Blackhawks

Fantasy baseball pitcher stock watch - 66

Fantasy baseball pitcher stock watch - 66

Buy
Andy Pettitte, SP, Yankees: He must have kept himself in pretty fine shape during his brief retirement because the five starts back in New York have been terrific (three wins, 2.78 ERA, 1.01 WHIP). Plus control is no surprise (just seven walks), but Pettitte is also putting people away (32 strikeouts). The pickoff move remains lethal as ever. His next two turns are against the Mets and Nationals - good teams, but not offenses to fear.

Ryan Dempster, SP, Cubs: The 1-3 record is a joke given how well Dempster has pitched (2.59 ERA, 1.08 WHIP); obviously the Cubs have hung him out to dry on several occasions. But Dempster's luck has turned somewhat in his last two turns - Chicago has scored 18 runs for him - and there's a strong chance he'll be moved to a contending club at some point in July. No one can be this unlucky for six months, right? Dempster could easily win 10-12 games the rest of the way, even if he pitches a little worse than his current level.

Sell
Brandon Beachy, SP, Braves: The glittering ERA and WHIP jump off the page (1.87 and 0.95, respectively), and he's also spiked the strikeouts of late. But what type of season-long workload will the Braves expose Beachy to? It's not that we're expecting a shutdown at some absurdly-early point, but just keep in mind this young arm has never been exposed to 150 innings in a season (Beachy was a reliever when he entered pro ball). Even if he's not sent to the showers prematurely, a stat give-back in August and September is highly likely. Quietly see if anyone in your league needs a pitcher and is willing to overzealously chase what Beachy has already posted; he's good, but he's not this good.
Derek Lowe, SP, Indians: While some unlucky chaps like Cliff Lee can't buy a win, there's Lowe with his fortunate seven victories and 3.06 ERA. The ERA is as much a fluke as the wins are; Lowe averages only 2.7 strikeouts per nine innings, his strikeout and walk rates are almost even, and his WHIP is a toxic 1.46. His extreme ground-ball profile helps to some extent, but a 78.3 strand rate is mostly just good fortune. If you mash the peripherals and try to estimate Lowe's ERA, you get something in the high 3s or low 4s. A major correction is coming, it's just a matter of when.

Hold

Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Mariners: The general blueprint looks stacked against Wilhelmsen, at least as far as a closing gig goes. The Mariners would like Brandon League back in the big chair at some point (so they can try to trade him), and fresh-recall Stephen Pryor arrived with the "stopper of the future" tag attached. That established, Wilhelmsen has a win and a save over the last two Seattle wins, and he's looked the part in the late innings, striking out 36 men (against a reasonable nine walks) over 30 innings. Sometimes the smartest way to handle jumbled bullpens from a fantasy standpoint is simply to follow the momentum and the recent assignments; most modern managers are reluctant to change anything that's been working.

Felix Doubront, SP, Red Sox: Pitchers are basically guilty-until-proven-innocent in the jagged AL East, where four of the five parks are dangerous to work in and every team has a capable offense. But Boston's surprising lefty has acquitted himself nicely through the opening third of the year, posting a 3.75 ERA and 1.35 WHIP along with six wins and a zesty strikeout rate (66 punchouts in 62.1 innings). Doubront has been one of the surprise stars for AL-only players this year, and his profile is also relevant for medium and deep mixed leagues.

Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins: He's given us two terrific turns since rejoining the rotation (12 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 17 K) and a reasonable matchup is on the way (at home against Philadelphia). Just make sure you don't get tied to any long-term commitment with Liriano - the messy mechanics (and crooked numbers) can return at any time, without warning. It seems like a folly to put him in the sell list - if you're in a smart league, no one is likely to trade for him - so all you can really do is give him a shot to pitch for you, but on the shortest leash possible.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis is joined by Scott Powers of The Athletic to discuss Stan Bowman's comments following the Marian Hossa trade and debate whether they're finished making moves this summer.

They also provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks' top prospects and which players have caught their attention as development camp winds down.

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

Brandon Morrow and the state of the Cubs bullpen ahead of the trade deadline

Brandon Morrow and the state of the Cubs bullpen ahead of the trade deadline

Brandon Morrow is getting an extended All-Star Break.

For the second time in the last month, the Cubs closer is heading to the disabled list to get another break, this time with inflammation in his right biceps.

That leaves the Cubs without their best relief pitcher — a guy with a 1.47 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 22 saves in 24 chances — for the next week as the team hits the ground running in the second half with 12 games in 11 days against the Cardinals and Diamondbacks.

"It's been bothering him a bit, but we thought it was manageable," Joe Maddon said before the Cubs kicked off play Thursday evening. "But now it's not [manageable], so just have to take a little bit of a break. 

"We don't anticipate him being gone for a long time, but it seems to be prudent to go this course right now."

Maddon pointed to a bit lower velocity Morrow had in San Diego Sunday and believes now is "the right time to back off for the latter part of the season."

The Cubs do have Carl Edwards Jr. back from the paternity list and the 26-year-old flamethrower already got a "break" of his own earlier this season when he missed about 5 weeks with a shoulder issue.

The word "break" is key here because that's how Maddon and the Cubs characterize these little stints on the disabled list.

After all, they are "breaks," even if they're not built into a season like the All-Star Break.

The Cubs want both Morrow and Edwards to be healthy and dynamic in late September and throughout the postseason in October. They've been uber-cautious about the two pitchers throughout their respective Cubs careers and a stint on the disabled list serves to save bullets and wear and tear on their right arms in the dog days of the season.

After all, Morrow has already appeared in 35 games this season, which he's only done once since 2008 — last year, when he pitched in 45 games. Morrow has a long history of arm issues, so the Cubs have given him plenty of slack as they try to keep him healthy for the most important stretch of the season.

But that's also why the Cubs are looking to add some reinforcements to the bullpen before the trade deadline. They were linked to Brad Hand before the lefty was traded to the Cleveland Indians Thursday and they've also been linked to Orioles closer Zach Britton.

If Britton's healthy, he could serve as a perfect fit for the Cubs as a rental with closing experience and a guy from the left side to help fill both needs in the Chicago bullpen.

The Cubs currently have Justin Wilson, Randy Rosario and Brian Duensing as left-handed options in the bullpen, but all are at varying levels of confidence at the moment.

Wilson still has some issues with control, but otherwise has been very good of late. Rosario is a rookie and his outlying numbers indicate his 1.95 ERA is a bit of a mirage. Duensing just recently returned from the DL himself and currently boasts a 6.59 ERA and 1.83 WHIP on the season.

Then there's Mike Montgomery, who right now has a stranglehold on a spot in the Cubs rotation while Yu Darvish gets healthy. There is currently no update on Darvish, which means Montgomery won't be moving back to the bullpen anytime soon.

With less than 2 weeks left until the trade deadline, Maddon would be all for adding another arm or two to his pitching staff.

"Sure. All of the pitching, they're definitely going to want to look at it," Maddon said. "Our numbers are among the best in the NL both overall and as a bullpen and then even into the starters.

"But you're always looking to make it better. That's what GMs do. We'll see how it all plays out. We're hoping the [Morrow] thing is a shorter situation, which we believe it will be."