Fantasy baseball pitchers stock

Fantasy baseball pitchers stock

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

Buy

Scott Diamond, SP, Twins: He doesn't throw hard enough to wake the baby, but Diamond has been effective nonetheless (five wins, 1.61 ERA) because he's an extreme strike-thrower with a dominant ground-ball rate. You worry about the league catching up to Diamond when he gets around the AL once or twice, but we love him with the inter-league slate at play. Use the lefty with confidence at home against Philadelphia and at Pittsburgh, favorable matchups in mistake-forgiving parks.
Ryan Cook, RP, Athletics: We can't guarantee the A's will let skills lead to the ninth inning - in a perfect world, they'd like to find a taker for veterans Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour, and a shiny save total can sometimes aid in that pursuit. But Cook was the man in the ninth at Colorado on Tuesday, earning his first save, and his 2012 numbers make a strong statement (0.67 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 27 Ks, just eight hits allowed). Don't overreact to the 15 walks Cook has issued - three of them were intentional, so he's on the fringe of having acceptable control. As much as the A's want to think about their future with roster and game management, they also have to be accountable to the clubhouse and the fan base. With that in mind, Cook is the best saves play here.
Kevin Millwood, SP, Mariners: In shallow mixers you don't have to bother with Millwood, but he still has a whiff of value in deeper pools and AL-only groups (3.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP). Millwood's always been able to induce ground balls, and he's still getting some swings and misses (52 strikeouts) and keeping the ball in the park (three homers allowed over 12 appearances). A home date against San Francisco this weekend looks unthreatening enough; so long as you work the schedule with Millwood, you should be fine.

Sell

Johnny Cueto, SP, Reds: To be honest, he could be in any of our headings this week: buy, sell, or hold. It really depends on your league environment and the people you're competing against. Cueto's seven wins and 2.46 ERA play in any format, and while he's not a big strikeout guy (just 69), he's walking less than two batters per nine. A heavy ground-ball bias helps keep the ball in the park, though Cueto has also been fortunate when batters do elevate one of his pitches (6.3 percent HRFB).

Most of the peripherally-suggested ERAs say that Cueto is smoke, someone who is destined to blow up when his luck runs out, but maybe Cueto is a pitcher who's capable of consistently beating the secondary stats - perhaps this is another Matt Cain type, a pitcher statheads are destined to underrate. Ultimately Cueto gets the sell tag here because we've seen some strong hauls come back in recent deals: he's been moved (1-for-1) for Carlos Santana, Edwin Encarnacion and Cliff Lee in some public leagues. Your mileage will vary. You know your league mates better than we do. In some other formats, the play on Cueto is to hold, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Max Scherzer, SP, Tigers: The zippy strikeout rate gets everyone excited, especially when he runs into a hack-first opponent like Pittsburgh (recall the 15-whiff parade a few weeks back). But Scherzer struggles with loud and inconsistent mechanics, not to mention efficiency of pitches - he only has 41 wins over 123 MLB games, largely due to his difficulty working deep in ballgames. And for all the glove-popping of his fastball, batters seem to square it up plenty: Scherzer has allowed 13 homers this year, and lefties are batting .340 against him. Another one for the tease file. The 5.76 ERA is probably a fluke, sure, but remember he was a 4.43 man last year.

Hold

Matt Garza, SP, Cubs: The 3.99 ERA is his highest mark since 2006, but he's also fashioning a 1.12 WHIP, the lowest of his career. The KBB numbers are in a good spot, three whiffs for every walk. The two wins in 11 starts? That's Chicago's ineptitude talking. Garza's affordable contract makes him a strong candidate to be moved in July - even more so than walk-year Ryan Dempster - and any contending club would have to support the righty better than the Cubs currently are. Be patient, ride it out.

A.J. Burnett, SP, Pirates: The 12-run meltdown in St. Louis left a mark, sure, though that day also told us something about Clint Hurdle, clueless manager (no rotation staple should be hung out to dry like this). Burnett has been money in his other nine starts, allowing just 13 earned runs over 59.2 innings of work. The pitcher-friendly environment of the NL (and PNC Park) is doing wonders for the talented but enigmatic righty. It's real.

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

At one point, it was looking like Lucas Giolito could be headed to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale.

But when Sale was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Giolito's name was in the clear of rumors — until 29 hours later, when the Nationals' top prospect would be headed to Chicago in a different trade, which sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington.

“It’s kind of like the world we live in now. Social media is always out there and everything is on Twitter,” Giolito said in a conference call Friday. “I saw my name being mentioned on Twitter for Chris Sale. I know with the winter meetings all sorts of stuff being thrown around. I was just trying to focus on what I’m doing in this offseason which is lifting and all my workouts. Kind of just whatever happens, happens. 

“It’s funny that Sale ended up going to the Red Sox and something else happens that I’m going to the White Sox now with a couple teammates. It’s really interesting stuff but I’m super excited.”

The move for Rick Hahn & Co. to acquire Giolito was the second major trade to begin the White Sox rebuilding process. But Giolito didn't come alone.

In addition, the White Sox received Reynaldo Lopez — who Giolito has played with since 2014 — and the Nationals' 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning.

"I definitely think it’s amazing to be coming over to the White Sox with a bunch of young talent," Giolito said. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us to all develop and get better and hopefully put a really good team together in Chicago. Definitely excited to be coming over with a couple guys from my previous organization."

[MORE: Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right]

Giolito went 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across three minor-league levels this past season. He admitted his mechanics weren't quite in sync and is looking to improve on that.

"Sometimes things get out of whack. I believe I let too much get out of whack last year," Giolito said. "So this year with my training program I have in this offseason — lifting and Pilates and everything — I’m just trying to make sure that I can stay as athletic as possible so I’m able to repeat the right delivery more often. Once I start playing catch and doing bullpens and everything these next few weeks, right before spring training, I’m going to make sure I put that all together so I can repeat my delivery as best as possible."

His struggles continued when he got to The Show.

In his major-league debut on June 28, Giolito held the New York Mets to just one hit over four scoreless innings before a rain delay cut his night short. That turned out to be his most effective outing of the season as he finished the year with an 0-1 record, 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in six games with the Nationals, four of them being starts.

"(My MLB debut) didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked it to go, obviously, as you look at the numbers and everything," he said, "but I feel that with the White Sox now (and) getting traded and everything, it’s kind of like a fresh opportunity and a new start to get up to the big leagues again and contribute and do everything I can to stay there as well."

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Despite his low numbers, the 22-year-old Giolito believes he's ready to play on the White Sox main roster as soon as next season.

"I’ve had some experience in the big leagues last year," Giolito said. "Especially last year, I took a lot positives away because I did experience such a good amount of failure in a lot of I’d say like hardship when I made it up and didn’t perform up to what I believe is my best capabilities.

"I’ve pitched a good amount of innings in the minor leagues and I’ve had a little experience in the big leagues so I’m just really looking forward to making it up in the big leagues with the White Sox and contributing as soon as possible."

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: