Fantasy baseball corner players rankings

Fantasy baseball corner players rankings

By Michael Salfino
CSNChicago.com contributor

1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2. David Wright, Mets
NOTE: Might be NL's best player.
3. Adrian Beltre, Rangers
4. Albert Pujols, Angels
NOTE: Not back to old levels, but a star again.
5. Mark Trumbo, Angels
6. Mark Teixeira, Yankees
NOTE: The second-half push is here.
7. Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
NOTE: Breakout started late in 2011.
8. Paul Konerko, White Sox
9. Prince Fielder, Tigers
10. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
11. Joey Votto, Reds
NOTE: Should be back in a month.
12. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
NOTE: Enigma, could use change of scenery.
13. Billy Butler, Royals
14. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
15. David Ortiz, Red Sox
16. Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
17. Pablo Sandoval, Giants
NOTE: How much power will park allow?
18. Allen Craig, Cardinals
19. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
NOTE: How healthy is the shoulder?
20. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
21. Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
22. David Freese, Cardinals
23. Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
24. Nick Swisher, Yankees
25. Evan Longoria, Rays
26. Mike Moustakas, Royals
NOTE: Might get to stardom before Hosmer.
27. Adam Dunn, White Sox
NOTE: Low average is more acceptable these days.
28. Freddie Freeman, Braves
29. Martin Prado, Braves
30. Eric Hosmer, Royals
31. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
NOTE: Cortisone shot perked up the shoulder.
32. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
33. Michael Morse, Nationals
34. Ike Davis, Mets
35. Trevor Plouffe, Twins
NOTE: Always had pop in his profile.
36. Ryan Howard, Phillies
NOTE: Don't expect a miracle here.
37. Corey Hart, Brewers
38. Logan Morrison, Marlins
39. Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
40. Justin Morneau, Twins
NOTE: Hasn't hit a lick on the road, or against lefties.
41. Garrett Jones, Pirates
42. Kevin Youkilis, White Sox
NOTE: Bat has perked up in Windy City.
43. Chase Headley, Padres
44. Tyler Colvin, Rockies
45. Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox
46. Howie Kendrick, Angels
47. Lance Berkman, Cardinals
48. Carlos Lee, Marlins
NOTE: Still makes good contact, but pop is gone.
49. Casey McGehee, Pirates
50. Adam LaRoche, Nationals
51. Adam Lind, Blue Jays
NOTE: He's been handy since the recall.
52. Michael Young, Rangers
53. Mike Aviles, Red Sox
54. Kendrys Morales, Angels
55. Jim Thome, Orioles
NOTE: Still a good bet for final two months.
56. Todd Frazier, Reds
57. Chris Davis, Orioles
58. Chipper Jones, Braves
59. Yonder Alonso, Padres
NOTE: Gap power, not many over the fence.
60. Lucas Duda, Mets
61. Kyle Seager, Mariners
62. Bryan LaHair, Cubs
NOTE: Contact problems are exposing him.
63. Chris Carter, Athletics
64. Daniel Murphy, Mets
65. Carlos Pena, Rays
66. Casey Kotchman, Indians
67. Jed Lowrie, Astros
NOTE: Weak lineup really misses his stick.
68. Brandon Belt, Giants
69. Brandon Moss, Athletics
70. Mark Reynolds, Orioles
71. Jordan Pacheco, Rockies
NOTE: Nice average but not much power.
72. Luke Scott, Rays
73. Jeff Keppinger, Rays
NOTE: A typical Ray, versatile and sneaky.
74. Justin Smoak, Mariners
75. Ryan Roberts, Diamondbacks
76. Wilson Betemit, Orioles
77. Jerry Hairston, Dodgers
NOTE: Don't laugh, the Dodgers need him.
78. Tyler Moore, Nationals
79. Scott Rolen, Reds
80. Chris Johnson, Astros
81. Ty Wigginton, Phillies
NOTE: Needed less with big names back.
82. Brandon Inge, Athletics
83. Juan Rivera, Dodgers
84. Sean Rodriguez, Rays
85. Placido Polanco, Phillies
86. James Loney, Dodgers
87. John Mayberry, Phillies
88. Alberto Callaspo, Angels
89. Todd Helton, Rockies
NOTE: Might be the end of the line.
90. Jose Lopez, Indians

Wade Davis' impact on Cubs goes far beyond his eye-popping numbers

Wade Davis' impact on Cubs goes far beyond his eye-popping numbers

Wade Davis may not light up the radar gun like Aroldis Chapman, but the veteran closer has still had a similar impact shortening games for the Cubs.

Davis is 10-for-10 in save opportunities in his first year in Chicago, providing Joe Maddon and the Cubs with peace of mind as an anchor in a bullpen that has thrown the eighth-most innings in baseball (and ranks No. 8 in ERA with a 3.45 mark).

Davis just surrendered his first runs of the season Wednesday night on a Mac Williamson homer that snuck into the right-field basket.

Yet Davis still wound up preserving the victory by buckling down and turning away the Giants in the ninth. It was the first homer he's allowed since Sept. 24, 2015 and only the fourth longball he's given up since the start of the 2014 campaign, a span of 201 innings.

Even with Wednesday's outing, Davis boasts a microscopic 0.98 ERA and has allowed just 14 baserunners in 18.1 innings.

With 24 whiffs on the season, Davis is striking out 34.8 percent of the batters he's faced in a Cubs uniform, which would be the second-highest mark of his career (he struck out 39.1 percent of batters in 2014 as the Kansas City Royals setup man).

The 31-year-old nine-year MLB veteran is showing no ill effects from the forearm issue that limited him to only 43.1 innings last season.

[RELATED: How Wade Davis transformed into an elite pitcher by simply not caring]

But his impact isn't restricted to just on-the-field dominance. In spring training, Justin Grimm said he spent as much time as he could around Davis in an attempt to soak up all the knowledge he could.

"It's the stuff that you see — obviously he's really good," Maddon said. "He knows how to pitch, he's a very good closer, he's very successful. But he's a really good mentor to the other guys.

"Oftentimes, I'll walk through the video room and he'll be sitting there with a young relief pitcher or a catcher. There's a lot of respect. A lot of guys come to me and say, 'Listen, Wade's really great to be around.'"

Maddon was the manager with the Tampa Bay Rays when Davis first made his big-league debut in 2009 and the now-Cubs skipper credits the Rays organization with teaching Davis the right habits.

Davis also began his career as a starter before moving to the bullpen full-time in 2014 and reinventing himself as one of the best pitchers on the planet.

"He's grown into this," Maddon said. "He was raised properly. He comes from the organization with the Rays — really good pitching, really good pitching health regarding coaching. And then some of the veteran players that were around him to begin with.

"He's passing it along. The obvious is that he's got a great cutter, slider, fastball, curveball, whatever. He's very good with everybody else around him."

Davis needed 34 pitches to work around a couple jams and get the save Wednesday night. That's his highest pitch count in an outing since June 2, 2015.

Wednesday was also Davis' first time working in a week as the Cubs have not had a save situation in that span.

Maddon said he sees no link between the week off and Davis' struggles in Wednesday's outing and the Cubs manager also has no hesitance going to his closer for more than three outs.

However, Maddon doesn't see a need to extend Davis at this point in the season and would prefer to keep the Cubs' best reliever fresh for the stretch run and what the organization hopes is another shot at a World Series title.

Bears' makeover continues with salsa dancing ex-Giants WR Victor Cruz

Bears' makeover continues with salsa dancing ex-Giants WR Victor Cruz

The 2017 veteran makeover of the Bears’ wide-receiver position group continued on Thursday with the signing of former New York Giants wideout Victor Cruz to a one-year deal, a fourth move this offseason fitting an intriguing pattern in Bears roster construction.

Cruz “announced” the move on his Instagram account, declaring, “The Giants will forever be family,” Cruz wrote. “But for now, Bear down!!!” He becomes the fourth free-agent wide receiver signed by Bears and coming in with no fewer than four seasons of NFL experience.

The Bears have been about the business of shoring up their receiver group virtually since the 2016 season ended, adding depth in addition to filling in the vacancies created by Alshon Jeffery leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles via free agency, and the subsequent release of veteran Eddie Royal.

In their places, the Bears have added Cruz, Rueben Randle (Jan. 10), Markus Wheaton (Mar. 10) and Kendall Wright (Mar. 11), in addition to having Joshua Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, Cameron Meredith, Deonte Thompson and Kevin White in place.

Cruz, whose trademark Salsa dance to celebrate touchdowns has been an NFL staple over his six seasons with the Giants, for whom he started 53 of 70 career games after signing with the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts in 2010. Cruz has caught 303 career passes for 4,549 yards and 25 touchdowns, earning a Super Bowl ring with the Giants and earning selection to the 2012 Pro Bowl.

Cruz has not played a full 16-game season since 2012, when he caught a career-best 86 passes for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns. He missed all of 2015 after rehabbing from a torn patellar tendon in the 2014 season and then suffering a calf injury that eventually required surgery. The Giants released Cruz in early February this year.