Fantasy baseball batters stock watch

Fantasy baseball batters stock watch

BuyGordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox: It's not easy to find pop in the middle of the diamond, so when a player like Beckham clobbers eight homers in 35 games, we have to take notice. He's had surprising trouble against left-handed pitching all year and he's a little lost on the bases, but there's been a line-drive spike during the recent power tear, so the flurry of homers passes the smell test. And don't forget how much everyone loved Beckham a few years back, when he was the No. 8 pick out of the 2008 draft. He's still just 25, and the development curve is different for everyone.

Gregor Blanco, OF, Giants: It looks like Bruce Bochy has finally settled on a leadoff man, as Blanco has a .387 OPB and 21 walks in that assignment, covering 33 games. Blanco hasn't run like a wild man but there's nothing wrong with six steals, and he's also scored 30 times over that sample. The bottom of the San Francisco order is anemic, everyone can see that, but the front half of the lineup is fine, especially if Pablo Sandoval returns next week.

Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners: Like so many Seattle hitters, Saunders is a force on the road (.919 OPS) and not so much fun at home (.185 average). But considering the odd road-home split to his early playing time (almost 75 percent of his at-bats have come on the road), perhaps the Safeco struggles are more small sample variance than anything. Saunders hangs in against lefties nicely (.528 slugging), and he's offering a mix of power (six homers) and speed (nine steals).
Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies: He's been a monster against lefties and a ghost against righties, something that has to change if he's ever going to be a full-timer. But right now Rosario has the gig to himself in Colorado - Ramon Hernandez is hurt - and there's a Coors-heavy schedule on the way. Rosario also has nine homers in just 112 at-bats - that sort of pop plays in any format. Have some fun in the thin air.

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Melky Cabrera, OF, Giants: The regression fanatics love to mock Cabrera's .364 average, quickly pointing to his 40 percent hit rate. That's no great eureka moment - outlier stats come with outlier luck percentages. But when you note Cabrera's push forward in his contact and line-drive rates, you accept that he has the profile of someone who can legitimately contend for a batting title. Some giveback will likely happen, but this is someone who will easily hit .300-plus. The Giants committed highway robbery when they landed Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez last winter.
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Mike Aviles, SS, Red Sox: He's been batting near the bottom of the order of late, as Bobby Valentine finally got the memo about on-base percentage. And Aviles has been particularly ineffective against right-handed pitching (.242.253.364), which makes you wonder if he should be playing at all. It's not like his glove is fueling his value. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford expected back later in the summer (the recent rehab notes on Ellsbury have been encouraging), Aviles is doubtful to see the leadoff spot again.
Quentin Berry, OF, Tigers: He's been surprisingly handy in his two weeks with the Tigers, hitting .306 with 14 runs scored and seven steals. But Austin Jackson (abdomen) is expected back Saturday, and the Tigers probably won't want to slot Berry, a low-power option, on one of the outfield corners. And it's just a matter of time before the AL pitchers start exploiting some of the holes in Berry's offensive game - he's struck out 20 times through 62 at-bats, against just four walks. It's been a fun story, but it's just about over.

Today on CSN: White Sox face Athletics in spring training game

Today on CSN: White Sox face Athletics in spring training game

The White Sox will battle the Oakland Athletics today, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 3:05 p.m.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Carlos Rodon vs. Kendall Graveman

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Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

It wasn't pretty, but the Blackhawks found a way to pick up another two points and improved to 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and 18-3-1 over their last 22.

With Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia, the Blackhawks have taken an eight-point lead for first in the Central Division and are only two points away from the Washington Capitals for home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let's take a look at Quick Hits from the 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

What Worked: The finish and shootout. While the Blackhawks scored the game's first goal, it was another slow start by a team that has had a few of those over the last several outings and has preached working on turning in more of a complete effort. They recorded only 14 shots on goal in the first two periods, and it took more than six minutes after Patrick Kane's goal to record their next one.

But they finished on a positive note yet again, and went 2-for-3 in the shootout thanks to Kane and Artemi Panarin, who potted the game winner. Kane said after the game that he tried his move on Scott Darling during morning skate and it worked. So he went with it tonight in an effort to snap a mini shootout drought and he did.

What Didn't Work: Controlling the puck. The Blackhawks seemingly have the puck more than their opponent does almost every game, but it doesn't reflect in the shot department because they often look for the perfect pass or shot and fail to record one at all. They had 50 shot attempts with 26 of them on goal compared to the Stars' 64 attempts with 44 on goal. They know they must get better at that.

Star of the game: Corey Crawford. After allowing four goals on only 10 shots in Tuesday's overtime loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks netminder bounced back in a huge way. He matched a season-high with 42 saves, and recorded his 30th win of the season.

He Said It: "He played amazing tonight. Reason we won the game. Hats off to him, he's done that a lot this year. For a goalie it's probably tough to show up every night, even the goals he let in last game you can't put all the blame on him, but he was outstanding tonight." — Kane on Crawford's performance

By the Numbers:

167 — Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked one shot in the win, and it was enough to set a new career high in that department, previously established during the 2010-11 campaign (166).

15 — Trevor van Riemsyk assisted on Marian Hossa's goal in the third period, giving him a career-high 15 points on the season in 50 games. He had 14 points in 82 games last year. He also extended his point streak to three games.

6 — With the victory, Crawford has earned at least 30 wins in six of his seven NHL seasons as a full-time starter. The only time he didn't reach that mark was during the lockout-shortened year in 2012-13 when he went 19-5-5.