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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
Red Sox's Wade Miley tosses eight one-run innings in win Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:59 pm ET) Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley earned a win on Sunday, giving up one earned run on just four hits and one walk in eight innings while striking out two in his team's 6-1 victory over the Angels.

Miley (4-4) needed just 97 pitches to complete eight innings, limiting the Angels to just an RBI double in the sixth. He's managed three straight quality starts after an up-and-down April.

Miley owns a 4.47 ERA and 31:18 K:BB ratio in 50 1/3 innings. His next start will come Friday against the Rangers on the road.


Mariners reliever Carson Smith earning role as setup man
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
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Smith was called upon Friday and Saturday in the eighth inning to setup for closer Fernando Rodney. He did not allow a run in either inning, lowering his ERA to 0.90 in 20 innings of work.

"He's done a tremendous job for us," manager Lloyd McClendon said, "but we've got to be careful. We've got to be sure we don't overuse him, but he's got a bright future. That sinker is special.

"He's got a nice slider. More than anything, he's got great makeup. I think he's built for it."


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by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:55 pm ET) Angels pitcher Hector Santiago took the loss on Sunday, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings while striking out six in his team's 6-1 defeat against the Red Sox.

Santiago (3-3) threw a whopping 124 pitches in the outing. He gave up a two-run home run in the second inning but limited the Red Sox to just an RBI sacrifice fly before his exit to earn a quality start.

Santiago owns a 2.47 ERA and 50:22 K:BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings. He's scheduled to face the Tigers on Friday.


Braves' Jason Grilli strikes out three, earns 13th save
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:51 pm ET) Braves closer Jason Grilli pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Sunday to earn his 13th save in his team's 2-1 win over the Brewers.

Grilli struck out the first two batters he faced before issuing a walk, but he was able to strike out one more batter to slam the door on his team's win. He's rattled off three straight scoreless outings, but Sunday's three-strikeout game was his first since April 13. Grilli owns a 4.11 ERA and 23:7 K:BB ratio in 15 1/3 innings.


Royals catcher Salvador Perez dealing with leg injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:46 pm ET) Royals catcher Salvador Perez has been playing through an apparent leg injury for some time, manager Ned Yost said on Sunday per FOX Sports Kansas City.

Yost called it a slight groin injury, while Perez described it as a tight left hamstring. He was given the final inning of Sunday's game off as a precaution. He went 1 for 3 with an RBI in the game and is now hitting .306 with 24 RBI on the season.


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by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:45 pm ET) Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz earned a win on Sunday, allowing one earned run on just three hits and one walk while striking out seven in his team's 2-1 victory over the Brewers.

Foltynewicz (3-1) delivered the best start of his young career on Sunday, limiting the damage to a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. It was his fourth straight start with seven strikeouts and his second straight outing with only one free pass.

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by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:40 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson took a loss on Sunday, allowing two earned runs on five hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings while striking out four in his team's 2-1 defeat against the Braves.

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(5:40 pm ET) Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields appears to be locked into his position, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

DeShields was rumored to be moving to the infield to play second base, but manager Jeff Banister said Sunday he will remain in the outfield and likely platoon in center with Leonys Martin.

DeShields played second base in the minors for three seasons, but hasn't done so since 2013. He is hitting .271 with 10 RBI in 70 at-bats this season.


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"Had to give him the ball and hopefully give him a chance to get his feet on the ground and get a good inning," manager Mike Scioscia said to the Orange County Register. "The stuff looked good but he couldn't command it enough to be effective."


Mets recall Danny Muno, option Johnny Monell
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(5:30 pm ET) The Mets recalled infielder Danny Muno from Triple-A Las Vegas after Sunday's game and optioned catcher Johnny Monell to the same club.

Muno, who went 1 for 6 in four games with the Mets in April, has hit .280/.354/.400 with one home run, 12 RBI and three stolen bases in 100 at-bats with Las Vegas. Monell was 1 for 16 with a double in his stint with the Mets and returns to a .397/.455/.638 line with four home runs and 15 RBI in 58 at-bats with Las Vegas.


 
 
 
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