Fantasy baseball batter stock watch

Fantasy baseball batter stock watch

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

Buy

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.

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue break down the Bulls' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Bulls Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

TNT Bulls are back this week as the team heads into a crucial stretch. 

Currently, the Bulls sit half a game back of the Miami Heat for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and with just eight games remaining on the schedule, each contest is essentially a must-win. 

So, yes, Thursday would be a great time for Jimmy Butler and company to summon their TNT alter ego. The Bulls have sealed 18 straight victories when playing on TNT Thursday, an improbable feat considering those games are usually reserved for two of the NBA's best. 

To continue that run, they'll have to down Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are also fighting for playoff positioning -- albeit at the top of the conference. Good thing the Bulls have a tendency to get up for big games. 

"The Bulls play up and down to their competition," Bulls Pregame and Postgame analyst Kendall Gill said. "They've been doing that the whole season." 

After Cleveland, the Bulls get set to battle another playoff squad, the Atlanta Hawks. 

Watch the video above to see Schanowski, Gill and Perdue break down the matchups. 

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Charlie Tilson will spend another three weeks in a walking boot and is likely out until at least the end of May.

The White Sox outfielder has been wearing the boot ever since he re-aggravated a stress reaction in his right foot earlier this month. Tilson is also rehabbing a torn hamstring that required surgery last August and ended his 2016 season early.

The White Sox later downed the San Francisco Giants 4-3 at Camelback Ranch. Catcher Roberto Pena had a two-out, two-run single in the ninth.

“It’s likely going to be a little bit of a process from there,” Tilson said. “One of those things you have to listen to your body. Like I said, it may take more time than I would like. But the ultimate goal is to be sustainable and get myself back to where I need to be.”

The White Sox top options for center field remain veteran Peter Bourjos and prospect Jacob May. They also could use Leury Garcia in center, manager Rick Renteria said.

Center field is one of several open roster battles with only three full days to go in camp. The team is off on Thursday before playing a pair of exhibition games at Milwaukee on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ll figure it out, and it could be in the next couple of days,” Renteria said. “We just have to allow it to play out and then make a determination at that point.”

The White Sox also have two spots up for grabs in the back of the bullpen. Michael Ynoa, who is out of options, non-roster invitees Anthony Swarzak, Cory Luebke and Matt Purke, and rookie Zack Burdi are vying for jobs. Rookie Juan Minaya is likely to start the season on the disabled list.

Rule 5 draftee Dylan Covey, who pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday, could figure into the team’s plans even more if Carlos Rodon starts the season on the disabled list. Covey is expected to start for the White Sox on Wednesday against the San Diego Padres.

Sunday’s starter James Shields said he’s ready for the regular season after throwing five innings. Shields allowed three earned runs and eight hits, walked three and struck out two.

He finished the Cactus League with a 3.45 ERA in 15 2/3 innings.

“Overall I felt good and I’m ready to move on,” Shields said. “These last couple outings I’ve been trying to work on my two-seam fastball. Today it was a little erratic, but overall felt pretty good.”

Nate Jones struck out two in a scoreless inning pitched. David Robertson, Blake Smith and Dan Jennings also pitched a scoreless inning.

Jose Abreu doubled and walked in four trips. Melky Cabrera singled twice in three trips.