Setting the Trends: Houston, we have options
Jordan Schafer and J.D. Martinez are catching the eye of owners this week on the waiver wire. Our Nando Di Fino shares his take on some potential free agents worth your while in Setting the Trends.
Astros, Astros everywhere!
Houston seems to be the hot-spot for Fantasy treasure hunting this week, as owners have flocked to the Astros' outfield to shore up their teams, welcoming Jordan Schafer and J.D. Martinez to a combined 70 percent higher ownership level.
|1.||Jordan Schafer, OF, Astros||41|
|2.||Lance Lynn, RP, Cardinals||32|
|3.||Santiago Casilla, RP, Giants||31|
|4.||J.D. Martinez, OF, Astros||29|
|5.||Barry Zito, SP, Giants||29|
|6.||Danny Duffy, SP, Royals||28|
|7.||Kyle Drabek, SP, Blue Jays||28|
|8.||Omar Infante, 2B, Marlins||27|
|9.||Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals||25|
|10.||Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays||25|
If you missed the Martinez train, it might already be too late to jump on board -- he's now owned in 91 percent of leagues. But Schafer, who offers a little more speed than his fellow outfield counterpart, is still available in just under half. And this is the beauty of Roster Trends: using data from other leagues to try and beat people in your own league. It's the circle of life, just like in The Lion King. But with far less subliminally sexual messaging.
On to the highlights!
Most Added Players (complete list)
Jordan Schafer, OF, Astros
Jump in ownership: 41 percent (from 13 percent to 54)
Reason for the jump: Possibly fulfilling his potential
Why you should join the crowd: Schafer had bushels of promise while coming up in the Atlanta farm system but fizzled in his time with the big club, partially thanks to hand and finger injuries, and partially just to what seemed to be unrealized potential. He was shipped to Houston as part of the Michael Bourn deal and is now playing every day in the Astros outfield. He already has five steals on the season.
Devil's advocate: Schafer's career minor league batting totals aren't that impressive -- he has a .260 average over 500-plus games. And while he's often regarded as a speedster, his ceiling is more along the lines of 35 stolen bases, as opposed to 55.
Lance Lynn, RP, Cardinals
Jump in ownership: 32 percent (from 37 percent to 69)
Reason for the jump: He's 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 0.75 WHIP so far this season
Why you should join the crowd: Lynn, 24, a former first-round draft pick for St. Louis, has progressed nicely through the minors. He debuted with the Cardinals in 2011, posting a 3.12 ERA in 34 2/3 innings as mainly a reliever. He doesn't strike out a batter per inning, but he's close. Adding to his value is the fact that Chris Carpenter's return is still pretty unclear, meaning even if Lynn is the odd man out when Carpenter comes back, that day may still be a while away.
Devil's advocate: Lynn had a 1.33 WHIP in the minors and while that's not bad, it's not exactly a sign pointing to him as a future superstar. He's also going to be in a bit of a crunch when Chris Carpenter returns, sitting behind Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook in the rotation.
|1.||Bryan LaHair, OF, Cubs||49|
|2.||Denard Span, OF, Twins||40|
|3.||Brad Lidge, RP, Nationals||36|
|4.||Eric Thames, OF, Blue Jays||35|
|5.||David Murphy, OF, Rangers||29|
J.D. Martinez, OF, Astros
Jump in ownership: 29 percent (from 62 percent to 91)
Reason for the jump: Martinez is batting .333 with three home runs and 10 RBI so far this season
Why you should join the crowd: Martinez had a somewhat inauspicious debut, replacing Hunter Pence for the Astros in 2011, hitting six home runs in 208 at-bats, while batting .274. But he carried a .342 batting average in 1,118 minor league at-bats with a .958 OPS.
Devil's advocate: I'm not really sure there is a rock solid one. Granted, 91 percent ownership is pretty high for a player with just under 250 career at-bats, but as long as a team isn't angling to have Martinez as a Ryan Braun-type contributor and is more realistic about a ceiling of 25 home runs and a .300-.320 average, he's a smart add.
Santiago Casilla/Sergio Romo,
Jump in ownership: Casilla: 31 percent (from one percent to 32); Romo: 22 percent (from 17 percent to 39)
Reason for the jump: Giants closer Brian Wilson is likely out for the year with an elbow injury
How you should join the crowd: Carefully. It isn't clear whether Romo or Casilla will be the closer in Wilson's absence just yet. And even if Romo gets the first save, there's a chance Casilla gets the second, and they rotate in a maddening dance to irrelevancy for both. However, in a worst-case scenario, picking one of these two up still gives you a capable, high-strikeout, low-ERA and WHIP middle reliever. Personally, I lean Romo and think that he'll get the most opportunities. But there's enough support for Casilla to at least consider the less-enjoyable possibilities.
Devil's advocate: Not many owners can afford to pick up both Romo and Casilla -- which would be the preferred route as the situation plays itself out -- so on top of the fear of choosing the wrong one, there is the chance that they have a committee, which essentially makes both pitchers "the wrong one." If it's a casual pickup, fine. But consider the downside carefully before using top waiver priority on a pitcher who may essentially turn out to be a 12-save maximum middle reliever.
|1.||Nick Johnson, 1B, Orioles|
|2.||Darnell McDonald, OF, Red Sox|
|3.||Brandon Inge, 3B, Tigers|
|4.||Xavier Nady, OF, Nationals|
|5.||Adam Wilk, RP, Tigers|
Random Roster Trend trivia
1. Johnny Damon is currently owned in 13
percent of leagues.
2. 19 year-old Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar (15 percent), currently playing in Double-A, is owned in more leagues than Juan Pierre (12 percent).
3. The injured Victor Martinez (who still may miss the entire season), despite news of a possibly quicker recovery, has been rostered in 30 percent of leagues. Marlins starter John Buck is owned in 29 percent.
4.Brett Lawrie, Rickie Weeks, Brian McCann, and Brandon Phillips are still not rostered in one percent of CBSSports.com leagues.
5. Yonder Alonso is currently the most-traded player and the 23rd most-dropped.
6. After Romo, Casillla, and Javier Lopez, the next Giants reliever owned is not Jeremy Affeldt; in fact, he's not even on the team. Heath Hembree, a hard-throwing closer for the Fresno Grizzlies, is now owned in four percent of leagues. He struck out 78 batters in 53 1/3 innings pitched last year in two levels of the minors.
7. The most activated player in Fantasy Baseball? Josh Willingham, who went from being active in 42 percent of leagues to 84 percent of leagues. The most deactivated player in Fantasy Baseball (who isn't injured)? Drew Stubbs, who went from being active in 69 percent of leagues to being active in 39.
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 .
Shohei Otani is expected to sign with a major-league club this offseason, but whether he'll...
Aaron Judge is a player whose weaknesses are as well-documented as his strengths. So where...
Shortstop isn't the wasteland it used to be, and the top tier seems to grow every year. But...
Josh Donaldson's strong finish wasn't enough to keep him in the first-round discussion, but...
Second base is as deep as any infield position these days, but it's lacking in true standouts....
First base has traditionally been the deepest position in Fantasy Baseball, and some newcomers...