Setting the Trends: Ride out Oriole fever!
The red-hot Orioles are producing two of the hottest names in Fantasy down the stretch. Our Nando Di Fino shares his take on that and much more in his latest Setting the Trends.
The Fantasy world seems to be in love with Jurickson Profar this week, adding him in 11 percent of leagues, but this seems like a mass movement that is going to end with plenty of disappointed owners.
The Rangers have plans to only give Profar spot duty -- manager Ron Washington made this clear before Profar was even called up -- and have plenty of depth elsewhere, even if disaster strikes and Elvis Andrus goes down with an injury.
Consider a scenario where Andrus -- who had a rest day on Thursday, but revealed that he had some trainer time on the side -- had to sit for 15 days. Michael Young would be moved to shortstop, and a string of players, including Mike Olt , Brandon Snyder , Geovany Soto (when Mike Napoli is healthy again), and Profar would likely rotate in.
Thanks to an influx of talented prospects making a splash earlier this season -- Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are just two examples -- Fantasy players may have gotten used to grabbing any big name that gets called up. But Profar's situation is different; he has no path to playing time, and it would take two injuries, at least, for him to find his way into a regular role with some Fantasy value.
|1.||Zach Britton , SP, Orioles||22|
|2.||Mark Reynolds , 3B, Orioles||18|
|3.||Kyle Kendrick , SP, Phillies||17|
|4.||Eric Stults , RP, Padres||15|
|5.||Tyler Colvin , OF, Rockies||14|
|6.||Delmon Young , OF, Tigers||12|
|7.||Jurickson Profar , SS, Rangers||11|
|8.||Marco Estrada , SP, Brewers||11|
|9.||Carlos Gomez , OF, Brewers||9|
|10.||A.J. Griffin , SP, Athletics||8|
Most Added Highlights
, 3B, Orioles
Jump in ownership: 18 percent (from 47 percent to 65)
Reason for the jump: From Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, Reynolds has hit .423 with eight home runs and 16 RBI. In that span, he has a 1.846 OPS
Why you should join the crowd: Over the past three seasons, Reynolds has averaged 38 home runs. Yes, he strikes out a ton, and, yes, his average hasn't been anywhere near .260 since 2009, but he can hit home runs, and he can hit them in bunches. On the morning of August 31, Reynolds had 12 home runs. Just over a week later, he has 20. And, most impressively, he hasn't hit his home runs off a bunch of September call-ups -- his last eight home runs have come off Joba Chamberlain , David Robertson , Casey Janssen , Carlos Villanueva , Phil Hughes (twice), Hiroki Kuroda and Derek Lowe . He's been feasting on a group of recognizable names, who -- if they aren't the most solid assemblage of pitchers -- at least compose a respectable group.Imagine what he can do in the coming weeks, when the quality of pitcher he faces just naturally gets a little worse.
Devil's Advocate: Over the next two weeks, Reynolds goes up against the A's and Mariners in two daunting ballparks -- O.co Coliseum and SAFECO Field. The parks could conspire to slow down his home run assault, as he has just three home runs in 59 total at-bats over his career in the stadiums.
But ...: You probably would be well-served to jump on board the Reynolds bandwagon while he's still hot. There's a chance he'll cool down soon, but there's also a decent chance he could stay locked in for the rest of the season.Owned in just 65 percent of leagues, there are some scenarios where Reynolds can still be scooped up by an attentive owner.
|1.||Miguel Gonzalez , RP, Orioles||41|
|2.||Rajai Davis , OF, Blue Jays||38|
|3.||Chris Carter , 1B, Athletics||32|
|4.||Justin Ruggiano , OF, Marlins||29|
|5.||Andrew Cashner , RP, Padres||29|
, OF, Tigers
Jump in ownership: 12 percent (from 47 percent to 59)
Reason for the jump: Since Aug. 1, Young is batting .321, with six home runs, 20 RBI and a .933 OPS.
Why you should join the crowd: If this Delmon Young late-season surge seems familiar to you, it's because it happened last year. The No. 1 overall pick in 2003, Young hit 10 home runs over the last two months in 2011, with 37 RBI and 30 runs scored. For his career, Young tends to flex some power in the final two months. His 21 home runs in August and 20 home runs in September represent the two highest monthly totals for his career.
Devil's Advocate: For as hot as Young has been, over the past 28 days he's only the 25th-ranked outfielder in points leagues. Carlos Gomez has hit more home runs over that span, Alex Gordon has driven in more runs, and Howie Kendrick has a better batting average. Young doesn't bring much speed to the table, either. He's a nice pick-up in deeper leagues, or for teams that want to play it safe in first place. He also has an undeniable history of getting hot late. But his stats seem just slightly low enough to avoid the full embrace.
|1.||Troy Tulowitzki , SS, Rockies||97|
|2.||David Ortiz , Red Sox||90|
|3.||Mike Napoli , C, Rangers||85|
|4.||Jose Bautista , OF, Blue Jays||80|
|5.||Michael Cuddyer , OF, Rockies||76|
Jump in ownership: Five percent (from 23 percent to 28)
Reason for the jump: With Kenley Jansen out, League stands to gain some save chances as the (possible) new closer for the Dodgers.
Why you should join the crowd: First and foremost, League already has one save for Los Angeles. But the 2011 All-Star had 54 career saves before his first with the Dodgers, and has already struck out 19 batters in 15 innings since joining the team. It would seem logical in the absence of Jansen for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly to go with the player acquired in the deadline deal who has 55 career saves ahead of Ronald Belisario , who also has had a save in Jansen's absence, but had just two previous saves in his career. And, for what it's worth, League had the more recent save.
Devil's Advocate: Mattingly could always just opt to go with Belisario, who has a better ERA (2.54 vs 3.62), lower WHIP (1.02 vs 1.48) and a better strikeout rate on the season.
|1.||Trevor Bauer , SP, D-Backs||39|
|2.||Jemile Weeks , 2B, Athletics||33|
|3.||Wil Myers , OF, Royals||33|
|4.||Dan Straily , SP, Athletics||28|
|5.||Billy Hamilton , SS, Reds||25|
, OF, Diamondbacks
Jump in ownership: Five percent (from three percent to eight)
Reason for the jump: Eaton was recalled by the Diamondbacks after hitting .375 with seven home runs, 47 doubles, 44 steals and 130 runs scored in the minor leagues this season.
Why you should join the crowd: With Chris Young sidelined, Eaton has started two consecutive games in center field, batting .364 with a double. As long as Young is out, it looks like the job is Eaton's. And with Arizona six-and- a-half games out of the second wild card spot, they can afford to try out a sparkplug in center to see if he's ready for a regular spot next year. Even without the "let's see what he can do" argument, it might benefit the Diamondbacks to keep Eaton in the lineup, as he's arguably an upgrade over Young, who is having a nightmare season, hitting just .226 with 14 home runs and eight steals. Given regular playing time, Eaton could be a sneaky source of steals over the last few weeks of the season.
Devil's Advocate: There's always a chance that the Diamondbacks could go back to Young and just give Eaton spot duty the rest of season, as Young did average 23.5 home runs and 25 steals over the previous two seasons.
So what do you do?: I'm picking up Eaton, just on the outside chance that he sticks as the everyday centerfielder. At this point in the season, we're talking about a likely bench spot. If Eaton snags the job, he becomes a possible Fantasy starter and is a boon to a playoff lineup; if he doesn't, you've lost negligible bench depth at a time where maybe 1/4 of your league is actually paying attention.
, SP, Orioles
Jump in ownership: 22 percent (from 17 percent to 39)
Reason for the jump: Over his last four games, Britton is 4-0, with a 0.94 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings pitched.
Why you should join the crowd: You can't really argue with a sub-1.00 ERA.
Devil's Advocate: We've been teased by young Baltimore pitchers before (see Jake Arrieta , Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman ), and have actually seen Britton himself go from "brilliant" to "meh" last year, when he had a 2.93 ERA at he end of May, but finished July with a 4.56 ERA. He's coming back this year from a shoulder injury suffered in March and before this brilliant run of games, Britton had a 4.12 ERA in the minors over 11 starts and an 8.10 ERA in his first five major league games in July and early August.
Therefore, the question we must ask ourselves is: Was Britton's early ugliness related to his shoulder injury, or are his last four starts just bringing him back to where his numbers should be, eventually leading to a plateau of his ERA at around 4.10? The answer: Is within you. It always has been.
No, but really: There's a difference between trying to ride Mark Reynolds' hot streak and Britton's; namely, Reynolds has been awesome and hit a ton of home runs before. Britton is unproven and doesn't have a track record. Also, it's easier to stay in a zone when you're playing every day, as opposed to pitching every five. Given the choice between Reynolds and Britton, it might be wise to go the Reynolds route and leave the risky Britton on the wire.
Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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