Preps Talk

Fantasy baseball batter stock watch - 914

Fantasy baseball batter stock watch - 914

David Ferris
Contributor to CSNChicago.com
Buy
Marco Scutaro, Utility, Giants: His fantasy value was expected to vanish the moment he left the thin air of Coors Field, but Scutaro has been a find for the Giants, hitting .341 over 44 games with strong run-production stats (30 RBIs, 25 runs). Bruce Bochy loves Scutaro's contact and experience near the top of the order, and we love Scutaro's position flexibility (he qualifies at second, short and third base in standard leagues).
Josh Donaldson, 3BC, Athletics: He's settled into the corner slot for the A's - taking over for the injured Brandon Inge - and the second-half numbers have been tasty (.324 average, six homers). Donaldson carries catcher eligibility in many leagues despite the fact that he's not playing there; take full advantage of that where you can.
Everth Cabrera, 2BSS, Padres: He's just about unstoppable on the bases (30-for-32), and no one in the majors has swiped more bags over the past month. Cabrera also covers two infield spots in standard leagues, and he's been an average-neutral player over that span. You'll have to fill your power categories elsewhere, but if you're in the market for a speed speciality play, Cabrera comes strongly recommended.

Hold
Jed Lowrie, SS3B, Astros: He's finally back from the ankle and leg problems that wrecked his season, but the Astros have no reason to push Lowrie over the final three weeks. If you can grab him in a daily-transaction league, we'll sign off on it - so long as you have the maintenance time - but Lowrie is too risky to trust in pools that require weekly activations.
Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres: If you have the flexibility to use Denorfia against left-handed pitching, you're getting an absolute monster: the Wheaton College product slashes .346.402.512 against southpaws. The Padres face three lefties in their next eight games (beginning Saturday); in some pools, that might be enough of a needle-mover to consider Denorfia. Don't be thrown by Petco Park, either; his batting average is only eight points higher on the road. Line drives play in any environment.
Brandon Belt, 1BOF, Giants: He's finally settled into a full-time job and the bat has responded - Belt has a strong .294-8-2-15 line over the past 30 days, with a couple of stolen bases thrown in. You might want to sit him against a left-handed starter now and again - there's a platoon split at play here - but otherwise Belt has enough juice to justify a roster spot in mixed leagues.

Sell
Todd Frazier, Utility, Reds: With Joey Votto back in the swing of things, Frazier is a Red without a position. Scott Rolen's injury issues at third base help the cause somewhat, but Dusty Baker has made it clear that Rolen is a starter whenever he's hale enough to play. Frazier would be a super-utility hero in some other cities, but Baker doesn't enjoy being creative with his defensive planning and lineup card. As much as we've enjoyed Frazier's sneaky production this year, he's a tricky play for the stretch.
Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees: You can't stand by the wishing well when you see a 10-14 day injury at this time of year; it's imperative that you react quickly and find healthy reinforcements. Teixeira's calf injury makes him droppable in any format; even if he returns quickly, there's no guarantee he gives the Yankees quality at-bats. It's not about the names (especially at this time of year), it's all about the numbers. See if you can land a Brandon Moss, Brandon Belt or John Mayberry to take over for Teixeira.

High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

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High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

High School Lites featured plenty of great action on Friday night as NBC Sports Chicago had highlights of many of the area's top matchups. Some playoff dreams came to fruition while others crashed and burned. 

Watch tomorrow as the IHSA playoff brackets are revealed tomorrow on NBC Sports Chicago+ at 8 p.m. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Prairie Ridge: Episode 10

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Back of the Yards QB Jeremiah Harris

St. Xavier Team of the Week: De La Salle Meteors

Friday's Top 25 Games

No. 1 Lincoln-Way East 18, No. 19 Bolingbrook 14 

No. 2 Prairie Ridge 55, Dundee-Crown 14

No. 3 Maine South 56, Niles West 9

No. 4 Marist 42, Joliet Catholic 14

No. 5 Lake Zurich , Mundelein

No. 6 Phillips 53, Clark 0

No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor 50, Sandburg 14

No. 10 Barrington 40, Conant 19

No. 11 Huntley 45, McHenry 7

No. 12 Naperville Central 35, Lake Park 21

No. 13 Hinsdale Central 42, Hinsdale South 14

No. 24 St. Charles North 35, No. 14 Batavia 28

No. 16 Wheaton North 20, Waubonsie Valley 10

No. 17 Crete-Monee 52, Cahokia 8

No. 18 St. Rita 47, Marmion 14

No. 20 Lyons 31, Oak Park-River Forest 14

No. 21 Nazareth 48, Marian Catholic 7

No. 22 Oswego 30, Plainfield Central 0

Mount Carmel 35, No. 23 Providence 34

Other Highlights

Tinley Park 29, Evergreen Park 0

T.F. South 21, Oak Forest 14

Glenbard North 24, Neuqua Valley 14

St. Edward 29, Wheaton Academy 28

Marian Central Catholic 44, St. Patrick 21

Saturday's Top 25 Games

No. 7 Loyola vs. Brother Rice

No. 8 Glenbard West vs. Proviso West

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Theo Epstein answered questions from the Chicago media for more than an hour on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, but the most interesting part might have been what the Cubs president didn’t say, something along the lines of: These are our guys.

Or at least Epstein didn’t give the same full-throated endorsement of The Core that he delivered after engineering the Jose Quintana trade with the White Sox this summer, getting an All-Star pitcher without giving up anyone from the big-league roster.

Whether it’s the way the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs throughout the National League Championship Series that ended Thursday night, the inconsistencies and frustrations during a 43-45 first half of this season or the reality of losing 40 percent of the rotation, you walked out of that stadium club press conference thinking big changes could be coming.

“We’re going to pursue all avenues to get better,” Epstein said.

The Cubs already understood this would be a challenging time to dramatically reshape their pitching staff, with Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Big Boy John Lackey and All-Star closer Wade Davis about to become free agents.

The Cubs don’t really have many (any?) high-end, headliner prospects left to trade after borrowing heavily from their farm system to acquire Aroldis Chapman for last year’s World Series run and get Quintana to help solidify the rotation through 2020.

All of Major League Baseball is looking beyond this winter and preparing for the monster free-agent class that will hit the open market after the 2018 season.

Meaning it’s time for the Cubs to make some difficult decisions about all these young hitters they’ve collected.

“It may or may not be,” Epstein said. “Those choices, they’re not unilateral things. You can’t sit there and decide: ‘Hey, this guy, we’re moving him.’ Because you don’t know what the return might be. You don’t know how the different moving parts might fit together.

“I think going into the offseason prepared to make some tough choices and execute on them — and keeping an open mind to anything — is appropriate under the circumstances where we have some obvious deficits and we have some real surplus with talented players who are really desirable.”

Let’s assume All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, MVP third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras are essentially untouchable.

The Cubs used the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft on Ian Happ with the explicit idea that the college hitter should be on a fast track and could be flipped for pitching later: Is it time to sell high after the rookie just put up 24 homers and an .842 OPS?

During an exit meeting with Albert Almora Jr., Epstein said he couldn’t promise an everyday job in 2018, though the expectation would be more responsibilities: Think anyone else would be interested in a potential Gold Glove center fielder who’s already playoff-tested?

Do you want Addison Russell or Javier Baez as your everyday shortstop for the next four years? Is there an American League team willing to bet big that Kyle Schwarber will crush 40 homers a year as a designated hitter?

The Cubs have to ask themselves those types of questions, which could mean getting outside of their comfort zone and taking on some riskier pitching investments and sapping the strength that has turned them into the dominant force in the NL Central.

“We’ve really benefitted from having two or three extra — and ‘extra’ in quotes because they’re not really extra — starting-caliber players on the roster,” Epstein said. “That helped us win 97 games in ’15, 103 last year, 92 this year. That’s as big a part of the club as anything.

“Having an Addison Russell go down and being able to move Javy Baez to shortstop — that’s an obvious example of it. But those things show up every week for us. There’s a day where someone can’t make the lineup and someone else slides in and you’re still starting eight quality guys. That’s huge.

“Sooner or later, you reach a point where you have to strongly consider sacrificing some of that depth to address needs elsewhere on the club. There’s no sort of deadline to do that. But I think we’re entering the phase where we have to be really open-minded to that if it makes the overall outlook of the team and organization better.”

Translation: The Cubs are open for business. Make your best offer.