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.

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A handy-dandy guide to the Caps' free agents

A handy-dandy guide to the Caps' free agents

If you are a fan of the Capitals, you have been hearing for a long time about how difficult this offseason is going to be because of how many expiring contracts the team has. There are a bunch and it can be hard to keep track of.

Luckily, we are here for you. Here is a handy-dandy guide to all of the Caps' pending free agents.

Why is everyone assuming Evgeny Kuznetsov will be re-signed but keeping T.J. Oshie will be difficult? Who is unrestricted and restricted? What are the chances players like Daniel Winnik and Brett Connolly return?

We have all the answers. Check out the guide to Caps free agency here and impress your friends with all your hockey knowledge.

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Scott Brooks outlines one area of Wizards' offense that can improve this offseason

Scott Brooks outlines one area of Wizards' offense that can improve this offseason

Improving on offense next season from the last will not be easy for the Washington Wizards after the strides they made during their 2016-17 campaign. They were just that good.

In their first season under head coach Scott Brooks, the Wizards put up some serious offensive numbers. Here is a sample of where they ranked in the NBA:

109.2 PPG, 5th
111.2 Off. Rtg., 7th
47.5 FG%, 3rd
52.8 eFG%, 6th
41.3 FG/G, 2nd
87 FGA/G, 10th
23.9 AST/G, 6th
37.2 3PT%, 8th

The Wizards scored more points per game than any of the teams Brooks previously coached in Oklahoma City. Consider some of the Thunder teams he had with Russell Westbrook, who was first in the NBA in scoring this season, James Harden (2nd) and Kevin Durant (12th), and that is quite impressive. The Wizards at one point this year scored 100 points or more in 23 straight games and none of his OKC teams did that, either.

[RELATED: Top free agent shooting guards who could help Wizards, Beal]

All but one of those above categories, assists per game, marked an improvement for Washington from the season before. Not listed, though, are two major outliers. Despite ranking eighth in three-point percentage, the Wizards were just 16th in three-point makes and 20th in attempts. Those are things Brooks would like to see change in 2017-18.

"Our three-point shooting, I would like to make a few more," Brooks said. "Those are things that [GM] Ernie [Grunfeld] and I will discuss this offseason continues. We will figure out ways to improve our team."

The Wizards could improve on those categories from within, if Otto Porter re-signs and shoots more often and others like Markieff Morris, John Wall, Jason Smith and Kelly Oubre, Jr. continue to become more accurate. If they bring back Bojan Bogdanovic, the potential will certainly be there to rain threes with the best of them.

But clearly the Wizards will make at least some changes to their roster.

"I know that we will add pieces. Like every team and every year, you try to get better. You try to figure out how you can get better," Brooks said.

The most likely spot to make a change is at backup guard where they could use help behind Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards had Brandon Jennings as their primary backup during the playoffs and he was not a threat from three.

If three-point shooting is a big priority as they search for reserve guards, that would help the cause for guys like Patty Mills, Ian Clark and J.J. Reddick in free agency. The Wizards do have one draft pick, the 52nd overall selection in the second round, but it's highly unlikely they find a readymade three-point threat that late in the draft.

The Wizards were good at shooting threes in 2016-17, but clearly Brooks would like to see them take another step.

[RELATED: Top free agent point guards who could help Wizards, Wall]