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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
Start a good sign for Emilio Bonifacio
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:42 pm ET) After missing more than a month with a strained oblique, Cubs utility player Emilio Bonifacio came off the DL Tuesday. But the bigger news for Fantasy owners is that he started his first game back. With Arismendy Alcantara now up in the big leagues and Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano crushing it in recent weeks, his starting role was less than assured.

And frankly, it still is. Bonifacio's start Tuesday was against a left-hander, Eric Stults, and the switch-hitter entered the day batting .362 against lefties compared to just .230 against righties. Given that Chris Coghlan, who bats left-handed, was out of the lineup Tuesday, this could have the makings of a platoon.

As an everyday player, Bonifacio's steals potential and versatility would make him a nice find in Rotisserie leagues. As a part-timer, he's nothing more than waiver fodder.

If you need steals, you certainly have nothing to lose by making a move for him now, but understand he's hardly an open-and-shut case.


Scooter Gennett exits game with quad tightness
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:29 pm ET) Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett was removed from Tuesday's game after experiencing tightness in his right quad, the team announced.

Gennett went 0 for 2 at the plate before being removed. He also dealt with quad tightness over the weekend. Gennett has hit .305/.343/.481 with eight home runs, 34 RBI and six stolen bases in 295 at-bats.


Pedro Alvarez removed with knee discomfort Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:11 pm ET) Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez was removed from Tuesday's game with a knee issue.

Alvarez left the game with left knee discomfort. He was 1 for 2, with a double, before being removed from the game. 


Your daily White Sox closer assessment
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:05 pm ET) You may recall White Sox manager Robin Ventura had this to say after Zach Putnam bailed out Jake Petricka with two outs in the ninth inning Saturday for his second save in as many days:

"Unfortunately, I don't have a guy that you're just going to leave out there, saying that's your closer," Ventura said.

But the second half of that quote may actually say more:

"I like Put's swing-and-miss ability with some lefties, and that's the reason."

"Put," of course, is Putnam, who struck out left-handed hitter Jason Castro with two runners on to secure the save Saturday. But looking back on it, the most interesting part of Putnam bailing out Petricka is that it happened immediately after the second out, not after the second runner reached base. If a right-handed hitter was due up instead of Castro, Ventura may have just let Petricka finish out the inning.

Which explains why Ventura went back to Petricka in the ninth inning Monday. Two right-handed hitters were due up.

After weeks of trying to discern what's happening at the back end of the White Sox bullpen, we may finally have an answer: It's a lefty-righty platoon. Considering they're not so great individually anyway, perhaps you should leave both Putnam and Petricka for the deepest of Rotisserie leagues.


Kelly Johnson to see time in right field
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:04 pm ET) Yankees infielder Kelly Johnson is starting in right field for the first time in his career Tuesday, and manager Joe Girardi indicated that Johnson could play more often in right field moving forward, MLB.com reports.

"He's played mostly left field, but I think he's athletic enough that it shouldn't be a problem," Girardi said. "I might have to do it if we can't get Carlos [Beltran] out there, because I can't run these guys out there every day."

The Yankees acquired Chase Headley Tuesday and will start him regularly at third base, where Johnson has made a majority of his appearances this season.


Could trade resuscitate Yangervis Solarte's value?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(8:50 pm ET) The trade that brought Yangervis Solarte from the Yankees to the Padres Tuesday assures at least one thing: The 27-year-old utility player play every day again. Between Jedd Gyorko's plantar fasciitis, Everth Cabrera's strained hamstring and, of course, Chase Headley's sudden departure, the Padres have openings all across their infield.

Though Solarte hadn't completely disappeared from the lineup in his final weeks with the Yankees, he sat too often to have any chance of overcoming his midsummer slump -- which, by the way, has lasted only 18 games. Granted, he's gone 4 for 51 (.078) during those 18 games, but the lack of repetition certainly hasn't helped. When inexperienced players see fewer pitches, they tend to get worse rather than better. Solarte hasn't had a chance to work through this slump. The Yankees pulled the plug on him too quickly.

He'll get that chance with the Padres, and because of that, I wouldn't rule out him making an impact in the second half. Throughout his slump, he has continued to make contact at a high rate, striking out just nine times in those 18 games, and players who do that typically hit for a high batting average. When the Yankees sent Solarte down for five games in the middle of the slump (giving him those consistent at-bats he lacked in the majors), he went 12 for 20 (.600). The ability is still there.

That's not to say I'm rushing to pick Solarte back up. It's probably unnecessary outside the deepest of leagues. But if he shows signs of life, I'll be ready.


Mets not willing to eat salary in Bartolo Colon deal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:49 pm ET) The Mets aren't willing to eat salary in a deal including Bartolo Colon, according to Newsday

Colon has drawn interest on the market, but no deal is imminent. The Mets are currently weighing the market, and are not willing to eat money in the deal. Colon is owed $11 million next season. He has a 4.12 ERA over 126 2/3 innings. 


Marlins more likely to extend McGehee
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:43 pm ET) The Marlins are more likely to extend Casey McGehee than trade him, according to MLB.com.

McGehee's name has come up in trade rumors recently, but the club isn't inclined to deal him. McGehee is signed cheap, and still has one more year of arbitration. The club can bring him back at a higher price, or opt to hand him an extension. The team is willing to do that since McGehee is considered a leader in the clubhouse. McGehee is hitting .322/.389/.399 over 376 at-bats. 


Alex Rios, Jake Smolinski expected to be available Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:04 pm ET) The Rangers expect outfielders Alex Rios and Jake Smolinski to both be available Wednesday, MLB.com reports.

Rios was out of the lineup for a third straight day Tuesday while nursing a sprained ankle, but he said he's ready to return. "It felt good," Rios said before the game. "I know Wash wanted to give me an extra day, but I'm ready. I expect to be as good as ever."

Smolinski was removed from Monday's game after fouling a ball off his foot. "As of right now, it's nothing to be concerned about," manager Ron Washington said Tuesday of Smolinski's injury. "It's just sore where it hit off his foot."


Joe Panik leaves with ankle injury Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:03 pm ET) Giants infielder Joe Panik left Tuesday's game with an ankle injury.

Panik was officially diagnosed with a right ankle sprain. At this time, it's unclear how long Panik will be sidelined with the injury. He's hit .213 in 61 at-bats.  


 
 
 
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