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Chicago Cubs Player Notes
For The Last 365 Days
 
Arismendy Alcantara, 2BHot7/10/2014 5:16:00 PM
Description: Cubs infielder Arismendy Alcantara posted four hits on Thursday, scoring twice, knocking in three runs and missing the home run for a cycle.
Insight: Alcantara is a much lower-rated prospect than fellow Cubs middle infielder Javier Baez, but he's still a top-100 overall prospect and could provide fantasy teams with speed (21 steals at Iowa).
Justin Ruggiano, RF7/10/2014 9:30:00 AM
Description: Cubs right fielder Justin Ruggiano is batting .407 this week, but does not have a favorable matchup against Cincinnati right-hander Homer Bailey.
Insight: The career .256 hitter is as hot as he's every been, but Ruggiano is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his meetings with Bailey. Look elsewhere.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BHot7/10/2014 9:27:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is a career .375 hitter against Reds starter Homer Bailey (6-for-16).
Insight: Rizzo is tied for second in the NL with 20 homers after he went deep for the third time in his last four games Wednesday at Cincinnati. Hot hitter plus favorable matchup equals must start.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BHot7/9/2014 10:05:00 PM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo homered for the third time in his last four games Wednesday at Cincinnati.
Insight: Rizzo is tied for second in the NL with 20 homers. He's making a good impression on fans who are participating in the Final Vote for the All-Star game.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B7/8/2014 10:06:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is 1-for-12 (.083) against Cincinnati Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto.
Insight: Rizzo (.274) is tied for second in the NL with 18 homers. He's one of five players eligible for the Final Vote for the NL All-Star team. This matchup probably won't help.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B7/7/2014 11:05:00 PM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-5 with a homer and two RBI Monday at Cincinnati.
Insight: Rizzo (.274) is tied for second in the NL with 18 homers. He's one of five players eligible for the Final Vote for the NL All-Star team.
Justin Ruggiano, RFHot7/7/2014 4:03:00 PM
Description: Cubs right fielder Justin Ruggiano is 16-for-35 (.457) over the past two weeks.
Insight: Ruggiano has been particularly good away from Wrigley Field this season, batting .328 with a .955 OPS on the road. The Cubs are in Cincinnati tonight.
Nate Schierholtz, RF7/7/2014 11:16:00 AM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz is 9-for-19 (.474) against Cincinnati Reds tight-hander Mike Leake.
Insight: After an impressive 21 homer season a year ago, Schierholtz has struggled, batting just .212 with five homers and 31 RBI in 77 games, but has a favorable matchup Monday.
Jeff Samardzija, SPHot7/6/2014 8:42:00 PM
Description: Right-hander Jeff Samardzija made his Oakland debut Sunday against the hard-hitting Toronto Blue Jays and looked like the ace the A's traded for.
Insight: Samardzija went seven innings, giving up just one run on four hits while stiking out five. He's going to like pitching in Oakland's spacious ball park versus the "friendly confines of Wrigley Field." He's going to like the Oakland offense too.
Jeff Samardzija, SP7/6/2014 11:28:00 AM
Description: Right-hander Jeff Samardzija will make his Oakland debut Sunday against the hard-hitting Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Coliseum.
Insight: It's an unfriendly welcome to the American League for Samardzija, who will face the league's top power offense. Still, pitching at Oakland is something the righty (2-7, 2.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) could certainly get used to.
Addison Russell, SS7/5/2014 2:03:00 PM
Description: Minor league shortstop prospect Addison Russell has been traded to the Chicago Cubs.
Insight: Russell is a shortstop by trade, but the Cubs already have Starlin Castro at the major league level and Javier Baez in the minors. It will be interesting to see how the Cubs resolve the log jam.
Jason Hammel, SP7/5/2014 1:59:00 PM
Description: Right-hander Jason Hammel has been traded to Oakland along with Jeff Samardzija.
Insight: Hammel is 8-5 on the year with a smart 2.98 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and 104 Ks in 108 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see who gets dropped from the A's already strong starting rotation.
Jeff Samardzija, SP7/5/2014 1:56:00 PM
Description: Right-hander Jeff Samardzija has been traded along with Jason Hammel to the Oakland A's.
Insight: The pitching-rich A's just got stronger. Samardzija (2-7, 2.83 ERA) could be a great move and should jump right into the strating rotation, possibly for Sunday's game against the Blue Jays.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B7/5/2014 10:42:00 AM
Description: Don't be surprised if Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo gets Saturday's game off.
Insight: Rizzo is hitless in eight tries against left-hander Gio Gonzalez over his career as is a lifetime .214 against southpaws. He has been better in 2014 in limited action against left-handers (.295) and is putting together a solid season batting .276 with 17 home runs and 45 RBI.
Jason Hammel, SPHot7/4/2014 8:53:00 PM
Description: Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel has allowed two runs in each of his last three starts.
Insight: Hammel improved to 8-5 on the year after going six innings and striking out seven batters Friday. The right-hander has been terrific this season, posting a 2.98 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and 104 Ks in 108 2/3 innings. Along with teammate Jeff Samardzija, he's one of the top pitchers available on the trade market.
Justin Ruggiano, RFHot7/4/2014 8:50:00 PM
Description: Cubs right fielder Justin Ruggiano has gone 7-for-14 with two doubles, two homers and seven RBI in the first three games of July.
Insight: Ruggiano entered the month with a .240 average and a .718 OPS on the season, but he's up to .271 with an .817 OPS after the last three games.
Jake Arrieta, SPHot6/30/2014 10:21:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta no-hit the Red Sox for 7 2/3 innings Monday night before allowing a single to Stephen Drew.
Insight: Arrieta had a no-hitter through six innings his last start and has gone on an unbelievable run lately. In June, the 28-year-old right-hander went 4-0 with a 0.92 ERA, a 0.69 WHIP and a 48/6 K/BB in 39 1/3 innings. The former Orioles prospect has finally figured things out and should be owned in all leagues. He has a 1.81 ERA and a 1.96 FIP in 64 2/3 innings this season.
Dallas Beeler, RP6/28/2014 7:29:00 PM
Description: Cubs pitcher Dallas Beeler struck out six and allowed one run (zero earned) on four hits over six innings in his major league debut Saturday against Washington.
Insight: Beeler is a non-prospect who had a 4.03 ERA and 43 Ks in 60 1/3 innings for Triple-A Iowa this season. He doesn't need to be owned outside of deep NL-only leagues.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B6/28/2014 10:56:00 AM
Description: Don't be surprised if Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo gets the first game of Saturday's doubleheader off. Update: Rizzo is in the lineup for the opener.
Insight: Rizzo is hitless in six tries against left-hander Gio Gonzalez over his career as is a lifetime .216 against southpaws. He has been better in 2014 against left-handers and is putting together a solid season batting .289 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B6/28/2014 10:12:00 AM
Description: Don't be surprised if Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo gets the first game of Saturday's doubleheader off.
Insight: Rizzo is hitless in six tries against left-hander Gio Gonzalez over his career as is a lifetime .216 against southpaws. He has been better in 2014 against left-handers and is putting together a solid season batting .289 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI.
John Baker, C6/27/2014 10:02:00 PM
Description: Cubs catcher John Baker stroked three hits in Friday night's win over Washington.
Insight: He finished with four RBI, the same number he had in his first 36 games. Despite Friday's performance, Baker (.186, 0 HR, 8 RBI) isn't a strong fantasy option.
Jason Hammel, SPCold6/27/2014 11:02:00 AM
Description: Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel has a stellar 2.99 ERA this season, but he hasn't pitched particularly well of late.
Insight: Hammel (6-5, 2.99 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) owns an 0-2 record with a 5.00 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in his last three starts. Avoid him against the Nationals on Friday.
Junior Lake, CF6/26/2014 10:03:00 PM
Description: Chicago outfielder Junior Lake exited Thursday's game after running into the center field fence. SOURCE: Mark Zuckerman, Comcast Sportsnet Washington
Insight: Nate Schierholtz (.201, 3 HR, 27 RBI) replaced him before he got to see an at bat. Lake (.239, 9 HR, 25 RBI) appeared to injure his leg but we should know more on his status after the game.
Manny Ramirez, OF6/25/2014 8:02:00 PM
Description: Manny Ramirez will report to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. SOURCE: Anna Fogel, NESN
Insight: Ramirez signed a minor league deal with the Cubs last month and has spent most of June at the team's spring training complex in Arizona. Team president Theo Epstein already said it's unlikely Ramirez will be called up this season.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BHot6/24/2014 9:42:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo homered for the second time in his last three games Monday against the Reds.
Insight: Rizzo is hitting .312 with six bombs, 15 RBI, 17 runs and a 1.028 OPS in June. With a .281 average, 16 home runs, 43 RBI, 50 runs and a .913 OPS, he's been significantly better than he was in 2013.
Jason Hammel, SP6/22/2014 5:39:00 PM
Description: Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings Sunday against the Pirates, but the Cubs scored just one run and Hammel dropped to 6-5.
Insight: Hammel (6-5, 2.99 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) will be out of Chicago soon, that's a given. However, his fantasy value would worsen if he's traded to an AL team, much like Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Scott Feldman in the previous two seasons.
Starlin Castro, SSHot6/20/2014 9:26:00 PM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has gone 21-for-49 (.429) with eight doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI in his last 13 games.
Insight: Castro (.290, 11 HR, 43 RBI) didn't have more than three homers or 12 RBI in any month last season, but he already has two months with at least four homers and has produced at least 12 RBI in all three months this season. He's on pace to shatter his career highs of 14 home runs and 78 RBI.
Kris Bryant, 3B6/20/2014 2:40:00 PM
Description: Cubs head man Theo Epstein said he doesn't see Kris Bryant coming to the "big club" this season, according to a Jesse Rogers report.
Insight: Bryant is crushing the ball in the minors, hitting .355 with 22 HR and a 1.160 OPS at Double-A Tennessee. With the Cubs not expecting to contend for a while, there would be no reason to rush him to the majors ... other than for fantasy owners.
Starlin Castro, SSHot6/20/2014 9:35:00 AM
Description: Shortstop Starlin Castro is a career .458 hitter (11-for-24) with a pair of home runs versus Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton.
Insight: He has 40 RBI in 70 games, putting him on pace for 93 RBI, which would shatter his career high of 78. With 10 home runs, he's also on pace to exceed his career high in homers by nine. And in his fifth season, he's still just 24-years-old.
Starlin Castro, SS6/18/2014 6:02:00 PM
Description: Shortstop Starlin Castro has become a strong run producer for the Cubs this season.
Insight: He has 40 RBI in 70 games, putting him on pace for 93 RBI, which would shatter his career high of 78. With 10 home runs, he's also on pace to exceed his career high in homers by nine.
Jake Arrieta, SPHot6/18/2014 6:00:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta struck out a career-high 11 batters and allowed one run on five hits in seven innings Wednesday at Miami.
Insight: Arrieta has posted a 27/2 K/BB and allowed one run on 10 hits in his last 23 innings. The 28-year-old is now 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP and should be added in all leagues due to his pedigree as a former top-75 prospect for the Orioles. In 101 2/3 innings since the O's dealt him to Chicago last season, Arrieta has a 2.83 ERA.
Starlin Castro, SS6/15/2014 4:30:00 PM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro contributed three hits Sunday against the Phillies.
Insight: His third inning single brought home Chicago's second run of the afternoon. The 24-year-old is on pace to set new career-highs in both home runs and RBI.
Travis Wood, SPHot6/15/2014 4:26:00 PM
Description: Chicago left-hander Travis Wood was excellent Sunday in a win against the Phillies.
Insight: Wood (7-5, 4.48 ERA) limited Philadelphia to three hits over eight shutout innings. He's won his last two starts, compiling a 1.84 ERA during that span.
Hector Rondon, RP6/15/2014 12:02:00 PM
Description: Cubs closer Hector Rondon (elbow) could be available Sunday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "He got through an 11-pitch pen," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Saturday. "He threw breaking balls. He didn't have any setbacks. And we'll see how he feels (Sunday morning), how he reacts."
Insight: Rondon has been dealing with elbow soreness and the Cubs have been taking the proper precautions with a pitcher who's had Tommy John surgery in the past.
Starlin Castro, SS 6/15/2014 11:17:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro has gone 10-for-25 (.400) with two doubles against Phillies starter A.J. Burnett.
Insight: Castro has picked up five doubles and two homers while hitting .260 in June. He'll face Burnett Sunday, so he should be one of your shortstop options.
Mike Olt, 3B6/14/2014 6:21:00 PM
Description: Cubs third baseman Mike Olt hit his 10th homer of the season Saturday at Philadelphia.
Insight: Olt is on pace for 25 homers, but he's only hitting .152. Since 1901, the lowest batting average for a player who hit at least 20 homers in that season is .179 by Rob Deer in 1991 and Dan Uggla in 2013.
Jake Arrieta, SPHot6/13/2014 10:38:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta had a good showing Friday against the Phillies.
Insight: Arrieta (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 9 K's, 1 BB) has been sensational over his last two starts, limiting opponents to just five hits over 13 scoreless frames. His strikeout to walk ratio over that stretch is 16 to 1.
Emilio Bonifacio, IF/OF6/13/2014 8:12:00 PM
Description: Cubs 2B/CF Emilio Bonifacio has been placed on the 15-day DL.
Insight: He suffered a rib cage injury in Thursday's loss to Pittsburgh. Bonifacio's post in center field will be filled by Ryan Sweeney (.193, 0 HR, 6 RBI), who was just activated earlier today.
Ryan Sweeney, CF6/13/2014 3:12:00 PM
Description: Chicago outfielder Ryan Sweeney will bat second and play center field in Friday's series opener against Philadelphia.
Insight: Its a bad matchup to come back to as Sweeney is just 2-for-17 lifetime against Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez.
Emilio Bonifacio, IF/OF6/12/2014 7:51:00 PM
Description: Chicago 2B/CF Emilio Bonifacio injured his rib cage Thursday in a game against Pittsburgh. SOURCE: Jesse Rogers, ESPN Chicago
Insight: Junior Lake (.246, 8 HR, 23 RBI) replaced Bonifacio in center field though the game is now in a rain delay. Bonifacio (.266, 1 HR, 16 RBI) grounded out in his only at bat of the night.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BHot6/10/2014 10:32:00 PM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo went yard for the third time in his last six games Tuesday at Pittsburgh. He homered off Francisco Liriano, a pitcher he was 2-for-17 against prior to the game.
Insight: Rizzo also had a pair of doubles, three RBI and three runs. The 24-year-old hit .233 with 23 homers and a .742 OPS last season, but he's put that mess in the rearview mirror. In 61 games, Rizzo has batted .284 with 13 homers, 36 RBI, 42 runs and a .920 OPS. The first baseman hit .189 against lefties last season. This year, he's batting .344 against them.
Jose Veras, RP6/10/2014 6:59:00 PM
Description: The Cubs have released right-hander Jose Veras.
Insight: Veras' dreadful 8.10 ERA in 12 appearances is likely to blame for his abbreviated stay in Chi-Town. When he finds a new team, it's doubtful Veras will have an opportunity to close. Clearly, Veras is not a fantasy option.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B6/10/2014 9:42:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo should be avoided on Tuesday against left-hander Francisco Liriano.
Insight: Rizzo is just 2-for-17 (both singles) with seven strikeouts in their matchups. He's putting up the best numbers of his career, .887 OPS with 12 homers, but avoid him today.
Starlin Castro, SSHot6/9/2014 10:03:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro has gone 6-for-13 with four doubles and a homer in his last three games.
Insight: Castro's career high in home runs in 14; he already has eight this season after going 3-for-4 with a double and a homer Monday against the Pirates. Unfortunately, he's stopped stealing bases altogether.
Starlin Castro, SSHot6/9/2014 10:38:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro is a career .429 hitter (9-for-21) with two homers against Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton.
Insight: The shortstop is batting .269 with seven homers, 29 RBI, 26 runs and a .745 OPS, a solid improvement over last season.
Emilio Bonifacio, IF/OF6/8/2014 9:53:00 PM
Description: Cubs utility man Emilio Bonifacio cranked three hits in Sunday's loss to Miami.
Insight: Aside from his 13 steals, it's been a pretty underwhelming season for Bonifacio, who is hitting .274 with just one homer and 16 runs batted in. Bonifacio is eligible at both second base and outfield which is probably why he's still owned in over half of ESPN leagues.
Jake Arrieta, SP6/8/2014 5:49:00 PM
Description: Chicago right-hander Jake Arrieta was dominant Sunday against Miami.
Insight: The Marlins managed just three hits in Arrieta's six innings of work. Arrieta (1-1, 2.50 ERA) delivered seven strikeouts without walking a batter. Once again the Cubs' bullpen couldn't hold the lead, leaving Arrieta with his fifth no-decision in seven starts.
Junior Lake, CF 6/7/2014 7:37:00 PM
Description: Cubs outfielder Junior Lake hit two solo home runs Saturday against the Marlins.
Insight: Lake has eight homers and six steals, so he has some fantasy value, but a .244 average, 21 runs, 23 RBI and a .727 OPS mean mixed league owners don't have much use for him.
Starlin Castro, SS6/7/2014 9:42:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro is a career .333 hitter (8-for-24) with three extra-base hits against Miami left-hander Randy Wolf.
Insight: The shortstop has bounced back from a weak 2013 campaign, batting .266 with seven homers, 29 RBI, 24 runs and a .735 OPS, but has struggled this week (3-for-20) so could use a favorable matchup.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B6/6/2014 8:54:00 PM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo broke a 3-3 tie in the 13th inning by hitting a walkoff home run Friday against Miami.
Insight: Rizzo had an up and down May (.255, 6 HR, 16 RBI) but he's off to a good start in June with six hits in his first 17 at bats. We'll see if he can keep it going Saturday in the middle game of the series.
Jason Hammel, SP6/6/2014 8:48:00 PM
Description: Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel was in cruise control Friday against the Marlins.
Insight: He held Miami to six hits over seven shutout innings. The eight strikeouts Hammel registered tied a season-high. Unfortunately closer Hector Rondon squandered a three-run lead in the ninth inning, leaving Hammel (6-3, 2.53 ERA) with a no-decision.
John Baker, C6/6/2014 2:03:00 PM
Description: Cubs C John Baker was expected to miss Friday's game against Miami after taking a foul ball off his throat Wednesday, but he's in the starting lineup - catching and batting eighth.
Insight: With Welington Castillo already on the disabled list, the Cubs would be down to just Eli Whiteside and disaster catcher Luis Valbuena. Neither Baker or Whiteside have any fantasy value.
Ryan Sweeney, CF6/6/2014 10:36:00 AM
Description: Chicago outfielder Ryan Sweeney was supposed to return in mid-May, but a setback has left his return up in the air and we have no timetable to report.
Insight: Sweeney (.200, 0 HR, 6 RBI) has little power or speed and in nine seasons has never provided much fantasy value.
John Baker, C6/6/2014 10:32:00 AM
Description: Cubs C John Baker is expected to miss Friday's game against Miami after taking a foul ball off his throat Wednesday.
Insight: With Welington Castillo already on the disabled list, the Cubs would be down to just Eli Whiteside and disaster catcher Luis Valbuena. Neither Baker or Whiteside have any fantasy value.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B6/5/2014 10:31:00 PM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-4 with a solo home run Thursday against the Mets.
Insight: Rizzo posted an OPS above .850 in each of the first two months this season and he has a .403 on-base percentage this season. He's hitting .274 with 11 homers, 29 RBI, 37 runs and an .880 OPS.
Hector Rondon, RP6/3/2014 12:01:00 PM
Description: Cubs closer Hector Rondon is expected to be activated from the paternity list for Tuesday's game against the NY Mets.
Insight: Rondon has a 1.59 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and six saves in seven tries. He should resume his closer's role.
Jeff Samardzija, SP6/2/2014 12:14:00 PM
Description: Chicago right-hander Jeff Samardzija could be traded before the MLB draft which begind Thursday.
Insight: Samardzija (1-5, 2.54 ERA) could be a great move for any contending team.
Jeff Samardzija, SP6/1/2014 9:14:00 PM
Description: Chicago right-hander Jeff Samardzija was lit up Sunday in a loss to Milwaukee (3 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 3 K's, 2 BB).
Insight: This was easily Samardzija's worst outing of the season and maybe one of the worst of his career. He's too good of a pitcher to have this happen twice in a row. Expect Samardzija (1-5, 2.54 ERA) to bounce back in a big way next week against the Marlins.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B6/1/2014 3:29:00 PM
Description: Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo was tossed from Sunday's game for arguing a called third strike.
Insight: Rizzo hit two homers Saturday and has terrific numbers against Brewers starter Kyle Lohse, he his day is over early.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B6/1/2014 10:42:00 AM
Description: Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo is coming off a two-homer game Saturday and has a terrific matchup Sunday against Kyle Lohse.
Insight: Rizzo has nearly been a .500 hitter in 19 at-bats against Lohse (9-for-19). The first baseman is batting .269 with 10 homers, 28 RBI, 33 runs and a 39/38 K/BB this season after a down year in 2013.
Jason Hammel, SP5/31/2014 9:22:00 PM
Description: Chicago starter Jason Hammel registered eight punchouts Saturday in a win against Milwaukee.
Insight: He didn't let up a run in seven innings of work. Hammel has pitched like an All-Star this season, winning six of 11 starts with an ERA under three. His next start is Friday against the Marlins.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B5/31/2014 7:52:00 PM
Description: Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo blasted two homers Saturday in a win over the Brewers.
Insight: He'll finish the month with six homers, his most since last August. Rizzo's .269 average is well above the .233 clip he hit for last season.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B5/31/2014 1:26:00 PM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is back in the starting lineup after getting Friday off.
Insight: Rizzo is having a solid season, batting .264 with eight homers and an .830 OPS, but fantasy owners still want more. The 24-year-old has 30-homer potential, but has yet to produce at that level.
Nate Schierholtz, RFCold5/31/2014 10:52:00 AM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz should not be in any fantasy lineups today with a career .059 batting average (1-for-17) versus Wily Peralta.
Insight: Schierholtz surprised everyone when he blasted 21 homers a year ago, but he's been ugly this season, batting .213 with just two long balls.
Starlin Castro, SSHot5/31/2014 10:48:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro is a career .474 hitter (9-for-19) with two homers against Milwaukee right-hander Wily Peralta.
Insight: The shortstop has bounced back from a weak 2013 campaign, batting .276 with seven homers, 26 RBI, 23 runs and a .761 OPS. We would like to see him return all the way to his .300 hitting ways.
Hector Rondon, RP5/30/2014 4:01:00 PM
Description: Cubs closer Hector Rondon has been placed on the paternity list which means he could miss up to three days.
Insight: The team activated Pedro Strop, but its unknown at this time whether Strop will close. other options could be Justin Grimm or Neil Ramirez.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B5/30/2014 3:48:00 PM
Description: Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada has no problem against Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo, yielding just one hit, a single, in 21 career at-bats (.048).
Insight: Rizzo is having a solid season, batting .264 with eight homers, but he shouldn't be used Friday against the Brewers. Update: Manager Rick Renteria must have looked at the same statistics as Rizzo is not in Friday's starting lineup.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B5/30/2014 10:08:00 AM
Description: Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada has no problem against Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo, yielding just one hit, a single in 21 career at-bats (.048).
Insight: Rizzo is having a solid season, batting .264 with eight homers, but he shouldn't be used Friday against the Brewers.
Welington Castillo, C5/30/2014 10:04:00 AM
Description: Cubs catcher Welington Castillo only has 19 homers over his four plus seasons, but four of the home runs were against Friday's starter Marco Estrada.
Insight: Castillo has hit five home runs and is batting .252 this season, but he could be a decent option with Estrada pitching today.
Starlin Castro, SS5/28/2014 10:22:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro has racked up seven hits in 19 at-bats (.368) against Giants starter Tim Lincecum.
Insight: Two of those hits were doubles and one was a homer. The shortstop has bounced back quickly with four hits and a homer in his last 12 at-bats after going 0-for-17 from May 21-24.
Nate Schierholtz, RFCold5/26/2014 7:46:00 PM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz hit his first home run of the season Monday at San Francisco.
Insight: Schierholtz blasted 21 homers a year ago, but he's had a terrible season. In 154 at-bats, he's hit .214 with 15 RBI and a .561 OPS.
Jeff Samardzija, SPHot5/26/2014 7:35:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija finally got his first win of the season Monday at San Francisco.
Insight: Samardzija's 1.46 ERA was the lowest by any pitcher since 1914 who went without a win in his first 10 starts of the season. He struck out 10 batters and didn't walk anyone while giving up four runs (three earned) in seven innings Monday.
Junior Lake, CFHot5/25/2014 9:09:00 PM
Description: Cubs outfielder Junior Lake has hit four homers in May.
Insight: Lake has a pitiful 51/7 K/BB, but he's posted six homers, five steals and a .786 OPS this season and has NL-only value.
Starlin Castro, SS5/25/2014 9:06:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro broke out of a 0-for-17 slump with two hits and a homer Sunday at San Diego.
Insight: Castro's career high in home runs is 14, but he already has seven this year. The slump knocked his average into the .270s, but he's been fluctuating from .280 to .300 for the entire season.
Manny Ramirez, OF5/25/2014 1:20:00 PM
Description: Manny Ramirez has signed on to be a player/coach for Chicago's Triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs.
Insight: Cubs president and former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein says the club would like Manny to be a "mentor" for some of the team's top hitting prospects. He also acknowledged that we won't be seeing Ramirez in the major leagues any time soon so fantasy owners can go on about their business.
Darwin Barney, 2B5/22/2014 10:31:00 AM
Description: Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney is 5-for-10 with all five hits being of the extra base variety against Padres starter Eric Stults.
Insight: Barney is an excellent defensive player but has never been much of a hitter (.243 AVG in 1,733 career at bats), but this could be the rare day when he's a useful asset.
Jeff Samardzija, SPHot5/21/2014 8:04:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija dropped his ERA to 1.46 with seven scoreless innings Wednesday against the Yankees, but Hector Rondon allowed two runs in the ninth to cost Samardzija his first win.
Insight: Samardzija has received scant run support this season and is 0-4. The 29-year-old is a candidate to be traded, possibly to the Yankees, by the deadline.
Javier Baez, 2BCold5/18/2014 10:28:00 AM
Description: Cubs 2B/SS prospect Javier Baez went 1-for-3 with a homer and a walk Saturday night, but he has batted just .150 with four home runs and 46 strikeouts in 113 at-bats with Triple-A Iowa this season.
Insight: Baez, Chicago's top prospect and MLB.com's No. 7 prospect in all of baseball, hit five home runs in 53 at-bats this spring after belting 37 longballs in 130 games in the minors last season (Single-A Advanced and Double-A). However, his struggles in Triple-A are making it increasingly unlikely we'll see him in the majors this season.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B5/18/2014 10:09:00 AM
Description: Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada has limited Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo to one hit in 18 at-bats (.056).
Insight: Rizzo is having a good bounce-back campaign, batting .284 with seven homers and more walks than strikeouts, but he shouldn't be used Sunday against the Brewers.
Starlin Castro, SSHot5/18/2014 10:07:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro has batted .342 with two homers, eight RBI and a 1.048 OPS in his last nine games.
Insight: He's also hit .381 (8-for-21) with two doubles and a triple against Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada, so there's no reason he shouldn't be in your lineup Sunday.
Welington Castillo, C5/18/2014 10:06:00 AM
Description: Cubs catcher Welington Castillo has four hits in 14 at-bats (.286) against Brewers starter Marco Estrada, and three left the park.
Insight: Castillo has hit four home runs and batted .240 this season, but he could be a decent option with Estrada pitching Sunday.
Edwin Jackson, SP5/17/2014 5:37:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Edwin Jackson struck out 11 batters and walked one over seven shutout innings Saturday against the Brewers.
Insight: Jackson has good stuff, but he's never been able to put it all together, which is why he's on his eighth team since 2003. He's now 3-3 with a 3.98 ERA. His 3.03 FIP suggests he'll improve, but fantasy owners shouldn't pay too much attention to that. He's a pitcher who has constantly underperformed his fielding-independent numbers.
Chris Coghlan, CF5/17/2014 11:30:00 AM
Description: Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan is 4-for-5 with three doubles and a triple against Brewers starter Matt Garza.
Insight: He's done nothing all season, batting .150 in just 20 at-bats, but gets a chance to bat second in this favorable matchup.
Jeff Samardzija, SPHot5/16/2014 10:48:00 AM
Description: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija should be a solid option this afternoon against Milwaukee.
Insight: Samardzija has allowed no earned runs over his last two outings (15.0 IP) and faces a Brewers' lineup without Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez and a Ryan braun that hasn't hit an extra-base hit since returning from the disabled list.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B5/16/2014 9:38:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is a career 8-for-17 (.471) versus Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse.
Insight: Rizzo is off to an excellent start, batting .284 with seven homers, 21 RBI and an .873 OPS and a favorable matchup makes him a viable option. However, beware of a 40 percent chance of rain in the Chicago area which could spoil this selection.
Starlin Castro, SS5/15/2014 10:09:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro corked three hits in Thursday's loss to St. Louis.
Insight: He went 6-for-16 in the series with five RBI. Castro's .291 average through 39 contests is a noticeable improvement from last season when he hit just .245 in 161 games.
Tsuyoshi Wada, RP5/15/2014 3:44:00 PM
Description: Cubs minor league left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada is pitching great at Iowa and might get a shot to start for the Cubs before the end of the season.
Insight: Wada came over from Japan in 2012 and signed with the Orioles, but needed Tommy John surgery and hasn't pitch in the majors. He's 4-1 with a 1.22 ERA, 0.835 WHIP and a 46/9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Junior Lake, CFHot5/15/2014 9:49:00 AM
Description: Cubs outfielder Junior Lake is a career 5-for-8 (.625) with a 1.792 OPS against Cardinals Michael Wacha.
Insight: Lake has been swinging a hot bat over the past 12 games, batting .314 with a pair of homers, 10 RBI and an .896 OPS. He's worth a flier on Thursday.
Mike Olt, 3B5/13/2014 6:21:00 PM
Description: Cubs third baseman Mike Olt is not in Tuesday's lineup.
Insight: Olt hit his eighth homer of the season and the Cubs scored 17 runs Monday at St. Louis, but manager Rick Renteria won't keep the same lineup Tuesday against Adam Wainwright. Luis Valbuena is starting at third base.
Jeff Samardzija, SPHot5/10/2014 10:45:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija didn't allow a run in six innings Saturday at Atlanta, but the Cubs didn't score either. The 29-year-old remains winless on the season despite carrying a 1.45 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
Insight: Chicago has gone 1-7 and scored 1.88 runs per game in Samardzija's starts. Fantasy owners have to hope the team trades him to a contender to get something for him before he leaves via free agency in 2016.
Mike Olt, 3B5/9/2014 11:07:00 PM
Description: Cubs third baseman Mike Olt went deep for the third straight game Friday against the Braves.
Insight: Olt now has 15 hits this season; seven left the yard. He's hitting .192 but slugging .474 (.282 ISO).
Jason Hammel, SPHot5/9/2014 11:05:00 PM
Description: Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel gave up two runs and had a 5/1 K/BB in seven innings Friday at Atlanta.
Insight: Hammel has enjoyed his return to the National League after a couple years in Baltimore. He has thrown at least six innings in all seven starts and is 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP.
Mike Olt, 3B5/9/2014 9:34:00 AM
Description: Cubs third baseman Mike Olt launched his first career grand slam Thursday in a win against the White Sox.
Insight: Olt only has 14 hits this season but six of them have left the yard. He needs to get that batting average (.184 in 76 at bats) up before fantasy owners can start taking him seriously.
Tsuyoshi Wada, RP5/8/2014 2:43:00 PM
Description: Cubs minor league left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada leads the hard-hitting Pacific Coast League with a 1.21 ERA in 37 1/3 innings this season. He also has a 38/6 K/BB.
Insight: Wada came over from Japan in 2012 and signed with the Orioles but needed Tommy John surgery and didn't pitch in the majors. He threw 102 2/3 innings with Triple-A Norfolk last year and had a 4.03 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP before signing with the Cubs prior to this season. He could get a shot with the Cubs if Jake Arrieta falters in the fifth-starter role.
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B5/8/2014 2:33:00 PM
Description: Cubs infield prospect Arismendy Alcantara has batted .276 with nine doubles, four triples, two homers and eight steals for Triple-A Iowa this season.
Insight: Alcantara is a much lower-rated prospect than fellow Cubs middle infielder Javier Baez, but he's still a top-100 overall prospect and could provide fantasy teams with speed should he get the callup prior to Baez this season.
Travis Wood, SP5/8/2014 9:30:00 AM
Description: Cubs starter Travis Wood didn't have anything Wednesday against the White Sox.
Insight: Wood walked five batters and allowed eight runs on eight hits in four innings. His ERA rose from 3.35 to 4.75. The left-hander has a .341 BABIP this season, which is one of the reasons he's allowed 48 hits in 41 2/3 innings.
Jeff Samardzija, SPHot5/6/2014 1:53:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija remained winless despite throwing nine innings and allowing one unearned run Monday against the White Sox.
Insight: Samardzija is 0-3 despite carrying a 1.62 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 50 innings. The Cubs have scored just 1.7 runs per 27 outs when Samardzija has been the pitcher of record this season, fourth-worst in the majors.
Ryan Sweeney, CF5/2/2014 7:28:00 PM
Description: Chicago center fielder Ryan Sweeney left Friday's game with a hamstring injury. SOURCE: Carrie Muskat, MLB.com
Insight: He's headed for an MRI. Don't be surprised if Sweeney (.200, 0 HR, 6 RBI) lands on the disabled list.
Jose Veras, RP5/2/2014 12:24:00 AM
Description: Cubs relief pitcher Jose Veras (left oblique) is expected to rehab soon, according to Carrie Muskat of mlb.com.
Insight: Veras had already lost his job as closer (15.88 ERA) and when he returns should matter much to fantasy owners. Perhaps he'll be able to win the ninth-inning job when he comes back, but fantasy owners shouldn't hold on to him just for that longshot chance.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B 4/30/2014 10:51:00 PM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo reached base all five times at the plate Wednesday against the Reds.
Insight: Rizzo went 1-for-1 with a homer, four walks and three runs. He's been dealing with back spasms and went 3-for-28 (.107) over his previous eight games, but he's still batting .283 with four home runs, 18 Ks, 18 BBs and an .864 OPS after Wednesday's game.
Starlin Castro, SS4/30/2014 11:59:00 AM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro could be in for a rough night Wednesday versus Cincinnati.
Insight: He's only logged one hit in 12 at bats against Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani. Castro (.290, 4 HR, 13 RBI) does have four RBI in his last two games but we're not expecting much from him on Wednesday.
Starlin Castro, SSHot4/30/2014 11:59:00 AM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro went 3-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI Wednesday at Cincinnati.
Insight: Castro has hit safely in five straight games and driven in five runs over his last three. The shortstop is back to his aggressive ways and has hit .308 with four homers, 14 RBI, 12 runs and an .811 OPS so far after batting .245 a year ago.
Jake Arrieta, SP4/28/2014 8:47:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (shoulder) will come off the DL to start this weekend, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
Insight: Arrieta was supposed to start Wednesday but Monday's rainout will push Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson back and Travis Wood will stay in his normal spot on Friday. Arrieta put up a 3.66 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 51 2/3 innings after Chicago acquired him from Baltimore last season, but he has a career 5.23 ERA in 409 2/3 innings.
Starlin Castro, SS4/27/2014 6:24:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro hit two home runs Sunday at Milwaukee.
Insight: Castro has returned to his aggressive ways at the plate this season and is batting .292 with four home runs and 11 RBI. We'd like to see him take a more aggressive approach on the basepaths as well (0 steals on 1 attempt).
Jason Hammel, SPHot4/27/2014 6:20:00 PM
Description: Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel didn't allow Milwaukee to score Sunday afternoon.
Insight: Hammel (4-1, 2.08 ERA, 0.69 WHIP) tossed seven innings, struck out seven and allowed just three hits. Like Scott Feldman last year, the Cubs brought Hammel in on a low-risk deal and he has worked out. If he keeps it up, they'll trade him prior to the deadline. Fantasy owners should prepare for some regression, however, because batters have hit just .138 on balls in play against Hammel this year.
Emilio Bonifacio, IF/OF4/27/2014 12:03:00 PM
Description: Chicago second baseman Emilio Bonifacio isn't starting Sunday against Milwaukee. SOURCE: Carrie Muskat, MLB.com
Insight: It's his third absence of the season. With Bonifacio sitting this one out, Darwin Barney (.121, 1 HR, 3 RBI) will get the start at second base.
Starlin Castro, SS4/27/2014 11:19:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro owns Brewers starter Wily Peralta.
Insight: He's compiled a .438 average in 16 at bats against the right-hander. Castro has had a pretty uneventful season so far (.272, 2 HR, 9 RBI) but maybe this favorable matchup will change things.
Jose Veras, RP4/26/2014 4:50:00 PM
Description: Cubs relief pitcher Jose Veras has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Insight: Veras had already lost his job as closer (15.88 ERA) and this won't help matters. Perhaps he'll be able to win the ninth-inning job when he comes back, but fantasy owners shouldn't hold on to him just for that longshot chance.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BCold4/26/2014 1:30:00 PM
Description: Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo is a career .067 hitter (1-for-15) against Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada.
Insight: Rizzo has been dealing with back spasms this week and it shows in his production. He's just 2-for-17 over his last five games and this poor matchup won't reverse the trend.
Javier Baez, 2B4/24/2014 9:42:00 PM
Description: Cubs 2B/SS prospect Javier Baez has hit .184 with two homers and a 16/2 K/BB in his first 11 games with Triple-A Iowa this season. He also missed a week due to an ankle injury before returning to the lineup Sunday.
Insight: Baez, Chicago's top prospect and MLB.com's No. 7 prospect in all of baseball, hit five home runs in 53 at-bats this spring after belting 37 longballs in 130 games in the minors last season (Single-A Advanced and Double-A). He has game-changing power at the shortstop and second base positions and is someone to keep an eye on. However, the Cubs are in no rush to promote him.
Nate Schierholtz, RFCold4/24/2014 8:34:00 PM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz is hitting .221 with zero home runs and a .490 OPS this season.
Insight: Schierholtz is coming off a season in which he hit .257 with 21 home runs in 462 at-bats. He did most of that damage against right-handers but has hit under .173 against righties this year.
Jeff Samardzija, SP4/23/2014 6:51:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija gave up two runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings Wednesday against the Diamondbacks but failed to pick up his first win because Chicago's bullpen blew a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning.
Insight: Samardzija is 0-2 despite throwing at least seven innings in all five starts this season and posting a 1.53 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
Justin Ruggiano, RF4/23/2014 6:12:00 PM
Description: Cubs right fielder Justin Ruggiano left Wednesday's game in the ninth inning with a left hamstring injury and is going for an MRI, according to Patrick Mooney of csnchicago.com.
Insight: Ruggiano suffered the injury while attempting to make a sliding catch and had to be helped off the field. He's expected to be placed on the disabled list.
Jason Hammel, SP4/23/2014 9:15:00 AM
Description: Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel was brilliant Tuesday in a win over Arizona.
Insight: Hammel (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 K's, 0 BB) has been practically unhittable this year, limiting opponents to a .151 batting average over 27 2/3 innings. He has, however, been susceptible to giving up the long ball. In fact, five of the eight runs Hammel (3-1, 2.60 ERA) has allowed this season have come on round-trippers. His next start will be Sunday against Milwaukee.
Emilio Bonifacio, IF/OF4/22/2014 6:03:00 PM
Description: Cubs utility man Emilio Bonifacio won't start Tuesday against the Diamondbacks. SOURCE: Carrie Muskat, MLB.com
Insight: It's a scheduled off day for the 28-year-old. Luis Valbuena, who usually hits second, will move up to the leadoff spot in Bonifacio's absence.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BHot4/20/2014 11:53:00 AM
Description: The Cubs lifted Anthony Rizzo from Saturday's game because of back spasms, but he's in the lineup Sunday, according to Jesse Rogers of espnchicago.com.
Insight: Rizzo started every game this season for Chicago and is hitting .333 with two homers, eight RBI and just nine strikeouts in 60 at-bats. He struck out 127 times and hit .233 in 606 at-bats last season.
Starlin Castro, SS 4/20/2014 9:43:00 AM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro hasn't performed well against Reds starter Homer Bailey in the past.
Insight: Castro, who is hitting .292 with two homers and nine RBI this season, has gone 5-for-27 (.185) against Bailey.
Nate Schierholtz, RF4/20/2014 9:40:00 AM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz has gone 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles and a home run against Reds starter Homer Bailey.
Insight: Schierholtz is struggling right now, batting .231 with zero home runs in 52 at-bats, but so is Bailey (8.16 ERA, 2.02 WHIP).
Anthony Rizzo, 1BHot4/19/2014 7:37:00 PM
Description: The Cubs lifted Anthony Rizzo from Saturday's game because of back spasms, but he's expected to play Sunday against the Reds, according to mlb.com.
Insight: Rizzo started every game this season for Chicago and is hitting .333 with two homers, eight RBI and just nine strikeouts in 60 at-bats. He struck out 127 times and hit .233 in 606 at-bats last season.
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B4/19/2014 7:25:00 PM
Description: Cubs IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio went 3-for-5 with a steal and two runs Saturday against the Reds.
Insight: Bonifacio entered play 2-for-24 over his last six games, but he's still batting .358 due to his extremely hot start (19-for-38 first eight games). The 28-year-old has 11 runs and eight steals in 15 games and should be owned in all leagues.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B4/13/2014 9:01:00 PM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the year Sunday against the Cardinals.
Insight: Rizzo has hit .319 with eight RBI, nine runs and eight Ks in 47 at-bats. He batted .224 with eight home runs in April last season and went on to bat just .233 with 23 longballs and 80 RBI.
Welington Castillo, C4/12/2014 11:10:00 AM
Description: Cubs catcher Welington Castillo will get Saturday afternoon off.
Insight: Day game off after a extra-inning night game is the normal practice for catchers. Castillo is batting .212 this season with a couple of homers.
Jake Arrieta, SP4/11/2014 8:47:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (shoulder) will make at least one more rehab start, according to Carrie Muskat of mlb.com.
Insight: Arrieta dealt with shoulder inflammation in spring training. He is expected to occupy Chicago's fifth spot in the rotation once he is healthy. He put up a 3.66 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 51 2/3 innings after Chicago acquired him from Baltimore last season, but he has a career 5.23 ERA in 409 2/3 innings.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B4/11/2014 10:16:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo doesn't have much success against St. Louis right-hander Joe Kelly.
Insight: Rizzo is 1-for-13 in their matchups. Normally Rizzo hits right-handers 55 points better than left-handers (.259 vs. .204), but this matchup is the exception. Although Rizzo is off to a flying start (.371 through nine games) avoid this matchup.
Starlin Castro, SSHot4/10/2014 9:24:00 PM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has gone 11-for-21 with two homers and six RBI over his last five games.
Insight: Castro batted .297 over his first three MLB seasons but Cubs brass tried to get him to be more patient last year. His first-pitch swinging percentage was .296 over his first three years but just .211 last season and his new approach resulted in a .245 average. He's back to unloading on the first pitch more often this season.
Travis Wood, SP4/10/2014 9:01:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Travis Wood already has 17 Ks in 12 1/3 innings this season.
Insight: Wood had a 3.11 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 200 innings last season but only struck out 144 batters. In fact, he had a 6.8 K/9 in 564 2/3 career innings prior to this season. He's gotten a much higher percentage of swings and misses on his four-seamer and cutter in his first two starts this season than he did last year.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BHot4/9/2014 10:22:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo still doesn't have a home run this season but he collected multiple hits for the fourth straight game Wednesday.
Insight: Rizzo went 4-for-5 with two doubles Wednesday and is 10-for-15 over his last four games.
Starlin Castro, SS4/9/2014 9:45:00 AM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro launched two homers Tuesday in a loss to Pittsburgh.
Insight: This is the Castro we all know and love. We're not sure what happened to him in 2013 (.245, 10 HR, 9 SB in 161 games) but Castro has looked like an All-Star through his first seven games (.310, 6 RBI, .552 SLUG).
Starlin Castro, SS4/6/2014 9:54:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro has strong numbers against Phillies starter A.J. Burnett.
Insight: Castro has gone 9-for-22 (.409) with a double and two BBs against Burnett. The Cubs shortstop is 4-for-12 over his last three games.
Starlin Castro, SS4/5/2014 6:46:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro came up with three singles in four at-bats Saturday against the Phillies.
Insight: Castro went 0-for-9 in his first two games but he's four for his last 12. He's yet to pick up an extra-base hit or score a run.
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B4/5/2014 9:52:00 AM
Description: Cubs IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio is off to a great start, but he's just 1-for-10 against Phillies ace Cliff Lee.
Insight: Bonifacio is batting a league-leading .579 (11-for-19) with four SB and three runs scored, but the Phillies pitching staff held him hitless on Friday and he has a poor matchup on saturday.
Welington Castillo, C4/3/2014 11:16:00 AM
Description: Cubs catcher Welington Castillo will get the afternoon off on Thursday.
Insight: No surprise after the 16-inning game last night in which he went 1-for-8. John Baker will get the start, but has never shown to have much of a bat.
Jake Arrieta, SP4/2/2014 8:37:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment Thursday, according to Carrie Muskat of mlb.com.
Insight: Arrieta dealt with shoulder inflammation in spring training. He is expected to occupy Chicago's fifth spot in the rotation once he is healthy. He put up a 3.66 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 51 2/3 innings after Chicago acquired him from Baltimore last season, but he has a career 5.23 ERA in 409 2/3 innings.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B4/2/2014 10:22:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is just 1-for-9 (.111) versus Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton.
Insight: Rizzo normally hits right-handers much better than lefties, but this is an expection to the rule. He is still seeking his first hit of the season after going hitless versus tough left-hander Francisco Liriano on Monday.
Jeff Samardzija, SP3/31/2014 9:45:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija held the Pirates scoreless in seven innings during the season opener. He took a no decision as the Cubbies were blanked.
Insight: Samardzija has a lot of upside after striking out 394 batters in 388 1/3 innings the last two seasons, but he'll need to avoid the implosions that have prevented him from becoming an ace. He had a 3.34 ERA in his first 113 1/3 innings last season but posted a 5.47 ERA in his last 100 1/3.
Starlin Castro, SS3/31/2014 10:52:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro is likely to disappoint his fantasy owners on Opening Day.
Insight: He's never done well against Pirates starter Francisco Liriano (2-for-17 with five strikeouts). Castro (.245, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 9 SB in 2013) is a strong bounceback candidate for 2014 but we wouldn't expect him to do much today against Liriano.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B3/31/2014 10:50:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo finds himself in a tough spot on Opening Day.
Insight: Pirates ace Francisco Liriano routinely destroys left-handers and Rizzo is no exception (.143 AVG in 14 career at bats). If you have another first base option on your bench, today would be the day to use him.
Darwin Barney, 2B3/31/2014 10:48:00 AM
Description: Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney shouldn't be in your lineup Monday versus the Pirates.
Insight: That's because he owns a .133 lifetime average against Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano. Barney is an excellent defensive player but has never been much of a hitter (.246 AVG in 1,657 career at bats). He's not one of the better fantasy options at second base this season.
Carlos Villanueva, SP3/28/2014 8:20:00 PM
Description: Carlos Villanueva beat out Chris Rusin for the Cubs' fifth rotation spot even though he had a 5.60 ERA in 17 2/3 innings this spring. SOURCE: Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times
Insight: Rusin (7.45 ERA in 19 1/3 innings) was worse than Villanueva. Once Jake Arrieta (shoulder) is ready to go near the end of April, Villanueva will move back to long-relief and spot-start duty.
Junior Lake, CF3/23/2014 8:15:00 PM
Description: Cubs outfielder Junior Lake crushed three homers Sunday in a win against Oakland.
Insight: Before today, Lake had gone 35 spring training at bats without a homer. Overall, he's hitting .250 this spring with nine RBI. We have Lake down for 11 HR, 46 RBI and 19 SB in our latest 2014 fantasy projections.
Javier Baez, 2B3/22/2014 5:34:00 PM
Description: The Cubs assigned middle infielder Javier Baez to the minors on Saturday.
Insight: Baez, Chicago's top prospect and MLB.com's No. 7 prospect in all of baseball, hit .310 with five home runs in 42 at-bats this spring after belting 37 longballs in 130 games in the minors last season (Single-A Advanced and Double-A). He has game-changing power at the shortstop and second base positions and is someone to keep an eye on for a call-up this season.
Starlin Castro, SS3/18/2014 7:36:00 PM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro took part in some drills Tuesday and said his right hamstring feels good, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
Insight: Castro suffered a hamstring injury in early March and hasn't played since. He said he is "getting closer" to returning, however. Castro is attempting to bounce back from a 2013 season in which he hit a career-low .245 with 10 homers, 44 RBI and a .631 OPS.
Carlos Villanueva, SP3/16/2014 11:17:00 AM
Description: Right-hander Carlos Villanueva is likely to begin the season in Chicago's starting rotation. SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times
Insight: That's only because Jake Arrieta is out with a shoulder injury. Villanueva hasn't posted an ERA lower than four since 2007. He won't attract much fantasy interest outside of NL-only leagues.
Starlin Castro, SS3/10/2014 2:03:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro is still about a week away from returning from a hamstring injury, according to Patrick Mooney of csnchicago.com
Insight: Castro suffered the injury on a slide during Sunday's game. He's attempting to bounce back from a 2013 season in which he hit a career-low .245 with 10 homers, 44 RBI and a .631 OPS. He's had just two at-bats this preseason - both hits.
Starlin Castro, SS3/3/2014 6:57:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro will miss 7-10 days due to a hamstring injury, according to Jesse Rogers of espn.com.
Insight: Castro suffered the injury on a slide during Sunday's game. He's attempting to bounce back from a 2013 season in which he hit a career-low .245 with 10 homers, 44 RBI and a .631 OPS.
Starlin Castro, SS3/2/2014 4:01:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop suffered an unspecified injury Sunday in a spring training game with Kansas City. SOURCE: Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times
Insight: Castro suffered the injury on a slide but wasn't removed from the game until the next inning. Until we know what he's dealing with, it's hard to speculate how much time Castro will miss. For now, it's best to label him as day-to-day.
Jake Arrieta, SP2/26/2014 9:32:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been throwing from flat ground, according to Carrie Muskat of mlb.com. He has been slowed by tightness in his shoulder since the start of camp and we won't be able to talk about timetables until he gets back on a mound.
Insight: Arrieta is expected to occupy Chicago's fifth spot in the rotation if he's healthy. He put up a 3.66 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 51 2/3 innings after Chicago acquired him from Baltimore last season, but he has a career 5.23 ERA in 409 2/3 innings.
Kyuji Fujikawa, RP2/25/2014 5:30:00 PM
Description: Cubs reliever Kyuji Fujikawa threw off a mound Monday for the first time since his Tommy John surgery, according to Jesse Rogers of espnchicago.com.
Insight: The 33-year-old Fujikawa only threw 12 innings last season after coming over from Japan but could eventually close for the Cubs when he returns in June or July. Jose Veras will begin the season as Chicago's ninth-inning man.
Jake Arrieta, SP2/22/2014 7:19:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta played catch Saturday and said his shoulder felt fine afterwards, but a bullpen session isn't imminent. SOURCE: Mark D. Gonzales, Chicago Tribune
Insight: Arrieta said earlier that if his shoulder responded well from the session he thought he could throw off a mound as early as next week. The right-hander is expected to occupy Chicago's fifth spot in the rotation if he's healthy. He put up a 3.66 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 51 2/3 innings after Chicago acquired him from Baltimore last season, but he has a career 5.23 ERA in 409 2/3 innings.
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B2/15/2014 1:23:00 PM
Description: Emilio Bonifacio has agreed to a minor league deal with the Cubs. SOURCE: Jesse Rogers, ESPN Chicago
Insight: That didn't take long. Bonifacio was a free agent for all of three days before Chicago gave him the call. Bonifacio's speed (98 SB since 2011) remains his biggest asset.
Jason Hammel, SP1/31/2014 2:37:00 PM
Description: Righthander Jason Hammel has reportedly agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal with the Cubs, according to Fox's Ken Rosenthal.
Insight: Hammel, who was 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA in 26 appearances last year, will need to return to 2012 form if he wants to have any fantasy value. The wins will come tougher without Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado around to give him run support.
Jonathan Sanchez, SP12/19/2013 11:08:00 AM
Description: Lefthander Jonathan Sanchez has signed a minor league deal with the Cubs. SOURCE: Chicago Tribune
Insight: He'll try to make the team out of spring training. Sanchez has now played with five teams in the last three years. His last productive season came in 2010 when he logged 13 victories with a 3.07 ERA in 33 starts for San Francisco.
Jose Veras, RP12/17/2013 7:41:00 PM
Description: The Cubs inked closer Jose Veras to a one-year, $4 million deal on Tuesday. SOURCE: Enrique Rojas, ESPN Deportes
Insight: For Veras, it's his eighth team in the last four years. Veras won't have many save opportunities in Chicago but he's probably still worth looking at in the later rounds of most fantasy drafts.
Ryan Roberts, 2B12/13/2013 3:25:00 PM
Description: Infielder Ryan Roberts was signed to a minor league contract by the Chicago Cubs.
Insight: Roberts never got it going in Tampa Bay. His best season came in 2011 when he played full-time in Arizona and batted .249 with 19 HR, 65 RBI, 86 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. Given the talent level in Chicago, he has a chance to make the big club.
Jeff Samardzija, SP11/24/2013 2:28:00 PM
Description: The Blue Jays and Cubs are exploring a trade that would send righthander Jeff Samardzija to Toronto. SOURCE: Bruce Levine, ESPN Chicago
Insight: Samardzija finished 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA last season. Those numbers would probably become even more mediocre if Samardzija were to pitch in the highly competitive AL East next season.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B9/29/2013 10:56:00 AM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will have a nice matchup in the season finale against the Cardinals.
Insight: Rizzo is 7-for-13 (.538) with two doubles against Jake Westbrook. The young first baseman has really underachieved this season, batting .233 with 23 homers, 80 RBI, 71 runs and a .742 OPS.
Travis Wood, SP9/27/2013 6:41:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Travis Wood will only throw one inning Friday against St. Louis, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com.
Insight: That will allow Wood to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career. This is disappointing news for fantasy owners counting on one last start from the left-hander, who has gone 9-11 with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP this season.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B9/25/2013 10:56:00 AM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is 0-for-11 versus Pittsburgh left-hander Francisco Liriano.
Insight: Rizzo has not done what was expected of him this season despite 22 homers and 78 RBI. Of course, expectations were very high after a solid half season last year (.285, 15 HR, 48 RBI, .805 OPS in 337 at-bats). Avoid this matchup.
Travis Wood, SP9/21/2013 9:39:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Travis Wood shut down Atlanta Saturday, allowing one run on five hits over seven frames in a no decision.
Insight: Wood has won just nine games with 11 losses and 11 no decisions this season despite posting a 2.98 ERA over 199 innings.
Kevin Gregg, RP9/21/2013 10:39:00 AM
Description: Chicago righthander Kevin Gregg generated controversy with some of his postgame remarks Friday after losing to Atlanta. He has since apologized to the organization for those comments. SOURCE: Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune
Insight: Gregg lashed out at Cubs president Theo Epstein for the team's decision to use Pedro Strop in the closer's role for the rest of the season. Epstein gave strong consideration to releasing Gregg but decided instead to accept his apology and let the rest of the season play out. We wouldn't expect Gregg to be back with the Cubs next season.
Welington Castillo, C9/20/2013 6:50:00 PM
Description: Cubs catcher Welington Castillo has a partial tear of his right meniscus and is done for the season, according to ESPN Chicago. Castillo will have a 4-6 week recovery ahead of him.
Insight: GM Theo Epstein said that the 26-year-old Castillo is part of Chicago's core for the future. After not producing much at the plate for most of the season, Castillo hit .310 with four homers over his last eight games before the injury, but he's not likely to be on the fantasy radar next year.
Welington Castillo, C9/20/2013 9:55:00 AM
Description: Cubs catcher Welington Castillo is doubtful for Friday's game against Atlanta with a sore right knee.
Insight: Castillo has but up solid numbers in limited action (.273, 8 HR, 32 RBI, .747 OPS in 377 at-bats), though he still swings and misses too often (96 Ks).
Jake Arrieta, SP9/19/2013 7:14:00 PM
Description: Cubs righthander Jake Arrieta dominated the Brewers for his fourth win Thursday at Miller Park.
Insight: Arrieta has been much better since the Orioles traded him to Chicago. In eight games for his new club, the 27-year-old is 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA. Prior to the trade, he was 1-2 with an ERA over seven.
Pedro Strop, RP9/19/2013 3:36:00 PM
Description: The Cubs will use Pedro Strop at closer for the rest of the season, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
Insight: Kevin Gregg has had a surprisingly good season, saving 32 of 37 games and posting a 2.95 ERA in 58 innings. However, Strop is eligible for arbitration and the Cubs want to see what they have in him, and Gregg will be a free agent and probably won't return.
Starlin Castro, SS9/19/2013 10:35:00 AM
Description: In 26 career at-bats against Brewers starter Kyle Lohse, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is hitting .231 with zero extra-base hits.
Insight: Castro is hitting .242 with a .619 OPS in September and .236 with a .599 OPS since the All-Star break. He shouldn't be in any lineups Thursday.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B9/17/2013 12:08:00 PM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is 1-for-12 versus Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada.
Insight: Rizzo has not done what was expected of him this season despite 22 homers and 75 RBI. Of course, expectations were very high after a solid half season last year (.285, 15 HR, 48 RBI, .805 OPS in 337 at-bats). Avoid this matchup.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B9/16/2013 12:45:00 PM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is 4-for-10 with a pair of home runs versus Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta.
Insight: Rizzo has not done what was expected of him this season despite 22 homers and 75 RBI. Of course, expectations were very high after a solid half season last year (.285, 15 HR, 48 RBI, .805 OPS in 337 at-bats). this is a favorable matchup, however.
Nate Schierholtz, RF9/13/2013 10:15:00 AM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz is a career .455 hitter in 11 at-bats versus Pittsburgh right-hander Charlie Morton.
Insight: As a part-time player for San Francisco and Philadelphia, Schierholz never hit more than nine home runs in any season. He has 20 in 412 at-bats with the Cubs along with a solid .790 OPS.
Jeff Samardzija, SPCold9/11/2013 10:32:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija served up two homers, eight hits and six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings Wednesday at Cincinnati. He has given up at least five earned runs in three straight starts.
Insight: Samardzija looked like a breakout ace in the first three months of the season when he had a 3.34 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 113 1/3 innings, but he has imploded since the start of July. In his last 81 1/3 innings, Samardzija has given up 54 earned runs (5.98 ERA) with a 1.57 WHIP.
Nate Schierholtz, RF9/11/2013 10:43:00 AM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz is a career .500 hitter in 16 at-bats versus Reds right-hander Mike Leake.
Insight: As a part-time player for San Francisco and Philadelphia, Schierholz never hit more than nine home runs in any season. He now has 20 in 408 at-bats with the Cubs.
Travis Wood, SP9/9/2013 10:08:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Travis Wood limited the Reds to six hits over seven shutout innings Monday at Great American Ball Park.
Insight: Wood fanned seven hitters without allowing a free pass. He's won two of his last three outings (1.71 ERA in those starts).
Scott Baker, SP9/8/2013 7:05:00 PM
Description: In his first start since 2011, Cubs right-hander Scott Baker allowed two hits over five innings Sunday against the Brewers.
Insight: Baker had a long recovery from Tommy John surgery and likely won't be extended too much in September. He threw just 55 pitches Sunday.
Scott Baker, SP9/8/2013 11:14:00 AM
Description: Cubs starter Scott Baker has been activated from the 60-day disabled list.
Insight: Sunday will be Baker's first start in almost two years following a long recovery from Tommy John surgery. He's sure to be rusty, which makes him a risky fantasy play Sunday against Milwaukee.
Starlin Castro, SS9/8/2013 11:11:00 AM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has produced a .414 average against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo.
Insight: With a .242 average, nine home runs, 39 RBI and a .628 OPS, Castro has had a season to forget. But with strong numbers against Gallardo, fantasy owners can pencil him into the lineup Sunday.
Junior Lake, CF9/6/2013 9:43:00 PM
Description: Chicago outfielder Junior Lake hit a grand slam Friday in a win against the Brewers.
Insight: It was Lake's first homer since August 1st. The rookie is hitting .299 in 184 at bats this season.
Scott Baker, SP9/6/2013 6:30:00 PM
Description: Chicago righthander Scott Baker will make his first major league start since Tommy John surgery Sunday against Milwaukee. SOURCE: Jesse Rogers, ESPN Chicago
Insight: Baker didn't pitch at all in 2012. He'll be absorbing Jake Arrieta's spot in the rotation.
Starlin Castro, SS8/31/2013 10:21:00 PM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro went 2-for-5 with a solo homer Saturday against the Phillies.
Insight: Castro's production has fallen off the cliff this season, and it actually got worse in August. He batted .218 with one homer, five RBI and zero steals on three attempts during the month.
Nate Schierholtz, RF8/30/2013 9:53:00 PM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz continues to add to his career-high home run total.
Insight: As a part-time player for San Francisco and Philadelphia, Schierholz never hit more than nine home runs in any season. After going deep Friday, he now has 20. His OPS is more than 100 points higher at Wrigley Field than on the road.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B8/30/2013 9:49:00 PM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo blasted his 21st home run of the season Friday against the Phillies.
Insight: Rizzo has picked up his production lately, hitting .297 with three longballs, six RBI and six walks over his last nine games.
Starlin Castro, SS8/30/2013 10:50:00 AM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is a career .500 hitter (7-for-14) versus Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay.
Insight: Castro (.239, 7 HR, 33 RBI) has put together a thoroughly ugly season. He's talented, but he'll have to produce as he did in his first three seasons if he wants to be a valuable fantasy asset.
Dioner Navarro, CHot8/28/2013 9:57:00 AM
Description: Chicago catcher Dioner Navarro is a career .467 hitter (7-for-15) with a 1.267 OPS versus Dodgers right-hander Ricky Nolasco.
Insight: Navarro is batting .348 over his last seven games and combined with his favorable matchup against Nolasco makes him a viable fantasy option on Wednesday.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B8/27/2013 7:21:00 PM
Description: With lefty Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will get the night off Tuesday.
Insight: Rizzo is batting a miserable .169 with three home runs and 18 K over his last 22 games. He owns a .195 average with a .668 OPS against southpaws this season.
Nate Schierholtz, RFHot8/26/2013 6:24:00 PM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz will start Monday against Los Angeles.
Insight: Schierholtz had been questionable because of an injured back. He leads all NL outfielders in RBI this month (18 in 78 at bats).
Nate Schierholtz, RF8/26/2013 11:24:00 AM
Description: Chicago right fielder Nate Schierholtz is questionable for Monday's game against the LA Dodgers with a head injury.
Insight: Schierholtz left Sunday's game in the 13th inning. He's had a solid season batting .272 with 19 HR, 61 RBI and an .833 OPS.
Jeff Samardzija, SP8/25/2013 9:27:00 AM
Description: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija fired eight innings and allowed two runs Saturday at San Diego to earn his second straight win.
Insight: Samardzija gave up nine earned runs in 3 1/3 innings on Aug. 8 and four earned in six innings the following start, but he has limited opponents to three earned runs over his last 17 frames.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B8/22/2013 9:05:00 PM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo continues to be one of the most frustrating players in fantasy. One night after blasting two homers, he went 0-for-6 in a Thursday afternoon loss to Washington.
Insight: Rizzo, who inked a seven-year deal with the Cubbies earlier in 2013, is now hitting .229 for the season. Still, it's tough to sit him because you never know when he's going to homer (20 HR in 125 games). Rizzo has regressed in a big way this season (he hit .285 in 2012) and probably won't warrant as high a pick in next year's draft.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BCold8/20/2013 11:20:00 AM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is questionable for Tuesday's game against Washington due to illness.
Insight: Rizzo has a lot of talent, but has not really shown it this season after an impressive half-yea in 2012. He's got to produce more than a .748 OPS with his swing.
Jeff Samardzija, SP8/19/2013 10:43:00 PM
Description: Chicago righthander Jeff Samardzija won for the first time in a month Monday against Washington.
Insight: Monday was Samardzija's second complete game of the season. He's 2-2 since the All-Star break with a 4.26 ERA in 44 1/3 innings.
Nate Schierholtz, RF8/19/2013 10:39:00 PM
Description: Chicago right fielder Nate Schierholtz cranked two homers Monday in a win against the Nationals.
Insight: The homers came as part of a three-hit, six-RBI night for Schierholtz. It's been a career year for the 29-year-old. He's already more than doubled his career-high in homers with 18 blasts in 105 games.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BCold8/18/2013 7:05:00 PM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo's struggles continued Sunday against the Cardinals.
Insight: Rizzo went 0-for-4 and is 30-for-160 (.188) since the start of July.
Starlin Castro, SSCold8/17/2013 8:08:00 PM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro drew the ire of manager Dale Sveum Saturday after botching an infield popup Saturday against the Cardinals.
Insight: He was taken out of the game the following inning. Castro (.244, 7 HR, 32 RBI) has had a tendency to make mental mistakes in the past (he forgot how many outs there were in a game last year) so this news shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Though talented, the 23-year-old is still very much a work in progress.
Jake Arrieta, SP8/16/2013 7:59:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta fired seven scoreless two-hit innings Friday afternoon in a win over the Cardinals.
Insight: Arrieta has allowed just four hits and one run over 13 innings in two starts with the Cubs. The former highly touted Orioles prospect has a career ERA over 5.00, but he could be a decent NL-only option down the stretch now that he's out of the AL East.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B8/16/2013 9:50:00 AM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is 6-for-11 (.545) against Cardinals right-hander Jake Westbrook with a 1.343 OPS.
Insight: Rizzo's fantasy value has fallen steady over the months after posting an .846 OPS in April we've seen the number fall to .807 in May, .745 in June, .701 in July and an ugly .571 in 13 August games. Even this favorable matchup may not be enough.
Starlin Castro, SS8/14/2013 12:46:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro is not in the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against Cincinnati.
Insight: Castro's numbers are down across-the-board this season - .247, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 48 runs, 8 SB.
Travis Wood, SP8/12/2013 10:51:00 PM
Description: Chicago lefthander Travis Wood was a tough-luck loser Monday versus Cincinnati.
Insight: Wood (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 K's) pitched well but fell to Mat Latos in an epic pitcher's duel at Wrigley Field. Despite having a losing record, Wood's 3.00 ERA is the lowest of his career and good for 15th-best in the National League.
Darwin Barney, 2BCold8/12/2013 10:25:00 AM
Description: Chicago second baseman Darwin Barney is hitless in a dozen at-bats against Cincinnati right-hander Mat Latos.
Insight: After an ugly August (.167 batting average, 449 OPS), fantasy owners are most likely ignoring Barney anyway, but if not he should certainly be benched on Monday.
Jeff Samardzija, SP8/8/2013 9:20:00 PM
Description: The Phillies pounded Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija for 11 hits and nine runs in 3 1/3 innings Thursday.
Insight: Samardzija has allowed nine earned runs twice in his last six starts and has seen his ERA rise from 3.34 to 4.23 since the start of July.
Nate Schierholtz, RF8/8/2013 9:16:00 PM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz has followed up a 2-for-24 (.083) slump with six hits in his last 13 at-bats.
Insight: Schierholtz belted his 15th home run of the season Thursday against the Phillies. He only plays against righties so his fantasy value is limited, but he has provided a .273 average, 46 RBI and an .841 OPS in 346 plate appearances this season.
Donnie Murphy, 3BHot8/7/2013 10:24:00 PM
Description: Cubs third baseman Donnie Murphy walloped two homers Wednesday in a 5-2 win against the Phillies.
Insight: Murphy has been red-hot since getting called up earlier in the week. In three games, he's batting .444 with three long balls and seven RBI. His OPS in those games is 2.101. Murphy was hitting .265 with 12 HR and 41 RBI for Triple-A Iowa prior to his callup.
Dioner Navarro, C8/7/2013 10:09:00 PM
Description: Chicago catcher Dioner Navarro had to be carted off the field Wednesday after a collision with Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. Fortunately, he was able to escape without any major injuries. SOURCE: Carrie Muskat, MLB.com
Insight: X-rays on his ankle came back negative so it looks like it's just a bruise. Welington Castillo has come on take Navarro's place behind the plate.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B8/7/2013 6:33:00 PM
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo won't play Wednesday against the Phillies.
Insight: Rizzo hasn't lived up to his massive contract (seven years, $41 million) but he hasn't been unproductive either (.240, 18 HR, 63 RBI). Cody Ransom will get the start at first tonight against Philadelphia ace Cole Hamels.
Junior Lake, CFHot8/3/2013 3:10:00 PM
Description: Cubs rookie Junior Lake is batting .333 over his last 14 games with four homers and seven RBI.
Insight: The four homers were as many as he hit in 40 minor league games this season. The prospect is a third baseman by trade, but he has played either left or center field in every game so far.He'll bat leadoff for the second time this season.
Darwin Barney, 2B8/1/2013 11:40:00 AM
Description: Chicago second baseman Darwin Barney shouldn't be much of a factor Thursday against the Dodgers.
Insight: He's just 1-for-11 in his career against Dodgers ace Ricky Nolasco. Most fantasy owners have probably already given up on Barney (.211 AVG in 336 at bats).
Junior Lake, CF7/30/2013 9:00:00 PM
Description: Cubs rookie Junior Lake has gone 2-for-21 since starting out 15-for-31 in his first seven major league games.
Insight: The prospect is a third baseman by trade but he has played either left or center field in his 12 games so far. The 23-year-old batted .295 with four home runs, a 33/10 K/BB and 14 steals in 156 at-bats with Triple-A Iowa this season. He shouldn't be owned outside of NL-only formats.
Starlin Castro, SS7/30/2013 10:08:00 AM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro is a career .419 hitter versus Milwaukee right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
Insight: Castro has rebounded nicely from a slow first half, hitting .305 in his last 23 games. Fantasy owners can expect another solid performance from Castro in this favorable matchup.
Travis Wood, SP7/28/2013 9:41:00 PM
Description: Cubs starter Travis Wood allowed one unearned run on four hits over seven innings in a win over the Giants Sunday.
Insight: Wood has had a tremendous season, posting a 2.79 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP, but he's just 7-7 due to a lack of run support. Five of those wins came over the first two months of the season.
Starlin Castro, SSHot7/28/2013 1:16:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro holds a .438 lifetime average versus Tim Lincecum.
Insight: Castro has rebounded nicely from a slow first half, hitting .325 in his first 40 post All-Star at bats. Despite a recent no-hitter, Tim Lincecum doesn't scare opponents the way he used to. Fantasy owners can expect another solid performance from Castro in the series finale.
Chris Rusin, SP7/28/2013 9:22:00 AM
Description: Making only his third start of the year, Cubs lefthander Chris Rusin was rock solid in a seven inning effort against San Francisco (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K's).
Insight: Rusin was promoted to the rotation earlier this week when the Cubs traded Matt Garza to Texas. Chicago didn't score until the ninth inning so Rusin had to settle for the no-decision. The Giants' offense is really struggling right now. They're hitting just .234 for the month of July.
Starlin Castro, SSHot7/27/2013 9:49:00 AM
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is a .381 lifetime hitter versus Giants starter Madison Bumgarner.
Insight: Castro is 20-for-52 (.385) with a .996 OPS over his last 12 games and has raised his average from .232 to .251 in that span. He's also 8-for-21 against Bumgarner, Saturday's opposing starter.
Anthony Rizzo, 1BCold7/26/2013 10:52:00 AM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been shut down by Giants starter Matt Cain.
Insight: Rizzo is 1-for-14 (.071) with six K against Cain. Fantasy owners can afford to sit him Friday -- he's only batting .187 with two homers and 17 K in July.
Alfonso Soriano, LFCold7/25/2013 10:09:00 PM
Description: The Yankees are close to acquiring Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
Insight: Cubs manager Dale Sveum confirmed that the trade is the reason why Soriano was a late scratch from Thursday's lineup. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports that Chicago will eat more than half of the remaining $24 million on Soriano's contract. The trade, which will return Soriano to the team he played for the first five seasons of his career, is expected to be finalized by commissioner Bud Selig Friday.
Alfonso Soriano, LFCold7/24/2013 8:15:00 PM
Description: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano would approve a trade to the Yankees. SOURCE: Carrie Muskat, MLB.com
Insight: Soriano spent his first five seasons in New York, batting .284 with 98 HR, 270 RBI and 121 stolen bases in 501 games. This year for Chicago, he's hitting .254 with a .467 slugging percentage in 93 games. For now, no trade appears imminent.
David DeJesus, CF7/24/2013 6:12:00 PM
Description: Cubs outfielder David DeJesus has been activated from the 15-day DL.
Insight: DeJesus missed a little over a month with a right shoulder strain. Tonight, he's leading off and playing center field.
Alfonso Soriano, LFCold7/24/2013 6:09:00 PM
Description: Chicago left fielder Alfonso Soriano is out for Wednesday's game versus Arizona.
Insight: Soriano was almost traded to the Yankees earlier this week and there's a good chance he'll be moved before the deadline. He's only hitting .158 since the All-Star break.
Alfonso Soriano, LF7/24/2013 10:59:00 AM
Description: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano is 6-for-13 (.462) with three homers and seven RBI versus Arizona starter Ian Kennedy.
Insight: Soriano doesn't hit for much of an average, but can provide right-handed power. He's hit 17 homers this season after blasting 32 in 2012. He's been rumored to be headed to the Yankees in a deal.
Alfonso Soriano, LF7/23/2013 1:35:00 PM
Description: With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano is rumored to be headed to the Yankees in a deal.
Insight: Soriano doesn't hit for much of an average, but can provide the right-handed power New York has been missing. He's hit 17 homers this season after blasting 32 in 2012.
Matt Garza, SP7/22/2013 5:01:00 PM
Description: Updating a previous item, Cubs starter Matt Garza will not pitch Monday against the Diamondbacks. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
Insight: Chicago is close to trading Garza to the Rangers and the deal should be completed later tonight. The Cubs have not announced who will start in Garza's place.
Matt Garza, SP7/22/2013 11:41:00 AM
Description: Cubs right-hander Matt Garza may be headed out of town before the trade deadline, but Chicago will get at least one more start from him - Monday night versus Arizona.
Insight: For the Cubs' sake, we hope Garza comes out of the game without any injury which would sink their trade plans. He's a solid 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.141 WHIP in 11 starts. At least five contending teams have shown serious interest.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B7/21/2013 8:30:00 PM
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo hit his 14th homer of the year Sunday against the Rockies.
Insight: Rizzo's HR/FB is down from 18.1 percent to 13 percent since last season, but the bigger problem has been his terrible .180 batting average on groundballs this season.
Starlin Castro, SSHot7/21/2013 8:26:00 PM
Description: Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro is 13-for-30 (.433) over his last seven games.
Insight: Castro went 4-for-5 with a double Sunday to raise his average to .247. He's been one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy this season, but given the lack of strong options at shortstop, owners should buy low.
Pedro Strop, RP7/21/2013 10:59:00 AM
Description: Pedro Strop could become the Cubs' closer if Kevin Gregg is dealt at the trade deadline. SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times
Insight: Strop has been automatic since coming over from Baltimore at the start of the month (0.00 ERA in eight appearances). It looks like the Cubs will be sellers at the deadline with Matt Garza also on the trading block.
Carlos Villanueva, SPCold7/21/2013 10:32:00 AM
Description: Chicago manager Dale Sveum hinted that Carlos Villanueva's recent struggles might cost him his spot in the starting rotation. SOURCE: Chicago Tribune
Insight: Of course, if Matt Garza is traded before the deadline (which seems like a very realistic possibility), the Cubs may not have a choice. Villanueva is just 1-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 11 starts this season.
Matt Garza, SP7/20/2013 4:03:00 PM
Description: It appeared Matt Garza was headed to the Rangers but now that deal has hit a snag. SOURCE: Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports
Insight: As of Friday afternoon the deal was "99 percent done" but now it's no longer a certainty. Assuming he hasn't already been traded, the righthander is scheduled to start for the Cubs Monday against Arizona.
Nate Schierholtz, RF7/18/2013 11:28:00 AM
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz is probable for Friday's game against Colorado after missing the final two games of the first half with general body soreness.
Insight: Although his pace has slowed over the past two weeks, Schierholtz is still producing solid fantasy numbers with 11 HR, 34 RBI and an .825 OPS. He's been the subject of trade rumors as we approach the deadline.
Brian Bogusevic, RF7/18/2013 11:24:00 AM
Description: Cubs outfielder Brian Bogusevic is questionable for Friday's game against Colorado with a strained left hamstring.
Insight: Bogusevic has been dealing with the injury for a couple of weeks and can't shake it. He is batting .261, but without much power or speed, so his fantasy value is minimal. He did bat .319 with 10 homers and 15 steals in 78 games at Triple-A Iowa, so has some upside if he can find that same swing.
Matt Garza, SP7/14/2013 4:05:00 PM
Description: According to Bruce Levine from ESPN Dallas, Texas and Toronto have emerged as front runners in the Matt Garza sweepstakes.
Insight: The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that Garza would likely be traded before his next start. If for some reason the Jays or Rangers lose interest, look for the Dodgers, Nationals, Orioles, Pirates, Red Sox and Tigers to get involved.
Alfonso Soriano, LFHot7/14/2013 9:57:00 AM
Description: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano has belted nine home runs in his last 15 games.
Insight: He's done that after hitting just seven in his first 72 games. Soriano has raised his OPS from .666 to .771 during this surge.
David DeJesus, CF7/13/2013 5:49:00 PM
Description: According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Cubs outfielder David DeJesus (shoulder) will start rehabbing at Chicago's facility in Arizona Monday.
Insight: DeJesus suffered a right shoulder sprain while trying to track down a fly ball in mid-June. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he doesn't think DeJesus will need much time to get ready.
Scott Baker, SP7/11/2013 5:19:00 PM
Description: Cubs right-hander Scott Baker (elbow) will begin his rehab assignment Sunday, according to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com.
Insight: Baker had Tommy John surgery last April when he was with the Twins and experienced elbow soreness after his spring training debut. He could make his Cubs debut in the second week of August if he doesn't have any setbacks.

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