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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
Bud Norris remains without update for contract extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:24 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris said Saturday nothing has changed between he and the organization for a new contract.

"I haven't heard anything of that," Norris said. "I don't see a reason why I'd want to leave, but that's out of my control."

Norris and the Orioles are preparing for arbitration, when Norris filed for $10.25 million and Baltimore offered $7.5 million. He went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 139:52 K:BB ratio in 165 1/3 innings over 28 starts in 2014.


Orioles' Chris Davis calls using Adderall in 2013 'a moment of weakness'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:56 am ET) Orioles first baseman Chris Davis told reporters Saturday he was denied an exemption for Adderall in 2013 but he took it anyway.

"It was a moment of weakness," Davis said. He was diagnosed with ADD in 2008 and it isn't a performance enhancer for someone who needs it for medical reasons, according to Davis.

"For me, it was off the field, just an everyday life thing," he said. "I was a little overwhelmed, just kind of with everything that was going on with the (oblique) injury. There were a lot of different things that were taking my focus away from baseball. It was a mistake that I wish I could undo, but I can't, so I've just got to move forward."

Davis has one game remaining on his 25-game suspension for amphetamines, which he test posted for in September last year. He finished with a .196 batting average with 26 home runs and 72 RBI.


Report: David Aardsma to throw bullpen next week for teams
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) Free-agent pitcher David Aardsma will throw a bullpen session for interested teams next week, according to his agent, Jamie Murphy.

"(Aardsma) is looking to showcase added velocity after a change in mechanics and an extremely intense offseason workout regimen," Murphy told FoxSports.com senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal.

Aardsma missed the entire 2014 season after suffering a torn adductor muscle. He was last with the Mets in 2013 when he posted a 2-2 record with a 4.31 ERA and 36 strikeouts.


Orioles' Jonathan Schoop trying to cut weight for upcoming season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:37 am ET) Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop wants to raise the level of his game for the 2015 season. The 22-year-old is hoping to be more mentally and physically prepared for the grind of the 162-game season.

"My weight is lower than last year. I want to have more range and be faster. Trying to steal some more bases and be faster for the team on the bases to help put more pressure on the defense." Schoop said. "I learned a lot from my teammates. They helped me a lot. One year of experience. I'm better than last year. Mentally and physically, everything. My ups and downs helped me a lot to know myself better too."

Schoop, who hit .209 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI in 2014, is also taking more advice from his teammates about his approach at the plate.

"Be patient. Don't chase too many pitches. Let them throw strikes and swing at strikes. Just have to work on getting better pitches to hit. See how they pitch you. If I can do that, I'll be better," he said. "I worked on everything (this winter). I want to get faster. You have to work on all of it, speed, defense. I want to be a better player than last year."


Twins' Byron Buxton named No. 1 prospect by MLB.com
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:00 am ET) Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was named the top prospect in baseball by MLB.com Friday.

Buxton played just 31 games in 2014 due to wrist and concussion issues and finished with a .240/.313/.405 line along with four home runs, 16 RBI and six stolen bases in 121 at-bats with high Class A Fort Myers. He also went 0 for 3 at the Double-A level. Buxton is making his second straight appearance atop MLB.com's top prospect list.

The rest of MLB.com's top-five prospects (in order) are Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, Astros shotstop Carlos Correa, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. None of the quartet appeared in the top five of last year's MLB.com prospect list, though all four cracked the top 12.


Red Sox designate Drake Britton for assignment
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Red Sox designated pitcher Drake Britton for assignment Friday, clearing a roster spot for pitcher Alexi Ogando.

Britton appeared in seven games with the Red Sox in 2014, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out four batters and walking two. He posted a 5.86 ERA and 37:38 K:BB ratio in 58 1/3 innings with Triple-A Pawtucket.


Peter Moylan 'doing fantastic' in return from Tommy John
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Free-agent pitcher Peter Moylan indicated Friday that he's "doing fantastic" in his return from his second Tommy John surgery, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"I’m doing fantastic, mate. Dropped 35 pounds," Moylan said. “My goal is to be 100 percent by end of spring. Ball is coming out great, though. Probably have to throw for some teams right around the start of spring to gauge interest, but there have already been some nibbles, which is encouraging."

Moylan underwent the procedure last March after receiving a non-roster invitation from the Astros. He's throwing from about 70 percent strength off a mound and in the process of deciding whether to sign a a deal in the near future or after the season begins. He hopes to resume pitching in the big leagues by midseason at the earliest.

Moylan has made 309 appearances since debuting in 2006, compiling a 21-9 record, 2.80 ERA and 213:121 K:BB ratio in 276 innings.


Braves' Shelby Miller: Sinker is 'going to take me to the next level'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller had an up-and-down season with the Cardinals in 2014. He began the season by going 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA before going 2-7 with a 5.11 ERA over his next 16 appearances (15 starts).

Miller, however, was able to finish the season on a high note, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and .190 opponents' batting average over his final seven starts. Miller attributes his success down the stretch to incorporating a sinker into his repertoire, per FOX Sports South.

"I said I'm going to throw some of these, and we'll see where it's at," Miller said of a conversation he had with catcher A.J. Pierzynski before an Aug. 23 start against the Phillies. "It felt good so we just went with it. I started throwing it literally within three days. It's a good pitch that I picked up quick.

"I still need a lot of work with it. I need a lot of work with all my pitches. There's all sorts of ways to get better. But I think that's definitely a pitch that will help me be more efficient and take me deeper into games. That's [the sinker] going to be a huge pitch for me this year that's ultimately going to take me to the next level. Not only that but kind of mixing it all together, becoming more of a complete pitcher more than a thrower."

Miller added he will also begin to work more on his changeup, which he threw just 2.2 percent of the time in 2014, per FanGraphs.com.

"I know [Braves pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] has been known for changeups," Miller said. "A lot of great pitchers have come through this organization, [and] that's a pitch I would love to pick up. I want to be able to throw it more consistently, [and] have a little bit more confidence in it."


Scott Baker agrees to minor-league deal with Yankees
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Yankees agreed to a minor-league deal with pitcher Scott Baker, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. If Baker makes the major-league roster, he will be paid $1.5 million.

Baker made 25 appearances (eight starts) for the Rangers in 2014, going 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA. He had 55 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.


Rockies designate Jayson Aquino for assignment
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) After completing a two-team trade Friday, the Rockies decided to designate Jayson Aquino for assignment, the team announced.

Aquino spent 2014 bouncing around the minor league, pitching in 18 games with a 5.13 ERA in 107 innings pitched. He went 5-10 with 83 strikeouts in stints with both Double-A Tulsa and Class A Modesto.


 
 
 
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