Fantasy baseball pitchers stock

Fantasy baseball pitchers stock

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

Buy

Scott Diamond, SP, Twins: He doesn't throw hard enough to wake the baby, but Diamond has been effective nonetheless (five wins, 1.61 ERA) because he's an extreme strike-thrower with a dominant ground-ball rate. You worry about the league catching up to Diamond when he gets around the AL once or twice, but we love him with the inter-league slate at play. Use the lefty with confidence at home against Philadelphia and at Pittsburgh, favorable matchups in mistake-forgiving parks.
Ryan Cook, RP, Athletics: We can't guarantee the A's will let skills lead to the ninth inning - in a perfect world, they'd like to find a taker for veterans Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour, and a shiny save total can sometimes aid in that pursuit. But Cook was the man in the ninth at Colorado on Tuesday, earning his first save, and his 2012 numbers make a strong statement (0.67 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 27 Ks, just eight hits allowed). Don't overreact to the 15 walks Cook has issued - three of them were intentional, so he's on the fringe of having acceptable control. As much as the A's want to think about their future with roster and game management, they also have to be accountable to the clubhouse and the fan base. With that in mind, Cook is the best saves play here.
Kevin Millwood, SP, Mariners: In shallow mixers you don't have to bother with Millwood, but he still has a whiff of value in deeper pools and AL-only groups (3.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP). Millwood's always been able to induce ground balls, and he's still getting some swings and misses (52 strikeouts) and keeping the ball in the park (three homers allowed over 12 appearances). A home date against San Francisco this weekend looks unthreatening enough; so long as you work the schedule with Millwood, you should be fine.

Sell

Johnny Cueto, SP, Reds: To be honest, he could be in any of our headings this week: buy, sell, or hold. It really depends on your league environment and the people you're competing against. Cueto's seven wins and 2.46 ERA play in any format, and while he's not a big strikeout guy (just 69), he's walking less than two batters per nine. A heavy ground-ball bias helps keep the ball in the park, though Cueto has also been fortunate when batters do elevate one of his pitches (6.3 percent HRFB).

Most of the peripherally-suggested ERAs say that Cueto is smoke, someone who is destined to blow up when his luck runs out, but maybe Cueto is a pitcher who's capable of consistently beating the secondary stats - perhaps this is another Matt Cain type, a pitcher statheads are destined to underrate. Ultimately Cueto gets the sell tag here because we've seen some strong hauls come back in recent deals: he's been moved (1-for-1) for Carlos Santana, Edwin Encarnacion and Cliff Lee in some public leagues. Your mileage will vary. You know your league mates better than we do. In some other formats, the play on Cueto is to hold, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Max Scherzer, SP, Tigers: The zippy strikeout rate gets everyone excited, especially when he runs into a hack-first opponent like Pittsburgh (recall the 15-whiff parade a few weeks back). But Scherzer struggles with loud and inconsistent mechanics, not to mention efficiency of pitches - he only has 41 wins over 123 MLB games, largely due to his difficulty working deep in ballgames. And for all the glove-popping of his fastball, batters seem to square it up plenty: Scherzer has allowed 13 homers this year, and lefties are batting .340 against him. Another one for the tease file. The 5.76 ERA is probably a fluke, sure, but remember he was a 4.43 man last year.

Hold

Matt Garza, SP, Cubs: The 3.99 ERA is his highest mark since 2006, but he's also fashioning a 1.12 WHIP, the lowest of his career. The KBB numbers are in a good spot, three whiffs for every walk. The two wins in 11 starts? That's Chicago's ineptitude talking. Garza's affordable contract makes him a strong candidate to be moved in July - even more so than walk-year Ryan Dempster - and any contending club would have to support the righty better than the Cubs currently are. Be patient, ride it out.

A.J. Burnett, SP, Pirates: The 12-run meltdown in St. Louis left a mark, sure, though that day also told us something about Clint Hurdle, clueless manager (no rotation staple should be hung out to dry like this). Burnett has been money in his other nine starts, allowing just 13 earned runs over 59.2 innings of work. The pitcher-friendly environment of the NL (and PNC Park) is doing wonders for the talented but enigmatic righty. It's real.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Why Brett Anderson called Cubs fans ‘f------ idiots’ and loves the idea of pitching at Wrigley Field

Why Brett Anderson called Cubs fans ‘f------ idiots’ and loves the idea of pitching at Wrigley Field

MESA, Ariz. – On an October night where you could literally feel Wrigley Field shaking, Brett Anderson fired off a message on his personal Twitter account: "Real classy cubs fans throwing beer in the Dodgers family section. Stay classy f------ idiots."
 
The Cubs had just clinched their first National League pennant since the year World War II ended, beating Clayton Kershaw and playing as close to a perfect game as they had all season. Anderson kept up the entertaining commentary during the World Series, previewing Game 7 – "We can all agree that we're happy it's not Joe West behind the plate tomorrow" – and tweaking his future manager: "Aroldis (Chapman) might puke on the mound from exhaustion." 
 
In another generation, a veteran pitcher might walk into a new clubhouse and wonder about any awkwardness with a hitter he once drilled with a fastball or some bad blood from a bench-clearing brawl. But overall today's players share the same agents, work out together in the same warm-weather offseason spots and understand the transient nature of this business. When pregame batting practice is filled with fist bumps, bro hugs and small talk between opponents, it becomes trying to remember what you said on social media. 
 
"I'm kind of a sarcastic ass on Twitter," Anderson said Monday. "I kind of sit back and observe. I'm not a huge talker in person. But I can kind of show some of my personality and candor on some of those things.
 
"You look at stuff (when) you get to a new team. I'm like: ‘Wow, man, did I say anything about anybody that's going to piss them off?' But I think the only thing I said about the players is that Kyle (Hendricks) looks like he could have some Oreos and milk after pitching in the World Series. 
 
"But that's kind of the guy he is. Just the calmness that he shows is something that we can all try to strive for."
 
Anderson essentially broke the news of his signing – or at least tipped off the media to look for confirmations – with a "Wheels up to Chicago" tweet in late January. The Cubs guaranteed $3.5 million for the chance to compete against Mike Montgomery and see which lefty can grab the fifth-starter job. Anderson could max out with $6.5 million more in incentives if he makes 29 starts this season. 
 
After undergoing surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back last March, Anderson made three starts and didn't earn a spot on the NLCS roster.  
 
"I obviously wasn't in the stands," Anderson said. "Supposedly from what I was told – it could be a different story – but there was just some beers thrown on where the families were. I'm going to stick to my family and my side.  
 
"I wasn't calling out the whole stadium. (It wasn't): ‘Screw you, Cubs fans.' It was just the specific (incident) – whoever threw the beers on the family section. Everybody has their fans that are kind of rowdy and unruly.

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"That just happened to be a situation. But you like those people on your side. I played in Oakland, and they had some of the rowdiest fans. In the playoffs, it seemed like ‘The Black Hole' for the Raiders games.
 
"You have your bad seeds in every fan base. When people are rowdy and cheering on their team and have one too many beers, the next thing you know, you're throwing them.
 
"Just visiting (Wrigley), it's a fun crowd, because it's such an intimate setting and you feel like they're right on top of you and it's so loud." 
 
Imagine the matchup nightmare the Dodgers could've been if their pitching staff hadn't been so top-heavy and manager Dave Roberts could've confidently gone to someone other than Kershaw, Rich Hill or closer Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers had made Anderson the qualifying offer after a solid 2015 season – 10-9, 3.69 ERA, 180-plus innings, a 66.7 groundball percentage – and he grabbed the $15.8 million guarantee. 
 
Anderson turned around and did the knock-on-wood motion at his locker, saying he felt good after completing a bullpen session with catcher Willson Contreras at the Sloan Park complex. Anderson is a Tommy John survivor who's also gone on the disabled list for a stress fracture in his right foot, a broken left index finger and a separate surgery on his lower back.
 
"Yeah, it's frustrating," Anderson said. "When I'm healthy and able to go out there and do my work, I feel like I'm a pretty good pitcher. I don't think I've ever been able to put everything as a whole together in one season. I've had some good spots – and some good seasons here and there – but hopefully I can put it all together and have a healthy season and do my part."
 
The Cubs are such a draw that Shane Victorino signed a minor-league deal here last year – even with more than $65 million in career earnings and even after a fan dumped a beer on him while he tried to catch a flyball at Wrigley Field in 2009.   
 
Anderson wanted to play for a winner and understood the organization's pitching infrastructure. He saw his pitching style as a match for the unit that led the majors in defensive efficiency last year. He was even intrigued by Camp Maddon and the wacky stunts in Mesa.  
 
"It's obviously an uber-talented group," Anderson said. "(It's also) seeing the fun that they're having. I'm more on the calm and cerebral side, but I think doing some of the things that these guys have in store for me will hopefully open me up a little bit and break me out of my shell. 
 
"'Uncomfortable' is a good word, especially for me. You don't want to get complacent. You don't want to get used to rehab. You want to go out there and do new things and try new things and meet new people and have new experiences. All things considered, the Cubs offered the best mix of everything."