Blackhawks

Fantasy baseball category killers: steals

Fantasy baseball category killers: steals

Lorenzo Cain, Royals: He's finally returned from his lengthly disabled list trip, but also has the threat of Jarrod Dyson and a looming Wil Myers to worry about. Cain was inserted into the cleanup spot Sunday, which is comical, and shouldn't be anything we see with regularity. Cain has 30-steal speed, so let's set the half season total at 12-15, given regular playing time.
Jose Altuve, Astros: He's still one of the more unheralded players in the majors, and hopefully his All-Star berth this year will begin to change that. As an opportunistic fantasy gamer though, this is your time to capitalize. Altuve has 15 steals on the season, and looks good for 25-30 at his current pace. He'll provide modest power and a strong batting average too, making him a nice little package, pun unintended.
Ben Revere, Twins: The Twins have a bunch of rabbits on their roster, and we're back to Revere this week, who has been highly effective by stealing eight bases during the past month. You'll get a strong batting average, but zero power as he's now gone 701 at-bats without a home run. As long as he's killing the steals category though, you should be pleased.
Alexei Ramirez, White Sox: After only tallying one steal in April, Ramirez has stolen 10 bases since and appears to be closing in on the 20-steal plateau for the first time in his career. He's been one of the better middle infield plays over the past month (.393, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 17 R, 3 SB). And at only 66 ownership in the Yahoo! Game, he could be available on your league waiver wire.
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: This seems crazy, but A-Rod is running more this year than he has since '09, when he stole 14 bases. The power hasn't completely evaporated either, and you're sure to get strong run production from him being in a potent Yankees lineup. He currently has 10 steals on the year, and should approach 18-20 if this pace continues.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Round 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft.

They discuss the pair of puck-carrying defensemen that the Blackhawks selected on Friday, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin. When can we expect to see these first-round picks play in the NHL?

Boyle also goes 1-on-1 with Boqvist and Beaudin. The guys spoke with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville on Friday.

The guys also share their biggest takeaways from those interviews, which includes your daily Corey Crawford update and Quenneville appeared excited that the team has plenty of cap space to spend in free agency.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.