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.

No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety

No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety

PHOENIX – If the Bears intend to cut ties with Deiondre' Hall after the first-year cornerback become involved in an ugly police incident last weekend, they have not indicated their decision yet. They have, however, begun looking at a possible position change for Hall as they gather information on events of last Saturday night.

Hall was tasered by police in Cedar Falls, Ia., after he and a former Northern Iowa University teammate were allegedly involved in a fight at a bar. Hall was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and interference. Hall allegedly spit in the officers' faces, according to an affidavit, police saying that an officer used a Taser on Hall's legs in order to get him into a squad car.

GM Ryan Pace confirmed that the team is still gathering information and said, "it's just [that] the circumstances are a little disappointing, to be honest with you. We're aware of it, it's just kind of gathering more facts as we go forward."

Pace has spoken to Hall and said that the team wanted to investigate thoroughly, "but the circumstances surrounding it are obviously disappointing."

In the meantime, the 2016 fourth-round draft choice is slated to be tried at safety when the team convenes for the start of offseason work. Hall played the position in college, and has traits that the Bears value at the safety position.

"One of Deiondre's best traits is his ball skills, his ball clock, the ability to time the pass breakup," Pace said. "He's very natural at playing safety and that's one of the reasons we drafted him, because he has the versatility to do both. That's something we're going to talk about this offseason and he could start taking some reps there in the offseason program."

Cornerback Kyle Fuller, who missed all of last season following arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-August, will stay at cornerback.

Is Addison Russell still on track for Opening Night?

Is Addison Russell still on track for Opening Night?

MESA, Ariz. – Addison Russell believes he will be ready for Opening Night. Right now, Cubs manager Joe Maddon says his All-Star shortstop starting the season on the disabled list is an option that "I'm not considering."

But Russell hasn't played in a Cactus League game since March 22 and the Cubs have only three exhibitions left before facing the St. Louis Cardinals on national TV. The new 10-day disabled list would also allow the Cubs to backdate Russell's injury (stiff back) to March 30 and create a degree of roster flexibility. 

"We're trying to start the season out on a good note and definitely in St. Louis," Russell said Tuesday. "That's kind of the goal, but if the back doesn't feel well until then, maybe that's something that we'll have to do. With the way that I'm feeling, I don't think that's necessary."

The Cubs did get Ben Zobrist (stiff neck) back into the lineup that afternoon against the San Francisco Giants at Sloan Park. Russell estimated he's around "95 percent" and hoped to play Wednesday before the Cubs leave Arizona and fly out for two exhibition games against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.      

"We're not trying to take it too quick," Russell said. "Missing a few games here in the spring is a lot better than a few games in the season. I've talked to Joe and there's no hurry back."

Five days out from what should be an electric atmosphere at Busch Stadium, Maddon said athletic trainer PJ Mainville didn't sound concerned about Russell's back issue.

"PJ felt very strongly that he's going to be fine over the next couple days," Maddon said. "From Addison's perspective, knowing baseball players who've been doing so well, you take a couple days off, you're concerned that you're going to lose it. 

"I'm certain he's going to be fine. Actually, I'm OK with him getting some rest right now. The biggest thing is: Medically, is he going to be fine? Everybody thinks that he is, so I'm not concerned."