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.

Hold

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.
Sell
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.

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.