Bulls

Fantasy baseball middle infield rankings

Fantasy baseball middle infield rankings

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

The following players qualify at a middle-infield position (if not multiple positions) in standard Yahoo! leagues. Rankings are based on a 5x5 scoring system (batting average, runs, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases).

1. Robinson Cano, Yankees
2. Ian Kinsler, Rangers
NOTE: Bat perked up in Anaheim series.
3. Jose Reyes, Marlins
NOTE: He's been active on the bases again.
4. Neil Walker, Pirates
NOTE: The unsung hero of this club.
5. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
6. Brandon Phillips, Reds
7. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
8. Jason Kipnis, Indians
9. Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
NOTE: Has eyes set on stolen-base crown.
10. Allen Craig, Cardinals
NOTE: No clear position, but man what a bat.
11. Elvis Andrus, Rangers
12. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
NOTE: Starting to heal up nicely, but might not be 100 percent.
13. Derek Jeter, Yankees
14. Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers
NOTE: A change of scenery at the right time.
15. Ben Zobrist, Rays
16. Danny Espinosa, Nationals
17. Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
NOTE: We expected more in the thin air.
18. Alcides Escobar, Royals
19. Rickie Weeks, Brewers
NOTE: Starting to produce at the expected level.
20. Starlin Castro, Cubs
21. Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
22. Jose Altuve, Astros
NOTE: The last bat standing in Houston.
23. Josh Rutledge, Rockies
NOTE: Probably slides over to second if and when Tulo returns.
24. Ian Desmond, Nationals
25. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
NOTE: There's no need to rush him back.
26. Chase Utley, Phillies
27. Daniel Murphy, Mets
28. Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
29. Dan Uggla, Braves
NOTE: High fly-ball, high-strikeout hitters have extended slumps.
30. Rafael Furcal, Cardinals
31. Kyle Seager, Mariners
32. J.J. Hardy, Orioles
33. Howie Kendrick, Angels
34. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
NOTE: Won't lose it for you, but not a lot of category punch.
35. Omar Infante, Tigers
36. Kelly Johnson, Blue Jays
NOTE: Production has fallen since the batting slot dropped.
37. Zack Cozart, Reds
38. Jordany Valdespin, Mets
39. Michael Young, Rangers
NOTE: Might be in trouble with Mike Olt around.
40. Trevor Plouffe, Twins
NOTE: It was a fun story before the thumb injury.
41. Alexi Amarista, Padres
42. Brandon Inge, Athletics
43. Dustin Ackley, Mariners
44. Jemile Weeks, Athletics
45. Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
NOTE: A little passion wouldn't kill him.
46. Gordon Beckham, White Sox
47. Ryan Theriot, Giants
48. Mike Aviles, Red Sox
NOTE: Nicked up, losing time.
49. Darwin Barney, Cubs
50. Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays
51. Erick Aybar, Angels
52. Marco Scutaro, Giants
NOTE: Heady veteran, but stats were mostly Colorado driven.
53. Willie Bloomquist, Diamondbacks
54. Pedro Ciriaco, Red Sox
55. Elliot Johnson, Rays
NOTE: A typical Ray, a story out of nowhere.
56. Dee Gordon, Dodgers
57. Everth Cabrera, Padres
NOTE: Has nifty wheels but stuck in crummy batting slot.
58. Maicer Izturis, Angels
59. Ryan Roberts, Rays
NOTE: Joe Maddon's type of player.
60. Luis Cruz, Dodgers
61. Ruben Tejada, Mets
62. Brian Dozier, Twins
63. Robert Andino, Orioles
64. Jeff Keppinger, Rays
NOTE: Crushes lefties, but that's the short side of any platoon.
65. Andrelton Simmons, Braves
66. Yuniesky Betancourt, Royals
67. Jerry Hairston Jr., Dodgers
68. Mark Ellis, Dodgers
69. Steve Lombardozzi, Nationals
70. Jed Lowrie, Astros
NOTE: Good bat when healthy, but durability the constant concern.
71. Sean Rodriguez, Rays
72. Jamey Carroll, Twins
73. Cody Ransom, Brewers

Carlos Boozer says Nate Robinson was one of his favorite teammate because 'he would bring snacks to every flight'

Carlos Boozer says Nate Robinson was one of his favorite teammate because 'he would bring snacks to every flight'

Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson only played one season together with the Bulls. But oh, what a memorable campaign it was.

And it produced a friendship that still lasts to this day. Cupcakes and snacks will do just that.

Boozer retold a story to NBC Sports Chicago on Tuesday of Robinson and his daughter, Navyi, baking cupcakes for Bulls players on road trips.

"We had so much fun. Me and Nate hit it off right away," Boozer said. "We're both very animated, we're both very loud, we talk a lot, we're great teammates. We love playing passionately, we compete.

"Nate is one of the best teammates I ever had. I played my whole life, I've been playing a long time and he's the only teammate that would bring snacks to every flight. And we'd travel on the road, he would bake us cupcakes for every road game. I never had that before.

"Him and his daughter, Navyi, would bake the cupcakes before every road game. So every road game we'd get to the plane and Nate would hook us up with cupcakes.

"Just a great teammate. He'd go through a brick wall for you, never complained, practice every day, play every day, ready to come and give it his best."

Boozer and Robinson will face off against each other during the Big3 Tournament, which begins this weekend in Houston. The league will travel to Chicago and the United Center on June 29.

"I'm looking forward to being in Chicago," Boozer said. "We've got a lot of great fans out there. I miss the (United Center), miss that Chicagotime summer weather and looking forward to getting back out there in a couple weeks."

Boozer's Ghost Ballers and Robinson's Tri-State team won't square off against one another until Week 5 in Miami. But it's sure to be a fun matchup for the two friends and snack buddies.

"He's one of my brothers, one of my closest friends," Boozer said. "Nate has been training like an animal and he's gonna use this platform to show everybody how much skills he has, also to get back into the NBA. Nate's a great talent and I'm looking forward to seeing him get down."

Boozer's team includes co-captains Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis, which gives them a pretty solid trio heading into the event. But no teammate, NBA or Big3, can match Nate Rob and his cupcakes.

Check out more on the Big3 right here.

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

Joe Maddon needed Mike Montgomery to get through at least six innings given the circumstances presenting the Cubs' manager before Game 2 of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Not only were the Cubs short a man in the bullpen (thanks to Brandon Morrow’s pants-related back injury), but Maddon had to use four relievers — including Pedro Strop for two innings — after Tyler Chatwood managed only five innings in Game 1 earlier in the afternoon. 

So when Montgomery — who had only thrown over 100 pitches once in the last two and a half seasons before Tuesday — saw his pitch count sit at 40 after two innings, and then 63 after three, he knew he needed to regroup to avoid creating a mess for the Cubs’ bullpen. 

What followed was a start that, statistically, wasn’t the most impressive of the five Montgomery’s made since re-joining the Cubs’ rotation earlier this year. But it was an important start in that the 28-year-old left-hander didn’t have his best stuff, yet didn’t give in to a good Dodgers lineup. And holding that bunch to one run over six innings was exactly what the Cubs needed in what turned out to be a 2-1 extra-inning win. 

“Especially when you don’t have have your best stuff, you always gotta — that’s when you really learn how to pitch,” Montgomery said. 

It’s also the kind of start that could be a major point in Montgomery’s favor when Maddon is presented with a decision to make on his starting rotation whenever Yu Darvish comes off the disabled list. Knowing that Montgomery can grind his way through six innings when his team needs it the most without his best stuff only can add to the confidence the Cubs have in him. 

Montgomery didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday, issuing more walks (four) than he had in his previous four starts (three). He threw 48 pitches between the second and third innings, and only 25 of those pitches were strikes. Of the nine times the Dodgers reached base against Montgomery, six were the result of fastballs either leading to a walk or a hit. 

Even though the Dodgers were able to bother Montgomery a bit on his fastball, Maddon said that’s the pitch of his that’s impressed him the most over the last few weeks. 

“He never got rushed,” Maddon said. “In the past he would seem to get rushed when things weren’t going well, when he spot-started. Overall, fastball command is better — even though he was off a little bit tonight, the fastball command still exceeds what I’ve seen in the past couple of years on a more consistent basis. The changeup, really, good pitch. He got out of some jams but I think the fact that he knows where his fastball is going now is the difference-maker for him.”

Darvish will throw a simulated game on Wednesday after throwing two bullpen sessions last week. Maddon still doesn’t have a timetable for the $126 million right-hander’s return, and said he’s not entertaining what to do with his rotation until Darvish comes off the disabled list. But Maddon did mention Montgomery’s relative lack of an innings load — the most he’s thrown in a season in 130 2/3, which he did in 2017 — as a reason to perhaps not rush him into a permanent starting role the rest of the season. Going to a six-man rotation is a possibility, too, Maddon said. 

But the over-arching point is this: Montgomery will remain in the Cubs’ rotation as long as he keeps earning it. That can be the product of strong outings in which he has good stuff, or games like Tuesday in which he shows the Cubs the kind of resiliency most starters need to get through a full season. 

“I pitch well, good things happen,” Montgomery said. “I’ve always thought that. Opportunities, you just gotta make the most of them.”