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.

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yoan Moncada can’t complain much about his first hit with the White Sox.

Given all the elements, it rates about a 9 1/ 2 out of 10. Only a homer would have been better.

Baseball’s top prospect continues to look comfortable at the plate and in the field. Two days after he made his team debut, Moncada earned his first hit when he ripped a two-out, bases-loaded triple early in Friday night’s 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Moncada finished 1-for-4 with four RBIs.

“Once I got that first hit, I felt relieved,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “First, because it was the first one. And second because of the situation. It was a three RBIs triple. It was a very big moment of the game. I think that from now on I’m going to feel more relaxed and comfortable.”

Moncada has put together a series of good plate appearances in his first two games. He’s looked at ease while in the box and hasn’t panicked even when he gets behind in the count. Moncada said he felt even more comfortable when he stepped in to face Royals starter Ian Kennedy in the third inning. Not only was it his second time facing Kennedy, but Moncada sat in the on-deck circle as Matt Davidson drew a 10-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs.

Hitting left-handed, Moncada fell behind 0-2 in the count but Kennedy hung a 78-mph knuckle curve and the rookie lined it deep into the left-center field gap to clear the bases. Moncada not only showed his power, he also showed off his wheels: his 11.24 seconds from home to third was the fastest time by a White Sox player this season, according to MLB Statcast.

“He's seeing the ball,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He seems pretty calm, composed out there. It's just a couple of days, but in terms of how he's carrying himself, his body language, he seems to be transitioning pretty well up to this point, first couple of days.”

Moncada said Friday was much calmer than his Wednesday debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he drew a walk and went 0-for-2. The switch-hitting second baseman had an RBI groundout in his first at-bat Friday to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Then he stood in and tracked Kennedy with Davidson at the plate.

All in all, Moncada’s happy with how he’s executed his plan at the plate thus far. He said he choked up on the 0-2 pitch and put a good swing on it.

“That at-bat gave me more time to see in real life his pitches,” Moncada said. “I’ve been feeling very comfortable. In Chicago, that first game, it was a little bit nervous. But overall I feel very comfortable hitting and with my defense.”

Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez rings NASDAQ closing bell

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Chicago Fire

Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez rings NASDAQ closing bell

As part of the hype for the MLS All-Star Game, Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and a handful of Major League Soccer cohorts made a trip to New York on Friday.

Rodriguez rang NASDAQ's closing bell. The MLS All-Star Game will take place at Soldier Field on Aug. 2.

Check out the photos from the occasion.