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
Cliff Lee (Cle – SP) 72,861 adds
Lee has been masterful in his two starts this season, both coming against the A's. In 14.2 innings, he's allowed just six hits and one earned run, walking one and striking out 12.
Upshot: If Lee can get back to his 2005 form (18 W, 3.79 ERA, 1.22 WHIP in 202.0 IP), then you are looking at a three-category asset with around the league average in K/9. For that to happen, however, he'll need to keep the walks and home run totals down. After registering an opponent line of .251/.295/.403 in '05, those numbers rose to .278/.330/.446 in 2006 and .284/.352/.489 last season. Regardless, he's certainly worth adding in light of his initial success.
Gabe Kapler (Mil – OF) 38,064 adds
Kapler has been making his starts count. In five games as the starting center fielder for the Brewers, he's 10-for-22 (.455) with seven runs, three home runs, 10 runs batted in, and one steal.
Upshot: Kapler has been in the starting lineup when the Brewers face a LHP, with .091-hitting Gabe Gross getting the start versus righties. Don't get too excited, however, as Mike Cameron is set to return from his suspension on April 29, and it's very unlikely that a platoon continues, especially considering that his career numbers are better versus LHP as well. Kapler should get a few more starts over the next two weeks, but he'll be a fourth outfielder at best once Cameron returns.
Brian Bannister (KC – SP) 33,977 adds
Bannister moved to 3-0 in his most recent start, a complete-game victory over the Twins in which he allowed three hits and one unearned run. In 21.0 innings on the season, he's allowed 10 hits, two earned runs and five walks, while striking out 13.
Upshot: Check the News & Notes section of his player profile for links to as much effusive praise as you can handle. In a nutshell, go get this guy if you want help in pitching categories.
Edwin Jackson (TB – SP) 30,249 adds
Jackson was added in large numbers leading up to his third start of the season Tuesday versus the Yankees. In his first two starts, Jackson allowed seven hits, one earned run, and struck out 10 in 14.0 innings.
Upshot: Jackson was less than spectacular on Tuesday, allowing four hits, four walks and five earned runs in 5.0 innings of a 5-3 loss. While it's doubtful that his BAA remains at .167, it's not unrealistic to expect his walk rate to remain high (current 4.7/9, career 5.0/9). For all his supposed upside, his career minors' numbers include a 4.39 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 556.0 innings, with the ever-present lack of control (4.1 BB/9). I'm not expecting anything but an unpleasant roller-coaster ride this season from the 24-year-old.
Mike Jacobs (Fla – 1B) 29,935 adds
Jacobs has had a very nice week. Over the past five games, he's 11-for-22 (.500) with five runs, three home runs, six runs batted in and even chipped in a steal.
Upshot: Check out his career splits and you'll see that he's as streaky as they come. His flashes of brilliance suggest that he's got .280/30 upside, and he's in the heart of the order for the Marlins, so there are worse uses for your UTIL spot at this point, particularly while he's on a tear.
Masa Kobayashi (Cle – RP) 27,577 adds
Kobayashi was added to rosters en masse after Joe Borowski hit the DL on Tuesday.
Upshot: Rafael Betancourt figures to see most of the save opportunities while Borowski is out. If he falters, Kobayashi could be next in line, and he could be in for a few saves either way, with Borowski potentially sidelined for up to a month. The deeper the league, the more sense it makes for Kobayashi to be on a roster.
Wandy Rodriguez (Hou – SP) 26,571 adds
Rodriguez has been strong in back-to-back starts, allowing eight hits and one earned run in 14.1 innings, walking one and striking out 13.
Upshot: It's no surprise that they both came at home. If you only started him at home in 2007, you got 95.0 innings of production that rivaled the best starters in the game (2.94 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 8.3 K/9). It seems as if that strategy needs to be employed once again this season, at least initially, but it makes more sense to pick up Wandy than some other pitcher who you fret plugging in no matter where they start.
Joe Crede (CWS – 3B) 24,919 adds
Crede is the current league leader in runs batted in (16), with half coming on the strength of a pair of grand slams. Through 13 games, he is hitting .313 with eight runs and four home runs.
Upshot: The majority of Crede's production has come hitting eighth for the White Sox. It's worth keeping in mind that he's likely to see more run-producing opportunities in the bottom of their lineup than he would in the heart of the Giants lineup, so he's a serious sell-high candidate if he maintains anything resembling his current pace.
Buzz Index (Baseball) – Drops
Jeremy Accardo (Tor – RP) 43,766 drops
Accardo's fantasy stock took a significant hit over the past week. He's 0-2 with a blown save in his past three appearances (2.1 IP, 5 ER), and B.J. Ryan was activated and had his first save of the season on Sunday.
Lowdown: Most reports are that Ryan will be treated with kid gloves initially, so Accardo should still see occasional save opportunities, at least in the near future. You can bet that Accardo will be back on numerous fantasy rosters if/when he converts his next chance, although lefty Scott Downs could also get a call depending on matchups.
Joe Borowski (Cle – RP) 30,504 drops
Borowski hit the DL on Tuesday with a strained triceps, an injury he's been dealing with since spring training, according to the Associated Press. He could be sidelined for up to a month.
Lowdown: Is this the beginning of the end for Borowski? If Rafael Betancourt is lights-out in his save appearances, it won't make much sense to plug the 37-year-old Borowski back in, even if Indians manager Eric Wedge has suggested otherwise. Regardless, I can't see many good reasons to not purge Borowski from rosters at this point – as has already been shown a number of times this season, there are saves to be had on waivers at just about any point if you stay on top of things.
Phil Hughes (NYY – SP) 24,243 drops
Hughes has gotten progressively worse in his three starts, highlighted by six hits, three walks and six earned runs in 2.0 innings versus the Red Sox on Sunday. He has a 9.00 ERA, 2.18 WHIP, and .340 BAA in 11.0 innings, with eight walks and nine strikeouts.
Lowdown: Clearly, Hughes is an elite prospect – look here if you are unsure why. It just may not happen for the 21-year-old this season, as much as the Yankees want/need it to. In standard leagues, it's safe to look for other options while Hughes attempts to sort things out, but keep him on your Watch List.
Shane Victorino (Phi – OF) 23,461 drops
The Phillies have placed Victorino on the DL with a strained right calf. In 12 games on the season, he's batting .234 with four runs, two runs batted in and one steal.
Lowdown: Victorino is a guy who deserves your DL spot if you have one, and using an extra bench spot on him isn't a bad idea if you need steals. Reports are that he isn't expected to need more than the 15 days to recover, so swapping him out for a quick fix is short-sighted. In 131 games last season, he hit .281 and had 37 steals.
Tom Glavine (Atl – SP) 22,044 drops
After some effective innings to start the season, Glavine left his most recent start with a hamstring injury. He failed to record an out, but allowed three hits and two earned runs before departing.
Lowdown: The 42-year-old Glavine is a marginal fantasy option even at his best. There's a chance that his ERA won't be terrible and he may win a few games, but he'll come in well below the league average in K/9 and his WHIP in 1,460.2 IP since 2000 is 1.37. Your roster spot is better spent on some speculation on upside.
Peter Moylan (Atl – RP) 20,284 drops
Moylan hit waivers in waves after he was placed on the DL on Tuesday with what is being called a right elbow strain at this point.
Lowdown: This line from the Atlanta Journal Constitution is particularly troubling: "The MRI exam done in Atlanta showed irregularities that could indicate a serious injury." Manny Acosta appears to be next in line for save opportunities in Atlanta, although Rafael Soriano is eligible to come off the DL on April 22.
Ted Lilly (ChC – SP) 18,752 drops
Lilly is 3-for-3 on the season in terms of ineffective starts. His most recent effort (4.1 IP, 7 H, 2 HR, 5 ER on Saturday) brought his season numbers to a 9.95 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, and .333 BAA in 12.2 IP.
Lowdown: It doesn't bode well for Lilly that April boasts the best monthly splits for his career, including a 2.18 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and .178 BAA in 33.0 innings during last season's career campaign. Reports are that his velocity is down, although it does not appear to be because of injury. If he continues to struggle to this extent, it's hard to imagine that he won't spend some time on the DL.
Jon Lester (Bos – SP) 14,355 drops
Lester has struggled in back-to-back outings since throwing 6.2 scoreless innings versus the A's on April 2. In 9.2 innings, he's allowed 10 hits and eight earned runs, walking nine while striking out three.
Lowdown: Lester should be an inspiration to us all for beating cancer and making it back to the majors, but he's got a ways to go before he's going to be a solid option in fantasy leagues. He now has 89 walks in 164.2 career innings, and his control issues are nothing new. Surplus wins thanks to the Red Sox offense won't make up for a drag in both ratios.