with his four seasons of 20-plus home runs, Gomez has four seasons of 100-plus strikeouts. But his batting average has been steadily rising over the last three years (from .281 in 2010 to .301 in 2012), and he managed to mix in six steals last year as well.

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
Tigers' Kyle Ryan, Bryan Holaday join active roster Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:30 pm ET) The Tigers have recalled left-hander Kyle Ryan and catcher Bryan Holaday from Triple-A Toledo

Ryan has made 10 appearances with the Tigers this year, including five starts. Things have not gone well for him however, as he is 1-2 with a 5.94 ERA over those 10 outings.

Holaday will provide depth behind the plate for manager Brad Ausmus. He went 13 for 48 with a home run in 16 games with the Tigers earlier this season. 


Indians activate Floyd, Johnson from DL; recall Armstrong
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:26 pm ET) The Indians announced a series of roster moves on Tuesday. The Indians activated right-hander Gavin Floyd and infielder Chris Johnson from the disabled list. They also recalled Shawn Armstrong from Triple-A Columbus.

Floyd has not pitched this season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. He was expected to miss the entire 2015 campaign but his recovery went better than originally thought.

Johnson, who came over from the Braves in a waiver deal earlier this month, was placed on the DL back on Aug. 18 with an infection stemming from a spider bite. He was 9 for 21 in six games with the Indians prior to the injury.

Armstrong was up earlier this year with the Indians, pitching 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. 


Diamondbacks add three players to active roster on Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:19 pm ET) The Diamondbacks announced the recall of a trio of players on Tuesday. Right-handers Enrique Burgos and Matt Stites , as well as infielder Brandon Drury have all been summoned from Triple-A Reno.

Burgos and Stites have both seen time with the D-Backs this season. Drury, however, has yet to get a taste of the big leagues. The 21-year-old was a 13th-round draft pick by the Braves back in 2010.

He is making his Major League debut on Tuesday, as he is the starting third baseman for Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Rockies.


Braves to promote Hector Olivera on Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:15 pm ET) The Braves are expected to call up Cuban prospect Hector Olivera on Tuesday, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Olivera, who came over from the Dodgers at the July 31 trade deadline, has been dealing with a hamstring injury for much of the season.

But he appears to be over the injury, and is primed to make his big-league debut for the Braves. Olivera will likely be the Braves' regular third baseman for much of the final month of the season.

The team has not officially announced the callup.


Brewers promote Zach Davies to start Wednesday's game
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:12 pm ET) The Brewers have recalled right-hander Zach Davies from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Davies, who was acquired from the Orioles in the Gerardo Parra deal, will start Wednesday's game against the Pirates, making his Major League debut.

Davies was drafted by the Orioles in 2011 as a 26th-rounder. This season, the righty went 6-8 with a 3.30 ERA in 24 appearances (23 starts) across the Orioles' and Brewers' Triple-A squads.


Dodgers get OF Chris Heisey back from Blue Jays in trade
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:37 am ET) The Dodgers announced that they have re-acquired outfielder Chris Heisey . Heisey began the year with the Dodgers after coming over in an offseason trade with the Reds.

But he struggled mightily, going 4 for 26 in 17 games with the Dodgers. He was released by the Dodgers at the beginning of August and latched on with the Blue Jays via a minor-league contract a week later. He did not make a big-league appearance for the Jays.

The Blue Jays will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations in exchange for the 30-year-old Heisey.


Slumping Adrian Gonzalez the walk-off hero for Dodgers Monday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:22 am ET) Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez enjoyed a good night at the plate on Monday, as he went 2 for 7 with with three RBI in the 5-4 extra-innings victory over the Giants. 

Gonzalez blasted a two-run home run--his 25th of the season--in the sixth inning. Then, with the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 14th, he singled in A.J. Ellis to seal the walk-off win. 

The home run was Gonzalez's first since Aug. 15, and he is batting just .231 (9 for 39) with eight strikeouts and no walks over his last 10 games.


Phillies recall C Erik Kratz and two pitchers on Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:52 am ET) The Phillies added three players to their active roster with Tuesday's roster expansion. Right-handers Dalier Hinojosa and Colton Murray , along with catcher Erik Kratz , were recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Matt Moore, four others recalled by Rays on Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:43 am ET) The Rays have recalled left-hander Matt Moore and four others from Triple-A Durham on Tuesday. Moore, who missed the first three months of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, made six starts for the Rays earlier this season.

Moore struggled when he came off of the DL in early July. In the six starts, he allowed a total of 26 earned runs in 26 2/3 innings, leading to an 8.78 ERA. He has fared much better in five starts with Durham, going 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings. He also posted a 43:8 K:BB ratio, which includes a 16-strikeout outing two starts ago.

In addition to Moore, the Rays also summoned Mikie Mahtook , C.J. Riefenhauser , Richie Shaffer and Kirby Yates from Triple-A.


Dodgers' Brett Anderson escapes with no-decision on Monday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:31 am ET) Dodgers starter Brett Anderson pitched decent on Monday, but was left with a no-decision in the extra-innings win over the Giants. The left-hander allowed three runs on six hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out one, in the 5-4 victory.

All three runs Anderson gave up came in the third inning, after the Dodgers had given him an early 1-0 lead. Anderson left the game with the Dodgers trailing 3-1, but the team rallied twice, en route to the win.

Anderson went 3-2 with a 4.41 ERA in six August starts, though only one of them was truly a bad outing--he allowed seven runs on 10 hits in five innings back on Aug. 10. Aside from that, Anderson allowed three runs or less in each of his August outings.


 
 
 
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