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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
Clayton Kershaw goes eight strong for win No. 15
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:10 am ET) Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw had a no-hitter going against the Padres until the sixth inning. The ace surrendered his first hit to opposing starter Tyson Ross.

Kershaw went eight innings strong for the win at home on Thursday, improving to 15-3 on the year. The southpaw permitted one run on three hits and two walks while striking out 10 in a 2-1 victory. Of his 103 pitches, 69 were strikes. He improved to 15-3 on the year, matching Johnny Cueto, Wily Peralta and Adam Wainwright for the major-league lead in victories. 

Over his last three starts covering 25 innings, Kershaw has allowed five earned runs. He has gone eight-plus innings in seven of his last nine starts. He owns a 1.82 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP over 21 starts (153 1/3 innings). He will make his next start Wednesday at Arizona.

Kenley Jansen slams door shut on Padres
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:07 am ET) Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out two and worked past a walk in a scoreless ninth inning for the save Thursday night at home against the Padres. Jansen has converted 36 of 40 save chances, with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP over 52 1/3 innings of relief.

Tyson Ross goes the distance in losing effort
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:59 am ET) Padres pitcher Tyson Ross tossed a complete game but took a tough-luck loss to the Dodgers Thursday night, dropping to 11-12 on the season. The right-hander permitted two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out eight over eight innings of a 2-1 defeat.

Ross is 0-4 with a 2.67 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 27 innings pitched against the Dodgers this season. The offense has only backed him with two runs over that span. He'll look to bounced Tuesday at home against Milwaukee.

Travis Wood suffers 11th loss of the season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:53 am ET) Cubs pitcher Travis Wood took the loss Thursday night at home against the Giants, dropping to 7-11 on the season. The left-hander permitted four runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out six over six innings of a 5-3 defeat.

Over his last two starts covering 11 1/3 innings, Wood has allowed seven earned runs. He owns a 4.91 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP over 26 starts (150 1/3 innings). He will look to bounce back Wednesday in Cincinnati.

Jason Heyward scores two runs Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:50 am ET) Braves outfielder Jason Heyward scored two runs Thursday against the Reds.

Heyward singled twice during the game. He would come around to score in the third inning on a Justin Upton hit, and again in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly. Heyward finished 2 for 4, with two runs scored and one RBI. 


Santiago Casilla closes out Cubs
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:47 am ET) Giants reliever Santiago Casilla struck out two and worked past a hit for the save Thursday night against the Cubs. He needed only 15 pitches to complete a scoreless inning. He has converted 11 of 14 save chances, with a 1.59 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP over 45 1/3 innings of relief.

Madison Bumgarner fans season-high 12 in win over Cubs
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:45 am ET) Giants starter Madison Bumgarner twirled a gem Thursday night against the Cubs, striking out a season-high 12 for the win, improving to 14-9 on the season. The left-hander pitched seven strong innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk. Of his 116 pitches, 79 were strikes.

Bumgarner has struck out nine-plus in three of his last four starts. Over that span covering 22 innings, he has allowed seven earned runs. He owns a 3.17 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP over 27 starts (176 innings). His next start will come Tuesday at home against Colorado.

Buster Posey shrugs off injury concern with four-hit game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Giants catcher Buster Posey shrugged off any injury concerns, reaching base five times Thursday night at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.

Posey doubled in the third, homered in the fifth, singled in the seventh and doubled again in the ninth. He finished the game 4 for 4 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI in a 5-3 victory.He is hitting .284/.345/.438 with 14 homers and 59 RBI over 425 at-bats.

Derek Holland could start Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:26 am ET) Rangers pitcher Derek Holland could make his first start of the season Thursday against the Mariners, according to the Dallas Morning News

Holland was able to go 87 pitches during his most recent rehab start. Following the game, he declared himself ready to pitch in the majors. The club will need a fifth starter Tuesday with Yu Darvish sidelined. Holland is being considered for that start. 

Holland has been sidelined the entire season after having offseason surgery on his knee. 


Justin Upton drives in three
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:03 am ET) Braves outfielder Justin Upton drove in three runs Thursday against the Reds.

Upton singled in two runs in the third inning, and drove in another on a sac fly. He finished 2 for 3, with one run scored and three RBI. Upton also walked during the contest. 


 
 
 
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