Cubs

FanDuel Friday: Is Jose Fernandez worth the risk?

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FanDuel Friday: Is Jose Fernandez worth the risk?

It's Friday, and you know what that means...

OK, well besides Rebecca Black's anthem, it means it's time for some FanDuel lineup breakdowns with the CSN Fantasy crew.

Tonight, Jose Fernandez is the most expensive pitcher tossing against that woeful, awful, no-good Phillies lineup. But is Fernandez worth the risk?

The Marlins ace is only is his third start back from Tommy John surgery, but he's already 2-0 with 15 strikeouts in 13 innings and a sparkling 2.08 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.

But don't assume Fernandez is back to his old self (2.24 career ERA, 10.3 K/9) already. With the advancements in Tommy John surgery, recipients have had more success earlier after the procedure, but there is still a period of inconsistency with command and overall results.

[RELATED - Fantasy Baseball: Bold predictions for second half of 2015]

Even with the great pitching matchup tonight and Fernandez's awesome stuff in his first two starts, it would be wise to wait for the other shoe to drop.

There are cheaper, safer options out there. It's not worth the risk of having a Tommy John guy at a ridiculous $10,500 salary.

John "The Professor" Paschall

It was reeeaaalllyyy hard not to take Jose Fernandez against the Phillies tonight. But I exercised some self-control and looked at some slightly cheaper options. Lance Lynn at home against the Mets' weak lineup is the ideal pitcher you want in your lineup. His price tag won't cause you to dive into the bargain bin and he's still a quality enough pitcher that you know you'll get a solid start out of him. 

A couple of Cubs headline my lineup tonight. Bryant's price tag has dropped a little and I think having a couple days off will help him return to form. Schwarber is surprisingly listed as an outfielder instead of a catcher but I'll still take him at $2,600. All he did when he was up in the majors earlier was mash and I think he could do the same now. 

[LISTEN: Previewing White Sox & Cubs second half on new podcast

Fielder eats right-handers for dinner so expect the big fella to feast tonight against McHugh. His average won't show it, but Pederson puts on a power show against righties (17 HRs vs. RHP compared to 3 HRs vs. LHP). Consider yourself warned, Zimmerman. 

We've talked about at length how bad Cano has been this year but did you see where he's playing tonight? I get it that it's not his first time back to Yankee Stadium but you can't tell me he won't be energized after the break to return to New York, looking to figure out his swing. 

 

How Bogaerts is still only costing owners $3,000 is a mystery to me. Picking him up saves you money and gets you a quality player. 

Tony Andracki 

Kyle Hendricks hasn't given up a run in his last three-plus starts and draws a nice matchup against a weak Braves lineup. Plus, you can't beat that $7,300 price tag for a solid pitcher. Save some money and go bigger on my hitters.

Evan Gattis draws a nice matchup against a lefty in Martin Perez, who's coming off the DL and hasn't had much success this year. I'm calling a longball from Evan "I don't wear batting gloves and don't pee on my hands, either" Gattis. Anthony Rizzo adds another Cub to my list and the guy's been just ridiculous this season and now is hitting fourth behind Kris Bryant (third) and new catcher Kyle Schwarber (second).

For the rest of my lineup, I found some value with Scooter Gennett (career .311 average, .818 OPS vs. RHP) and Evan Longoria (facing Drew Hutchison who has a 5.33 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 18 starts this year). Christian Yelich is facing a lefty, but his splits aren't very pronounced this year between the two sides (.261 AVG/.686 OPS vs. LHP; .265/.719 vs. RHP), so I figured it was good value for a guy that I'm head over heels crazy about in the second half this year.

I spent a little bit more for a trio of young guys (Carlos Correa, A.J. Pollock and Mookie Betts), but I love what they've been doing this year and they all have solid matchups coming out of the break. Plus, all three guys can steal and their legs could not feel any better for them right now than after four straight days off (Pollock only played a few innings in Tuesday's All-Star Game).

 

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

MESA, Ariz. — The first thing Kyle Schwarber told his new hitting coach?

"His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.'"

The Cubs hired Chili Davis as the team's new hitting coach for myriad reasons. He's got a great track record from years working with the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics, and that .274/.360/.451 slash line during an illustrious 19-year big league career certainly helps.

But Davis' main immediate task in his new gig will be to help several of the Cubs' key hitters prove Schwarber's assessment correct.

Schwarber had a much-publicized tough go of things in 2017. After he set the world on fire with his rookie campaign in 2015 and returned from what was supposed to be a season-ending knee injury in time to be one of the Cubs' World Series heroes in 2016, he hit just .211 last season, getting sent down to Triple-A Iowa for a stint in the middle of the season. Schwarber still hit 30 home runs, but his 2017 campaign was seen as a failure by a lot of people.

Enter Davis, who now counts Schwarber as one of his most important pupils.

"He's a worker," Davis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Schwarbs, he knows he's a good player. His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.' He said last year was just a fluke year. He said, 'I've never failed in my life.' And he said, 'I'm going to get back to the player that I was.'

"I think he may have — and this is my thought, he didn't say this to me — I think it may have been, he had a big World Series, hit some homers, and I think he tried to focus on being more of a home run type guy as opposed to being a good hitter.

"His focus has changed. I had nothing to do with that, he came in here with that focus that he wants to be a good hitter first and let whatever happens happen. And he's worked on that. The main thing with Kyle is going to be is just maintaining focus."

The physically transformed Schwarber mentioned last week that he's established a good relationship with Davis, in no small part because Schwarber can relate to what Davis went through when he was a player. And to hear Davis tell it, it sounds like he's describing Schwarber's first three years as a big leaguer to a T.

"Telling him my story was important because it was similar," Davis said. "I was a catcher, got to big league camp, and I was thrown in the outfield. And I hated the outfield. ... But I took on the challenge. I made the adjustment, I had a nice first year, then my second year I started spiraling. I started spiraling down, and I remember one of my coaches saying, 'I'm going to have to throw you a parachute just so you can land softly.' I got sent down to Triple-A at the All-Star break for 15 days.

"When I got sent down, I was disappointed, but I was also really happy. I needed to get away from the big league pressure and kind of find myself again. I went home and refocused myself and thought to myself, 'I'm going to come back as Chili.' Because I tried to change, something changed about me the second year.

"And when I did that, I came back the next year and someone tried to change me and I said, 'Pump the breaks a little bit, let me fail my way, and then I'll come to you if I'm failing.' And they understood that, and I had a nice year, a big year and my career took off.

"I'm telling him, 'Hey, let last year go. It happened, it's in the past. Keep working hard, maintain your focus, and you'll be fine.'"

Getting Schwarber right isn't Davis' only task, of course. Despite the Cubs being one of the highest-scoring teams in baseball last season, they had plenty of guys go through subpar seasons. Jason Heyward still has yet to find his offensive game since coming to Chicago as a high-priced free agent. Ben Zobrist was bothered by a wrist injury last season and put up the worst numbers of his career. Addison Russell had trouble staying healthy, as well, and saw his numbers dip from what they were during the World Series season in 2016.

So Davis has plenty of charges to work with. But he likes what he's seen so far.

"They work," Davis said. "They come here to work. I had a group of guys in Boston that were the same last year, and it makes my job easier. They want to get better, they come out every day, they show up, they want to work. They're excited, and I'm excited to be around them.

And what have the Cubs found out about Davis? Just about everyone answers that question the same way: He likes to talk.

"I'm not going to stop talking," he said. "If I stop talking, something's wrong."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Andre Dawson talks about his Cubs reunion

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Andre Dawson talks about his Cubs reunion

Carmen DeFalco (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Bernfield join Kap on the panel. Anthony Rizzo returns to the Cubs after an emotional weekend home while Tom Ricketts expects another World Series parade. Plus Hall of Famer Andre Dawson joins Kap to talk about his Cubs reunion and how the current crop unsigned free agents compares to his experiences with collusion.