Fantasy baseball hitter stocks

Fantasy baseball hitter stocks

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

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Norichika Aoki, OF, Brewers: He's established himself as a nice fit at the top of the Milwaukee lineup, hitting .313 ore the last month with solid counting stats (14 runs, two homers, 11 RBIs, six steals). Aoki makes contact 87 percent of the time and runs the bases well, so you can live with his mediocre walk rate. In a year where so many things have gone wrong in Milwaukee, Aoki is a breath of fresh air. And his so-so defense won't hurt you in our fake baseball game.

Logan Morrison, 1BOF, Marlins: At some point over the last year Morrison got overrated as a Tweeter and underrated as a solid bat. He's hitting .284 over the last month with six homers and 19 RBIs, and the Marlins will live with his atrocious defense. Morrison's slugging stats don't fall off against lefties, but he hasn't taken to Miami's new park as of yet (.686 OPS home, 859 OPS road). But this still looks like Nick Johnson 2.0 (less patience, a little more power), and we mean that in the nicest possible way.

Sell

Jed Lowrie, SS, Astros: He's fallen into a .211.324.430 funk over the last 34 games and he doesn't have a stolen base during that period, either. The Astros would be wise to consider Lowrie offers all month - he's never proven that he can stay healthy for an extended period of time and he's going to move off shortstop sooner or later (his range is limited). See if someone will overpay for his 14 homers.

Ty Wigginton, Utility, Phillies: Right-handed pitchers are absolutely eating his lunch (.301 OBP, .373 slugging) and the Phillies are no longer short in the lineup with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back. If GM Ruben Amaro can get any kind of token offer for Wigginton this month, he should trade him. This sort of utility player is handy off the bench, but there's not enough juice for mixed rotisserie leaguers.

Allen Craig, Utility, Cardinals: It's hard to look at that .313.377.614 line and think about a trade, but maybe you can get someone to enthusiastically chase after this guy (and overpay). Craig might be sitting once or twice a week with Lance Berkman close to a return, and Craig's injury history also has to be accounted for. Please don't give him away, but keep an open mind here.

Hold

Trevor Plouffe, Utility, Twins: The 19 homers come as a surprise, sure, but it's not completely out of nowhere - Plouffe was the 20th overall pick in the 2004 draft and he showed pop in the minors. And Target Field is actually a solid power park for right-handed sluggers - it's the lefties who can't reach the seats in the Twin Cities. Plouffe's home stats speak to the point: 12 homers, .633 slugging. A modest regression might be on the way, but Plouffe looks like a sure thing to hit 30-plus homers and he's now a fixture in the lineup.
Justin Ruggiano, OF, Marlins: We promoted him last week and we'll briefly drop his name again, since Giancarlo Stanton (knee scope) needs at least a month off. Ruggiano has never been given a chance to play in the majors consistently, so perhaps the Quad-A label isn't fair. He has a shot to be a 10-homer, 10-steal source in the second half.

Dustin Johnson, Kevin Chappell tied for lead at Tour Championship

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Dustin Johnson, Kevin Chappell tied for lead at Tour Championship

ATLANTA (AP) — Dustin Johnson had a reasonable lie in the rough and only a few pine tree branches blocking his path to the 17th green. Neither seemed like a problem until he played the wrong shot, clipped the tree and wound up with a double bogey Saturday in the Tour Championship.

It was an example of how one hole can change everything at East Lake.

And it's why the final round of the PGA Tour season suddenly has more scenarios than Johnson cares to consider.

Johnson recovered with a birdie from the bunker on the par-5 18th for a 1-under 69, giving him a share of the lead with Kevin Chappell (68) going into the last round that will determine who wins the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

For the first time since 2009, there's a chance it might not be the same player.

"There's a lot of scenarios that could happen," Johnson said. "But yeah, I'm still going to go out and try to shoot as low a score as possible."

Johnson only has to win or finish second alone to claim the $10 million bonus as the FedEx Cup champion.

Rory McIlroy, who has gone 28 holes without a bogey at East Lake, had three birdies over his last six holes for a 66 and was two shots behind. If he were to win the Tour Championship and Johnson finished in a two-way tie for second or worse, McIlroy would claim the FedEx Cup.

"It would just be great to try to win the Tour Championship, and if the chips fall my way, then so be it," McIlroy said.

The winner of the Tour Championship has won the FedEx Cup every year since 2009, when Phil Mickelson won the tournament and Tiger Woods won the FedEx Cup.

Johnson led by as many as four shots when he ran off three straight birdies on the front nine, and he really didn't do much wrong to give up the size of that lead. He had a three-putt from 70 feet on No. 13, and missed the fairway by a few feet on the next hole, enough that his ball was buried so deep that even Johnson and his power couldn't advance more than about 135 yards.

It was the 17th hole that reshaped the tournament.

Johnson tried to played a fade from a flyer lie in the rough, and the ball came out high and hit a branch, leaving him in more rough about 60 yards short of the green. He put that in the bunker, blasted out to 6 feet and missed the putt to make double bogey.

Chappell rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt for a three-shot swing on the hole and suddenly had the lead, only for Johnson to catch him with the final birdie.

They were at 8-under 202.

Chappell, a runner-up three times this season who has never won on the PGA Tour, has made only one bogey in 54 holes this week, a show of consistency, discipline and a few good breaks when he does miss the fairway.

His next chance at a breakthrough victory is to face golf's best player at the moment (Johnson), with McIlroy and Ryan Moore (66) two shots behind.

"I've always kind of been the underdog, so it's a role I'm comfortable in," Chappell said.

Moore went out in 31 until he was slowed by a pair of bogeys, though very much in the mix just two shots out of the lead. The mystery is whether anything he does on Sunday - even if that means a victory - is enough for Davis Love III to use his last captain's pick on Moore for the Ryder Cup.

"I came here this week to win a golf tournament, and I'm 100 percent focused on that," Moore said, adding that the Ryder Cup is "completely out of my control."

And that's how the last day is shaping up for everyone - post a score and see where it leads.

Johnson, for a moment, looked as though he might take all the drama out of the season-ender when he made a 15-foot par putt early in his round and then ran off three straight birdies on the front nine to go four shots clear.

The putter cooled off, however, and Chappell stayed in range.

Chappell chipped in on No. 12 to match birdies and stay three shots behind, and then he quickly closed the gap when Johnson made back-to-back bogeys, only to respond with a 4-iron over the water to a peninsula green on the par-3 15th to 15 feet for birdie.

The 17th hole changed everything.

"I thought about just trying to hit it in the front bunker, which I probably should have done - probably would have made 4 if I'd have done that," Johnson said. "But it is what it is. I came back and birdied the last hole, tied for the lead going into tomorrow. I like my position."

And he doesn't need a degree in math to figure out the easiest scenario - just win.

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