Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro went 3-for-5 with four RBI including the game-tying hit in the ninth as Chicago rallied to beat Pittsburgh, 9-8.
Insight: Castro hit a chopping ground ball over the third baseman's head with the bases loaded in the ninth to tie the game. He also had an RBI-single in the third and solo home run in the sixth. Castro is hitting .352 with two home runs and 10 RBI this season.
Description: Cubs third Kris Bryant proved on Monday why he is being considered the next Mike Trout.
Insight: Bryant went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the, 5-2, victory over the Pirates. Bryant had an RBI-single in the fifth and then doubled in two runs in the seventh. Bryant is hitting .429/.571/.1.150 with four RBI although it has been just 14 at-bats this season.
Description: Cubs starter Jon Lester continues to struggle in his Chicago uniform as he allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings and took the lost on Sunday to the Padres.
Insight: Lester allowed six hits, two walks and struck out four. He tossed up a home run to Will Middlebrooks in the second that tied the game at two. Lester is 0-2 this season with a 6.89 ERA. Still, there's no need to panic yet.
Description: Cubs super prospect Kris Bryant went 0-for-4 in his major league debut on Friday agianst the Padres.
Insight: Bryant hit clean up in the Cubs order, and the youngster seemed a bit anxious. He swung at pitches out of the strike zone in all his at-bats, and Bryant struck out three times. He still has tremendous talent, though, and the sky seems to be the limit with him.
Description: Cubs super prospect Kris Bryant will be called up to the major league club on Friday according to ESPN Chicago.
Insight: The Cubs were expected to keep Bryant in the minors for 10 days to prevent him from becoming a free agent after the 2020 season. Because he started the season in the minors, Bryant will not be a free agent until 2021. In his final Triple-A game on Thursday, he hit a three-run bomb. Bryant should be owned in all standard leagues.
Description: Cubs third baseman Mike Olt is questionable for Tuesday's game against Cincinnati because of a bruised right wrist.
Insight: Olt is hitting .154 this season, but his replacement, Jonathan Herrera, hasn't done much either. Neither player will be of value much longer as Kris Bryant's arrival is right around the corner.
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was 3-for-5 with a home run in the, 9-5, victory over the Rockies on Saturday.
Insight: Castro picked up two RBI as well, hitting a solo home run in the fifth and an infield single that scored a run in the sixth. Castro is hitting .375 with a .563 slugging percentage to start the year.
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits, three walks and striking out seven as Chicago beat St. Louis, 2-0.
Insight: Arrieta went 10-5 last season with a 2.53 ERA in 156 2/3 innings last season, so he is a decent option in standard leagues. On a better offensive team this season, he has much more potential than last year.
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro had an RBI-single in the seventh to help Chicago beat St. Louis, 2-0, on Wednesday afternoon.
Insight: Castro was 1-for-3 with a RBI and run scored in the victory. Anthony Rizzo reached on a hit batsman to start the frame and then went to second on an wild pickoff throw from Lance Lynn. Castro's single to left center scored Rizzo, and then Castro scored on Miguel Montero's sacrifice fly two at-bats later. Castro went 2-for-7 in the first two games in 2015.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo went 0-for-3 on Opening night versus the Cardinals on Sunday.
Insight: Rizzo did walk once and struck out twice on some questionable calls, but Yadier Molina is the master of framing a pitch, and he was at it again on Sunday. Rizzo hit 32 home runs with 78 RBI last season, and with a better lineup this season, he has the potential for more in 2015.
Description: Cubs starter Jon Lester did not look sharp in his Chicago debut at Wrigley Field on Sunday.
Insight: Lester allowed two runs in the first two innings and just looked a little anxious. The ESPN broadcasters talked about how he warmed up a lot before the game, so perhaps he was a little too amped up for this one. He allowed three runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. Lester also struck out six and walked two. Fantasy owners have no need to worry, though, Lester will be fine.
Description: Cubs starter Jon Lester will make his National League debut on Sunday night.
Insight: Lester has just one start at Wrigley field over the past three seasons (1-0), so it is tough to gauge how effective he will be. Nevertheless, we expect big things from Lester in his first season in the NL.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo should have the opportunity to get off to a nice start on Opening Night.
Insight: Not many players have good numbers versus Adam Wainwright, but Rizzo has a lifetime .333 BA (9-for-27) against him. One of those hits is a homer, and five of those are for extra bases. Lock him into your lineups for Opening Night.
Description: Cubs minor league shortstop prospect Addison Russell was sent to the minor league camp Monday.
Insight: Russell really didn't have much of a chance to stick with the big club, despite a .324 batting average this spring, with Starlin Castro entrenched at shortstop. The 21-year-old has plenty of time to get ready for the big leagues, but if he hits well in Triple-A the Cubs might consider trading Castro.
Description: Cubs 2B/SS prospect Javier Baez was sent to the minor league camp on Monday.
Insight: He'll join the rest of the star-studded minor league prospects - Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. Baez has struggled with the strikeout going down 95 times in 213 at-bats last season and 20 times in 52 at-bats this spring. Tommy La Stella and Arismendy Alcantara will see time at second base.
Description: Cubs super prospect Kris Bryant was sent to the minor league camp on Monday.
Insight: Nothing to see here. it's all about controlling their young star for an additional season. After being the best hitter in the Cactus League this spring (.425 BA, nine homers), he'll be up in a couple of weeks so keep him stashed on your roster.
Description: Cubs super prospect Kris Bryant continued his hot spring, going 4-for-5 with three runs against the Rockies on Saturday.
Insight: Bryant had a double and three singles. He is hitting .459 in 37 at-bats this spring. He is still, however, not expected to begin the season in the big leagues, but he is still worth drafting in a later round in redraft leagues.
Description: Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan fouled a ball off his foot and is day-to-day.
Insight: Coghlan is only dealing with a bruise, nothing serious. He hit .283 with nine homers, 50 runs and 41 RBI in just 385 at-bats last season and could turn into an underrated value in a stronger Cubs lineup.
Description: Cubs super prospect Kris Bryant hit two more home runs on Saturday and now has six home runs this spring.
Insight: Bryant was actually scratched with shoulder fatigue before the game, but he was used as a pinch hitter in the third inning. Bryant went 2-for-2 with two home runs. Bryant is 9-for-20 with nine RBI and a spring-leading six home runs. He is a deep sleeper that all fantasy owners should be watching.
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta appears to be ready to build on last season's breakout numbers after a very good Friday appearance in which he went four strong innings yielding just an unearned run.
Insight: He went 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA and a WHIP under 1.00 last season with 167 strikeouts in just 156 2/3 IP. Fantasy owners are expecting a repeat performance in 2015 based on his current Yahoo ranking of 89.
Description: Cubs super prospect Kris Bryant hit two home runs Thursday to bring his spring total to a league-leading four.
Insight: The 23-year-old Bryant blasted 43 home runs, 78 extra-base hits, 110 RBI while batting a combined .325 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa and is showing he's ready. The Cubs likely won't bring him up until May to delay his service time clock, but he should be drafted in your fantasy league as he could still hit 20 homers.
Description: Cubs starter Jon Lester will start on Opening Day.
Insight: Technically it is Opening Night, as Chicago and St. Louis will kick off the season on Sunday, April 5. Lester was brought in to be the Cubs' ace, and will have a steep opening test against a tough offense, along with likely being opposed by Adam Wainwright.
Description: Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson will have a chance to earn a spot in the starting rotation this spring, according to manager Joe Maddon.
Insight: Jackson was demoted to the bullpen last season after going 6-15 with a 6.33 ERA and 1.64 WHIP, so he'll really have to impress to beat out Travis Wood or Tsuyoshi Wada for the final spot in the starting rotation.
Description: Cubs manager Joe Maddon named starter Kyle Hendricks as one of four starters, according to beat writer Patrick Mooney.
Insight: Hendricks earned his spot with a very good season in 2014 going 7-2 in 13 starts with a 2.46 ERA and 1.083 WHIP. He's not a strikeout pitcher (5.3 per nine innings), but he was solid everywhere else.
Description: Cubs super prospect Kris Bryant, who was named the 2014 Minor league Player of the Year by Baseball America, will be asked to work in the outfield as well as his natural third base spot this spring, according to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago.
Insight: The 23-year-old Bryant blasted 43 home runs, 78 extra-base hits, 110 RBI while batting a combined .325 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He even stole 15 bases. He won't start the season with the Cubs, but should be up in late April or early May and should be selected in your preseason draft.
Description: Cubs infielder Logan Watkins tore his Achilles working out at the Cubs' Arizona complex on Wednesday and will likely miss the entire 2015 season.
Insight: Watkins spent most of the year at Triple-A Iowa, but did see 65 at-bats in 31 games for the big club. This news won't change any fantasy rosters, but it does show how quickly things can change.
Description: According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Chicago Cubs will hire Joe Maddon as their next manager.
Insight: After opting out of his contract with the Rays, it took less than a week for Maddon to find a new gig. The deal is reportedly for five years and is worth $25 million. Current manager Rick Renteria's status is now up in the air, after being named the Cubs' manager last November.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is a stunning 9-for-21 with five home runs and a 1.690 OPS versus Milwaukee right-hander Wily Peralta.
Insight: Rizzo's finally become what we though he could be, a top fantasy first baseman. He's batting .281 with 31 HR and 75 RBI. The RBI total figures to jump in the next few seasons as the talent around his rises.
Description: Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks takes no-decision Tuesday against the Cardinals.
Insight: He had a three-run lead, but gave them all back in the sixth inning. The big blow came on a two-run shot from Matt Holliday. Officially, Hendricks went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and struck out four.
Description: Cubs starter Edwin Jackson has been demoted to Chicago's bullpen for the remainder of 2014.
Insight: With only a week left in the season, it should not be considered a big deal, but the move is a necessary one. Jackson has a 6.38 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 139 2/3 innings this season. He will look to rebound in 2015.
Description: Cubs left-hander Felix Doubront cant get out of third inning against the Dodgers.
Insight: He just didnt have it today, as he was charged for six earned runs on six hits and three walks. Chicago's offense bailed him out however, and were able to pull out a come-from-behind win. Doubront will attempt to rebound during his last few starts of the season.
Description: Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan has monster game against the Dodgers.
Insight: He finsihed the game going 4-for-4 from the leadoff spot, with two homeruns and three RBI. His second homer capped a five-run comeback, as he hit a two-run shot in the 8th inning to give the Cubs the lead for good. Needless to say, this will most likely be Coughlan's best game of 2014.
Description: Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler went 2-for-3 with a home run against the Reds on Tuesday.
Insight: Soler grounded into a fielder's choice in the third to score Jake Arrieta and then hit a solo homer in the seventh for the Cubs' seventh and final run. Soler has a six-game hitting streak and is batting .373 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 51 at-bats.
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta threw a complete game one hitter, struck out 13 and walked just one to defeat the Reds, 7-0, on Tuesday.
Insight: It is the first complete game of Arrieta's career and the first complete game thrown by a Cubs starting pitcher this season. Arrieta nearly threw a no-hitter as he did not allow hit until Brandon Phillips doubled in the eighth. Cubs center fielder Matt Szczur made an incredile effort to try and catch Phillips' double, but he came up short. It has been a breakout year for Arrieta, who is 9-5 with a 2.65 ERA.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is in line for a tough matchup against Reds' righty Johnny Cueto.
Insight: Fresh off his return to the Cubs' lineup and his walk-off homerun, Rizzo heads into Tuesday's game with poor numbers against Cueto. He has a .111 batting average (2-for-18), with five strikeouts against the Reds' ace.
Description: Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler (paternity) is back in the lineup Monday night against the Reds.
Insight: He missed Chicago's weekend series against the Pirates for the birth of his child. The Cubs' prized possesion is slashing .356 with 4 HR and 13 RBI in only 12 games. Insert him into your lineup as you normally would.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (back) returns to the lineup Monday night.
Insight: He returns at a great time for Cubs' fans and fantasy owners. Not only is Rizzo having a career-year (.278 BA, 30 HR, 78 RBI), he also has solid numbers against Reds' starter Alredo Simon (4-for-12 with 2 HR). Owners can safely plug him into their lineups for the stretch run.
Description: Cubs second baseman Javier Baez was 1-for-3 with a stolen base and scored a run against the Pirates on Sunday.
Insight: Baez showed off his speed on Sunday, beating out an infield single and then stealing second. The throw allowed Baez to advance to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly. Baez is an exciting fantasy player in the future with tremendous power, and he is also 4-for-4 stealing bases.
Description: Cubs left-hander Felix Doubront threw six scoreless innings against the Pirates on Saturday to win his fourth game of the year.
Insight: Doubront allowed only five base runners, four hits and a walk, to the team with the highest on-base percentage in the league. Doubront has allowed three runs over 18 innings in his last three starts. He is 4-5 with a 5.00 ERA in 77 and 1/3 innings this season.
Description: Cubs minor league third baseman Kris Bryant was named the 2014 Minor league Player of the Year by Baseball America.
Insight: It wasn't much of a contest. The 22-year-old Bryant blasted 43 home runs, 78 extra-base hits, 110 RBI while batting a combined .325 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He even stole 15 bases. He should be a fixture for the Cubs starting next season and he likely won't come cheap at your fantasy draft.
Description: Cubs third baseman Mike Olt had a career-day, hitting 3-for-3 with a RBI on Sunday against the Pirates.
Insight: Even with the three hits on Sunday, Olt is hitting .154 in 195 at-bats this season. At one point, fantasy owners could put up with the bismol batting average because he was on pace to hit 25 home runs. Olt's power numbers, however, have evaporated in the second half as he is sitting with 12 homers on the year. He is Dan Uggla with less power.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is dealing with a strained muscle in his back and under normal conditions would be on the 15-day disabled list, but with expanded rosters that wasn't necessary.
Insight: Rizzo shouldn't be expected back for a while. That's a big bat out of the lineup for Chicago and fantasy owners (.278, 30 HR, 71 RBI, .889 OPS).
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro's MRI showed a high-ankle sprain and he'll likely miss about four weeks ... a.k.a the remainder of the season.
Insight: Castro rebounded from 2013 to post solid numbers in 2014 - .292, 14 HR, 65 RBI and a .777 OPS, but it will be interesting to see if he's still with the team in 2015 because of all the shortstop talent the Cubs have in their minor league system.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is still not in the starting lineup with Chris Valaika taking the spot in the field and Luis Valbuena in the cleanup spot.
Insight: Chicago pulled Rizzo from last Tuesday's game with lower back tightness and he's missed the last five games. That's a big bat out of the lineup for Chicago and fantasy owners (.278, 30 HR, 71 RBI, .889 OPS).
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is not in the starting lineup for Monday's game against the Milwaukee.
Insight: Chicago pulled Rizzo from Tuesday's game with lower back tightness and missed all of the Cardinals series over the weekend. That's a big bat out of the lineup for Chicago and fantasy owners (.278, 30 HR, 71 RBI, .889 OPS).
Description: Cubs left-hander Travis Wood struggled against the Cardinals on Sunday, allowing four runs on six hits in four and 2/3 innings. He tossed up two home runs, walked three and struck out two.
Insight: The poor start is a bit disappointing because Wood threw three shutout innings against the Reds in his last appearance. Wood received a no-decision. He is 8-11 with a 4.81 ERA in 161 innings this year.
Description: Athletics starter Jeff Samardzija was good, allowing just four hits and one earned run against the Angels Saturday night, but eight Los Angeles pitchers were better and the A's right-hander took a tough loss.
Insight: Samardzija had gone 4-4 with a 3.57 ERA, a 0.965 WHIP and a 62/10 K/BB over 75 2/3 innings after the trade.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is expected to sit out the entire weekend series with the Cardinals according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
Insight: Chicago pulled Rizzo from Tuesday's game with lower back tightness, and he has not returned. Hopefully, he can play on Monday. Chris Valaika looks to be the Cubs starting first baseman until then.
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta wasn't at his best Thursday, yielding six runs to the Reds in four innings.
Insight: Arrieta has pitched very well this season and even after this poor outing still owns a 2.88 ERA. He's yielded four earned runs or more in just three of 21 starts this season, so ignore this start until it becomes a trend.
Description: Cuban right fielder Jorge Soler went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in his Major League debut Wednesday at Cincinnati.
Insight: The 22-year-old Cuban batted fifth and started in right field. Soler hit .340 with a .432 on-base percentage, 15 home runs and 57 RBI at Double-A and Triple-A this year and is a must-add in all leagues.
Description: Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler will make his major league debut on Wednesday, batting fifth in the Cubs lineup.
Insight: Soler batted .340 with a .432 on-base percentage, 15 home runs, and 57 RBI at Double-A and Triple-A this year. The outfielder signed a nine-year, $30 million deal in 2012 after defecting from Cuba.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is still out of the starting lineup on Wednesday against the Reds due to lower back tightness.
Insight: Manager Rick Renteria downplayed the injury after Tuesday's game. Chris Valaika replaced Rizzo on Tuesday and will start at first base on Wednesday. Rizzo hit his 30th home run of the season against the Reds before leaving Tuesday's game.
Description: Cubs center fielder Arismendy Alcantara has homered in back-to-back games.
Insight: Alcantara has gone 6-for-11 with three RBI and four runs in his last three games. The rookie has five homers, seven steals and 20 runs in 171 at-bats, but he's also hitting .228 with 51 strikeouts.
Description: Cubs 2B Javier Baez will return to second base after Starlin Castro is activated from bereavement leave.
Insight: Hopefully the six games he played at shortstop will make him eligible in your league. He is still hitting just .207, but with seven home runs and 11 RBI in 82 at-bats he's shown he'll one day be one of the best power-hitting middle infielders in the league.
Description: Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada threw another gem Sunday against the Orioles, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run on one hit.
Insight: The 33-year-old Japanese rookie took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing a solo homer to Steve Pearce. Wada struck out eight and is now 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 41 Ks in 45 2/3 innings. He should be added in most leagues.
Description: Cubs 2B/SS Javier Baez hit a solo home run, his seventh of the season, to help the Cubs defeat the Orioles, 7-2, on Saturday.
Insight: This is Baez's second home run since he took over the shortstop position in Starlin Castro's absence and his fourth since August 16. He is still hitting just .218 with seven home runs and 11 RBI in 78 at-bats this year.
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta held the Orioles, his former team, to one run on four hits in seven innings Wednesday afternoon.
Insight: The O's likely wish they could have a do-over of the trade that sent Arrieta, a former high-level prospect, to the Cubs for Scott Feldman last season. Feldman is now in Houston and Arrieta is 7-4 with a 2.53 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 127 Ks in 124 1/3 innings.
Description: Cubs second baseman Javier Baez will play shortstop for the Cubs while Starlin Castro is on the bereavement list.
Insight: Baez has been playing mostly second base since his promotion to the Cubs on August 5. Castro lost a cousin and three close friends to a car crash on Wednesday and may be home in the Domincan Republic for an entire week. Baez has scored a run in each of his last three games.
Description: The successful appeal by the San Francisco Giants isn't a bad thing for fantasy owners of players on both squads. It means more at-bats.
Insight: More is better. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo homered in the first five innings and should get two more at-bats. With 29 home runs and 69 RBI, he's on his way to the best season of his career.
Description: Athletics starter Jeff Samardzija allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday against the Mets.
Insight: Ironically, Samardzija's worst start with Oakland came against a National League team. The right-hander had gone 3-2 with a 3.21 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP and a 40/7 K/BB over 56 innings in his first eight starts with the A's.
Description: Athletics starter Jason Hammel's next turn through the rotation will be skipped, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Athletics have an important series against the Angels this weekend and cannot afford to run Hammel out there. Sonny Gray, Jon Lester and Scott Kazmir will start.
Insight: Hammel has gone 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP in seven starts since the A's acquired him from the Cubs. He's posted a 21/17 K/BB and given up a whopping nine home runs in that span. He was scheduled to start Friday against Hector Santiago.
Description: Cubs minor league third baseman Kris Bryant doubled and walked in his return to the lineup at Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday.
Insight: Bryant only missed a few days due to a left big toe injury. The 22-year-old is having a monster year in Iowa with 40 home runs and 103 RBI in 126 games at Triple-A. It would be a surprise if he is not making his major league debut early next year.
Description: Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks won his fourth straight decision Monday afternoon, holding the Mets to one run on three hits in seven innings. He also struck out three and walked two.
Insight: The only run Hendricks allowed on Monday was Lucas Duda's solo home run in the fourth. The 24-year-old is 5-1 with a 1.66 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 48 2/3 innings pitched. Hendricks, however, will face the tough Orioles in his next start.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-4 with a double, home run and walk in Chicago's 4-1 victory over the Mets on Monday afternoon. Rizzo scored the tying run in the sixth after hitting a double and his home run in the eighth put the Cubs ahead for good.
Insight: Rizzo struggled in the first three games of the series against the Mets going 0-for-10. This season though the first baseman is second in the National League with 28 home runs and 10th in RBI with 67. The Cubs return home for a series against the Giants starting Tuesday.
Description: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-4 with a double, home run and walk in Chicago's 4-1 victory over the Mets on Monday afternoon. Rizzo scored the tying run in the sixth after hitting a double and his home run in the eighth put the Cubs ahead for good.
Insight: Rizzo struggled in the first three games of the series against the Mets going 0-for-10. This season though the first baseman is second in the National League with 28 home runs and tenth in RBI with 67. The Cubs return home for a series against the Giants starting Tuesday.
Description: Cubs outfield prospect Matt Szczur will get his first major league start Monday versus Bartolo Colon and the Mets.
Insight: Szczur got into Sunday's game as a pinch runner and grounded into a fielder's choice to second in the ninth inning. He's better known for his football acumen, helping Villanova win the 2009 FCS championship with 270 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Description: Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks held the Brewers scoreless on six hits in 7 1/3 innings Tuesday to win his third straight start.
Insight: Hendricks had a 3.59 ERA and a 97/23 K/BB over 102 2/3 innings for Triple-A Iowa this season prior to his call-up earlier this month, and he's gone 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 26 Ks in 41 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old is worth a shot in 12-team mixed leagues.
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is a career 8-for-19 (.421) with four home runs and a 1.581 OPS versus Brewers starter Wily Peralta.
Insight: Rizzo is putting together the best season of his career (.278, 25 HR, 62 RBI, .873 OPS) though he's had a tough week, going just 4-for-22 in the past five games. This favorable matchup may reverse the current trend.
Description: Athletics starter Jason Hammel gave up one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings Sunday against Minnesota.
Insight: Hammel went 0-4 with a 9.53 ERA and a 2.12 WHIP over 17 innings in his first four starts with Oakland before holding the Rays scoreless his last time out, which he did despite giving up 11 baserunners in 5 2/3 innings. He has a 19/16 K/BB in 29 innings with the A's and will remain a shaky option.
Description: Cubs second baseman Javier Baez went 2-for-6 with one RBI Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Insight: In his first six MLB games, Baez has hit .276 with three homers and five RBI, but he's also struck out 10 times in 23 at-bats. The 21-year-old is an all-world talent, but he's going to have growing pains and his trade value likely won't be higher than it is right now, at least in 2014. It's a different story in keeper leagues, of course.
Description: Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada allowed two runs on four hits and struck out six over six innings Friday against Tampa Bay.
Insight: The 33-year-old lefty has recorded a 3.25 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and 25 Ks in 27 2/3 innings this season. He came over from Japan in 2012 but needed Tommy John surgery and didn't make his debut until this July.
Description: Welcome to Javier Baez's world, Major League Baseball.
Insight: Baez is three games into his major league career and he's averaging a home run a game after blasting two more Thursday afternoon. His home run total ties him with Prince Fielder, Derek Jeter and Angel Pagan. Saying his future is bright is an understatement, though obviously he won't keep up this pace.
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is not in Thursday's starting lineup.
Insight: No injury, just a routine day off against a left-hander he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in their last meeting. Rizzo is one home run behind Giancarlo Stanton for the NL league lead and is putting together the best season of his career.
Description: Cubs 2B/SS prospect Javier Baez went 1-for-6 with a solo homer and three strikeouts in his MLB debut Tuesday at Colorado. His home run put Chicago ahead in the top of the 12th inning.
Insight: Tuesday's game summed up Baez pretty well. He struck out 130 times in 388 at-bats with Triple-A Iowa this season but also had 49 extra-base hits (23 HR), 80 RBI and 16 steals in that span. He'll have some growing pains, but the 21-year-old should be owned in all leagues.
Description: Cubs 2B/SS prospect Javier Baez will make his major league debut Tuesday in Colorado.
Insight: The natural shortstop and Chicago's top prospect, has been working at second base in Iowa and will play there and bat second. The bat shouldn't be a problem (23 HR, 80 RBI at Triple-A) as long as he can play on the other side of second base.
Description: Cubs 2B/SS prospect Javier Baez is expected to be called up Tuesday to join the Cubs for the first game of the series in Colorado, according to baseball analyst Bruce Levine.
Insight: The natural shortstop and Chicago's top prospect, has been working at second base in Iowa. The bat shouldn't be a problem (23 HR, 80 RBI at Triple-A) as long as he can play on the other side of second base.
Description: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is getting the day off Sunday.
Insight: It's a little surprising considering castro has six hits over the past two games, but it will be his first missed game of the season. Castro (.275, 11 HR, 57 RBI) has bounced back from a mediocre last season and is putting together a solid year.
Description: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta gave up three hits and a run over seven innings Thursday against the Rockies.
Insight: Arrieta has been downright dominant this season, throwing 98 innings and posting a 2.11 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and a 106/28 K/BB. Since June 8, he's allowed a measly 34 hits, 15 walks and 13 earned runs in 68 innings (1.72 ERA, 0.72 WHIP).
Description: The Red Sox have traded left-hander Felix Doubront to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later.
Insight: Doubront said earlier this week that he wanted to be traded if Boston didn't plan to give him his starting job back, and he then went out and gave up six runs on six hits over 2/3 of an inning in relief on July 28. It's unclear if Doubront will get a chance to start with Chicago, as Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada ave pitched well lately.
Description: Jeff Samardzija has done pretty well in his transition to the AL, but Jason Hammel has been terrible since the two pitchers joined the Athletics in a trade from the Cubs.
Insight: Hammel allowed eight runs on seven hits (2 HR) over 4 1/3 innings Wednesday at Houston. In four starts with Oakland, he has gone 0-4 with a 9.53 ERA and a 2.12 WHIP in 17 innings. He was 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 108 2/3 innings with Chicago.
Description: Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks was strong again Sunday against the Cardinals (6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 0 BB) and is 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP after his first three starts in the majors.
Insight: Hendricks had a 3.59 ERA and a 97/23 K/BB over 102 2/3 innings for Triple-A Iowa this season prior to his call-up earlier this month. He'll likely be in the rotation for the rest of the season.
Description: Chicago outfielder Ryan Sweeney has gone 3-for-7 with two homers and five RBI his last two games and he's mashed against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright.
Insight: Wainwright is one of the best in the game, but Sweeney is 5-for-12 (.417) with three doubles and a homer against him. He's only hitting .224 with a .588 OPS, but is a decent fantasy option Sunday.
Description: Cubs young relief pitcher Neil Ramirez was send to Iowa of the PCL.
Insight: A bit confusing since the 25-year-old right-hander was pitching excellent baseball. He has not given up an earned run in his last 12 outings. Ramirez is 1-1 with a 0.96 ERA, 0.929 WHIP and 36 strikeouts in 28 IP.
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is just 1-for-16 (.063) against St. Louis right-hander Joe Kelly.
Insight: For his career, Rizzo has hit 41 point higher against right-handers, but in 2014 he's hit lefties better than righties by 39 points. Rizzo leads the NL in home runs with 25 and is batting .367 over the past two weeks so may be able to overcome this poor matchup.
Description: Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz is 6-for-13 (.462) against Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly.
Insight: His surprising 21 HR season of a year ago is a thing of the past as he's batting .199 with five homers and 31 RBI. Despite a favorable matchup we recommend avoiding him until we see signs of life.
Description: Cubs starter Edwin Jackson left in the sixth inning of Thursday's game with a cramp in his right hand.
Insight: Jackson wasn't pitching that well anyway, having given up seven hits and five earned runs when the trainer made a visit. He has no fantasy value the way he's throwing this season (5-10, 5.61 ERA, 1.56 WHIP entering today's game).
Description: Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo has hit five home runs in four games since the All-Star break.
Insight: Rizzo has gone off for eight homers in July and leads the NL with 25 on the year. He's rebounded from a .233 average, 23 home runs and a .742 OPS last year to hit .283 with a .924 OPS this season. His 67 runs rank second among first basemen.
Description: Cubs infielder Arismendy Alcantara wnt 1-for-4 with a solo homer Tuesday against the Padres.
Insight: Darwin Barney was designated for assignment on Tuesday, so Alcantara have a starting spot for the remainder of 2014. He batted .307 with 46 extra-base hits (10 HR) and 21 steals in 335 at-bats for Triple-A Iowa before his call-up and has hit .282 with two home runs, seven RBI and three steals in 39 at-bats so far.
Description: Cubs infielder Arismendy Alcantara has hit .286 with four doubles, a triple, a homer, six RBI, three steals and seven runs in eight games since his promotion.
Insight: Darwin Barney was designated for assignment on Tuesday, so Alcantara will be Chicago's starting second baseman for the remainder of 2014. He batted .307 with 46 extra-base hits (10 HR) and 21 steals in 335 at-bats for Triple-A Iowa before his call-up.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.