Fantasy baseball pitchers stock

Fantasy baseball pitchers stock

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

Buy

Greg Holland, RP, Royals: There are plenty of relievers the Royals could use to fill in for the departed Jonathan Broxton, but Holland is getting first chance and he's already converted one save. Holland has the swing-and-miss stuff you want for this gig (56 punchouts in 40.2 innings), though a bloated walk rate (23 free passes) needs to be corrected. At the end of the day we'll bet on him, since it's not hard for any capable major-league reliever to handle a save job if it's just the ninth inning. And we'll also note that his control wasn't as big an issue last season.
Dan Straily, SP, Athletics: It's an embarrassment of riches in the Oakland pitching system right now, with Straily the latest to drop (he'll start Friday against Toronto). The hard-throwing righty has a zesty 11.4 K9 rate at two levels this season, and he's only walking 2.4 batters per clip. Best of all, those ratios were static at both Double-A and Triple-A, a good sign that Straily is ready for The Show. Go ahead and dial up the 22-year-old right out of the box, especially considering the forgiving nature of the Oakland ballpark.

Kris Medlen, SPRP, Braves: Medlen was sharp in his return to the rotation (5 IP, 1 R) after a solid season in the Atlanta bullpen (2.43 ERA, 1.08 WHIP). It's always nice to have a starter on your roto roster who qualifies at both spots - the flexibility comes in handy - and Medlen will be a heavy favorite on the weekend when he faces Houston's stripped lineup. Medlen's ground-ball rate has hit a major spike this year, which is a precursor to future success.

Hold
Jason Vargas, SP, Mariners: If you have the freedom to stream him for the home starts only, there's a decent return coming your way: 2.63 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 53 strikeouts over 72 innings. All offense is knocked dead on contact in Safeco Field, and it's been more extreme than ever in 2012. Just make sure you flick the switch on the road, where Vargas has a 4.67 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP - his mistakes aren't hidden in less-forgiving parks.

Sell

Jonathan Broxton, RP, Reds: Dusty Baker is the type of manager who's very good and consistent with his closers, so Aroldis Chapman will keep the ninth going forward. Broxton might get the save chances on days where Chapman needs a rest, but this isn't expected to be a shared job. In short, Broxton's value just about expired the day he was shipped back to the NL. 

Barry Zito, SP, Giants: He's been ineffective in six of his last 10 turns, including the Thursday mess that's in progress as we go to press. Zito clearly has no faith in his batting-practice fastball, which means batters can sit on his breaking stuff (and pass on it if they like). When Zito has full command of the off-speed pitches, he can still skate by. If he's not letter-perfect in this area, he gets knocked all around the park. Move along.

Derek Lowe, SP, Free Agent: The Indians finally cut the cord on the struggling Lowe (5.52 ERA, 1.69 WHIP), and the veteran can't argue bad luck here. The league is batting .321 against him and he's given up more walks than strikeouts (always a troubling sign). Even if a contender decides to kick the tires on Lowe, you should kick him to the curb in any format, even AL-only pools. There's nothing left in the tank.

Roy Oswalt, RP, Rangers: Arlington is always a good place to hit, but especially when Oswalt is on the mound (6.49 ERA, .358 BAA). The Rangers made a mistake when they came to Oswalt with a lucrative midseason package. Recent acquire Ryan Dempster should put up a better fight, but don't be surprised if his ERA is over four for his duration in the American League. Power hitters thrive deep in the heart of Texas, especially from the left side of the plate.

WATCH: Blackhawks play Blues in NHL 17 ahead of Winter Classic showdown

WATCH: Blackhawks play Blues in NHL 17 ahead of Winter Classic showdown

For the third time since the event was created, the Blackhawks will participate in the Winter Classic, facing the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 2, 2017.

To build some hype for the Central Division showdown, which will feature two teams that find themselves battling for the top seed in the Western Conference, Ryan Hartman and Trevor van Riemsdyk of the Blackhawks squared off with Joel Edmundson and Robby Fabbri of the Blues in EA Sports' NHL 17.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Edmunson and Fabbri jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but the finish would be determined in 3-on-3 overtime.

Check out who came out on top in the video below:

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

tysonross12916.png
AP

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces of the offseason puzzle as the Cubs try to defend their World Series title while still planning for the future.

The Cubs left this week’s winter meetings in Maryland still involved in the Ross talks, sources said, monitoring an intriguing pitcher they had targeted before the 2015 trade deadline.

The San Diego Padres didn’t really buy or sell during that pennant race and made another curious decision last week when they didn’t offer Ross a contract for 2017. MLB Trade Rumors projected Ross would have made $9.6 million during his final year in the arbitration system.

After issues involving his right shoulder wiped out almost his entire season, Ross underwent surgery in October to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

Ross was San Diego’s Opening Day starter during a 15-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but didn’t pitch again, clouding a future that once had him looking like a trade-deadline chip and one of the best pitchers in the free-agent class after the 2017 season.

That’s when Jake Arrieta will be looking for his megadeal and John Lackey might be in retirement and Jon Lester will be turning 34. That’s why the Cubs are so focused on pitching this winter and trying to balance out an organization tilted toward hitters.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your World Series champions gear right here]

Kyle Hendricks proved he will be a pitcher to build around – and the Cubs believe Mike Montgomery can evolve from a swingman into a fifth starter and maybe something far more valuable – but depth is a real issue.

Ross made 30-plus starts in 2014 and 2015, when he earned an All-Star selection and accounted for almost 400 innings combined. He will turn 30 in April and is seen as a positive force within the clubhouse. He has a 6-foot-6 frame, a second-round-pick pedigree and a Cal-Berkeley education.

Reports have already linked the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates to Ross and not completely ruled out a return to San Diego. During an offseason where the free-agent market is essentially devoid of reliable frontline starters, there could be sticker shock, even with a rehabbing pitcher.

Trading for Wade Davis meant the Cubs were out of the bidding for Greg Holland, another All-Star closer who helped turn the Kansas City Royals into World Series champions. Holland spent this year recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but he will still be in position to capitalize after Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and eventually Kenley Jansen reset the market for closers.

With Ross, the Cubs will have to get a better sense of the medical picture and the price for all that upside.

Beyond a winning culture, the Cubs can sell the pitching infrastructure that helped turn Arrieta into a Cy Young Award winner and transform Hendricks into an ERA leader and keep the rotation remarkably healthy.

“Those really talented pitchers are going to be in demand, even those that are coming off an injury,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said this week at National Harbor. “We’ll stay engaged on some of those guys, but they’ll have to be just the right talent.

“We’ll have to feel good about the medical and the return to play. And the fit on the club would have to be right, too. But the true elite guys have a real market, even if they’re coming off down seasons.”