Change is one constant in fantasy sports. Players get hot and cool down, get hurt and get well, and move in and out of roles. Fantasy owners are constantly reacting to these changes (or at least they should be). Let's take a look at the Buzz Index from the past few days to see which players are currently causing the most change in fantasy baseball, and take a deeper look at what the fuss is all about.
Buzz Index (Baseball) – Adds
Kelly Johnson (Atl – 2B, OF) 71,077 adds
Johnson started the season slowly, but has been on a tear of late. He's batted .500 (16 for 32) over the past nine games, raising his average over 150 points in the process, with 10 runs scored, three home runs, and eight runs batted in. The Braves' leadoff hitter currently boasts a season line of .306/.438/.569.
Mike Lowell (Bos – 3B) 59,205 adds
Lowell has been on a run-producing binge in recent weeks – over the past seven games, he's gone 11 for 26 (.423) with four home runs, nine runs batted in, and seven runs scored. His 17 runs batted in are second only to Alex Rodriguez's 34 among third basemen.
J.J. Hardy (Mil – SS) 50,646 adds
Hardy had a binge of his own last week, hitting five home runs in five games from April 19-23. The 24-year-old also drove in 10 runs and scored six runs during that stretch. Nestled between Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder in the Brewers lineup, Hardy's current season line is .279/.347/.535.
Randy Wolf (LAD – SP) 44,570 adds
Wolf was added en masse leading up to his Wednesday start against the Giants, in which he allowed five runs in six innings in the 6-4 loss. Wolf had gone 3-0 in three starts prior to Wednesday, however, allowing 15 hits and five earned runs in 18.0 innings, striking out 20 and walking five. On the season, Wolf has a 4.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and .239 BAA in 30.0 innings, with 31 strikeouts and seven walks.
Braden Looper (StL – SP, RP) 38,501 adds
Looper had been a solid but unspectacular reliever for nine major league seasons, entering the 2007 season with career totals of 572 appearances, 607.1 innings pitched, and zero games started. He won a spot in the Cardinals rotation this spring, and has been as effective as any pitcher in baseball over his first five starts, posting a 1.91 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and .200 BAA in 33.0 innings.
Tom Gorzelanny (Pit – SP) 38,112 adds
Gorzelanny has been making a steady climb up the percent-owned chart, as he's registered three consecutive quality starts and is 3-0 in four starts overall. He's allowed just 20 hits in 26.1 innings, compiling a 2.05 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and .211 BAA, with 17 strikeouts and six walks.
Shawn Green (NYM – 1B, OF) 34,136 adds
Green is one of the reasons that the Mets' offense has arguably been the best in baseball to this point. The 34-year-old has put together a .351/.419/.571 line in 20 games and 77 at bats, with 14 runs scored, three home runs, and 13 runs batted in.
Chad Gaudin (Oak – SP, RP) 31,118 adds
Gaudin has been particularly impressive over his past three starts, allowing just 11 hits and three earned runs in 19.1 innings, with 17 strikeouts and seven walks. On the season, Gaudin has posted a 1.85 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and .186 BAA in 24.1 innings over four starts.
Aaron Rowand (Phi – OF) 28,686 adds
Rowand, who was largely a disappointment in the two seasons following his breakout 2004 campaign, has been stellar so far in 2007. He has hit safely in 13 straight games, batting .420 (21 for 50) during that stretch, with nine runs scored, three home runs, and eight runs batted in. His current season line is .365/.448/.554 in 20 games and 74 at bats.
B.J. Upton (TB – 2B, 3B) 28,628 adds
Upton started the season strong after being named the Devil Rays' starting second baseman, and hasn't slowed much since. In 18 games and 60 at bats, Upton has posted a .333/.385/.600 line, batting ninth for the most part for the D-Rays.
Buzz Index (Baseball) – Drops
Akinori Iwamura (TB – 3B) 40,269 drops
Iwamura hit waivers in a number of leagues after being placed on the DL on Tuesday with a right oblique strain – and injury that is expected to keep the 28-year-old rookie from Japan out for up to six weeks. Iwamura had batted .339/.479/.482 in 18 games and 56 at bats before being sidelined.
Kip Wells (StL – SP) 26,848 drops
Wells was solid in his first three starts of the season, but his most recent two have been a sharp contrast. In 10.2 innings, he allowed 15 hits and 11 earned runs, walking five and striking out four.
Eric Gagne (Tex – RP) 20,076 drops
Gagne lasted all of four appearances before sustaining an injury, this time in the form of a strained right hip. Gagne is actually expected to need less than the full 15 days to get back to full strength, but the Rangers felt it wouldn't be prudent to move forward minus an arm in the bullpen, even if it were for just five or seven days. Anikori Otsuka will see the save opportunities for the Rangers during this and subsequent trips that Gagne makes to the DL.
Kei Igawa (NYY – SP) 16,683 drops
Igawa allowed seven earned runs for the second time this season on Monday, giving up eight hits, including two home runs, and walking three in 4.1 innings during a 10-8 loss to the Devil Rays. Igawa has had two decent starts and two bad ones, but his overall line is more a reflection of the latter – in 20.2 innings, he's compiled a 7.84 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, and .279 BAA, with 13 strikeouts and nine walks.
Mike Jacobs (Fla – 1B) 16,314 drops
Jacobs hit .182 (6 for 33) in nine games, with no home runs, one run scored, and two runs batted in, before injuring his thumb on April 20, and he's missed the team's past five games. Although he is expected to return to the lineup on Friday, the combination of circumstances made him expendable to a number of fantasy owners.
Josh Barfield (Cle – 2B) 14,505 drops
Barfield has been downright abysmal for his new team, and fantasy owners, thus far – he's managed just one hit in his past 27 at bats, lowering his overall season line to .117/.159/.200 in 60 at bats.
Adam Wainwright (StL – SP, RP) 14,290 drops
Wainwright has charted a Kip Wells-like course so far this season, as well. He allowed 12 hits and three earned runs in 13.2 innings over his first two starts, but allowed 20 hits and 11 earned runs in 11.1 innings during his most recent two starts.
Jhonny Peralta (Cle – SS) 14,173 drops
Peralta has been struggling mightily with the bat in recent weeks – in a nine-game stretch from April 14-23, Peralta hit .065 (two for 31). He did manage two hits on Wednesday, however, perhaps a sign that he's ready to snap out of his funk.
Chris Sampson (Hou – SP, RP) 13,570 drops
Sampson was a popular pickup in deep leagues after recording back-to-back wins in his first two starts of the season, but fantasy owners who took a chance on him were rewarded with 14 hits and seven earned runs allowed in 4.0 innings during Sampson's most recent start, an 11-4 loss to the Phillies. For his efforts, Sampson has been a popular drop in deep leagues.
Chuck James (Atl – SP, RP) 13,446 drops
James is another starter who began the season in fine form (2-0, 11.0 innings, one earned run allowed in his first two starts), but then regressed significantly (0-2, 10.1 innings, nine earned runs in his most recent two starts). James currently has a 4.22 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and .302 BAA in 21.1 innings, with 16 strikeouts and eight walks.