Fantasy baseball batter stock watch

Fantasy baseball batter stock watch

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

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Trevor Plouffe, Utility, Twins: He found his stroke at the end of May and it's gotten ridiculous in June (seven homers, .955 slugging). Plouffe is a risk to bat .240 over the full season, but the power has always been real with him and he qualifies at four positions in Yahoo! leagues. We're also talking about a former first-round pick, so there's a pedigree to feel good about. Target Field isn't bothering Plouffe at all, as his slugging percentage is 74 points higher in home games. It's a good point to keep in mind: lefties have trouble in Target Field, but righties have a reasonable chance to reach the seats.
Alex Presley, OF, Pirates: We understand why no one wants to invest in the Pirates offense - it's far and away the worst in the majors - but we have to take note of how Presley mashed during his Triple-A tuneup (.277.385.631, five homers, four steals over 18 games). He's continued to produce in Pittsburgh, albeit at a much smaller clip: one homer and three steals over nine games, tied to the leadoff spot. Hey, it's a start. Category juice always gets our attention.

Ben Revere, OF, Twins: There is no power at all with Revere - he's yet to club a homer over 593 big-league at-bats - but if you're in the market for a table-setter, he can help you. He's slashing his way to a .339 average over 29 games, and running freely (10 steals in 12 attempts). The runs scored have been fine as well (19 plate touches) as Minnesota's lineup has woken up a bit. Lefties have never bothered Revere (.287 for his career, and .452 this season), so Ron Gardenhire doesn't have to play the platoon card.
Hold

Carlos Ruiz, C, Phillies: The power surge is out of nowhere, so we have to expect that to tone down soon enough. But Ruiz's batting-average jump is supported by a healthy line-drive rate and an increasing contact rate, and heck, the guy hit .283 last year and .302 in 2010 - there's ability here. The counting stats are also receiving a well-earned spike, as the Phillies use Ruiz as a middle-order man this year, not someone resigned to bat seventh or eighth on a daily basis. So long as you don't chase the homer outlier, this is a safe place to park your money.

Ike Davis, 1B, Mets: He's swung the bat very well on the current road trip, finding an 8-for-14 spike with five walks and three extra-base hits. This is obviously someone seeing the ball well, swinging with confidence. Now we'd like to see Davis start doing this at Citi Field, which has been his personal house of horrors in 2012. But the guy didn't forget how to play baseball overnight. Perhaps Davis is finally getting out of his own way and ready to let the story develop. The Mets, to their credit, have been very patient with him.

Sell

Brandon Moss, 1B, Athletics: The big slugger ran into some mistakes in Colorado and had himself a week, ripping four homers and knocking in eight runs. That would be wonderful news if he were wearing a Rockies uniform, but now he has to go back to sea level. Ross is a 28-year-old non-prospect who's on his fourth organization, and he's collected 177 strikeouts as a big leaguer over 704 random at-bats. There's no breakout here, the story will quickly disappear again - especially in Oakland's roomy park.
Ty Wigginton, Utility, Phillies: He's on a pace to hit 17 homers and drive in 72 runs, which doesn't sound so bad, but Wigginton is a minus defender at any position and he's being overmatched by right-handed pitchers (.256.308.372). When the Phillies get some of their name hitters back, they would be wise to downshift Wiggy to a platoon role. He's a handy bench player these days, but his weaknesses are exposed when he's forced to play every day.

Bears NFL Draft Preview: Creating WR depth while waiting for Kevin White's emergence

Bears NFL Draft Preview: Creating WR depth while waiting for Kevin White's emergence

CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2017 Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need, and what draft day and after could have in store. Seventh in a series.

Bears pre-draft situation

Alshon Jeffery is on to Philadelphia after striking a one-year deal with the Eagles. For an offense that has let go of Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett and Jay Cutler since the arrival of John Fox and his coaching staff in 2015, the search for replacement firepower has seldom been more urgent.

The splash from Cameron Meredith (14 games, 66 receptions) was a significant bright spot from the dismal '16. Bears are still waiting for some impact — ANY impact — from Kevin White after making him the No. 7 pick of the '15 draft and seeing his two NFL seasons end with broken leg bones. White was leading the Bears with 19 catches through four games last season when he was lost for the year, so some very guarded optimism is allowable.

"Kevin is going to have to step up, stay healthy, and he knows that, and he's motivated," said GM Ryan Pace. "We're excited about a handful of guys and we still have the draft ahead of us, too."

The free-agency addition of Eddie Royal in '15 was intended to bring an immediate infusion of veteran savvy and production at the nickel spot. Both his seasons were gutted by injuries, with a total of 70 receptions, the second-lowest two-year total of his nine-year career. Royal had foot surgery in December and is expected to be released when sufficiently healed.

This offseason was marked by a commitment to upgrading wideout speed, coming in the forms of Markus Wheaton from Pittsburgh and Kendall Wright from Tennessee.

"Markus is a deep threat receiver," Pace said. "[In] 2015 he was Top 10 in reception average. I really like his makeup and his toughness going all the way back to Oregon State, but he's a guy who can really run and gives us that element in our offense that I think that we need, speed. Unfortunately, he had a shoulder injury last year that happened kind of early in the season and then eventually needed surgery on it. But he's fully cleared now and we feel good about that now."

Pre-draft depth-chart'ing starters

WR - Kevin White

WR - Cam Meredith

WR - Markus Wheaton/Kendall Wright

Reserves: Dres Anderson, Josh Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, Rueben Randle, Eddie Royal, Deonte Thompson

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Bears draft priority: Low/moderate

Names were added to the pool of options but none of the stature of Jeffery, and until the aggregate proves to better than simply average, the Bears will always look to add impact points-producers when the options present themselves. Rarely has their receiver corps had so many unprovens going into a season.

The organization believes White's run of bad luck is due to change and reduced some of the positional urgency with the offseason additions. Wheaton signed a two-year deal, Wright for one year, Meredith has had just one meaningful season and White is a virtual "rookie" for the third straight year.

Pace has drafted a wideout in each of his two drafts, White in '15 and Braverman last year. Braverman played three games without a catch and will be in another intense competition for a roster spot. Best guess would be a late-round wideout with abilities to enhance the return game.

Keep an eye on ...

Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois — Caught 160 passes over two NIU seasons. Fits Bears' template for size (6-4, 218) and had private workout with them.

Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska — Bears staffed his workout and could find a spot as a practice-squad player able to fill nickel role.

Chad Williams, Grambling — Private workout for Bears, had huge production and may be a value late-round pick for development.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

5'10" | 214 lbs.

2016 stats:

103 CAR, 596 YDS, 9 TD | 40 REC, 392 YDS, 4 TD

Projection:

Second round

Scouting Report:

"Ascending, competitive runner who has flashed explosive NFL talent at various times over the last two seasons. A committed runner with excellent balance who finds yardage that isn't blocked for him. While he has never logged 20 carries in a single game, he has the talent to play on all three downs if he can prove his durability." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

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