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By the Numbers: Buy or sell, Deadline Edition

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While the major leagues' trade deadline has come and gone, many Fantasy leaguers still have time to get in their final wave of deals. Though we are four months into the season, some players have recent or full-season stat lines that aren't indicative of what they are likely to do from here on out. Looking at past trends, a handful of players stand out as prime candidates to target or trade away in your quest to march your Fantasy squad up the standings over the weeks to come.

I'll be identifying the players whom I see as the best ones to acquire or shed as your league's trade deadline draws near, and I'll explain why they need to be on your radar. Since these are just the top targets, every position won't be covered, but just maybe, these suggestions will inspire a deadline deal that can fuel your team's late-season run.

Top Sell Candidates

Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers: Thanks to Puig's scorching-hot performance upon his callup, he continues to be started in nearly all leagues on CBSSports.com. After slugging .713 in June, that mark has fallen to .436 in July, and that latter stat doesn't scream, "must-start outfielder." After 50 games with the Dodgers and 63 minor league games, we still don't really know what kind of a hitter Puig is, but given that he still owns a .364/.410/.579 slash line, it's safe to say that many owners are overvaluing him. Let one of them take him off your hands in exchange for more proven talent, especially if it's of the elite or near-elite variety.

Leonys Martin, OF, Rangers: Coming into this season, I liked Martin as a sleeper because he looked to be a low-cost source of steals, power and a high batting average. He did come cheaply and has delivered 20 steals, but he's fallen well short of a .300 average and may not get as many as 10 homers. You may be able to convince a trade partner that Martin is poised for a turnaround, as his average was in the .290s earlier in July. In actuality, his average was boosted by a two-month stretch in which he boasted a .376 BABIP. While Martin has the speed to pile up infield hits, that rate of hits on balls in play would be almost impossible for him to sustain. Since he hasn't shown much improvement in his contact skills, it's best to deal him now before his batting average and run production wither even more.

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Marlon Byrd, OF, Mets: Byrd's surprising power surge doesn't have to end, but at some point, it will come at a price. He has been taking an aggressive approach, swinging more often and generating more flyballs, but also many more strikeouts. Byrd has been helped, not only by his 17 home runs, but also by his .284 batting average, but that has been buoyed by his .351 average on grounders. That stat might be believable coming from speedy Michael Bourn or Starling Marte, but not from Byrd. If you own Byrd in a standard mixed league, it probably won't be long before he's not worth starting, so let him be someone else's headache in the weeks to come.

Junior Lake, SS/OF, Cubs: With Alfonso Soriano gone, Lake's role in the Cubs' outfield is cemented, but playing time alone doesn't make the 23-year-old rookie all that attractive. He has a history of poor plate discipline and middling power, even for someone who is shortstop-eligible. He still has a healthy-looking stat line due to the six-game hot streak (.519, 2 HRs) that started his big-league career, but since then, he has gone 4 for 31 (.129) with no extra-base hits. Though he only has one steal in four attempts, Lake could be a nice addition for deep-league teams that need speed, but there's little reason to expect much else. If you could swap Junior Lake for some Junior Mints, that would be a pretty good deal. (Yes, I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea.)

Bartolo Colon, SP, Athletics: Colon is a superb control pitcher who is backed by a solid offense, but it's an absolute fluke that he ranks as a top 15 starting pitcher in both standard Head-to-Head and Rotisserie formats. He's of absolutely no use for strikeouts, and his season-to-date value is largely predicated on a high level of run support (5.5 runs per nine innings) and an 80 percent strand rate that is due to recede. Find an owner who buys Colon as a 20-game winner with a sub-3.00 ERA, and you could find yourself with a great deal.

Chris Archer, SP, Rays: If Archer's rotation spot needed solidifying, Matt Moore's trip to the disabled list with elbow soreness just might have done the trick. Even if you weren't worried about Archer's job security given Alex Cobb's eventual return, there are reasons to sell him. He has yet to get strikeouts with consistency, and while he has improved his control, Archer has a minor league history of high walk rates and has had sporadic command issues this season. Unless Archer starts showing the ability to get batters to swing and miss on a more regular basis, his ERA and WHIP look poised to balloon, as both are being helped by a .220 BABIP that is a sure bet to rise. It's time to deal him before that happens.

Top Buy Candidates

Jason Heyward, OF, Braves: Early this season, Heyward's plate discipline was much better than it had been in the past, but because he was mysteriously lacking power, he didn't have much to show for it. Heyward started to heat up in early June, and he's taken his hitting up a notch since that month's final week, posting a .838 OPS over his last 25 games. While Heyward's stolen base output qualifies as a disappointment, he has shown in his recent stretch -- as well as last season -- that he is capable of being a power hitter and run producer. With this season's reduction in strikeouts, he could also be a threat to hit for average. Given that he is starting in only about three-fourths of our leagues, too many owners seem to be focused on his season-to-date stats rather than the potential he has shown recently, as well as in 2012.

Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs: It's been a long, frustrating season for Castro's owners, and many of them may have run out of patience. If so, they have given up too soon, as he has made some strides in recent weeks. While he's still striking out more often than he has in previous seasons, he's recovered somewhat from a strikeout binge in June, and he's getting hits on balls in play at a rate more in line with his history. After compiling a .277 BABIP through July 2, he's been hitting .345 on balls in play since then. Castro has also been hitting with more power. His Isolated Power was a lowly .094 on July 2, but he has a .158 mark in the 26 games since. Castro's been better over the past four weeks, and his past seasons have shown that there is still room for further improvement. Now is the time to pursue Castro -- especially if you're anticipating losing Everth Cabrera or Jhonny Peralta to a suspension -- before his irritated owners notice he is on the way back to being a top 10 shortstop.

Chase Headley, 3B, Padres: Like Heyward, Headley has been benched in many of our leagues, but as he has ramped up his production over the last few weeks, his activation rate remains stagnant. Over his last 23 games, Headley has hit .289 with 10 doubles and two home runs. He probably won't maintain a batting average that high, given his .415 BABIP rate over that span, but he's been an above-average hitter on balls in play over his career, so the regression may not be dramatic. He should certainly continue to improve his .234/.333/.376 season-to-date slash line, but if his current owner is focused on those numbers, you could wind up getting Headley at a bargain price.

Josh Donaldson, 3B, Athletics: Donaldson's production swooned in July, but his skill set has remained essentially the same. He didn't suddenly become a human windmill or an impatient slap hitter; Donaldson merely got fewer hits on balls in play, resulting in fewer doubles and singles. With a .316 batting average through the end of June, Donaldson probably overperformed in the first half (particularly with his 22 doubles in 81 games), but his minor league numbers suggest that he can hit for power with a decent average. Given that Donaldson hadn't established himself as a productive major leaguer prior to this season, you might find an owner who is nervous about his .233/.340/.356 slash line for July and willing to deal him at a discount.

Patrick Corbin, SP, Diamondbacks: Many of Corbin's owners won't be willing to sell low on him, given his 12-2 record and 2.24 ERA, but others might look at his advanced stats and think it's time to unload the first-time All-Star. Corbin has been helped out by favorable BABIP (.251) and strand (80 percent) rates, and his K/9 ratio is a pedestrian 7.7. However, Corbin has been throwing harder this season, and since mid-May, that has translated into sizable upticks in his swinging strike and strikeout rates. That has been especially true over his last eight starts, in which he has struck out 56 batters in 57 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, he continues to be a good control pitcher who can help with WHIP. If you can land Corbin, you have a good chance of getting much more than just a so-so strikeout pitcher who has lucked into good ratios and a high win total.

Homer Bailey, SP, Reds: While looking at this season's advanced metrics might be misleading in evaluating Corbin, they could be a big help in assessing Bailey's true value. He has made impressive leaps in his K/9 (from 7.3 in '12 to 9.0 in '13), swinging strike (from 10 to 13 percent) and ground ball (from 46 to 51 percent) rates, and he hasn't sacrificed his low BB/9 rate. The biggest blemish on Bailey's record this season is a 24 percent line drive rate, but that's an unstable stat that could easily correct itself over the coming weeks. If that happens, Bailey should see reductions in his 3.55 ERA and an already-low 1.14 WHIP. He should also receive more than the 3.4 runs of support per nine innings he's been getting, which will further help to improve his 6-10 record. Though Bailey is starting in only 64 percent of our leagues, he is worthy of starting on a weekly basis in practically any format. It appears he has many owners who are underappreciating him and could be willing to make a deal.

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Player News
Mike Olt hits fourth homer Tuesday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:19 am ET) Cubs third baseman Mike Olt continued his all-or-nothing season Tuesday, clubbing his fourth home run of the season in a 9-2 win over the Diamondbacks.

Olt went 1 for 4 in the game and struck out twice, giving him eight strikeouts in the last four games. Still, he clubbed a three-run shot in the fifth inning to provide what would ultimately be the winning margin in the game.

Olt is hitting just .195, but is providing the kind of power that became his calling card in the minors. Of his eight hits in 16 games, four are home runs and five are for extra bases. He has a .195/.250/.512 line in 41 at-bats. 


Chase Headley hits second home run in big spot
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:12 am ET) Padres third baseman Chase Headley is showing some signs of life, as he ended a power drought and brought his batting average to the Mendoza line in a 2-1 win over the Brewers Tuesday.

Headley slugged his first home run in nine games Tuesday, and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. He went deep in the 12th inning to provide the winning run in the game, and finished 2 for 4 overall with a  walk and strikeout added.

Headley is hitting just .200 through 18 games with two home runs and seven RBI, but has hit safely in four of five games to raise his average 40 points. 


Ben Revere racks up four hits in win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:09 am ET) Phillies outfielder Ben Revere did his job Tuesday, reaching base four times in a 3-2 win over the win over the Dodgers.

Revere doesn't walk much in general, so each of his times on base came via a single, as he went 4 for 5 at the top of the order. He scored just once, while adding his sixth stolen base of the season.

Revere has raised his batting average in recent days, and is now hitting exactly .300 through 18 games. He has a .319 on-base percentage and .329 slugging percentage in 70 at-bats as well, with 10 runs scored. 


Dee Gordon passes concussion test
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:06 am ET) Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon took and passed a concussion test after leaving Tuesday's game, as he told the O.C. Register. He suffered a head injury while sliding into third base in the seventh inning, but appears to have avoided the worst-case scenario. His status is likely day to day moving forward. 

Jonathan Papelbon nearly flawless in return from illness
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:03 am ET) Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was able to take the mound for a save opportunity Tuesday against the Dodgers, despite missing the team's previous game with an illness. He had little trouble taking care of the Dodgers in the outing, retiring them on seven pitches despite allowing a two-out single. He induced a trio of flyballs to retire the side, earning his sixth save in seven chances.

Papelbon has allowed a run in just one of his nine appearances this season, as he has pitched better than his 3.24 ERA might indicate. He has seven strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings, while allowing three walks and seven hits total. 


Hyun-Jin Ryu settles for no-decision in extra-innings loss
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:59 am ET) Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu continued his strong pitching Tuesday against the Phillies, though he did allow runs for just the second time in the 3-2 loss.

Ryu settled for a no-decision despite tossing his fourth quality start in six trips to the mound. He allowed just two runs despite scattering nine hits and a pair of walks. Ryu didn't have his best stuff, striking out just three batters for the second straight start, while throwing 68 of 106 pitches for strikes.

Ryu has been mostly stellar this season, and has a 3-1 record and 2.12 ERA in 34 innings of work. His next start is set for Sunday against the Rockies. 


A.J. Burnett remains solid, winless
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:53 am ET) Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett had a good day at the mound and the plate Tuesday, but ended up having to settle for a no-decision in a 3-2, extra-innings win.

Burnett limited the Dodgers to just two runs in 6 2/3 innings of work, his third quality start in five trips to the mound. He scattered six hits and a walk in his six-plus innings while striking out five, but remains winless on the season, as the Phillies offense gave him little support in the no-decision.

Burnett is off to a solid start to the season, despite an 0-1 record. He has a 2.73 ERA in five starts, and will look for his first win in his next start, Sunday in Arizona. 


Dee Gordon forced out with head injury
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:49 am ET) Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon was forced to leave Tuesday's game against the Phillies late, due to an apparent head injury. He suffered the injury sliding into third base on a steal in the seventh inning, and left after scoring later in the inning.

The extent of Gordon's injury is not yet known, though he will likely go through the league's concussion protocol Tuesday night. He went 2 for 3 before suffering the injury to raise his season average to .369. 


Pedro Figueroa exits game Tuesday with elbow injury
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:47 am ET) Rangers pitcher Pedro Figueroa was removed from Tuesday's game against the A's after suffering an elbow injury, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Figueroa threw just one pitch in the game, hitting a batter. He immediately began shaking his arm and was removed after a visit from the trainer. The team will likely have him undergo an MRI. Figueroa owns a 4.00 ERA and 3:3 K:BB ratio in nine innings.


LaTroy Hawkins pitches around trouble for save
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:45 am ET) Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins didn't have to pitch the full inning for the save Tuesday, but still almost blew his first save before finding his way in a 2-1 win.

Hawkins entered the game with one out already recorded in the ninth, thanks to lefty-specialist Rex Brothers' work against Brandon Belt. Hawkins played with fre by allowing the first two batters faced to reach base via a walk and single, before ending the threat and recording his sixth save in as many tries.

Hawkins has six saves, a 1.23 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in eight appearances this season, though he also only has three strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. 


 
 
 
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