Preps Talk

Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Stocks

Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Stocks

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

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Ivan Nova, SP, Yankees: We're seeing fewer ground balls and more home runs this year, a bad start. But Nova's also pushed his strikeout rate considerably (from 5.3 to 7.7) and with that in mind, we have to completely recalibrate his upside. The Yankees continue to provide Nova with strong offensive and bullpen support, which has helped him win 25 of his last 31 decisions. This isn't a star, but this absolutely is an underrated pitcher.
Joaquin Benoit, RP, Tigers: It's always something with Jose Valverde in Detroit: plunked batters, messy blown saves, and now a wrist injury. Benoit keeps rolling along in the eighth, posting a 1.99 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 31.2 innings. If Valverde needs any downtime, this is the arm you want. Don't be fooled by Phil Coke's rogue save from Tuesday, Benoit had already pitched and the Valverde injury wasn't known yet.

Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants: He's dramatically outperforming his underlying stats, but that story is a year and a half old - Vogelsong did the same thing last season. And low BABIPs don't come as a big surprise from San Francisco pitchers, given the run of the park. A mild amount of regression is to be expected from Vogelsong's current 2.29 ERA, but he's still one of the 30 most reliable starters in fantasy baseball, especially in the pitcher-friendly NL West. Don't outsmart yourself on this one.

Sell
Trevor Cahill, SP, Diamondbacks: He's had a bang-up June and his road numbers are terrific (2.30 ERA), but Cahill hasn't figured out the home ballpark yet (4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, just 20 strikeouts against 13 walks). Until Cahill proves he can maintain a consistent BBK rate over two (and preferably a lot higher), his angelic ground ball rate isn't enough to push him into our mixed-league plans. He's just a streamer right now, nothing past that.

Edinson Volquez, SP, Padres: His ratio stats are okay at home (not great), but he never wins there - one victory in nine turns. And his six starts on the road have been awful: 4.46 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 22 walks against 23 strikeouts. Wait until Volquez pushes his ERA under 4, then see if you can get someone to snap him up. A big strikeout rate is nice, but not everyone becomes a star pitching in Petco Park. Volquez's walk rate continues to undermine him.

Hold
Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Mariners: There's been talk of the M's going back to Brandon League in the ninth inning, but will Wilhelmsen ever open the door? The former bartender has worked a scoreless 10.2 innings this month, allowing just five base runners and punching out 14 men. Eric Wedge still has to respect his clubhouse; he can't change up the closer role with Wilhelmsen dominating like this. When in doubt, bet on the momentum; skippers are reluctant to change something that's working.

R.A. Dickey, SP, Mets: If you fell into this Cinderella Story, he's probably a forced hold: no one is likely to give you what he's really worth in a trade. Dickey throws the hardest knuckleball in baseball history, and he's had incredible command of the pitch as well (less than two walks for every nine innings). It's hard to take his stats from the last five weeks (48.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 BB, 63 K) that seriously; no one is reallythat good. But we've seen enough of the story - remember, Dickey's been consistent his entire time with the Mets - to bank on him as a Top 15 arm going forward, a set-and-forget option. And he has the upside to finish the year in the Top 5.
Daniel Hudson, SP, Diamondbacks: He's had trouble spotting his fastball and getting ahead of batters, but the BBK rate is still in a good place and there hasn't been a velocity dip. Hudson's far too good to keep that 6.60 ERA; go trade for him now and score yourself a bargain.

92 Days to Kickoff: St. Edward

92 Days to Kickoff: St. Edward

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: St. Edward

Head coach: Mike Rolando

Assistant coaches: Steve McShane, Scot Brockner, Eloy Diaz, Mike Childers, Mike Holte, Tim Wood, Zack McQueen and Andrew Yarwood

How they fared in 2017: 5-4 (2-3 Metro Suburban Blue Conference). St. Edward failed to make the 2017 IHSA state playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Tinley Park

Aug. 31 @ Wheaton Academy

Sept. 7 @ Hope Academy

Sept. 14 vs Elmwood Park

Sept. 21 @ Guerin Prep

Sept. 28 @ Chicago Christian

Oct. 5 vs IC Catholic Prep

Oct. 12 vs Fenton

Oct. 19 vs Ridgewood

[MORE: 93 Days to Kickoff: Westr Aurora

Biggest storyline: Can the Green Wave reload and replace several multi-year starters lost to graduation this spring?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Nick Wright and WR/DB Sidney Muhammed

Biggest holes to fill: Replacing standout quarterback Dylan Mlinarich will likely be one of the bigger projects for the 'Wave.

EDGY's Early Take: The Green Wave just missed out on the 2017 playoff because of low playoff points and will need to reload come August. Only two starters are back on both sides of the football. Look for St. Edward to get the football into the hands of RB Nick Wright quite a bit. WR Sidney Muhammed will also be another experienced play maker this fall. 

Theo Epstein on Manny Machado rumors: 'It's honestly something we're looking at and just rolling our eyes at'

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USA TODAY

Theo Epstein on Manny Machado rumors: 'It's honestly something we're looking at and just rolling our eyes at'

Despite the MLB trade deadline being two months away, rumors of the Cubs potentially acquiring Orioles' shortstop Manny Machado have intensifed recently. Regardless, Cubs president Theo Epstein made his point on the rumor frenzy quite clear Thursday.

"I can say with regards to this particular spasm of media frenzy, it is outrageously outsized when you compare it to the reality of the situation," Epstein said Thursday on 670 The Score.

Machado is having an unbelievable season with the Orioles, hitting .328 with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs entering Thursday. If traded, he would undoubtedly provide a boost to any ballclub, but that is a big "if."

Of course, the MLB season is not even two months old yet, which Epstein pointed out as being a big factor in the situation.

"It's May," he said. "We're still figuring out who we are as a team this year. We're still figuring out our place in the division.

"There's an atypical amount of trade discussion in May this year, which is essentially nil."

Rumors of the Cubs being a potential player in acquiring Machado make sense. At 15-34, the Orioles have the worst winning percentage (.306) in the MLB. With their current positioning, trading Machado could start a rebuild that the Orioles might just need. The Cubs have a 24-year-old shortstop in Addison Russell that the Orioles could acquire to a) replace Machado and b) use as the face of their rebuild.

Be that as it may, Epstein said the rumors are something that the Cubs are "just rolling our eyes at."

"I understand it's natural for people to connect the dots and there to be this kind of frenzy from time to time, but it's honestly something we're looking at and just rolling our eyes at," he said. "It's not like July, where every now and then there's lots of coverage on deals that are actually being discussed or actually might happen.

"This one is just out there in fantasy land at this point."