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Ivan Nova, Strasburg gaining in popularity

8/10/2011

I often look at ESPN's most added/dropped lists to see what fantasy owners are thinking and doing, and on this fine Wednesday, I found quite a few names of interest on both sides. So without further ado, let's discuss:

Most Added

Ivan Nova, SP, New York Yankees: He's the most-added player in the past seven days, and I can't disagree with that. It certainly appears Phil Hughes is the odd man out in the rotation -- A.J. Burnett is on the most dropped side, incidentally -- as Nova has won six consecutive decisions and fanned 10 Chicago White Sox hitters in his last outing. Don't presume similar strikeout performances moving forward, but he's pitching well.

Brett Lawrie, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays: The 21-year-old Canadian had five hits in his first three big league games, and he likely will have added third base eligibility in ESPN standard leagues by this time next week. Don't expect a .300 batting average, but he has power and speed. I think he'll stick in the big leagues this season.

Casey McGehee, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers: Well, that was fast! The three-homer game predictably spiked interest, and now McGehee is fantasy's fifth-most-added player. Of course, since his big game he has just two hits in 14 at-bats. You'll probably be cutting him soon.

Derek Holland, SP, Texas Rangers: I admit I was skeptical, despite the evidence of three shutouts in a five-game stretch, then the young lefty couldn't get through the second inning against the offensively challenged Indians. Personally, I'd spot-start him against teams such as the Mariners (his Wednesday opponent), but that's about it.

Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals: Smart move. In fact, I'm a bit surprised Strasburg is owned in only 18.3 percent of leagues (up from 4.1 percent a week ago). I think it's likely he makes four or five September starts and more than likely pitches well. Don't wait until his teammate, Jordan Zimmermann, is done to add Strasburg. Zimmermann likely will get three more starts then be shut down.

Most Dropped

Jeff Karstens, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates: Well, we told you this was likely to happen. Karstens is the third-most-dropped player after Daniel Murphy and Scott Baker. Karstens is not hurt, though. I didn't think his worst career outing would come against the San Diego Padres, but that's what happened over the weekend, with nine runs scoring in 3 1/3 innings. The ERA is up to only 3.05, but his FIP is 4.46 (thanks to Fangraphs.com for that stat). I trust that number more. Beware and look elsewhere.

Jemile Weeks, 2B, Oakland Athletics: He seemed a logical choice to replace his injured brother, Rickie, in standard leagues, but Jemile is hitting .226 in seven August games with one stolen base. Frankly, I think dropping the younger Weeks is a mistake, unless you're getting Lawrie or Jason Kipnis. As for an update on Rickie Weeks, don't expect him back this month.

Danny Espinosa, 2B, Washington Nationals: It's a bit odd to see a middle infielder with 17 home runs and 12 stolen bases on a free-agent wire, but Espinosa hit only .200 in July. He last homered July 17. He last swiped a base July 8. I know we probably should move on, but I just can't. The potential for power and speed returning is just too great, despite the lack of overall hits.

Travis Snider, OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Recently demoted yet again, I wouldn't wait for his pending promotion in September. Snider hasn't hit for power in the big leagues, and you can't get away with his recent stretch of one walk against 33 strikeouts. By the way, current Blue Jays player Eric Thames was spared his big league job, but he has just two hits in 21 August at-bats. If he was owned in more leagues, he'd be justifiably on the most-dropped list as well.

Jason Isringhausen, RP, New York Mets: He is, oddly enough, the only current closer on either side of the added/dropped list. He's 25th on the bad side, but you know what? He'll be back on the good side in a week. Izzy didn't lose his closer role. He had an awful outing against the Florida Marlins in which he loaded the bases and Mike Stanton emptied them. Stanton is good. So is Isringhausen. He keeps the closer job over Bobby Parnell the rest of the season and saves 11 more games.