Fantasy Baseball: Batter stock watch

Fantasy Baseball: Batter stock watch

Buy

Will Venable, OF, Padres: We can't promise the batting average will be playable, though Venable has hit .282 in the second half. We're in this story for the category juice (two homers, 10 steals over those 34 games) and the solid run production, especially when the Padres are on the road. He seems to like the No. 2 slot in the order, where he carries a .348.430.565 line over 22 starts. Consider Venable as a possible sleeper for 2013 as well, especially if San Diego finally moves in the Petco Park fences.

Scott Podsednik, OF, Red Sox: He's 36 and he didn't even play in the majors last year, but he's shown decent skills in a limited period with Boston (.375.402.458 over 96 at-bats, seven steals). While Bobby Valentine's crew is one of the most disappointing teams in the majors, don't blame the offense - the Red Sox are second in runs, trailing only Texas. Podsednik's playing time is secure now that Carl Crawford is down for the year.

Tyler Colvin, 1BOF, Rockies: It's been a challenge to keep him in the lineup all year - manager Jim Tracy is a serial tinkerer - but Colvin's spot is finally safe with Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer on the DL. Colvin's strikeout rate is a little worrisome, but nonetheless he's given us a .294 average in part-time duty, with decent power (14 homers) and speed (seven steals). And while Coors Field is driving most of the story, Colvin isn't a pumpkin on the road (.272 average, .476 slugging).

Sell

Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays: He's fallen into some bad mechanics at the plate, swinging too early in the count and getting himself out against lefties. It adds up to a .176.228.280 slash over 32 games in the second half, with a measly three homers. Perhaps the presence of Jose Bautista will help in September - Rasmus was crushing the ball earlier in the year, in front of Joey Bats - though every numerical study about batter protection fails to validate the theory.

Josh Reddick, OF, Athletics: His plate discipline has collapsed in the second half, leading to an ugly .204.248.367 line, and he's also shown less aggressiveness on the bases. The A's still love Reddick for his right-field defense and his intensity, but perhaps he'd not best suited for the No. 3 spot in the lineup. An ongoing battle with a troublesome tooth may also play into Reddick's slump - maybe the recent fixing of that problem will go a long way towards fixing the offensive production. But if you can sell the overall stats on face value, you'll likely be overpaid in return.

Hold

Pedro Ciriaco, Utility, Red Sox: His minor-league profile is pedestrian and he's walked just two times compared to 23 strikeouts in The Show, but Ciriaco has his plus points, too (.344 average, eight steals, bats leadoff some of the time). And if you're limited in your bench spots or pickups, consider the utility that Ciriaco offers: he covers second, shortstop and third base in Yahoo! standard leagues. And like we discussed with Podsednik above, Ciriaco gets the undertow of Boston's lineup to help him out.

David Murphy, OF, Rangers: He's finally figured out a path against lefties, while he's continuing to crush righties like normal. And Murphy has always been a monster in Arlington: this year he's a .366.440.571 overlord in front of the home folks. Being in the most prolific lineup in the majors is another plus point. Enjoy the ride.

Quick Links

Prediction recap: Caps win heated affair in Philly

Prediction recap: Caps win heated affair in Philly

The Capitals are back in the win column! Washington finally recovered from the bye week with a strong 4-1 win over Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

Here’s a recap of the three bold predictions.

1. Washington will lead after the first period - Correct

Things looked bad when the Flyers scored 23 seconds into the game, but the goal was disallowed thanks to a heads-up coach's challenge from Barry Trotz. From there it was all Caps as they took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after the first period.

RELATED: The Caps are hopeful Niskanen avoided serious injury

2. Players will be given matching minors - Correct

As predicted, this was a heated affair. No one wanted to drop the gloves, however, leading to plenty of matching minors being doled out. Three sets of matching minors were issued in this game, making me not only right, but very right.

3. Washington’s third line will score - Wrong

The Caps didn’t need depth scoring with three goals from their top two lines and fourth on the power play. The third line may not have scored on Wednesday, but they were still impressive throughout. Lars Eller had another strong defensive performance while Zach Sanford looked strong on the boards.

2017 results: The third line played well, but not well enough to give me the sweep. Still, two out of three ain't bad.

Correct: 22.5
Wrong: 43.5
Push: 3

MORE CAPITALS: Two disallowed goals for Flyers help Caps earn first win post-bye

Quick Links

Morning tip: Wizards remain active, see future with trade acquisitions

Morning tip: Wizards remain active, see future with trade acquisitions

The decision to trade a lottery-protected first-round draft pick and two players who were completely out of the Wizards' rotation was done with the expectation that both have a good chance to be part of the future.

The Wizards are "still talking" with the trade deadline approaching today at 3 p.m. ET, league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com, but that doesn't mean another move is imminent. 

After practicing Thursday, the Wizards (34-21) will travel to play the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday in the first game for both teams after the All-Star break. Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough, acquired from the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, are expected to join them. 

Bogdanovic's three-year contract that he signed with Brooklyn expires at the end of this season which means his acquisition comes with a risk after playing 27 regular-season games in Washington. 

But there's an anticipation that after making him a qualifying offer (125% of his $3.6 million salary) to keep the 6-8 forward as a restricted free agent gives the Wizards the leverage to retain him this summer. McCullough has a $1.2 million team option for 2017-18.

Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton were sent to Brooklyn in the deal (the latter was released), That means with one fewer shooting guards, the Wizards will look more to rookie Sheldon Mac (no longer McClellan as he legally changed his name during the break), use more lineups with three forwads with Bogdanovic or look for another shooter before the deadline closes.

The other option is to comb free agency for a shooter which isn't impacted by today's deadline. But making such an acquistion would require one of the 15 players on the roster to be waived. 

The final option isn't about acquiring another player but moving one currently on the roster to get back a draft pick. That would be a bench player not named Kelly Oubre, Jason Smith or Tomas Satoransky. All three are too valuable to coach Scott Brooks' rotation.

[RELATED: Nets to cut veteran acquired in trade with Wizards]