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In a year when neither Chicago baseball team is likely to catch even a whiff of first place, could there possibly be any Cubs or White Sox worth owning in fantasy leagues?
Of course. There are a few very obvious ones: Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija and Starlin Castro on the Cubs; Alex Rios, Chris Sale, Addison Reed, Jake Peavy on the Sox.
But, as the Crosstown Cup, er Classic, er whatever, is set to play out next week, let's take a look at some of the maybes:
Adam Dunn, 1B/OF, SOX: Again, he's hitting well below .200, but has 11 HRs, so if you need HRs in the worst way - and I do mean the worst way - he's a definite maybe.
Alfonso Soriano, OF, CUBS: Five SBs have been a pleasant surprise. He really hasn't got going yet, but if you want to gamble, the May/June timeframe is when he usually goes on a streak.
Paul Konerko, 1B, SOX: He was an obvious late-round draft pick this year, but has been slumping since the start, and actually has been shed in many leagues. If he's available on your waiver wire, I still see no reason to pick him up until his power picks up.
David DeJesus, OF, CUBS: 24 runs scored, 12 doubles, and a .294 batting average are the main reasons to consider him. Only three SBs so far. That number will rise, but the BA may deflate.
Jose Quintana, SP, SOX: As I'm writing this, he just lost a no-hit bid against the Red Sox in the seventh. He's quietly effective at times, but his ERA of 3.97 and WHIP of 1.26 show some inconsistency this year vs. last. Someone to watch, but not touch at this point.
Nate Schierholtz, OF, CUBS: Five HRs, 19 RBI, four SBs are pretty vanilla numbers for an outfielder. He's certainly paid off as a free agent signing for the Cubs, but I'm not buying just yet.
Dylan Axelrod, SP, SOX: Nothing more than someone worth watching, primarily in a keeper league. He does look better and better with almost every start, but needs the Sox to score some runs, which they aren't.
Travis Wood, SP, CUBS: Four wins against two losses, an 0.93 WHIP, 2.24 ERA and streak of nine quality starts have made him a hot pick up in the last week or so. The last stat suggests a consistency worth investing in.
Alexei Ramirez, SS, SOX: He only has one HR and eight RBI, but is hitting .280, much higher than he usually is this time of year, and has eight SBs. At SS, you could easily do worse, and the SB pace suggests he'll surpass his career mark of 20 set last year.
Scott Feldman, SP/RP, CUBS: You can't really trust his recent tear, but he can provide good stop-gap pitching help right now, and if the Cubs trade him and he ends up in a pitcher's park, who knows?
John Danks, SP, SOX: You will know who is the biggest Sox fan in your league later this week, when he (or she, dare I say) picks up Danks before he has a start to his name. Certainly worth putting on your watch list for now.
Kevin Gregg, RP, CUBS: His second tour with the Cubs has been impressive so far: Six saves, 0.00 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 10 innings. A nice pick-up right now if you are desperate for saves - so desperate that you don't mind save opportunities being few and far between.
Matt Garza, SP, CUBS: Had a nice first start back from the DL on Tuesday, though I'd wait to see how long he stays healthy and/or can keep from self-destructing via his own poor fielding.
Welington Castillo, C, CUBS: Continues to be a decent buy at a shallow fantasy position. He has been hanging near a .300 BA for the first two months of the season, and though his power hasn't really kicked in, there should be more to come.
* SI.com has its eyes on another prospect getting a chance: Jake Odorizzi.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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