Fantasy Baseball pitcher stock watch - 97

Fantasy Baseball pitcher stock watch - 97

By David Ferris Contributor


Brandon League, RP, Dodgers: It's been a smooth landing in LA, as League has his mechanics back in order and a key role in the bullpen. He's fashioned nine straight scoreless innings - along with 15 strikeouts - and he's become the head of the closer committee since Kenley Jansen (irregular heartbeat) hit the disabled list. Forget the bad ending in Seattle; League can get us those critical handshakes down the stretch.

A.J. Griffin, SP, Athletics: What's not to like here? He's yet to allow more than three runs in any Oakland turn, and he's collecting four strikeouts for every walk. A platoon split hasn't shown up yet, as righties and lefties are both hitting under .200 against Griffin. The deep Oakland pitching depth strikes again. Griffin's next two starts are on the road, not that we're worried about the environments in Seattle and Anaheim.

Zach Britton, SP, Orioles: When he initially hit the scene we thought he'd be more of a pitch-to-contact arm than anything else, so it's encouraging to see 29 strikeouts for Britton over his last 28.2 innings. The 0.94 ERA over that span is obviously unsustainable, but we're not going to sweat his challenging division for the balance of the year. Britton helps himself when the batters do make contact, inducing ground balls a whopping 60 percent of the time.

Tommy Layne, RP, Padres: His checkered minor-league history is a thing of the past, as the Friars have made Layne into an intriguing lefty specialist. The strikeout numbers jump off the page (17 whiffs in 10.1 innings), and he's picked up a win and two saves because he's being used in high-leverage spots. And obviously Petco Park will hide most of his mistakes; at least, they stay in the park.


Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Indians: The strikeout numbers haven't been bad, but we're still not buying; his high-maintenance mechanics haven't been repeatable for a couple of years, and the wide swings in velocity also have us concerned. And when Jimenez is forced to work in the middle of the zone, he routinely gets pounded; his best stuff isn't swing-and-miss stuff unless it's perfectly located. The Indians will regret the Jimenez trade for the balance of the decade.

Trevor Cahill, SP, Diamondbacks: It's all about the schedule with the sinker-ball specialist - Cahill is trustable on the road (2.91 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) but he hasn't figured out how to manage Arizona's park yet (5.331.58). He's working at home next week (perhaps for two starts) so make sure Cahill isn't in your plans.

Eric Stults, SP, Padres: A 1.93 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over the last month will get your attention, but Stults only has 14 strikeouts over that 32.3 inning sample and he's been fooling the batted-ball gods all summer (.250 BABIP). This Cinderella will turn into a pumpkin any moment. We hear Eric Stoltz will play him in the movie.


Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants: He's been batting practice for a month, but when you pop the hood and look at the underling numbers, things don't appear so bad. Vogelsong is still recording three strikeouts for every walk, he's been hurt by an unlucky .365 BABIP, and one of the messy turns came in Colorado. Alas, he has to work in Coors early next week, but we'll ride him out after that. Most of the NL West is favorable to a pitcher.

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Here are some of the top headlines happening in the Chicago sports world today...

Cubs roll over Indians to even up World Series

Could Kyle Schwarber force the World Series issue and start for Cubs in Wrigley outfield?​

Jake Arrieta brings his A-game as Cubs even up World Series

5 Things to Watch: Bulls open season against Celtics

Willson Contreras apologizes to Cubs fans on Twitter and again makes his presence felt in World Series

Bears running back by committee still a work in progress as ground game languishes

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

Cubs: Even Kyle Schwarber's teammates can't believe what they're seeing in World Series

Rookie Denzel Valentine believes he'll play in Bulls' season opener

Cubs Talk Podcast: Kyle Schwarber's impact on offense

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

CLEVELAND - It doesn't take long for the 2016 Cubs to rebound.

Their American League-style lineup is just simply too talented to keep down for an extended period of time, especially with Kyle Schwarber now added back into the fold.

They Cubs hitters are so confident, they even left Progressive Field feeling good about themselves despite being shut out in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Cubs got on the board early Wednesday night, plating a run on the third batter of the game as Anthony Rizzo doubled home Kris Bryant.

"Take the momentum away. Take the crowd out of it," Bryant said. "It's nice to score first. Especially when you're the visiting team, to get out there and score within the first three batters is huge."

The early lead helped the lineup settle in and keep their foot on the gas for a 5-1 victory to take the series back to Wrigley Field tied one game apiece.

"Especially with a young lineup, I think when you see a few guys go up there and take some good quality at-bats, one happens after the other and the other guys seem to do the same thing," Ben Zobrist said. "It takes a lot of pressure off. When you see other guys having good, quality at-bats, you don't feel like you have to take pitches and you can be aggressive early on. 

"Oftentimes when you're aggressive in the zone is when you take the tough ones. We did a good job tonight laying off some good pitches. When they made mistakes in the zone, we really hit the ball hard. Even though we scored five runs, obviously we had a lot of baserunners on and we could've scored a lot more."

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Zobrist has a point.

The night after leaving nine runners on base and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Cubs left 13 runners on base and tallied just three hits in 12 tries with runners in scoring position.

Between nine hits and eight walks, there were Cubs on base all game. Indians pitchers didn't retire Cubs hitters in order in an inning until the seventh.

The Cubs also forced the Indians to throw 196 pitches in nine innings and worked starter Trevor Bauer to 51 pitches through the first two frames.

"That was good for us," Bryant said. "We saw a lot of their bullpen, so we have a lot of information to learn from and hopefully use in the next game."

Anthony Rizzo summed up the lineup's mentality simply:

"Grind out at-bats, work the pitcher's pitch count up and get the next guy up," he said.

That "pass the baton" mentality is what drives this offense and after a brief lull in that regard in Los Angeles when they were shut out in back-to-back games in the NLCS, the Cubs leave Cleveland feeling pretty good.

"When we're able to [get pitch counts up], you can kinda feel it - our offense really feeds off of that," Zobrist said. "We believe that we're going to break through eventually."