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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
White Sox OF Avisail Garcia dropped weight during offseason
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:02 am ET) White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia dropped roughly 15 pounds during the offseason, according to MLB.com.

"I've been eating healthy, working real hard at the gym, Garcia said. "I have to be ready for spring training. I can't go there and be fat." With the weight loss, Garcia is hoping to keep his power potential. "I don't want to lose speed, I don't want to lose power," Garcia said. "I want to be in the middle. I know I can do a little bit of everything, so that's why I've been working really hard on speed, power, hitting and defense, so I can help my team win."

Garcia hit .244/.305/.413 over 172 at-bats last year.


Athletics' Billy Butler would welcome return to Royals
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:35 am ET) Athletics designated hitter Billy Butler said he would love to return to the Royals later in his career, according to the Kansas City Star.

After spending the first eight seasons of his career in Kansas City, Butler signed a three-year deal with Oakland during the offseason. Though he left the Royals, Butler said there is no hard feelings. "It’s disappointing, but you understand that the game’s a business and I didn’t leave on bad terms," Butler said. "I’d be more than happy to come back. That’s home for me. I’ll always be forever tied to the Royals organization and the community there."

The 28-year-old hit .271/.323/.379 over 549 at-bats last year.


Indians to consider multi-year extension for Corey Kluber
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Indians will consider a multi-year extension for pitcher Corey Kluber, according to MLB.com.

General manager Mark Shapiro didn't indicate that the two sides were close to a deal, but said Kluber has all the aspects the team looks for when considering a long-term deal. "Corey represents all of the things we look for in players: dependable, reliable person, committed to his work ethic, talented." Shapiro added, "it's something we'll probably look at over the next couple of months. He has all the precursors that we would look for to enter into a multiyear agreement."

The 28-year-old Kluber is set to make the league-minimum next season, and won't be available for arbitration until 2016. He's under team control through 2018, so there's no hurry for either side to agree to a new deal. 

Kluber posted a 2.44 ERA over 235 2/3 innings last year.


Twins' Glen Perkins says he's 100 percent
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Twins reliever Glen Perkins said he's 100 percent heading into the season, according to MLB.com.

Perkins missed the last two weeks of the regular season due to a forearm injury, but said that's no longer a problem. He took two weeks off once the season concluded, and went for a precautionary MRI just to make sure the injury wasn't serious. "I took two weeks off and started doing shoulder stuff as part of the rehab to strengthen it and everything went well," Perkins said. "I started throwing again in mid-December. The way I've been able to ramp up throwing, everything has been good."

The 31-year-old Perkins posted a 3.65 ERA over 61 2/3 innings last season.


Tigers' Miguel Cabrera not expected to miss much time with injury
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is not expected to miss much time with his ankle injury, according to the Detroit Free Press

Cabrera had ankle surgery to remove bone spurs shortly after the season, and has been recovering during the offseason. He was recently cleared to ditch his walking boot, and will be re-evaluated by team doctors on Feb. 15. General manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters Cabrera shouldn't miss much time due to the injury. "We're hopeful at that point he gets turned loose," Dombrowski said. "If he's not ready for Opening Day, it's going to be very, very close."

The 31-year-old Cabrera hit .313/.371/.524 over 611 at-bats last year. 


Twins' Joe Mauer says his legs feel strong heading into 2015
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Twins first baseman Joe Mauer said his legs feel strong heading into 2015, according to the Star Tribune.

Mauer was able to fully participate in an offseason training program after injuries prevented him from doing so last year. Mauer said his left knee, which has given him trouble in the past, feels strong now. :It’s tough to hit when the knee I’ve had problems with isn’t right," Mauer said. "That’s where you get your power from and the ball jumps. I feel good. I’m excited to get out there."

The 31-year-old Mauer is coming off a season in which he hit .277/.361/.371 over 455 at-bats.


Report: Yankees looking to void milestone bonuses for A-Rod
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Yankees are looking to void milestone bonuses in Alex Rodriguez 's contract, according to the New York Daily News.

When Rodriguez signed his deal with the club in 2007, it contained bonuses as Rodriguez tied or passed the top home run hitters. Rodriguez, who has 654 career home runs, is just six away from tying Willie Mays, which would trigger a $6 million bonus. He is also set to receive an additional $6 million once he ties Babe Ruth, and another $6 milliion if he ties Hank Aaron.

The team, however, now views those bonuses as worthless due to his 2014 suspension. The team will argue that these bonuses were signed under false pretenses. The club is apparently willing to fight the player's union over the decision should Rodriguez file a grievance. 

Rodriguez, who hasn't played since 2013, has already found it difficult to mend the fences with his team. Rodriguez proposed a meeting with the club where he would publicly apologize for his actions last season, but the team declined the offer. "This is a relationship that is never going to be repaired," one source told the Daily News.


Orioles, Ryan Flaherty avoid arbitration
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Orioles have avoided arbitration with infielder Ryan Flaherty, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. 

Flaherty will make $1.075 million next season. He can make an additional $25,000 if he receives 400 plate appearances. The 28-year-old Flaherty hit .221/.288/.356 over 281 at-bats last year.


Angels' Josh Hamilton setting lofty goals for 2015
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(1/25/2015) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton is ready to set some lofty goals for 2015, according to MLB.com.

Hamilton said he's aiming to hit .300, with 30 home runs and 100 RBI this year. After struggling through injuries in 2014, Hamilton said his offseason has been mostly normal. The 33-year-old hit .263/.331/.414 over 338 at-bats last year. 


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(1/25/2015) Angels pitcher Jered Weaver decided to bulk up during the offseason, according to MLB.com.

Weaver went from 199 pounds to 224 pounds during the offseason. He said the goal was to get bigger and stronger so that he can pitch deeper into games next year. The 32-year-old Weaver posted a 3.59 ERA over 213 1/3 innings. 


 
 
 
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