Fantasy baseball batter stock watch - 914

Fantasy baseball batter stock watch - 914

David Ferris
Contributor to CSNChicago.com
Buy
Marco Scutaro, Utility, Giants: His fantasy value was expected to vanish the moment he left the thin air of Coors Field, but Scutaro has been a find for the Giants, hitting .341 over 44 games with strong run-production stats (30 RBIs, 25 runs). Bruce Bochy loves Scutaro's contact and experience near the top of the order, and we love Scutaro's position flexibility (he qualifies at second, short and third base in standard leagues).
Josh Donaldson, 3BC, Athletics: He's settled into the corner slot for the A's - taking over for the injured Brandon Inge - and the second-half numbers have been tasty (.324 average, six homers). Donaldson carries catcher eligibility in many leagues despite the fact that he's not playing there; take full advantage of that where you can.
Everth Cabrera, 2BSS, Padres: He's just about unstoppable on the bases (30-for-32), and no one in the majors has swiped more bags over the past month. Cabrera also covers two infield spots in standard leagues, and he's been an average-neutral player over that span. You'll have to fill your power categories elsewhere, but if you're in the market for a speed speciality play, Cabrera comes strongly recommended.

Hold
Jed Lowrie, SS3B, Astros: He's finally back from the ankle and leg problems that wrecked his season, but the Astros have no reason to push Lowrie over the final three weeks. If you can grab him in a daily-transaction league, we'll sign off on it - so long as you have the maintenance time - but Lowrie is too risky to trust in pools that require weekly activations.
Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres: If you have the flexibility to use Denorfia against left-handed pitching, you're getting an absolute monster: the Wheaton College product slashes .346.402.512 against southpaws. The Padres face three lefties in their next eight games (beginning Saturday); in some pools, that might be enough of a needle-mover to consider Denorfia. Don't be thrown by Petco Park, either; his batting average is only eight points higher on the road. Line drives play in any environment.
Brandon Belt, 1BOF, Giants: He's finally settled into a full-time job and the bat has responded - Belt has a strong .294-8-2-15 line over the past 30 days, with a couple of stolen bases thrown in. You might want to sit him against a left-handed starter now and again - there's a platoon split at play here - but otherwise Belt has enough juice to justify a roster spot in mixed leagues.

Sell
Todd Frazier, Utility, Reds: With Joey Votto back in the swing of things, Frazier is a Red without a position. Scott Rolen's injury issues at third base help the cause somewhat, but Dusty Baker has made it clear that Rolen is a starter whenever he's hale enough to play. Frazier would be a super-utility hero in some other cities, but Baker doesn't enjoy being creative with his defensive planning and lineup card. As much as we've enjoyed Frazier's sneaky production this year, he's a tricky play for the stretch.
Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees: You can't stand by the wishing well when you see a 10-14 day injury at this time of year; it's imperative that you react quickly and find healthy reinforcements. Teixeira's calf injury makes him droppable in any format; even if he returns quickly, there's no guarantee he gives the Yankees quality at-bats. It's not about the names (especially at this time of year), it's all about the numbers. See if you can land a Brandon Moss, Brandon Belt or John Mayberry to take over for Teixeira.

Bears' first round pick Leonard Floyd leaves practice with illness

Bears' first round pick Leonard Floyd leaves practice with illness

Leonard Floyd provided a scare on the first day of practice at Bears training camp, but the first round pick appears fine.

Head coach John Fox said Floyd, who left Thursday's practice on a cart, is simply battling an illness and was not injured.

The Bears moved up in April's NFL Draft to select Floyd with the ninth overall pick. The outside linebacker tallied 17 sacks at Georgia and was projected to be in the mix as an outside rusher in the Bears' 3-4 defense.

Bulls release 2016 preseason schedule

Bulls release 2016 preseason schedule

The Bulls announced their preseason schedule on Thursday that will feature five games aired on Comcast SportsNet.

The Bulls, who traded Derrick Rose and added Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade during a busy offseason, will debut their new-look roster on October 3 against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center. They'll also square off against the defending champion Cavaliers on October 14 and will play in Omaha against the Atlanta Hawks on October 20.

Bulls 2016 preseason schedule

Monday, October 3: vs. Milwaukee (7 p.m.)
Thursday, October 6: at Indiana (7 p.m.)
Friday, October 14: vs. Cleveland (7 p.m.)
Saturday, October 15: at Milwaukee (7:30 p.m.)
Monday, October 17: vs. Charlotte (7 p.m.)
Thursday, October 20: vs. Atlanta (7 p.m.)

Cubs: The Aroldis Chapman Show begins at Wrigley Field

Cubs: The Aroldis Chapman Show begins at Wrigley Field

Rage Against the Machine’s “Wake Up” blasted from the Wrigley Field sound system at 9:51 p.m. on Wednesday as Aroldis Chapman trotted toward the mound. Nothing would get lost in translation as the Cubs unleashed their new closer on the White Sox.

Chapman didn’t feel the full rush of adrenaline, because a revived offense scored five runs in the eighth inning, ending the save situation and any real suspense for the crowd of 41,166. The game within the game became looking up at the 3,990-square-foot LED video board in left field for the velocity reading after each pitch and listening to the oohs and aahs.

Chapman made it look easy against the middle of the White Sox lineup, with 13 of his 15 pitches clocked between 100 and 103 mph in the ninth inning of an 8-1 victory. That triple-digit default setting, fluid left-handed delivery and intimidating presence showed why the Cubs made a game-changing trade with the New York Yankees.

The first impressions from Tuesday’s press conference apparently bothered Chapman enough that he initially refused to speak to the reporters waiting around his locker after his debut. There had been questions about his 30-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, the off-the-field expectations from chairman Tom Ricketts and where the wires got crossed with coach/translator Henry Blanco.

After taking a shower – and listening to a few associates inside the clubhouse – Chapman agreed to two minutes of questions with catcher Miguel Montero acting as his translator.

“It happened,” Chapman said when asked about his portrayal in the Chicago media. “Don’t want to go further with it.”

The controversy will begin to fade after Chapman struck out Jose Abreu swinging at a 91-mph slider that almost scraped the dirt, forced Todd Frazier into a routine groundball and struck out pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia looking at a 103-mph fastball.

“It’s just entertaining to watch the gun, beyond everything else,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s a different kind of a pitcher. You don’t see that every 100 years or so. He’s just that good. Everybody talks about the fastball. How good is the slider? The slider is devastating.

“He was very calm in the moment. He was able to get through the last couple days to go out there. It was almost good it wasn’t a save situation just to get his feet on the ground.”

Picture the drama and the excitement when Chapman isn’t throwing with a seven-run lead and has to get the final three outs in a playoff game at Wrigley Field.

“I’m not impressed – I thought we were getting a guy that threw 105,” winning pitcher Jason Hammel joked. “I’ve never seen anything like it.

“It’s jaw-dropping. To see that type of velocity and command, it’s almost unfair to have a slider and offspeed pitches after that, too.”

This is what the Cubs envisioned when they decided to weather the media storms and absorb the PR hits, how Maddon could reimagine the entire bullpen and the whole team would sense the game-over feeling when the ball is in Chapman’s left hand.

“That’s a confidence-booster for us and it’s a morale kick for anybody out there,” Hammel said. “For the other side, it’s got to be black clouds: ‘Oh man, we can’t let the bullpen get in there.’”