|Team Ranking||PTS/G||OPP PTS/G|
|Central Division||103.4 (5th)||103.5 (1st)|
Happ hit leadoff in the Cubs' Cactus League opener against the Brewers on Friday. Manager Joe Maddon cautioned against reading too much into a spring lineup, but said that Happ, Kyle Schwarber, and Albert Almora are among those in contention for the the leadoff role. Happ led off eight times for the Cubs in 2017, though his .328 on-base percentage is somewhat low for a table-setter. If he were to win the job and bat in front of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, his run total would jump up, but that would be offset by a drop in RBI, so the net effect won't be huge.
Engel appears to be sitting atop the depth chart in center field to start spring training, Scot Gregor of the Chicago Daily Herald reports.
The speedy 26-year-old made his major-league debut last season, but he could only muster a .166 batting average in 301 at-bats with Chicago. Strikeouts were a significant issue for him last season (34.8 percent strikeout rate), but it seems like the White Sox still value his defense enough to have him headline their crop of center fielders for now. However, Charlie Tilson likely offers more upside and could supplant him for playing time during the season as a result, but the White Sox appear to be content in easing Tilson into action given that he sat out all of last season. This should allow Engel to claim regular playing time at least for the earlier portion of the regular season.
Jones will start in goal Friday night, with the Blackhawks playing host to the contest.
Hopefully Jones sitting out for rest and deferring to Aaron Dell against the Predators on Thursday won't end up disrupting his positive momentum. San Jose's chief puck plugger will be in pursuit of his fourth consecutive win, and he hasn't allowed more than two goals in a given outing since the surprisingly dangerous Vegas expansion club got the best of him at home Feb. 8. Next up are the Blackhawks, who rank 14th in home scoring at 2.94 goals per game.
Nilsson will be the road starter in Friday's game against the Golden Knights.
Nilsson has been flipping back and forth from lights out performances and being a liability, allowing four or more goals in two of the last four games, but yielding just one goal in the other two contests combined. Vegas is averaging 4.1 goals per game through 10 games in February, so Nilsson will have his hands full to shadow his recent stellar outings.
Neal (illness) is now a game-time decision for Friday night's home contest against the Canucks, Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
Neal reportedly returned to the ice for the a.m. session, but he's not a lock to face the Western Conference foe. This illness has already sidelined the veteran winger for the past two games, so it's definitely a situation worth monitoring through pregame warmups. Unfortunately for those of you playing DFS, this is the last game scheduled on Friday's slate, and there may not be an opportunity to learn more about Neal's status before lineups lock.
|2017-18 Team Leaders|
|PPG||Blake Griffin, PF||22.2|
|RPG||Andre Drummond, C||15.7|
|APG||Blake Griffin, PF||5.6|
|FG%||Andre Drummond, C||53.5|
|FT%||Blake Griffin, PF||79.1|
|3P%||Reggie Bullock, SF||45.2|
|BLOCKS||Andre Drummond, C||86|
|STEALS||Andre Drummond, C||88|
|MPG||Blake Griffin, PF||34.4|
|Full Team Statistics|