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Reality Check: Being proactive about Profar

Senior Fantasy Writer
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It's the epitome of a no-brainer move. When the consensus No. 1 overall prospect entering the season is awarded a starting job in the majors, you add him in Fantasy.

And yet owners in 25 percent of leagues have said, "Why bother?"

Why bother when the player he's replacing has as much job security as any second baseman in the game?

Why bother when that player is expected to spend only a couple weeks on the DL with an intercostal strain?

Why bother if Jurickson Profar is sure to return to the minors before he even has a chance to get comfortable?

Why? Because you just never know.

You may think you know. You may even pretend to know, like we "experts" are required to do. He's good. He's bad. I like him. I don't like him. In the black-and-white world of Fantasy prognostication, there is no room for "I don't know."

But you know what? I don't know. And frankly, neither do you.

For all you know, one of Ian Kinsler's injury-prone teammates -- be it Lance Berkman, Nelson Cruz or Adrian Beltre -- will go down in the meantime, granting Profar an extended stay in the majors.

For all you know, Profar will put up Jean Segura numbers right away, forcing the Rangers to find creative ways to keep him around, such as moving Mitch Moreland back to the outfield.

For all you know, Kinsler's intercostal strain -- an injury without a definite timetable -- will continue to nag the veteran second baseman beyond the initial two weeks, allowing even more time for one of those first two scenarios to come true.

For all you know, Profar will perform like a top-five second baseman the rest of the way.

To some people, prognostication is the appeal of Fantasy Baseball. They use it as a vehicle to show what they know, proving to friends and acquaintances that they should be in a front office somewhere instead of unfairly confined to something as bourgeois as accounting or pizza delivery.

At its core, though, Fantasy Baseball is a game of managing variables -- some more predictable than others. The most successful participants separate what they know from what they don't and work within the constructs of each.

So then, you can only benefit from acknowledging your limitations, from recognizing that you can't predict the future and admitting that your guesses, well-reasoned as they may be, are often wrong.

If you came across a variable you didn't know in any other game, would you just guess and hope for the best?

Of course not. You'd cover your dang butt.

In Monopoly, if rolling a three would land you on Boardwalk with three houses, putting you at risk of bankruptcy, would you choose then to build houses on your own properties? Three is an unlikely roll, statistically speaking, but because it's within the realm of possibility, you probably wouldn't.

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Never made it that far in Monopoly? Thought those little green houses were only meant to deter you from walking around the house barefoot a full two weeks after playing?

Maybe poker is more your speed, then. Ever bet before the river in Texas hold 'em? Most of the time, you have to. You don't know what that last card will be, but weighing the probability of what it could be vs. the risk of what you could lose vs. the reward of what you could gain, you act.

The same is true in Fantasy Baseball. Your baseball knowledge may give you some insight into what the ultimate outcome will be, but in the end, it's still a roll of the dice.

Profar is just the latest and most promising in a class of speculative pickups. The ultimate acknowledgement of "you just never know," a speculative pickup often proves to be a waste of a roster spot, but in those rare cases it isn't, the payoff more than makes up for the cost.

Now that he's back in the minors, Tony Cingrani belongs to that class. He doesn't have a clear path to the majors, but either a Mike Leake implosion or an injury to another member of the Reds starting rotation is plausible enough to make him worth rostering in most leagues, especially since we already know he's capable of succeeding at the major-league level.

Of course, not every speculative pickup is worth it to everyone. To me, Wil Myers, who's clearly next in line for a team that can already fit him into the lineup, is much more deserving of a roster spot than Yasiel Puig, whose arrival hinges on both an injury to Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier and the Dodgers' willingness to promote him directly from Double-A. Still, both stashes have some merit.

And really, every stash deserves that level of scrutiny. While a bench serves many purposes in Fantasy, such as providing you with a reserve pool for playing matchups or safeguarding against injuries, its primary function is to help you protect the players you don't want anyone else to have.

Typically, the players most worth protecting are the ones who could make the biggest impact for your Fantasy team. Sometimes they already have regular jobs in the majors, but sometimes they don't. If you're rostering Zack Cozart when the highly comparable Stephen Drew is available on waivers, what exactly are you protecting?

Matt Adams. Drew Smyly. Christian Yelich. Kenley Jansen. Yasmani Grandal. Zack Wheeler. You can justify rostering any of them if the next best use of that roster spot is a replacement-level player.

But right now, Profar is the priority. He's already here, and he clearly has the talent to succeed. Though hardly a finished product at age 20, he has all the tools of a Fantasy standout, right down to the exceptional plate discipline.

And right now, people like me are writing hundreds upon hundreds of words about him all over the Internet, so if you don't act, one of your competitors will. And if the unlikely comes to pass and Profar sticks around long enough to revolutionize the second base position in Fantasy, you'll wonder why you thought Dan Haren, Dan Straily, Dan Uggla or Danny Espinosa was so worth protecting.

With each speculative pickup, you have to weigh the cost, and maybe on the trade market, an established contributor like Matt Carpenter or Josh Rutledge would cause me to back off Profar.

But as a waiver claim, it's no contest. The cost of the worst player on my roster is well within my budget.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Twins 3B Miguel Sano gets chance to rest hamstring injury
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:11 am ET) Twins third baseman Miguel Sano was held out of the starting lineup for Thursday's game against the White Sox. Sano is trying to play through a hamstring injury, and he was likely rested Thursday since it was a day game after a night game.

The hamstring injury didn't seem to bother Sano on Wednesday, as he homered for a third straight game. The rookie third baseman has been on a nice power surge, homering eight times in his last 14 games and slugging .833 in that span.

Since Aug. 5, Sano has a .323/.402/.742/1.144 slash line in his last 25 games. He has six doubles, 11 home runs and 28 RBI in that span.


Twins closer Glen Perkins is day to day again due to back injury
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:53 am ET) Twins closer Glen Perkins' back problems flared up again Wednesday, which is why manager Paul Molitor turned to Kevin Jepsen to finish off a 3-0 win against the White Sox.

Perkins, who has been dealing with the back issue for a few weeks, picked up his first save Tuesday since Aug. 16. But after throwing 19 pitches, Perkins felt sore Wednesday. When he went to play catch, his back started to spasm and the left-hander was sent for an MRI.

"There's no bulging disc, no serious issue that we have to look at other than the fact that we've got to keep this thing from continuing to flare up," Molitor said, per MLB.com. "I think right now there's a good chance he might stay back and spend some time here with our guys. [We'll] try to get him back and see if we can get him out on the trip at some point."


Dodgers' Bolsinger starting Friday to give rotation an extra day of rest
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:46 am ET) Dodgers pitcher Mike Bolsinger will start Friday's game against the Padres, manager Don Mattingly announced after Wednesday's game against the Giants.

"We've been wanting to slip him into the rotation to either move somebody forward or to give someone an extra day," Mattingly said, per MLB.com. "Just if somebody needs a blow, kind of looking at all our guys individually and what's best for them."

Mattingly said they don't plan to skip anyone in the rotation, so all the starters (Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood and Mat Latos) will get an extra day of rest moving forward.

Bolsinger's last MLB start was July 29. He is 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 16 starts this season.

"You can anticipate he's going to be in this rotation for at least a turn," Mattingly said.


Dodgers 3B Justin Turner plays through hand injury, X-rays clean
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:19 am ET) Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner played through a hand injury Wednesday against the Giants after getting hit by a pitch in the sixth inning.

“It got the tip of my pinkie and didn’t have feeling in it for a couple of innings, but I took some X-rays right away and everything’s good,” Turner said, per the Los Angeles Times.

Turner remained confident after the game he would be able to play Thursday against the Padres.

“It was numb but I knew right away there wasn’t anything broken,” he said.


Dodgers calling up top prospect Corey Seager
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) The Dodgers are calling up top prospect Corey Seager, according to CBS Sports Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. 

The top-10 prospect arrives at the majors with a career .306/.368/.523/.891 slash line over four seasons in the minors. 

The 21-year-old shortstop prospect and former first-round pick has spent most of the 2015 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City. In 104 games at Triple-A, he hit .276 with a .331 on-base percentage, .450 slugging percentage and .781 OPS. He also had 13 home runs, 29 doubles and 59 RBI.


Phillies might shut down Maikel Franco for rest of season
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:52 am ET) Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco might be shut down for the rest of the season after his 20-pitch soft toss session did not go as planned Wednesday, according to Philly.com.

Franco experienced discomfort when he swung through the baseball Wednesday. His season could be over, if his wrist doesn't improve in the next week.

"Unless he's 100 percent, we're just going to be careful," interim manager Pete Mackanin said.

Franco swung a bat for the first time Wednesday since he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken wrist Aug. 18.

Mackanin said the chances of Franco playing again this season are "probably 50-50."


Rangers to lean on Kela, Dyson when Tolleson needs a rest
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(9:44 am ET) Rangers manager Jeff Bannister said Wednesday he will use Keone Kela and Sam Dyson in save situations when closer Shawn Tolleson needs a break, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“We can use a different bridge guy now,” Banister said. “We can back up those four [Kela, Dyson, Jake Diekman and Sam Freeman]. And give Tolleson a day down, if needed.”


Padres SP Ian Kennedy strikes out 12 in no-decision
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:50 am ET) Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy struck out a season-high 12 batters during his start against the Rangers on Wednesday.

Kennedy gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings of a no-decision. He now has a 3.88 ERA this season.


Rangers SP Cole Hamels strikes out eight in no-decision
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:45 am ET) Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels was impressive during his start against the Padres on Wednesday.

Hamels limited San Diego to three runs on eight hits in seven strong innings of work. He struck out eight batters while only giving up one walk in the no-decision.

Hamels (8-8) has a 3.70 ERA in 170 1/3 innings this season.


Mets SP Matt Harvey suffered from dehydration post game
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:24 am ET) Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey, who collected his 12th win of the season on Wednesday, suffered from dehydration after the game, according to MLB.com.

Harvey struck out nine batters in 6 1/3 innings of work, but said he was "feeling a little weak" after the game.


 
 
 
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