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Setting the Trends: Ride out Oriole fever!

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Fantasy world seems to be in love with Jurickson Profar this week, adding him in 11 percent of leagues, but this seems like a mass movement that is going to end with plenty of disappointed owners.

The Rangers have plans to only give Profar spot duty -- manager Ron Washington made this clear before Profar was even called up -- and have plenty of depth elsewhere, even if disaster strikes and Elvis Andrus goes down with an injury.

Consider a scenario where Andrus -- who had a rest day on Thursday, but revealed that he had some trainer time on the side -- had to sit for 15 days. Michael Young would be moved to shortstop, and a string of players, including Mike Olt, Brandon Snyder, Geovany Soto (when Mike Napoli is healthy again), and Profar would likely rotate in.

Thanks to an influx of talented prospects making a splash earlier this season -- Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are just two examples -- Fantasy players may have gotten used to grabbing any big name that gets called up. But Profar's situation is different; he has no path to playing time, and it would take two injuries, at least, for him to find his way into a regular role with some Fantasy value.

Most Added Players (as of 9/7)
Player % increase
1. Zach Britton, SP, Orioles 22
2. Mark Reynolds, 3B, Orioles 18
3. Kyle Kendrick, SP, Phillies 17
4. Eric Stults, RP, Padres 15
5. Tyler Colvin, OF, Rockies 14
6. Delmon Young, OF, Tigers 12
7. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers 11
8. Marco Estrada, SP, Brewers 11
9. Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers 9
10. A.J. Griffin, SP, Athletics 8

Most Added Highlights

Mark Reynolds, 3B, Orioles
Jump in ownership: 18 percent (from 47 percent to 65)
Reason for the jump: From Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, Reynolds has hit .423 with eight home runs and 16 RBI. In that span, he has a 1.846 OPS
Why you should join the crowd: Over the past three seasons, Reynolds has averaged 38 home runs. Yes, he strikes out a ton, and, yes, his average hasn't been anywhere near .260 since 2009, but he can hit home runs, and he can hit them in bunches. On the morning of August 31, Reynolds had 12 home runs. Just over a week later, he has 20. And, most impressively, he hasn't hit his home runs off a bunch of September call-ups -- his last eight home runs have come off Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Casey Janssen, Carlos Villanueva, Phil Hughes (twice), Hiroki Kuroda and Derek Lowe. He's been feasting on a group of recognizable names, who -- if they aren't the most solid assemblage of pitchers -- at least compose a respectable group.Imagine what he can do in the coming weeks, when the quality of pitcher he faces just naturally gets a little worse.
Devil's Advocate: Over the next two weeks, Reynolds goes up against the A's and Mariners in two daunting ballparks -- O.co Coliseum and SAFECO Field. The parks could conspire to slow down his home run assault, as he has just three home runs in 59 total at-bats over his career in the stadiums.
But ...: You probably would be well-served to jump on board the Reynolds bandwagon while he's still hot. There's a chance he'll cool down soon, but there's also a decent chance he could stay locked in for the rest of the season.Owned in just 65 percent of leagues, there are some scenarios where Reynolds can still be scooped up by an attentive owner.

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. Miguel Gonzalez, RP, Orioles 41
2. Rajai Davis, OF, Blue Jays 38
3. Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics 32
4. Justin Ruggiano, OF, Marlins 29
5. Andrew Cashner, RP, Padres 29

Delmon Young, OF, Tigers
Jump in ownership: 12 percent (from 47 percent to 59)
Reason for the jump: Since Aug. 1, Young is batting .321, with six home runs, 20 RBI and a .933 OPS.
Why you should join the crowd: If this Delmon Young late-season surge seems familiar to you, it's because it happened last year. The No. 1 overall pick in 2003, Young hit 10 home runs over the last two months in 2011, with 37 RBI and 30 runs scored. For his career, Young tends to flex some power in the final two months. His 21 home runs in August and 20 home runs in September represent the two highest monthly totals for his career.
Devil's Advocate: For as hot as Young has been, over the past 28 days he's only the 25th-ranked outfielder in points leagues. Carlos Gomez has hit more home runs over that span, Alex Gordon has driven in more runs, and Howard Kendrick has a better batting average. Young doesn't bring much speed to the table, either. He's a nice pick-up in deeper leagues, or for teams that want to play it safe in first place. He also has an undeniable history of getting hot late. But his stats seem just slightly low enough to avoid the full embrace.

Waiting on a friend
The most-owned injured players
Player Percent owned
1. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies 97
2. David Ortiz, Red Sox 90
3. Mike Napoli, C, Rangers 85
4. Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays 80
5. Michael Cuddyer, OF, Rockies 76

Brandon League, Dodgers
Jump in ownership: Five percent (from 23 percent to 28)
Reason for the jump: With Kenley Jansen out, League stands to gain some save chances as the (possible) new closer for the Dodgers.
Why you should join the crowd: First and foremost, League already has one save for Los Angeles. But the 2011 All-Star had 54 career saves before his first with the Dodgers, and has already struck out 19 batters in 15 innings since joining the team. It would seem logical in the absence of Jansen for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly to go with the player acquired in the deadline deal who has 55 career saves ahead of Ronald Belisario, who also has had a save in Jansen's absence, but had just two previous saves in his career. And, for what it's worth, League had the more recent save.
Devil's Advocate: Mattingly could always just opt to go with Belisario, who has a better ERA (2.54 vs 3.62), lower WHIP (1.02 vs 1.48) and a better strikeout rate on the season.

Almost there
The most-owned minor leaguers
Player Percent owned
1. Trevor Bauer, SP, D-Backs 39
2. Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics 33
3. Wil Myers, OF, Royals 33
4. Dan Straily, SP, Athletics 28
5. Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds 25

Adam Eaton, OF, Diamondbacks
Jump in ownership: Five percent (from three percent to eight)
Reason for the jump: Eaton was recalled by the Diamondbacks after hitting .375 with seven home runs, 47 doubles, 44 steals and 130 runs scored in the minor leagues this season.
Why you should join the crowd: With Chris Young sidelined, Eaton has started two consecutive games in center field, batting .364 with a double. As long as Young is out, it looks like the job is Eaton's. And with Arizona six-and- a-half games out of the second wild card spot, they can afford to try out a sparkplug in center to see if he's ready for a regular spot next year. Even without the "let's see what he can do" argument, it might benefit the Diamondbacks to keep Eaton in the lineup, as he's arguably an upgrade over Young, who is having a nightmare season, hitting just .226 with 14 home runs and eight steals. Given regular playing time, Eaton could be a sneaky source of steals over the last few weeks of the season.
Devil's Advocate: There's always a chance that the Diamondbacks could go back to Young and just give Eaton spot duty the rest of season, as Young did average 23.5 home runs and 25 steals over the previous two seasons.
So what do you do?: I'm picking up Eaton, just on the outside chance that he sticks as the everyday centerfielder. At this point in the season, we're talking about a likely bench spot. If Eaton snags the job, he becomes a possible Fantasy starter and is a boon to a playoff lineup; if he doesn't, you've lost negligible bench depth at a time where maybe 1/4 of your league is actually paying attention.

Zach Britton, SP, Orioles
Jump in ownership: 22 percent (from 17 percent to 39)
Reason for the jump: Over his last four games, Britton is 4-0, with a 0.94 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings pitched.
Why you should join the crowd: You can't really argue with a sub-1.00 ERA.
Devil's Advocate: We've been teased by young Baltimore pitchers before (see Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman), and have actually seen Britton himself go from "brilliant" to "meh" last year, when he had a 2.93 ERA at he end of May, but finished July with a 4.56 ERA. He's coming back this year from a shoulder injury suffered in March and before this brilliant run of games, Britton had a 4.12 ERA in the minors over 11 starts and an 8.10 ERA in his first five major league games in July and early August.
Therefore, the question we must ask ourselves is: Was Britton's early ugliness related to his shoulder injury, or are his last four starts just bringing him back to where his numbers should be, eventually leading to a plateau of his ERA at around 4.10? The answer: Is within you. It always has been.
No, but really: There's a difference between trying to ride Mark Reynolds' hot streak and Britton's; namely, Reynolds has been awesome and hit a ton of home runs before. Britton is unproven and doesn't have a track record. Also, it's easier to stay in a zone when you're playing every day, as opposed to pitching every five. Given the choice between Reynolds and Britton, it might be wise to go the Reynolds route and leave the risky Britton on the wire.

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 GM Cherington: I'm not worried about Hanley Ramirez
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:08 pm ET) The left shoulder of his left fielder is an issue, but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is claiming he's unconcerned.

"None, really," he told the Boston Herald when asked about any reservations he has about struggling Hanley Ramirez. "Physically he hasn't said anything about it. He's had some days where he's swung the bat really well and has hit some balls hard. I'm not worried about Hanley. He'll get going again."

Ramirez has not driven in a run in May. He has just 11 hits in his last 51 at-bats.


Dodgers SS Jimmy Rollins returns to lineup for Friday's game
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:06 pm ET) After getting Thursday's game off to rest, Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins will be back in the lineup for Friday's game against the Padres, reports TrueBlueLA.com. 

Rollins is batting .313 with three RBI in his last nine games. Rollins will bat second and face Andrew Cashner on Friday, who he is 0 for 12 against in his career.

The Dodgers are the favorites (-190) over the Padres on Friday.


Cubs' Junior Lake gets the start in left field Friday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:04 pm ET) Cubs outfielder Junior Lake is making a rare start in left field, batting seventh on Friday against the Diamondbacks. Lake was recalled from Triple-A on Tuesday and is making just his third start of the season.

Lake is replacing Chris Coghlan, who had started each of the last five games. Coghlan is likely just receiving a day off, with no injury being reported. 


Rockies choose Hale over Bergman for 2nd game of doubleheader
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:57 pm ET) The Rockies will call up starting pitcher David Hale from Triple-A Albuquerque to start the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Giants, according to MLB.com. Christian Bergman is not available to make the start after warming up Wednesday and pitching in relief Thursday.

Hale, who last started May 17, is 0-3 with a 6.93 ERA and 2.07 WHIP in five starts for Albuquerque. He has 21 strikeouts and 13 walks in 24 2/3 innings.


Orioles INF Ryan Flaherty could begin rehab Monday or Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:47 pm ET) Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty, who's been on the disabled list since May 12 with a right groin strain, will play nine innings at extended spring training on Saturday. If all goes well after that, Flaherty will likely report to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday or Tuesday to begin his rehab assignment, according to MASNSports.com.

He's eligible to come off of the DL next week, but the team has provided a clear timetable for when Flaherty might return to the team.


Royals OF Alex Rios: I should start rehab within the week
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:41 pm ET) Ned Yost said Tuesday that Royals outfielder Alex Rios could begin a rehab assignment in 7-10 days. Now Rios is confirming, stating that it could start within the week, per MLB.com.

Rios was off to a flying start with his new team until a hand injury knocked him out for six weeks. He will return with a slash line of .321/.345/.464 and eight RBI in just 28 at-bats.


Royals SP Jason Vargas throws simulated game, could start rehab
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:38 pm ET) Royals starter Jason Vargas threw a simulated game on Friday and reported no issues, saying the session went well. The team will wait to see how he feels on Saturday before possibly sending him out on a rehab assignment, according to MLB.com.

The team did not reveal how long Vargas will need on his rehab or when they expect him back in the rotation.


Twins' Arica (hip), Fien (shoulder) to begin rehab this weekend
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:34 pm ET) A couple of injured Twins players are getting close to a return to the club.

Right-hander Casey Fien, who is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, is expected to make a rehab appearance on Saturday for Triple-A Rochester, according to MLB.com. Fien threw a bullpen session on Wednesday, and once no issues were reported, he was cleared for the rehab assignment. 

Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, who has been out of action with a hip injury, is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A on Sunday. 

The team has not revealed when they expect either player to return to the club, but as long as there are no setbacks in their rehabs, it should not be long before they are back.


Orioles C Matt Wieters on return: 'I feel pretty good to play'
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:32 pm ET) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who has been sidelined since last May after undergoing Tommy John surgery, considers a June 4 return to the team realistic. That is his first day of eligibility to come off the disabled list.

"I feel pretty good to play," he told masnsports.com. "The last few games I've gone out there and played, the feelings of being able to get back in a big league game are there. It's not quite back to where it was yet, but it feels good enough to get back playing at this level."

Wieters added that his arm strength is getting better daily.

He is set to begin his rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie on Tuesday.


Padres move Yangervis Solarte to leadoff spot for Friday's game
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:27 pm ET) Padres first baseman Yangervis Solarte was switched to the leadoff spot for Friday’s game at the Los Angeles Dodgers, reports the team's play-by-play announcer.

It is the first time this season Solarte will bat in the leadoff spot. He will go against Zack Greinke, who he is 0 for 5 against in his career. Solarte is batting .250 with two RBI in his last six games.

The Padres are the underdogs (+180) against the Dodgers on Friday.


 
 
 
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