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Fantasy Baseball Today

Quarter-pole of season means roster evaluation for Fantasy owners

By Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

The quarter-pole of the major league season generally signals a roster evaluation by managers and general managers. That time is fast approaching.

The same should hold true for Fantasy owners. The theory is that numbers compiled by players don't reach the point of legitimacy until about 40 games have been played. Surprising statistics both negative and positive must be taken with many grains of salt until enough plate appearances have been compiled.

It's time to examine hitters off to surprisingly strong starts for possible pickups and trades. Many of the following could be available, particularly in shallower leagues:

Emilio Bonifacio (.297, 17 runs, 11 stolen bases): His eligibility at second base and outfield makes him a strong possible roster addition, especially in leagues that value non-power numbers such as runs and stolen bases.

Michael Brantley (.286-7-30): One of the most popular pickups in recent weeks added bulk in the offseason and it shows. He will likely not keep up the 30-homer, 130-RBI pace that would shatter his previous marks, but he has become a legitimate power threat as well as one of the top contact hitters in the game.

Marlon Byrd (.315-4-23): Among the most underrated outfielders in the sport is still unowned in 38 percent of Fantasy leagues. He proved himself worthy of inclusion in most lineups last season, but continues to fly under the radar. Byrd would be an upgrade as a third outfielder for many teams, even in deeper leagues.

Brian Dozier (.237-8-14, 32 runs, 11 stolen bases): Despite the low average, Dozier has emerged as a tremendously productive Fantasy player, particularly at second base. Few at that position are capable of such power numbers, plus he's elite in the runs and stolen base categories and gets extra at-bats as a leadoff hitter for the Twins.

Casey McGehee (.309-0-23): The lack of home runs is a bit of a turnoff, but his average and status as a cleanup hitter behind Giancarlo Stanton in Miami warrants more than 48 percent ownership in Fantasy leagues. He is, after all, on pace for about 100 RBI.

Justin Morneau (.338-7-27): This Renaissance Man has found new life in the hitter's paradise of Colorado. He appears healthy again and is on pace to exceed 30 home runs and 100 RBI for the first time since 2009.

Dioner Navarro (.289-1-15): Most encouraging about Navarro is that he has been batting fifth behind Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in the Toronto lineup. He has not hit for much power, but his production is a positive at his position.

Anthony Rendon (.287-5-23, 22 runs): Rendon not only boasts lineup versatility that bolsters has value, but he owns a .503 slugging percentage that would give Fantasy owners a huge edge, especially if he's used at second base.

Kurt Suzuki (.302-1-24): Suzuki is on pace to exceed 100 RBI. It's unlikely he will reach that number, but he has been lights out with runners in scoring position and it should be recalled that he was once one of the most productive run-producing catchers in the game with Oakland.

Juan Uribe (.306-4-17): Most shocking is that this third baseman remains available in nearly half of all Fantasy leagues despite a slugging percentage of .463 that, if maintained, would mark his highest since 2009.

 
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