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Roster Trending: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

The CBS Sports league site has a Roster Trends section that is always interesting. I use it for the Deep League Waiver Wire column as it displays the ownership percentage of a select group of players. In addition, it provides a list of the most added and dropped players, comparing the current week’s ownership percentage to the next week. These lists provide a snapshot of what other fantasy owners are doing and could offer ideas for player pickups. So let’s take a gander at who is being added in leagues and determine whether fantasy owners have the right idea.

Casey McGehee – 5% owned current week, 47% owned next week

The 31-year-old has had quite the interesting career. A non-prospect in the Cubs system, the Brewers claimed him off waivers, at which point he rewarded their faith with strong 2009 and 2010 campaigns. He fell apart offensively in 2011 and 2012 and then played in Japan last year. The Marlins then signed him to be the team’s every day third baseman this year and he’s off to a scintillating start.

Assuming your league was paying attention, he should already be owned in NL-Only leagues and is likely to earn some profit. The problem for shallow leaguers is that he is part of a weak offense, plays half his games in a pitcher’s park, and doesn’t possess a whole lot of power. You can safely ignore him in such formats and laugh at those owners who like to chase the hot hitter of the week.

Adeiny Hechavarria – 5%, 31%

Another Marlins hitter?! I guess a bunch of singles excites fantasy owners. With no power and just touch of speed, Hechavarria offers nothing to fantasy owners except the promise of at-bats. The playing time has value for NL-Only leaguers, but no one else. Given his complete lack of power, he strikes out too much to even contribute in batting average. Nearly a zero-category contributor, but he probably gets half credit for the low double digit steals he could record.

Chris Colabello – 0%, 16%

A life-long independent leaguer, Colabello got his chance in the Twins organization in 2012, where he showed good power and a solid contact rate at Double-A. He truly broke out last year at Triple-A, but then disappointed in 181 plate appearances with the Twins after his promotion. The trouble here is that Colabello is already 30 years old, so you have to take his minor league performance with a grain of salt. He clearly has power, but he might have serious issues making contact. He’s off to a scorching start, which has led to playing time against righties, and not just southpaws. He’ll cool down at some point and then become just a bench bat against lefties to spell Jason Kubel.

Once Oswaldo Arcia returns from his wrist issue, there’s going to be three hitters for two positions. Colabello is a complete wildcard given his weird history, but it’s doubtful that the team makes Kubel a reserve and it would be silly to do the same for Arcia. He’s not a long-term solution in any league except as an injury replacement in AL-Only leagues.

Yangervis Solarte – 1%, 16%

After surprisingly winning a bench spot as the utility infielder over the incumbent Eduardo Nunez, Solarte is batting .471 and garnering more playing time than could have been expected. He has a bit of power, but no speed, so he’s not going to contribute much in the counting stat categories. However, he does make excellent contact so he could hit for a neutral batting average at the very least. Sometimes when searching for an injury replacement, all you really want is someone who is playing and won’t kill you in the one ratio category.

Given the age and brittleness of the Yankees infield, Solarte could end up with over 400 plate appearances. The ZiPS and Steamer projections are already figuring that. That has value in AL-Only leagues, but given his lack of power and any real semblance of speed, his value is confined to those formats.

Kyle Kendrick – 10%, 24%

Really? All it takes is one good start and Kendrick’s ownership more than doubles? Even in that one start, Kendrick did exactly what you have come to expect — a low strikeout rate, good control and an above average ground ball rate. Sometimes he’ll get lucky and post a respectable ERA (like in 2011 and 2012), while other years his fortune reverses course and isn’t enough to overcomes his mediocre skills (2010 and 2013). This is the same Kendrick he has always been, so why his ownership changed at all boggles the mind. He’s backed by a meh offense and has limited upside given the measly strikeout rate. I’d prefer someone with better strikeout potential in NL-Only leagues.