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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
Athletics' Barry Zito gives up two runs in return
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:29 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Barry Zito allowed two runs in his return to the mound on Thursday.

Zito, who did not pitch in the majors last season, is attempting a comeback with the A's. He's considered a long shot for the rotation, but could be used in a relief role based on how he performs this spring. 

In his first start, Zito gave up two runs on two hits over two innings. He struck out two, but did not issue any walks during the outing. Zito's big mistake was a changeup to Mike Olt in the second inning. Other than that, he was solid.

Zito, 36, posted a 5.74 ERA over 133 1/3 innings in 2013. 


Marlins' Derek Dietrich (ankle) makes spring debut
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:28 pm ET) Marlins infielder Derek Dietrich made his spring debut Thursday, striking out and getting hit by a pitch in his two trips to the plate.

Dietrich was shut down in winter ball after suffering an ankle injury. He hit .228/.326/.386 with five home runs, 17 RBI and one stolen base in 158 at-bats with the Marlins last season. He'll compete for a reserve role but is blocked at second base after the team acquired Dee Gordon this offseason.


Cubs' Kyle Schwarber hits grand slam on Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:24 pm ET) Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber belted a grand slam on Thursday against the Giants.

Schwarber didn't wait long, knocking in all four runs in the second inning. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Schwarber clobbered a pitch from Ryan Vogelsong, sending it out to right field. The 22-year-old is expected to begin the season in the minors, but is one of the team's top prospects. While he may not receive a promotion until late in the season, Schwarber could draw interest on the trade market if the Cubs decide to go all in at the deadline. 


Braves P Julio Teheran exorcises previous spring training demons
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:21 pm ET) Braves pitcher Julio Teheran still remembers the 2012 spring training game when he gave up six home runs in two innings against the Tigers. 

Therefore, scheduled to pitch against the Tigers on Thursday, he refused to use the same bullpen at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. that he did during that disastrous outing.

"I don't really think about that," Teheran said, per MLB.com. "I know some guys make fun of that, and I do too. It's just something that happened before."

On Thursday, Teheran fared much better in a 6-4 Braves victory. 

Teheran gave up one run during his first spring start of the season. He threw 36 pitches with 25 going for strikes. 

"I was controlling all of my pitches," Teheran said. "That was my goal today. I think the ball was coming out pretty good from my hands. I think that is where I want to be."


Diamondbacks' Trevor Cahill shows off new mechanics
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:06 pm ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Trevor Cahill showed off his new mechanics against the Rockies on Thursday. 

Cahill gave up two hits and one walk over two scoreless innings of work. The 27-year-old came into camp competing for a spot in the rotation, but has impressed thus far. In order to make the club, Cahill overhauled his mechanics. After his first start, he came away encouraged. 

"I could definitely tell there is some stuff," Cahill said. "Just where I have to set my sights on pitches has to change a little bit, because the ball doesn't run as much."

Cahill posted a 5.61 ERA over 110 2/3 innings last season. 


Brewers Scooter Gennett looking to prove himself
(7:05 pm ET) Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett knows that he must improve against left-handed pitching, per the team's official website.

"I'm very eager," said Gennett. "For me, I'm not eager about showing or proving [that I can hit lefties], but just for myself, being able to play and have fun every day and get in there every day and crack lefties. That's part of the game -- you don't want to [sit] out. It's back to what I'm used to, and I'm really looking forward to it." 

He didn't face one left-handed starting pitcher last year.  When batting against southpaw relievers in 2014, he went 4-for-39.  Gennett is 10-for-78 against lefties.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said this about Gennett's struggles.

"For me, you can't hit lefties unless you can get hit by them," Gennett said, "which means, if there's a guy throwing 97 [mph] and slinging it in there, the only way I'm going to hit him is if I stand in there willing to stay in there and wear one in the neck or the shoulder or the ribs. That's what you have to do to hit lefties. So that's the one thing I worry about -- don't be a scaredy cat and get out of the way, and I'll be all right."

Gennett, 24, has a career batting average of .300 going into his third season with the Brewers.


Indians' Yan Gomes' first hit of spring goes for home run
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:04 pm ET) Indians catcher Yan Gomes' first hit of the spring came on a two-run home run during Cleveland's 9-3 Cactus League win over the Reds. 

Gomes went yard in the fifth inning off of Reds pitcher Burke Badenhop. 

Thursday's showing was a good sign that Gomes is picking up where he left off in 2014, when he recorded a batting average of .278 and hit 21 home runs. 


Indians OF Michael Brantley goes hitless in spring debut
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:04 pm ET) Indians outfielder Michael Brantley (back) went 0 for 3 in his spring debut Thursday against the Reds.

Manager Terry Francona said Monday that Brantley was expected to make his debut Thursday, and the outfielder was able to play after dealing with a sore lower back earlier this spring. He hit .327/.385/.506 with 20 home runs, 97 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 611 at-bats last season.


Tigers' Bruce Rondon to throw live batting practice on Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:48 pm ET) Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon will throw live batting practice on Friday, according to mlive.com.

Rondon is on schedule in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, according to manger Brad Ausmus. "His schedule was behind what the others were, so he's on schedule," Ausmus said. "We were going to take it slower with him regardless."

While he's on schedule, Rondon still has a lot of work to do. "First, he's got to get comfortable throwing to hitters," Ausmus said. "He's not quite there yet. Then, once we get him into games, we have to get him into back-to-back days. I would imagine that would be toward the end though."

The 24-year-old Rondon posted a 3.45 ERA over 28 2/3 innings in 2013. 


Cubs' Joe Maddon: Edwin Jackson, 31, still has 'potential'
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(6:47 pm ET) Cubs manager Joe Maddon still thinks pitcher Edwin Jackson can put it all together at some point in his career. 

Over two seasons with the Cubs, Jackson has posted a 14-33 record and a paltry 5.58 ERA. At 31 years old, however, Maddon said Jackson still has the tools to become a solid pitcher in the Major Leagues. 

"It's rare that a guy who's [31] years old can still have the label of 'potential' attached to his abilities," Maddon said, via MLB.com. "You'd think he's arrived at that point. It's not all arrived with him yet. That's really interesting with a guy like him. There is room for improvement and he knows that."

Maddon managed Jackson back when both were with the Rays from 2006-2009. Maddon believes that Jackson can improve and become more consistent. 

"I think he probably outthinks himself sometimes or gets uncertain," Maddon said. "I really would like to see him just go out there and play and not worry about whatever, whether it's mechanics or sequences or whatever. Just go out there and pitch and permit your abilities to take over. He's got an exceptional arm and is an exceptional athlete and he's a great kid, but there's still that level for him to arrive at yet that he hasn't been."


 
 
 
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