Fantasy baseball batter stock watch

Fantasy baseball batter stock watch

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

Buy

Trevor Plouffe, Utility, Twins: He found his stroke at the end of May and it's gotten ridiculous in June (seven homers, .955 slugging). Plouffe is a risk to bat .240 over the full season, but the power has always been real with him and he qualifies at four positions in Yahoo! leagues. We're also talking about a former first-round pick, so there's a pedigree to feel good about. Target Field isn't bothering Plouffe at all, as his slugging percentage is 74 points higher in home games. It's a good point to keep in mind: lefties have trouble in Target Field, but righties have a reasonable chance to reach the seats.
Alex Presley, OF, Pirates: We understand why no one wants to invest in the Pirates offense - it's far and away the worst in the majors - but we have to take note of how Presley mashed during his Triple-A tuneup (.277.385.631, five homers, four steals over 18 games). He's continued to produce in Pittsburgh, albeit at a much smaller clip: one homer and three steals over nine games, tied to the leadoff spot. Hey, it's a start. Category juice always gets our attention.

Ben Revere, OF, Twins: There is no power at all with Revere - he's yet to club a homer over 593 big-league at-bats - but if you're in the market for a table-setter, he can help you. He's slashing his way to a .339 average over 29 games, and running freely (10 steals in 12 attempts). The runs scored have been fine as well (19 plate touches) as Minnesota's lineup has woken up a bit. Lefties have never bothered Revere (.287 for his career, and .452 this season), so Ron Gardenhire doesn't have to play the platoon card.
Hold

Carlos Ruiz, C, Phillies: The power surge is out of nowhere, so we have to expect that to tone down soon enough. But Ruiz's batting-average jump is supported by a healthy line-drive rate and an increasing contact rate, and heck, the guy hit .283 last year and .302 in 2010 - there's ability here. The counting stats are also receiving a well-earned spike, as the Phillies use Ruiz as a middle-order man this year, not someone resigned to bat seventh or eighth on a daily basis. So long as you don't chase the homer outlier, this is a safe place to park your money.

Ike Davis, 1B, Mets: He's swung the bat very well on the current road trip, finding an 8-for-14 spike with five walks and three extra-base hits. This is obviously someone seeing the ball well, swinging with confidence. Now we'd like to see Davis start doing this at Citi Field, which has been his personal house of horrors in 2012. But the guy didn't forget how to play baseball overnight. Perhaps Davis is finally getting out of his own way and ready to let the story develop. The Mets, to their credit, have been very patient with him.

Sell

Brandon Moss, 1B, Athletics: The big slugger ran into some mistakes in Colorado and had himself a week, ripping four homers and knocking in eight runs. That would be wonderful news if he were wearing a Rockies uniform, but now he has to go back to sea level. Ross is a 28-year-old non-prospect who's on his fourth organization, and he's collected 177 strikeouts as a big leaguer over 704 random at-bats. There's no breakout here, the story will quickly disappear again - especially in Oakland's roomy park.
Ty Wigginton, Utility, Phillies: He's on a pace to hit 17 homers and drive in 72 runs, which doesn't sound so bad, but Wigginton is a minus defender at any position and he's being overmatched by right-handed pitchers (.256.308.372). When the Phillies get some of their name hitters back, they would be wise to downshift Wiggy to a platoon role. He's a handy bench player these days, but his weaknesses are exposed when he's forced to play every day.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls welcome Cavaliers to town

stl.jpg

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls welcome Cavaliers to town

In the latest installment of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, the panel previews the Bulls' matchup against the Cavaliers. 

Luke Stuckmeyer is joined by Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David Schuster (670 The Score) and Kendall Gill to break down the keys to a Bulls win. Later, Vincent Goodwill (CSNChicago.com) joins Luke to discuss the team's progress. 

Finally, LeBron James pays off his World Series bet and the entire media world is there to see it. 

Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: 

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.