Fantasy Baseball Batter Stock Watch

Fantasy Baseball Batter Stock Watch

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

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Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies: Here's how it works with Fowler this year - he's Mickey Mantle at home (.337.433.723) and Mickey Rooney on the road (.178.260.311). Now is a perfect time to buy in, with Colorado playing 10 of its next 13 games at home. Fowler is healthy again and batting lead-off again, and maybe he'll do something on the road in June, too, when the Rockies visit Arizona and Texas.

Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres: In a lot of ways he's the opposite of Fowler; this is a hitter who should mash on the road but struggle at home. Quentin's first week back has been a smash (7-for-12, three homers), but the Padres return to Petco Park on Friday, where fly balls go to die. Can you sell Quentin off his fast start? I'd certainly try.
Tony Gwynn Jr., OF, Dodgers: He's never going to be a special player and you get absolutely no pop here, but Gwynn does have a .291 average this month with four steals and the Dodgers will use him near the top of the lineup more often than not. Gwynn is needed for the here and now with Matt Kemp hurt again, and a tasty weekend in Colorado is on the way.
Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox: He'll swing at anything and he's constantly swinging for the downs, let's establish that up front. Viciedo has just two doubles and three walks this month. But with a .351 average and eighth homers in May - and a hot summer of Chicago fun just around the corner - why worry? The average will come crashing down, but this should be a 30-homer source, and he's tied to a sneaky-good offense (fourth in the AL in runs).

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Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox:  He's going to try to play through his thumb problem, but how productive will he be? Pedroia's slash line is down in all three columns, and he's only stolen three bases this year (the bags might completely dry up if the thumb isn't right). You'll still get a solid player here and the ultimate gamer, but if someone is willing to pay for 90 percent of Pedroia's name value, make that deal.
Bryan LaHair, 1B, Cubs: He's hitting just .136 against lefties and obviously that .398 BABIP isn't going to stick around very long (it's been in free-fall all month). And LaHair's contact rate is an issue as well, as he strikes out 29 percent of the time. He's still a reasonable player even in mixed leagues, but don't start assuming this late bloomer is the new Nelson Cruz.

Holding Steady
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves: A week of eye problems had roto owners panicking, but Freeman emerged with new goggles Wednesday and produced a get-well line: single, double, homer. Back to work for one of the NL's most underrated hitters: we expect 25 homers and 100 RBIs when the year is complete, along with an average somewhere in the .270-.280 range.
Gregor Blanco, OF, Giants: His 13-steal display in spring training got the attention of some, and Blanco hasn't looked out of place as San Francisco's lead-off man (.398 OPB, six steals, 22 runs in 27 games). You'll have to supply your power elsewhere - that's common with this sort of player - but it seems like the Giants are giving Blanco free reign to do his own thing, taking pitches and running liberally.

Sights and Sounds from Cubs visit to Donald Trump's White House

Sights and Sounds from Cubs visit to Donald Trump's White House

The 45th President of the United States Donald Trump welcomed the 2016 World Series champion Cubs to The White House on Wednesday afternoon.

While attendance was optional due to the Cubs already holding a formal ceremony with former President Barack Obama last January, several Cubs players and manager Joe Maddon attended Wednesday's gathering. 

Check out some of the sights and sounds from the Cubs busy day in D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence gets his own Cubs jersey.

Trump wants to know who the best hitter on the Cubs is so he can pick them up for his fantasy baseball team (we made up that last part).

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert crashes the party.

The Cubs display a card displaying No. 45 for President Trump.

Who is the Cubs owner in this picture?

Who is Victor Caratini? Breaking down the Cubs' new catcher

Who is Victor Caratini? Breaking down the Cubs' new catcher

Miguel Montero is out and Victor Caratini is in.

The Cubs made a shakeup at catcher Wednesday and will have to forge the last half of the 2017 season without the presence of veteran Montero, who has 1,149 MLB games under his belt and was hitting .286 with an .805 OPS this year.

But Montero talked his way out of town and Caratini is the immediate choice for a replacement behind starting backstop Willson Contreras.

[Where it all went wrong with Miguel Montero and the Cubs]

Caratini is a 23-year-old switch-hitter whom the Cubs acquired from the Atlanta Braves in 2014 as part of the Emilio Bonifacio/James Russell deadline deal. The Braves initially selected Caratini in the second round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Miami-Dade College.

The Puerto Rican native has mostly played catcher (297 games) in his minor-league career, but has also seen time at first base (76 games) and third base (57 games). 

Caratini got his first taste of big-league spring training action this season, impressing with a .379 average and 1.175 OPS in 16 games (29 at-bats).

He is enjoying the best offensive season of his career in Triple-A Iowa, hitting .343 with a .384 on-base percentage and .923 OPS.

Caratini has already set a career high with eight home runs while clubbing 20 doubles and driving in 54 runs in 68 games. He also has only 40 strikeouts in 245 at-bats.

The Cubs named Caratini the organization's minor league player of the month in May after he drove in 17 runs in 24 games while hitting .366 with a .573 slugging percentage.

Caratini also should help the Cubs running game — an area where Montero was 0-for-31 in throwing out baserunners. Caratini has nabbed 28 percent of would-be basestealers in Iowa, a mark that is directly even with the MLB average.

Contreras is throwing out 34 percent of would-be basestealers in 2017.

Caratini figures to be the short-term answer for the Cubs at catcher given the organzation doesn't have many other options. Kyle Schwarber has not been a viable option behind the plate after recovering from major knee surgery that sapped almost his entire 2016 season. Taylor Davis — a 27-year-old catcher/infielder — is currently on the disabled list and has yet to make his MLB debut.