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Waiver Wire: Morrison making sweet music

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Logan Morrison is 25 years old. He has a 23 home run season under his belt (2010), was on pace to equal that in the following season (2011), and he can boast an impressive run of minor league seasons, including two years being ranked among the top 20 prospects in all of baseball (according to Baseball America).

Most Added Players (as of 7/10)
Player % added
1. Ivan Nova, SP, Yankees 27
2. Logan Morrison, 1B, Marlins 25
3. Juan Francisco, 1B, Brewers 23
4. Ricky Nolasco, SP, Dodgers 21
5. Jeremy Hefner, SP, Mets 20
6. Raul Ibanez, OF, Mariners 17
7. Randall Delgado, SP, D-Backs 17
8. Wilson Ramos, C, Nationals 16
9. Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs 15
10. Martin Perez, SP, Rangers 15

However, Morrison has shown a somewhat concerning propensity to get injured or disciplined in his short career. In four years, he has accrued just 1,077 at-bats, and has hit the 300 at-bat mark just once in those four major league campaigns.

Still, the minor discipline issue and gripes over his frequent tweeting tend to get overblown, and Morrison's injuries -- while frustrating -- shouldn't cloud his talent. He has 25-30 home run power and can steal the occasional base. He doesn't strike out a ton and contributes enough doubles and walks to make an impact in Head-to-Head formats. While his batting average is going to be impossible to predict -- it could range anywhere from .240 to .285 -- Morrison offers enough value to merit 75 percent ownership, instead of the 50-60 percent in which he currently wallows.

The Big Leaps

Hector Santiago, RP, White Sox (47 percent ownership, up from 35 percent)

Santiago may have a case as one of the more head-scratchingly underowned pitchers in the Fantasy game. He's currently sporting a 3.49 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and has 82 strikeouts in 80 innings. That alone should turn up a 50-55 percent ownership. But combine that line with the fact that he has relief eligibility (and can be used as a SPARP), and Santiago should see a bigger boost.

But we can take the Santiago love a little deeper, because his overall numbers take into account his 11 appearances in relief, which dragged him down. As a starter, Santiago has a 3.36 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, with 67 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings. Nearly every measurable statistic improves for Santiago as a starter: his ERA, WHIP, K/9 (9.8 as a starter vs. 7.4 as a reliever), and K/BB ratio (2.39 as a starter vs. 1.50 in relief).

Granted, Santiago speculators may be a little tentative because he could be in danger of losing his rotation spot when Jake Peavy returns, but if Santiago just keeps up the pace he's on -- and that's a very real possibility -- it shouldn't be a concern, as he'll force his way into a permanent spot.

Over/under on ERA (season): 3.65
Over/under on K/9 (season): 8.9

Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins (42 percent ownership, up from 28 percent)

Dozier is hitting .238 with eight home runs and eight steals. In H2H formats, he ranks 16th among shortstops and 17th among second basemen. Yet he is one of the most-added players in Fantasy, thanks to a recent hot streak that Dozier might actually be able to sustain.

Over the last 21 days, Dozier ranks second among shortstops and third among second basemen. He doesn't do a lot that's flashy -- his four home runs are tied with six other second basemen for the lead, he's top five in doubles (with six), top 10 in steals (two), top three in walks (14) and runs scored (10), and is sixth in OBP among 2Bs with 25 or more at-bats. And he's really come to life in July, reaching base safely in every game this month, while hitting .303 with a .910 OPS, eight RBI, two steals, and four doubles in eight games.

Part of this success has been attributed to Dozier finding his way back to the leadoff spot, but that brings up a chicken-or-egg scenario -- in the eight games before going back to leadoff, Dozier had a .367 OBP, bouncing between second and eighth. So is he batting leadoff because he had a solid OBP before that, or is he posting good numbers because he's leading off? I tend to go with the first explanation.

Here's my take: Dozier finally got comfortable at his new position (second base, a position he played sparingly in the minors), and is starting to find a groove at the plate with his focus no longer solely on defense. Dozier hit .298 in the minors, while displaying some nice speed and decent power potential, so he is capable of sustaining this performance throughout the season. I'd expect his power to maybe take a dip while his speed improves, getting more in line with what he did in the minors.

Over/under on average (season): .265
Over/under on steals (season): 22
Over/under on home runs (season): 11.5

The Flavors of Next Week

Adam Eaton, OF, Diamondbacks (Owned in 49 percent of leagues)

It's only a matter of time before the masses start to take note of Eaton, who is currently rehabbing his way back to the majors. If he continues to play without incident (there was a setback in May while rehabbing an elbow injury suffered in spring training), Eaton could be back in the Diamondbacks' lineup right after the All-Star break.

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Eaton, 24, hit .259 with two home runs and two steals in 22 games with Arizona last year. In three minor league seasons, he compiled a .355 average, stealing at least 20 bases in each of his three seasons. Eaton hit 47 doubles in 2012, with seven home runs and 44 steals. Before this season's rehabbing, his lowest OBP was .434.

Currently owned in just under half of our leagues, Eaton's exploits in the minors will be getting more notice as he closes in on a return. He can offer a team a .290-plus average, with double-digit steals and the occasional home run. Think of him as Jacoby Ellsbury-lite, just with fewer steals and an elbow injury. For the second half, Eaton could be a tremendous stash and will probably see his ownership rise to about 80 percent if he manages a solid first week back.

Over/under on average (season): .289
Over/under on steals (season): 12

Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Indians (Owned in 18 percent of leagues)

Continuing the "look deeper into the stats from a certain split so I can make a point!" theme that we have going here, I present Chisenhall. With a .243 average, five home runs, and 10 doubles, Chisenhall doesn't have the greatest of stat lines. However, since his recall last month, Chisenhall has been great: a .293 average with six doubles, two home runs, nine RBI, and a steal. And if you look at what he's done in July, he's even better: a .333 average with two doubles, a home run, and a .988 OPS in six games.

With his previous failings in the majors, it's easy to forget that Chisenhall has twice been a top 35 prospect (according to Baseball America), who showed some nice power and average potential over six minor league seasons. Chisenhall can be a force in doubles for H2H leaguers, as well.

I'm not sure that he's ready for 12-team H2H league adding right now, but I have no hesitation starting Chisenhall as a CI in 12-team Roto leagues, or plugging him in at third base in 14-team leagues after trading my starter (say, for this exercise, giving up Adrian Beltre for David Price) to address another need at a different position.

Over/under on average (season): .269
Over/under on home runs (season): 18

American League-only fun

Josh Phegley, C, White Sox (11 percent ownership)

Phegley has already made a nice splash as the (presumed) starting catcher for the White Sox. He has two home runs in his first three games, hitting .300 with a 1.173 OPS. He also picked off a runner at first base on Monday.

It may be too late to add Phegley in deeper AL-only leagues, as his power outburst has likely caught the attention of single-league players, but shallower AL-only formats -- as well as 16-18 team Roto leagues that use two catchers -- may want to give the 25-year-old some consideration.

Phegley was never one to flex major power or average in the minors ... at least until this year. His .966 OPS this season is over 230 points higher than his career mark over five seasons, and 2013 marked the first time he hit double-digit home runs. A play for Phegley is a play for at-bats, with the hope that you can capture lightning in a bottle.

The man he appears to be replacing, Tyler Flowers, is actually the more interesting of the two catchers. While Flowers has been a disappointment at the plate this season (a .205 average with eight home runs over 210 at-bats), he does boast the sixth-best catcher ERA in the majors. This is significant because Flowers had said in spring training that he wanted to focus on managing the staff first, and worry about the offense later. It appears that while he accomplished his goal, he may have lost his job in the process.

I still have faith in Flowers as an offensively skilled catcher (part of me hopes this is just a Scooter Gennett-type move by the Sox to spur Flowers into action), but until Phegley either bottoms out or is included in a trade (another part of me is thinking this could be a trade showcase), I'm adding him in deeper leagues and possibly stashing Flowers until it all shakes out.

Over/under on average (season): .229
Over/under on home runs (season): Six

National League-only fun

Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Marlins (6 percent ownership)

At this point, you know the drill:

Current line: .228 average, two home runs, four steals, five doubles.

Carefully-selected easy-to-remember date from which to start counting a recent hot streak: July 1.

Hechavarria's stats from July 1 forward: .406 average, one double, three RBI, one steal in 32 at-bats.

Easy-to-remember amount of games played to prove I'm not just using a small sample size in order to make people like Hechavarria: 25 games

Hechavarria's stats over the last 25 games: .283 average, two doubles, eight runs, seven RBI.

Hedging statement to help temper expectations based on his recent hot streak: "While the batting average has been great for his owners, Hechavarria is not going to supply a ton of power for your team, and his steals have been somewhat disappointing this year. Additionally, Hechavarria has been batting sixth or seventh recently, having last hit leadoff on May 24, so his run-scoring opportunities will be pretty low."

Optimistic twist to justify addition of Hechavarria, followed by a wild guess at what his ownership percentage should be: "Still, in an NL-only league, you can do worse in the scant middle infield spot than a .280-hitting regular with stellar defensive skill. Owned in just 6 percent of leagues, Hechavarria should probably see an ownership number closer to 20 percent, even with the lack of counting stats."

Insightful guesses on where he may finish the season:

Over/under on steals (season): 18
Over/under on batting average (season): .269

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS .

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Player News
Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland won't play spring games until next week
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:36 pm ET) Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland will run the bases on Tuesday, and won't seen any spring games until next week, according to the Star-Telegram. Texas is taking a cautious approach with Moreland in camp after he underwent ankle surgery last June.

The 29-year-old Moreland hit .246/.297/.347 over 167 at-bats last year.


Blue Jays' Gibbons yet to settle on closer, could use committee
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:34 pm ET) Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Tuesday that while Brett Cecil has the ability to close, he might not serve as the team's closer, the National Post reports.

"He could do it. He might not. It might be somebody else," Gibbons said.

The manager also raised the possibility of using multiple closers.

"It could be one of those deals where one night he might be closing, the other night he might have to come in at the end of the seventh or eighth inning," Gibbons said.

Despite the face that Gibbons hasn't deemed Cecil his closer, he did praise his pitching ability Tuesday.

"He’s got some overpowering stuff," Gibbons said. "He’s a lefty and I don’t think there’s a better curveball out there. He can throw it for strikes, he can bring it down low in the zone and bounce it for a strikeout. That’s kind of his go-to pitch. He doesn’t rattle. He’s pretty confident and calm when he’s out there."

Cecil went 2-3 with a 2.70 ERA, 76:27 K:BB ratio and five saves in 53 1/3 innings in 2014. He owns a 11.1 career K/9 rate in relief.


White Sox's Geovany Soto feeling good at the start of spring games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:23 pm ET) White Sox catcher Geovany Soto said he is feeling good after being limited to 78 games the last two seasons due to injuries. He missed time in 2014 because of arthroscopic surgery on his left foot and a torn meniscus in his right knee.

"I love where I'm at," Soto said, per The Chicago Tribune. "My legs feel great. My whole body feels great. I'm just anxious to get started and show these guys what I can do, hopefully stay healthy and break camp."


Dodgers' Mattingly: Hyun-Jin Ryu's (back) next step will be BP
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:22 pm ET) Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters that starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu came out of Monday's bullpen session "fine," and that his next step will likely be throwing batting practice, according to SB Nation.

Ryu is dealing with a back injury, but has been throwing the last couple of days without pain. At this point, Ryu remains without a timetable for his first spring game. He went 14-7 in 2014 with a 3.38 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 152 innings pitched last season.


Hinch: Astros 'likely' to use seven-man bullpen in 2015
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Astros manager A.J. Hinch indicated that the team is likely to use a seven-man bullpen this season, leaving two spots open for competition this spring, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"Likely," Hinch said of a seven-man bullpen. "There’s always a chance that (changes) depending on how the schedule plays out, and there’s always a debate on how many pitchers to carry during interleague. Now interleague is pretty much year round, so I mean, in a perfect world with our roster, it’s likely to carry a seven-man ‘pen. If we feel like we need an extra pitcher or injury happens, there’s different ways to shape our roster, then we will, but likely 12."

The two open spots will likely be filled by a left-handed pitcher and a long reliever. The competition for the second lefty in the pen likely comes down to Kevin Chapman and nonroster invitees Joe Thatcher and Darin Downs. The long relief role has a broader list of candidates, including Alex White and Asher Wojciechowski, who will prepare both as starters and relievers.

"We’re going to stretch out a lot of our guys," Hinch said. "Some of them are because they’re competing in that fifth starter spot, some of them are bullpen guys. Will Harris is going to throw multiple innings. Obviously (Sam) Deduno has been a starter in the past, he’s in a competition for the fifth man spot. Wojo, White, those guys are going to need to, going to plan for the season on both fronts, whether it’s a starter or reliever. But we’re preaching multiple innings. It’s important if you have a seven-man bullpen that you have a couple of guys that can get four, five, six outs if needed and be a bridge to the rest of the bullpen."


Rangers' Tolleson: 'I'd like to be that bridge' between starters, closers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Shawn Tolleson told reporters he would like to become the link between the starting rotation and back-end relievers Tanner Scheppers and Neftali Feliz this season, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"I would like to be that bridge," Tolleson said.

Tolleson led the club with 71 2/3 innings of relief last season. He pitched more than one inning 20 times and held left-handed hitters to a .282 on-base percentage.

"He's got the skill set to be one of those that we use in the latter portions of the game," manager Jeff Banister said. "He seems to love the competition."


Nationals faced with tough decision regarding Michael Taylor
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:10 pm ET) The Nationals are faced with a tough decision when it comes to outfield prospect Michael Taylor, who appears to be on the cusp of being ready for a regular role at the major-league level.

A major issue is playing time since the Nationals have a starting outfield of Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Denard Span. Taylor would be a solid fourth outfielder, but having him coming off the bench is not ideal for his development.

“It’s the same age-old decision that must be made regarding guys that are just on the cusp of being big-league ready and everyday players,” manager Matt Williams said, per NatsInsider.com. “And a question of depth on your team, too. … It’s a question of depth on your team, it’s a question of how much playing time they’re really going to get, and are they better served staying in the minor leagues and getting those at-bats until their opportunity arises. But Mike’s close. He’s really close.”


Nationals' Aaron Barrett: 'I'm ready for a full season'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Aaron Barrett worked on strengthening his shoulder and legs in the offseason to improve his longevity throughout the entire season. Barrett admitted he wasn't used to a full major-league schedule, which contributed to him feeling "tired" in the middle of his rookie season.

"I'm ready for a full season," Barrett said. "Last year was a long season for me. It was my first year up. I had a lot of appearances, a lot of warm-ups and stuff like that. I think that is part of the process of coming up and working on that. I did as much training as I possibly could for this year."


Daniel Descalso brings versatility, playoff experience to Rockies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Rockies infielder Daniel Descalso is ready to fill the role of versatile veteran who can play second base, third base or shortstop as needed, the Denver Post reports.

"I'll be ready for whatever comes my way," Descalso said Monday. "It's been a while since I've played just one position for any length of time, so I've worked hard to reach a comfort level at all three spots. I have an idea of what it takes to stay sharp."

Another factor that piqued the interest of the Rockies this offseason was his postseason experience, as he has played in 44 postseason games and won one championship.

"All of that factored in quite a bit," manager Walt Weiss said. "I think we sometimes underestimate the value of that — guys that have played in big games, pennant races, and have won a World Series. Those types of players are valuable, and that's a big reason why we brought Danny in here."

Descalso has made 110 starts at second base, 91 at third base and 88 at shortstop in his five-year career, seeing at least 100 appearances at all three poitions. He hit .242/.333/.311 in 161 at-bats last year with the Cardinals.


Francona: Jason Kipnis likely to make spring debut this weekend
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:02 pm ET) Indians manager Terry Francona said Tuesday second baseman Jason Kipnis (hand) will likely make his spring debut this weekend, per MLB.com.

 
 
 
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