Infante, Dempster lead transaction trends

Published Apr. 11, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

From cuffing your jeans in the 80's to the Furby craze of the 90's to dating a Kardashian today, everybody loves a good trend.

So, with a week of action in the books, here are 10 of the most added fantasy baseball players.

Updated 4/12 - the following "change" are week-over-week percentages.

Omar Infante

Change: +19.8 percent
Analysis: He was a single away from a cycle against Cincinnati last Saturday. Two days later he slugged two home runs against the Phillies. Infante has hit 15 home runs combined over the last two seasons. So, don’t expect the power numbers to continue, but prior to his .276 batting average in 2011, Infante had back-to-back seasons where he hit over .300. Oh, and he’s in a contract year.
Buy/Sell: Buying in deeper leagues (14 teams or more) and where you need to start a middle infielder. Position eligibility at 2B-only hurts value.

Ryan Dempster

Change: +15.4 percent
Analysis: The Cubbies use the term “ace” loosely when they speak of Dempster. You don’t earn the nickname “Dempster Fire” by handcuffing hitters. Despite the hesitation by owners to draft him (219 ADP / 22nd round), his Opening Day line of 7 2/3 IP, 1 ER and 10 Ks struck the waiver wire alarm. Before his 4.80 ERA last season, Dempster posted ERAs no higher than 3.85 the previous three seasons.
Buy/Sell: I’m a buyer as a SP2. No doubt he struggled at times last season, but he can help your roto team in the K department.


Frank Francisco

Change: +28.0 percent
Analysis: The reason behind the slight bump in fantasy ownership of Francisco is pretty simple. A few days before Opening Day, Francisco had a MRI on his knee after complaining of knee tendonitis towards the end spring training. The MRI came back negative and he’s three for three in save opportunities this season.
Buy/Sell: You buy because he is the Mets’ closer (he’s still available in 45 percent of leagues), but be forewarned that Francisco’s knee is still ailing. Jon Rauch and Miguel Batista should be on your radar as replacements should he hit the shelf.

Zach Cozart

Change: +23.3 percent
Analysis: The Reds young shortstop earned a “Start ‘em” nomination in my weekly gallery and rightfully so because he’s on fire. Through the team’s first six games, Cozart is hitting .455 with a couple doubles, triples, a home run with six runs scored.
Buy/Sell: I’m buying and really kicking myself that I didn’t draft him late (220 ADP / 23rd round).

Carlos Pena

Change: +21.9 percent
Analysis: After spending most of his career batting clean-up or in the five-hole, Joe Maddon rewrote the script and penciled Pena second on his lineup card. So far, so good. The strikeouts will always be his Achilles’ heel, but he averaged 34 home runs per season with the Rays the first time around. Considering he hasn’t hit over .250 since 2007, I think fantasy owners will embrace the robust average now and prepare for it to plummet down the road.
Buy/Sell: I’m a buyer as a utility guy/DH or corner infield start, but would need to feel confident in my team’s batting average to make him my everyday starter at first.

Kyle Lohse

Change: +20.1 percent
Analysis: With two starts in the books and an ERA under two and WHIP under one, expect Lohse ownership to increase. He started fast last season, too, with a 7-2 record through the end of May. He finished the rest of the season 7-6 with a bunch of no decisions.
Buy/Sell: Buy, but don’t overvalue in a trade. It’s a buyer’s market early in the season. Just remember how the good (Justin Masterson start No. 1) can turn bad (Justin Masterson start No. 2) quickly.

Adam LaRoche

Change: +13.5 percent
Analysis: It was difficult to gauge what fantasy owners would receive from LaRoche to start the season. He missed most of 2011 after shoulder surgery (allowed Mike Morse to shine) and was dealing with some ankle issues this spring. He’s come down to reality a bit, but two early home runs is a good sign.
Buy/Sell: I’m not in a rush to buy in standard leagues. He will wind up as one of the more popular ADD/DROPS as the season plays out.

Jeff Samardzija

Change: +13.9 percent
Analysis: The sample size as a starter just isn’t there.
Buy/Sell: I’m selling.

Austin Jackson

Change: +12.0 percent
Analysis: Has collected a hit and scored a run in every game this season. Fantasy owners shied away from him in drafts because of the .249 batting average he posted last season, but the rest of his roto stats stayed pretty much the same.
Buy/Sell: Buying. With Miggy and Fielder lurking, Jackson could lead the AL in runs scored.

Chipper Jones

Change: +5.1 percent
Analysis: Hit a home run in his first game of the season. Not a bad start.
Buy/Sell: This will be Chipper’s final season, but I don’t know if his body will allow him to walk off gracefully. I’d hold off adding him to your roster.

For more fantasy baseball trends, be sure to check the most up-to-date game data.

Please know that if you are in a daily league, the percentages will indicate day-to-day change whereas weekly leagues will indicate week-to-week change.

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