Setting the Trends: Quality adds to be had

One of the most enjoyable, underused elements of Fantasy leagues are the "roster trends" pages.

They allow a gentleman to spend a night (or weekend) out on the town -- blissfully unaware of the baseball world -- then wake up, turn on his computer, and discover which players are moving up the ranks. Oh ... you didn't know that Felix Doubront was officially in the Boston rotation because that bartender with the tattoo kept making you do shots with her? Thanks to roster trends, the masses have done the work for you; click on the "most added" page, see whose ownership is skyrocketing, and your problems are solved.

Most Added Players (as of 4/3)
Player % change
1. Bartolo Colon , SP, Athletics 21
2. Mark Melancon , RP, Red Sox 21
3. Jeff Samardzija , RP, Cubs 19
4. Lorenzo Cain , OF, Royals 15
5. Felix Doubront , SP, Red Sox 15
6. Mike Aviles , SS, Red Sox 14
7. Yoenis Cespedes , OF, Athletics 13
8. Mat Gamel , 3B, Brewers 13
9. Daniel Bard , RP, Red Sox 13
10. Sean Marshall , RP, Reds 12

It's not the most exact science and you'll be behind, obviously, a great amount of other Fantasy players (perhaps even your own leaguemates), but it'll at least help cover the gaps you may have over the course of a very involved baseball season, allowing you to be a bon vivant, while remaining a competent Fantasy Baseball owner at the same time.

The "most added" standouts ...

Felix Doubront , SP/RP, Red Sox
Current ownership: 18 percent (+15 percent)
Reason for the ascent: Doubront won a role in the Boston rotation.
Should I pick him up?: It depends how deep your league is. While Doubront's place in the rotation seems safe for now, he's compiled a relatively unimpressive 3.96 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in the minors. He doesn't strike out a batter per inning, but he does come close, so for leagues with daily transactions, Doubront might be a good play to throw in every five days and let him rack up the counting stats and possible wins. He's a great option for his two-start weeks, but probably won't justify being anything more than just-above-waiver-wire/have-to-drop-him-for-someone-coming-off-the -DL material. He's the dude you release when Ryan Howard gets healthy.
How high can he go? He'll probably plateau right around 52 percent ownership.

Cody Ross , OF, Red Sox
Current ownership:
23 percent (+11 percent)
Reason for the ascent: Red sox manager Bobby Valentine mapped out his plans for the Red Sox outfield; a rotation of Ross, Darnell McDonald , and Ryan Sweeney has Ross playing every day.
Should I pick him up?: Ross flexed some decent power in pitcher-friendly parks while mixing in some steals and a .261 career average. While he isn't a slam-dunk to have a great season, he'll play virtually every day in a lineup that should produce some runs. In mixed leagues, he could be a decent fifth outfielder option.
How high can he go? Mix the overrating of big market players with the slow realization that Ross will probably continue to play every day even when Carl Crawford returns, and he should max out at about 70 percent owned.

Beat the rush on these five ...
Player % owned
1. Mitch Moreland , 1B/OF, Rangers 34
2. Justin Smoak , 1B, Mariners 57
3. Chone Figgins , 3B/OF, Mariners 16
4. Grant Balfour , RP, Athletics 68
5. Daniel Bard , RP, Red Sox 51

Alfonso Soriano , OF, Cubs
Current ownership: 71 percent (+8 percent)
Reason for the ascent: A five-game hitting streak to end March, coupled with six home runs on the spring (as of Tuesday morning), has Soriano showing a little life in his bat. While he doesn't have any steals -- that ship has likely sailed -- his 1.061 OPS has owners thinking that maybe he has some gas left in the tank.
Should I pick him up?: Every season since 2002, Soriano has hit 20 home runs. He's averaged 25 over the last two seasons. The batting average isn't going to be there, and those in points leagues should be wary of the strikeouts, but he's got plenty of potential to be a valuable Fantasy asset at the utility or fifth outfield spots.
How high can he go? Just on name recognition alone, he's a built-in 70 percent. If he gets hot to start the season, which is well within the realm of possibility, he can hit 90 percent ownership.

As for the downers ...

Roy Oswalt , SP, free agent
Current ownership: 28 percent (-9 percent)
Reason for the descent: The novelty is wearing off and Oswalt's roster spot is being used for gambles on players who are actually on rosters, like Jon Rauch and Drew Smyly .
Should I drop him?: Hold off if you can. While it might be frustrating to use a bench spot on someone who isn't currently on a roster, he could sign with a team at any moment and still has some skill left. If he signs with a team one random night in May and you aren't one of those people who refreshes the Fantasy news page religiously, you run the risk of someone else in the league adding a top pitcher that you dropped for a ninth outfielder who didn't see one start.
How low can he go?: He'll hit maybe 15 percent, then jump to 80 if and when he signs with a team.

Potential future roster casualties ...
Player % owned
1. Russell Martin , C, Yankees 87
2. Paul Goldschmidt , 1B, D-Backs 81
3. Alexi Ogando , RP, Rangers 33
4. Jake Peavy , SP, White Sox 68
5. Bryce Harper , OF, Nationals 76

Derek Lowe , SP, Indians
Current ownership: 12 percent (-6 percent)
Reason for the descent: In his last spring training start, Lowe went three innings, giving up two runs on three hits, before leaving with back spasms. He has just seven strikeouts in 18 innings so far this spring.
Should I drop him?: If you own him, you know what you're getting -- an extreme groundballer who isn't going to get a lot of strikeouts, but can keep his ERA and WHIP low with a sound defense behind him. Don't let the back spasms scare you into dropping him. On the flip side, if you accidentally auto-drafted him and were looking for more of an electric, high-strikeout starter, then yes, by all means, cut him loose.
How low can he go?: Probably down to about seven percent, before he dazzles with a low ERA to start the season and sees a rebound.

Most traded ...

For a brief, ironic window on Monday, the two most traded players across Fantasy leagues were Michael Pineda and Jesus Montero , who were, as we all remember, traded for each other this offseason.

But the tide changed on Tuesday, and now Julio Teheran leads the pack of most traded players, followed closely by Anthony Rizzo , Jacob Turner , Mike Trout , and Adam Lind . Even more youngsters litter the list as you read down -- Jose Tabata , Devin Mesoraco , Domonic Brown , and Shelby Miller . So what's happening?

Owners with roster holes in keeper leagues are realizing they have a day until the season starts and are filling their holes by dangling prospects. Without getting too into look at my team, everyone! annoyance, it's happening in a keeper league I'm in right now -- we're taking top prospects in exchange for some extra pieces we have in the middle infield and outfield. Some gambles worked out for us; some gambles didn't for some others and we're able to pad our keeper stable in exchange for the Brandon Crawford of the world.

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