Fantasy baseball hitter stocks

Fantasy baseball hitter stocks

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

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Norichika Aoki, OF, Brewers: He's established himself as a nice fit at the top of the Milwaukee lineup, hitting .313 ore the last month with solid counting stats (14 runs, two homers, 11 RBIs, six steals). Aoki makes contact 87 percent of the time and runs the bases well, so you can live with his mediocre walk rate. In a year where so many things have gone wrong in Milwaukee, Aoki is a breath of fresh air. And his so-so defense won't hurt you in our fake baseball game.

Logan Morrison, 1BOF, Marlins: At some point over the last year Morrison got overrated as a Tweeter and underrated as a solid bat. He's hitting .284 over the last month with six homers and 19 RBIs, and the Marlins will live with his atrocious defense. Morrison's slugging stats don't fall off against lefties, but he hasn't taken to Miami's new park as of yet (.686 OPS home, 859 OPS road). But this still looks like Nick Johnson 2.0 (less patience, a little more power), and we mean that in the nicest possible way.

Sell

Jed Lowrie, SS, Astros: He's fallen into a .211.324.430 funk over the last 34 games and he doesn't have a stolen base during that period, either. The Astros would be wise to consider Lowrie offers all month - he's never proven that he can stay healthy for an extended period of time and he's going to move off shortstop sooner or later (his range is limited). See if someone will overpay for his 14 homers.

Ty Wigginton, Utility, Phillies: Right-handed pitchers are absolutely eating his lunch (.301 OBP, .373 slugging) and the Phillies are no longer short in the lineup with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back. If GM Ruben Amaro can get any kind of token offer for Wigginton this month, he should trade him. This sort of utility player is handy off the bench, but there's not enough juice for mixed rotisserie leaguers.

Allen Craig, Utility, Cardinals: It's hard to look at that .313.377.614 line and think about a trade, but maybe you can get someone to enthusiastically chase after this guy (and overpay). Craig might be sitting once or twice a week with Lance Berkman close to a return, and Craig's injury history also has to be accounted for. Please don't give him away, but keep an open mind here.

Hold

Trevor Plouffe, Utility, Twins: The 19 homers come as a surprise, sure, but it's not completely out of nowhere - Plouffe was the 20th overall pick in the 2004 draft and he showed pop in the minors. And Target Field is actually a solid power park for right-handed sluggers - it's the lefties who can't reach the seats in the Twin Cities. Plouffe's home stats speak to the point: 12 homers, .633 slugging. A modest regression might be on the way, but Plouffe looks like a sure thing to hit 30-plus homers and he's now a fixture in the lineup.
Justin Ruggiano, OF, Marlins: We promoted him last week and we'll briefly drop his name again, since Giancarlo Stanton (knee scope) needs at least a month off. Ruggiano has never been given a chance to play in the majors consistently, so perhaps the Quad-A label isn't fair. He has a shot to be a 10-homer, 10-steal source in the second half.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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