Fantasy Baseball: Hitter stock watch

Fantasy Baseball: Hitter stock watch

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Yasmani Grandal, C, Padres: He's finally all the way back from his oblique injury - Grandal has been hitting line drives all week - and he's a super plug-and-play this weekend, working at Coors Field for three games. Grandal already has three homers in 16 at-bats against the putrid Rockies pitching staff this summer, and he went deep twice during his first MLB start, which came late June in the thin air. Gravity always wins.
Josh Rutledge, SS, Rockies: A sore quad cost him a handful of starts this month, though Rutledge still gave us a homer and a steal as a regular pinch-hitter. He's finally back at shortstop, adding to a splashy 40-game debut (.350 average, seven homers, five steals). Don't worry if Troy Tulowitzki eventually returns to the fold - the Rockies want to see Rutledge at second base anyway, a position he played in the minors.

Trevor Plouffe, Utility, Twins: Thumb injuries are known for their ability to sap power, but Plouffe has finally gotten back to full health and he was locked in during the Seattle series, even if the results don't show it (3-for-13). See the forest for the trees here: Plouffe had a homer, four RBIs and three walks against the M's, and hit a couple of rockets right at defenders. Look for 4-6 homers in September, along with a useful four positions of eligibility in Yahoo! leagues.

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Mike Aviles, SS, Red Sox: He only started one game at short during the Anaheim series, in part because the Red Sox have turned their final quarter of the year into community auditions. And while the Boston lineup was a fun place to be for most of the summer, it's a ghost town now: no more Gonzalez, Ortiz, Youkilis or Crawford. This probably won't be a Top 10 offense the rest of the way, and Aviles won't be a full-timer besides.

Matt Joyce, OF, Rays: He's fallen into some bad habits during the second half of the year (.217.293.342, 32 strikeouts, just three homers), and now a forearm injury has crept into the picture. The Rays also know Joyce can't be exposed against too many left-handed starters - he has a puny .620 OPS against them. In mixed leagues, you need someone more reliable (and someone who plays more often).

Joaquin Arias, SS3B, Giants: Manager Bruce Bochy is going to ride the hot hand with Arias, but anytime you see a .429 average tied to a .450 on-base percentage, be skeptical. Arias is an ordinary journeyman with a .280.318.389 line over 202 MLB games (just four homers). He might be worth holding if you need a push in batting average, but otherwise there's nothing to see here.

Many Machado, SS3B, Orioles: The opening weekend against Kansas City was a blast, but since then Machado has gone 9-for-50 with 14 strikeouts (and just two walks). Baseball is still hard, especially for a teenaged Double-A prospect who was having a so-so year in the minors. We still love the future for Machado, but we're not going to bet on his present. Growing pains are here.

Hold
Todd Frazier, Utility, Reds: He's turned into a surprising Rookie of the Year candidate, posting a handy .294-49-18-62 line and qualifying at three positions in standard Yahoo! leagues. Some gamers are worried about Frazier for the final month - Joey Votto is coming back soon, which means Frazier doesn't have the first-base slot to himself anymore - but we can't imagine Scott Rolen being hale for the balance of the year. Dusty Baker can also slot Frazier in the outfield if he wants. Trust the skills here, and have faith that Frazier will keep a spot, somewhere.
Nate McLouth, OF, Orioles: He's still zipping around with plus wheels, even at age 31, which is why McLouth has 15 runs and six steals during a snappy month with Baltimore. And while McLouth isn't going to threaten the warehouse too often at Camden Yards, he still can knock a ball out of the park now and then (two homers over 80 at-bats). Buck Showalter is a believer; he's using McLouth in the No. 3 slot against right-handed pitching. McLouth is a solid No. 5 outfielder or utility play in deep mixed formats.

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Ice Cube's new basketball league features a ton of ex-Wizards: try to name them all

Ice Cube's new basketball league features a ton of ex-Wizards: try to name them all

Ice Cube, a rapper turned businessman extraordinaire, has a new 3-on-3 basketball league featuring former NBA players. They held a draft and then announced the rosters on Sunday. As it turns out, there are a heck of a lot of former Wizards set to participate as players or coaches.

Below is a full list of the rosters. There are 15 guys with connections to the Wizards. Can you name them all?

3's Company (coached by Allen Iverson)

Allen Iverson
DerMarr Johnson
Andre Owens
Mike Sweetney
Ruben Patterson

3-headed Monsters (coached by Gary Payton)

Rashard Lewis
Jason Williams
Kwame Brown
Eddie Basden
Mahmoud Abdul Rauf

Ghost Ballers (coached by George Gervin)

Mike Bibby
Ricky Davis
Mo Evans
Marcus Banks
Ivan Johnson

Ball Hogs (coached by Rick Barry)

Brian Scalabrine
Josh Childress
Derrick Byars
Rasual Butler
Dominic McGuire

Tri-State (coached by Julius 'Dr. J' Erving)

Jermaine O'Neal
Bonzi Wells
Xavier Silas
Lee Nailon
Mike James

Power (coached by Clyde Drexler)

Corey Maggette
Cuttino Mobley
Jerome Williams
DeShawn Stevenson
Moochie Norris

Killer 3s (coached by Charles Oakley)

Chauncey Billups
Stephen Jackson
Reggie Evans
Larry Hughes
Brian Cook

Trilogy (coached by Rick Mahorn)

Kenyon Martin
Al Harrington
Rashad McCants
James White
Dion Glover

Did you find all the Wizards? Here are the 15:

DeShawn Stevenson
Kwame Brown
Al Harrington
Charles Oakley
Mike Bibby
Rick Mahorn
Josh Childress
Larry Hughes
Rasual Butler
Dominic McGuire
Rashard Lewis
Brian Cook
Mike James
Xavier Silas
Mo Evans

That's 15 out of 47 total players and coaches. Rick Barry also played one year for the Washington Capitols, though they are not affiliated with the Wizards/Bullets franchise. George Gervin also played for the Virginia Squires, which were part of the Capitols' franchise.

That's a lot of connections to Washington basketball teams.

[RELATED: Paul Pierce retires after legendary NBA career]

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Former Wizards player Paul Pierce retires from NBA after legendary career

Former Wizards player Paul Pierce retires from NBA after legendary career

A legendary NBA career came to a close on Sunday afternoon, as Paul Pierce retired following his Clippers's elimination from the NBA Playoffs when they lost Game 7 to the Utah Jazz.

Pierce, 39, calls it a career after 18 NBA seasons. He was a 10-time All-Star, made four All-NBA teams and won a championship in 2008. The future Hall of Famer made his name with the Boston Celtics where he played 15 seasons. Pierce went on to play for the Nets, Wizards and Clippers.

Pierce's last good season was in Washington when he averaged 11.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 73 games. It was just one year, but Pierce provided many lasting memories, most notably his buzzer-beater in Game 3 of their second round series against the Hawks. Pierce hit the game-winner, then proclaimed during a walkoff interview with ESPN: "I called game."

[RELATED: Horford has checkered playoff history vs. Wizards with taking out shooters]