Cubs

Fantasy baseball outfielder rankings

Fantasy baseball outfielder rankings

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

The following players qualify at outfielder in standard fantasy leagues. Rankings are based on a 5x5 scoring system (batting average, runs, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases).
                        
1. Mike Trout, Angels    
NOTE: No offense Miggy, but Trout's the MVP.
2. Ryan Braun, Brewers    
3. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates    
4. Josh Hamilton, Rangers    
5. Alex Rios, White Sox    
6. Adam Jones, Orioles    
7. Matt Holliday, Cardinals    
8. B.J. Upton, Rays    
NOTE: Team is done, but he's driving for next paycheck.
9. Jason Heyward, Braves    
10. Michael Bourn, Braves    
11. Curtis Granderson, Yankees    
NOTE: A three-category guy this year.
12. Austin Jackson, Tigers    
13. Angel Pagan, Giants    
NOTE: Most underrated player in baseball?
14. Allen Craig, Cardinals    
15. Josh Willingham, Twins    
16. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins    
NOTE: Knees are tricky, but pop is ridiculous.
17. Jay Bruce, Reds    
18. Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics    
19. Matt Kemp, Dodgers    
20. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
NOTE: Might be done for year.     
21. Carlos Beltran, Cardinals    
22. Martin Prado, Braves    
23. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
NOTE: Not as much fun from up close.     
24. Norichika Aoki, Brewers    
25. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks    
NOTE: Has the thumb been right all year?
26. Alex Gordon, Royals    
27. Carlos Gomez, Brewers    
28. Corey Hart, Brewers    
29. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs    
NOTE: Much better season than many realize.
30. Ben Zobrist, Rays    
31. Nelson Cruz, Rangers    
32. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians    
33. Josh Reddick, Athletics    
NOTE: Average cratering in second half.
34. Andre Ethier, Dodgers    
35. Torii Hunter, Angels    
36. Hunter Pence, Giants    
37. Ichiro Suzuki, Yankees    
38. Desmond Jennings, Rays    
39. Alejandro De Aza, White Sox    
NOTE: Underrated spark to their offense.
40. Shane Victorino, Dodgers    
41. Bryce Harper, Nationals    
42. Jason Kubel, Diamondbacks    
43. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox    
44. Juan Pierre, Phillies    
45. David Murphy, Rangers    
46. Coco Crisp, Athletics    
47. Dexter Fowler, Rockies    
48. Garrett Jones, Pirates    
49. Ryan Ludwick, Reds    
50. Ben Revere, Twins    
51. Cody Ross, Red Sox    
NOTE: Perfect swing for Fenway.
52. Justin Ruggiano, Marlins    
53. Jon Jay, Cardinals    
NOTE: Defense needed; they're weak on corner.
54. DeWayne Wise, White Sox    
55. Nate McLouth, Orioles    
NOTE: Don't laugh, Buck trusts him.
56. Mark Trumbo, Angels    
NOTE: Bad habits back in second half.
57. Nick Swisher, Yankees    
58. Jayson Werth, Nationals
NOTE: No pop yet, but average is nice.     
59. Tyler Colvin, Rockies    
60. Drew Stubbs, Reds    
NOTE: Trouble with the slider.
61. Michael Brantley, Indians    
62. Howie Kendrick, Angels    
63. Will Venable, Padres    
64. Dayan Viciedo, White Sox    
65. Jonny Gomes, Athletics    
66. John Mayberry, Phillies
NOTE: Cashing in late on pedigree.    
67. Rajai Davis, Blue Jays    
NOTE: A speed play, that's it.
68. Michael Saunders, Mariners    
69. Denard Span, Twins    
70. Carlos Lee, Marlins    
NOTE: Makes contact but zero pop.
71. Brandon Belt, Giants    
72. Matt Joyce, Rays    
73. Justin Maxwell, Astros    
NOTE: An underrated, ownable Astro.
74. Brandon Moss, Athletics    
75. Cameron Maybin, Padres    
76. Delmon Young, Tigers    
77. Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays    
NOTE: Is the grow-up season ever coming?
78. Trevor Plouffe, Twins    
79. Seth Smith, Athletics    
80. Michael Morse, Nationals    
81. Chris Denorfia, Padres
NOTE: A terrific play against lefties.     
82. Yonder Alonso, Padres    
83. Mitch Moreland, Rangers    
84. Jarrod Dyson, Royals    
85. Jeff Francoeur, Royals    
NOTE: At least you're not paying him.
86. Scott Hairston, Mets    
87. David DeJesus, Cubs    
88. Gregor Blanco, Giants    
89. Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks    
90. Brennan Boesch, Tigers    
91. Roger Bernadina, Nationals    
92. Jesus Guzman, Padres    
93. Tyler Greene, Astros    
94. Donovan Solano, Marlins    
NOTE: Utility grab, will run freely.
95. Tony Campana, Cubs    
96. Darin Mastroianni, Twins    
97. Steve Lombardozzi, Nationals    
98. Ty Wigginton, Phillies  

Would trading Kyle Schwarber begin to solve pitching issues that run much deeper than Chris Bosio?

kyle_schwarber.jpg
USA TODAY

Would trading Kyle Schwarber begin to solve pitching issues that run much deeper than Chris Bosio?

The Cubs now apparently believe they are a stronger organization without Chris Bosio, firing a pitching coach known for his strong convictions, brutal honesty and bottom-line results in a move that doesn’t seem like an actual solution.

Hiring Jim Hickey – who has a good reputation from his years with the Tampa Bay Rays, a close friendship with Joe Maddon and what looks like a slam-dunk interview lined up for Monday – might make the manager feel more comfortable and less isolated.

But the new-voice/different-direction spin doesn’t fundamentally address the pitching issues facing a team that needs to replace 40 percent of the rotation and find an established closer and has zero expectations those answers will come from within the farm system.

This is an operation that won a seven-game World Series last year without a homegrown player throwing a single pitch.     

If the Cubs can say thanks for the memories and dump “Boz,” what about “Schwarbs?”

Advancing to the National League Championship Series in three straight seasons doesn’t happen without Bosio or Kyle Schwarber. But the fastest way for the Cubs to dramatically improve their pitching staff isn’t finding someone else who thinks it’s important to throw strikes. It could mean breaking up The Core and severing another emotional attachment.   

Theo Epstein saw Schwarber play for Indiana University and used the Fenway Park frame of reference, envisioning him as a combination of David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia with his left-handed power and energizer personality.

Epstein wasn’t the only Cubs official to develop a man-crush on Schwarber, but he’s the only one with ultimate control over baseball operations. Epstein’s style isn’t pounding the table as much as the ability to frame questions in the draft room, gather as many opinions as possible before the trade deadline and at the winter meetings, trying to form a consensus.

“I will say that it’s really an organization-wide evaluation of this player, but I’m not skirting responsibility,” Epstein said. “I’ll happily endorse him as the type of player that we want to win with here at the Cubs, and have won with. I don’t know, the fact that he hit 30 bombs in a bad year is a good start.

“But power is not everything. I think he fell into this year becoming more of a slugger and less of a hitter than he really is. It’s important for him to get his identity back as a dangerous hitter. Honestly, I think we feel he has the potential to be an all-around hitter on the level of an Anthony Rizzo. When he reaches his prime, that’s what he could be.”

Where will that be? As a designated hitter in the American League? That’s obvious speculation, but Schwarber has improved as an outfield defender – his strong throw at Dodger Stadium led to another NLCS Maddon Moment where the manager compared the Buster Posey Rule to the Chicago soda tax.      

A 43-45 record at the All-Star break also exposed some of the weaknesses in the clubhouse and downsides to Maddon’s methods. The Cubs flipped a switch in the second half, got hot in September and had the guts to beat the Washington Nationals in the playoffs. But that doesn’t completely wipe away the concerns about a group that at times seemed too casual and unfocused and didn’t play with enough edge. For better or worse, Schwarber approaches the game like a blitzing linebacker.

“He’s got a certain toughness and certain leadership qualities that are hard to find,” Epstein said, “and that we don’t necessarily have in surplus, in abundance, running around in this clubhouse, in this organization.

“A certain energy and grit and ability to bring people together – that’s important and we rely on it. But the biggest thing is his bat. We think he’s the type of offensive player that you build around, along with a couple other guys like him.”

Maddon would never admit it, but was the Schwarber leadoff experiment a mistake?

“I’ll judge that one based on the results and say yeah,” Epstein said. “I think we can talk about the process that went into it. Or in an alternate universe: Does it pan out? But those are just words. It didn’t work.

“Everything that went into Kyle’s really surprising and difficult first half of the season, we should look to correct, because that shouldn’t happen. He’s a way better hitter than that. What he did after coming back from Iowa proves it.”

In the same way that Maddon should own what happens with the next pitching coach, Epstein will ultimately have to decide Schwarber’s future.

Schwarber didn’t complain or pout when he got sent down to Triple-A Iowa this summer, finishing with 30 homers, a .782 OPS, a .211 batting average and a 30.9 strikeout percentage.    

Trading Schwarber would mean selling lower and take another team having the same gut instincts the Cubs did in the 2014 draft – and offering the talented, controllable starting pitcher that sometimes seems like a unicorn.

Is Schwarber still the legend from last year’s World Series? An all-or-nothing platoon guy? An intriguing trade chip? A franchise player? Eventually, the Cubs are going to find out.

“We have to look to do everything we can,” Epstein said, “and more importantly he has to look to do everything he can to get him to a point where he’s consistently the quality hitter and tough out and dangerous bat in the middle of the lineup that we know he can be.

“He wasn’t for the first half of this year – and he knows it and he feels awful about it. He worked his tail off to get back to having a pretty darn good second half and getting some big hits for us down the stretch.”

And then the offseason was only hours old by the time the Cubs showed they will be keeping an open mind about everything this winter, not afraid to make big changes.

Jake Arrieta shaved his beard again and he keeps looking younger

jarrieta.jpg
USA TODAY

Jake Arrieta shaved his beard again and he keeps looking younger

It's become a tradition that Jake Arrieta shaves his beard after the season ends.

The 31-year-old did it again days after the Cubs were eliminated from the 2017 postseason, and it's still a sight we'll never be used to seeing.

Check it out:

Weird, right?

Here's how he looked following the Cubs' World Series win in 2016:

And again in 2015:

It's crazy how much younger he looks.