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Hit Parade for Week 8

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Hit Parade is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Looking at matchups for the week ahead and considering other factors such as streaks, injuries and lineup changes, we sort all Fantasy-relevant hitters at each position into five categories: "no-brainers," "advisable starts," "shaky starts," "strictly AL/NL-only" and "don't bother."

These designations rate each player's Fantasy value for the current week only and have no bearing on his value for the season as a whole. Injuries are shown in parentheses.

Any players not appearing on these lists are presumed to be below "don't bother" status and are obvious sits in Fantasy.

All stats are updated through Wednesday, May 15.

Catcher

Most Added Hitters (as of 5/17)
Player Name % change
1. Mitch Moreland, 1B, Rangers 39
2. James Loney, 1B, Rays 35
3. Gerardo Parra, OF, D-Backs 16
4. Kelly Johnson, 2B, Rays 16
5. Ryan Doumit, DH, Twins 16
6. Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins 14
7. Will Venable, OF, Padres 13
8. Marco Scutaro, 2B, Giants 10
9. Vernon Wells, OF, Yankees 9
10. Andy Dirks, OF, Tigers 9

A.J. Pierzynski, out since May 5 with a strained oblique, has been throwing and hitting off a tee and plans to return from the DL when eligible Tuesday. He'll get to play nearly a full week and mostly against right-handed pitchers, so you could certainly do worse than him in Fantasy. Of course, in leagues where each team starts only one catcher, you can afford to be extra cautious and sit him one last time. Notice I have more than 12 catchers ranked ahead of him this week.

Worth a second look: Brian McCann, Braves
Seeing as he has yet to play more than two games in a row, I get the feeling not everyone is back aboard the McCann train in Fantasy. But with three home runs in only eight games since returning from the DL, the 29-year-old has put to rest any lingering concerns about his surgically repaired shoulder. In other words, it's only a matter of time before he starts to play more. Even if he continues to sit every third day this week, he should do some damage against hittable righties Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, Vance Worley, Jeremy Hafner, Dillon Gee and Shaun Marcum.
Approach with caution: Ryan Doumit, Twins
After a slow start to the season, Doumit has shown signs of life with three home runs and 10 RBI so far in May. But among the many moving parts in the Twins' starting lineup, rookie Oswaldo Arcia takes priority, making Doumit the most likely candidate to sit when the Twins travel to Atlanta for three games. He may end up playing a total of three or four games this week, making him a not-so-appealing Fantasy option no matter what he's doing in May.

No-brainers: Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli, Yadier Molina, Matt Wieters
Advisable starts: Brian McCann, Salvador Perez, Wilin Rosario, Miguel Montero, J.P. Arencibia, Jonathan Lucroy, Russell Martin
Shaky starts: A.J. Pierzynski (oblique), John Buck, Jesus Montero, Carlos Ruiz, Alex Avila, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Doumit, Evan Gattis, John Jaso (leg), A.J. Ellis, Tyler Flowers, Jason Castro
Strictly AL/NL-only: Chris Iannetta, Welington Castillo, Nick Hundley, Kurt Suzuki, Geovany Soto, Devin Mesoraco, Rob Brantly, Derek Norris, Chris Stewart, Martin Maldonado
Don't bother: Kelly Shoppach, Ryan Hanigan, Erik Kratz, Michael McKenry, Ryan Lavarnway, Wilson Ramos (hamstring), David Ross (concussion), Francisco Cervelli (hand), Yasmani Grandal (suspension), Mike Zunino, Travis d'Arnaud

First base

The few players who qualify only at DH now appear alongside the first basemen so that their owners might have some context for how to approach them this week. If you see an asterisk (*) next to a player's name, it means he's DH-only and not a legitimate first baseman.

Getting an opportunity to play against both lefties and righties for the first time this year, Mitch Moreland has recently begun to make the most of it, batting .370 (17 for 46) with six home runs in his last 12 games. Considering he's still in the early stages of his prime at age 27, he may in fact be having a breakout season, but first base is such a deep position that you'll probably want to see more evidence before moving him into your lineup. The good news is the Rangers once again have a righty-heavy schedule this week, so if you need him or just recently nabbed him, go for it.

Worth a second look: Justin Morneau, Twins
Morneau, though himself a bit of an enigma over the last couple years, is a bit more proven than Mitch Moreland and similarly hot, batting .472 (17 for 36) with five doubles in his last nine games. To remain a viable option at first base, he'll need to hit some home runs eventually, but while he's as hot as he is, he's worth starting during a week he's facing six right-handers. He hit .290 with a .902 OPS against righties last year.
Approach with caution: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
If I told you LaRoche was in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak, you'd probably assume his early-season slump was over. But he has just 16 hits in those 12 games, with only three for extra bases. Plus, he has to face Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Kyle Kendrick and Cole Hamels in a six-game week. I'm not too jazzed about starting him, personally.

No-brainers: Prince Fielder, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Buster Posey, Edwin Encarnacion, Billy Butler, Carlos Santana, Allen Craig, Albert Pujols, Chris Davis, Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo
Advisable starts: Joe Mauer, Mark Trumbo, David Ortiz*, Mike Napoli, Matt Carpenter, Nick Swisher, Justin Morneau
Shaky starts: Victor Martinez*, Mark Reynolds (arm), Brandon Moss, Eric Hosmer, Mitch Moreland, Lance Berkman, Todd Frazier, Ryan Howard, Brandon Belt, James Loney, Adam Dunn, Yonder Alonso, Michael Young, Kendrys Morales, Paul Konerko, Garrett Jones, Adam LaRoche
Strictly AL/NL-only: Ike Davis, Adam Lind, Chris Carter, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena, Justin Smoak, Travis Hafner* (shoulder), Yuniesky Betancourt, Gaby Sanchez, Chris Johnson
Don't bother: Matt Adams, Todd Helton, Chris Parmelee, Jeff Keppinger, Jordan Pacheco, Greg Dobbs, John Mayberry, Michael Cuddyer (neck), Joe Mahoney (hamstring), Kevin Youkilis (back), Mark Teixeira (wrist), Corey Hart (knee), Logan Morrison (knee), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton

Second base

Having a hole to fill in their lineup after previous hole in the lineup Donovan Solano went down with an intercostal strain, the Marlins had to dig deeper into their farm system than they probably would have liked this early in the season, bringing up Derek Dietrich to man second base. Dietrich has shown pop in the minors, but his numbers are underwhelming otherwise. At a weak position, you'll have use for him in NL-only formats, but he can remain unowned in mixed leagues.

Worth a second look: Neil Walker, Pirates
Back from the DL after missing two weeks with a laceration on his hand, Walker is back to being a fringe starter in standard mixed leagues. With the Pirates facing nothing but right-handed pitchers, the scales tip in his favor this week. A switch-hitter, Walker hit .291 with an .824 OPS against righties last year and is hitting .292 with an .803 OPS against them this year.
Approach with caution: Daniel Murphy, Mets
After a miserable three-week stretch that landed him back on the waiver wire in most Fantasy leagues, Murphy has seemingly righted the ship over his last four games, batting .438 (7 for 16) with three doubles. But don't let him trick you into starting him this week, not with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Kris Medlen and Mike Minor on tap for the Mets.

No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Chase Utley, Jason Kipnis, Brandon Phillips
Advisable starts: Martin Prado, Matt Carpenter, Josh Rutledge, Jed Lowrie, Howie Kendrick, Neil Walker, Jose Altuve (jaw), Marco Scutaro
Shaky starts: Dan Uggla, Kelly Johnson, Rickie Weeks, Jedd Gyorko, Omar Infante, Daniel Murphy, Danny Espinosa
Strictly AL/NL-only: Dustin Ackley, Darwin Barney, Yuniesky Betancourt, Emilio Bonifacio, Derek Dietrich, Ryan Raburn, Jeff Keppinger, Brian Dozier
Don't bother: Nick Punto, Mike Aviles, Ryan Roberts, Jamey Carroll, Chris Getz, Cliff Pennington, Eric Sogard, Daniel Descalso, Maicer Izturis, Aaron Hill (wrist), Mark Ellis (quadriceps), Brian Roberts (hamstring), Gordon Beckham (wrist), Logan Forsythe (foot), Donovan Solano (side), Jurickson Profar, Jemile Weeks, Kolten Wong

Third base

Though not quite productive enough to matter in most Fantasy leagues, Juan Francisco and Eric Chavez have put up surprising power numbers this season and could make an impact in deeper leagues this week. Francisco normally sits against lefties, but the Braves face nothing but righties, all of them hittable types like Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, Vance Worley, Jeremy Hefner, Dillon Gee and Shaun Marcum. Chavez, another platoon player, will have to sit a couple times this week, but he also has favorable matchups, including three games at Coors Field.

Worth a second look: Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
Though he's "worth a second look," Lawrie still ranks behind "approach with caution" pick Mark Reynolds at third base, so you wouldn't want to get too cute at the position. But Lawrie might actually be a decent start this week. He gets to play all seven games at home, where he hit .302 last year, has some hittable pitchers on tap in Jeremy Hellickson, Jair Jurrjens and Freddy Garcia, and has shown some signs of life with a home run and two doubles in his last three games.
Approach with caution: Mark Reynolds, Indians
Sitting Reynolds is always a risky proposition given how much damage he can do in a short period of time, but with a .158 (3 for 19) batting average in his last seven games, the April overachiever seems to be in the midst of a long-awaited course correction. It's likely to continue this week with Hisashi Iwakuma, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Ryan Dempster and Jon Lester among the pitchers on tap for the Indians.

No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre, David Wright, Manny Machado, Chase Headley, Pablo Sandoval
Advisable starts: Martin Prado, Matt Carpenter, Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Donaldson, Kyle Seager
Shaky starts: Mark Reynolds (arm), Brett Lawrie, Mike Moustakas, Nolan Arenado, Todd Frazier, Pedro Alvarez, Will Middlebrooks, Jedd Gyorko, Michael Young, Trevor Plouffe
Strictly AL/NL-only: Juan Francisco, David Freese, Eric Chavez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Alberto Callaspo, Luis Valbuena, Conor Gillaspie, Chris Johnson, Placido Polanco, Jeff Keppinger, Matt Dominguez
Don't bother: Nick Punto, Mike Aviles, Ryan Roberts, Jordan Pacheco, Greg Dobbs, Adeiny Hechavarria, Daniel Descalso, Maicer Izturis, Hanley Ramirez (hamstring), Kevin Youkilis (back), Alex Rodriguez (hip), Wilson Betemit (knee), Wilson Betemit (knee), Nick Castellanos, Anthony Rendon, Lonnie Chisenhall

Shortstop

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Royals @HOU3, LAA4
2. Braves MIN3, @NYM3
3. Diamondbacks @COL3, SD3
4. Tigers @CLE2, MIN4
5. Blue Jays TB3, BAL4
With a .375 (12 for 32) batting average and two home runs over his last nine games, Stephen Drew is once again relevant in Fantasy. Granted, he's far from trustworthy and doesn't rank among the top 12 shortstops even with favorable matchups this week, but if your league uses middle infield spots and you've struggled to fill yours, keep in mind Drew was a relatively high-end shortstop before the injuries began piling up in 2011.

Worth a second look: Alcides Escobar, Royals
How can you not like Escobar this week? Not only are the Royals one of only six teams playing seven games, but they're facing the Astros and Angels rotations -- two of the most hittable in baseball. He's a borderline mixed-league starter anyway, but you'll certainly want him active with Lucas Harrell, Dallas Keuchel, Jordan Lyles, Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson on tap.
Approach with caution: Everth Cabrera, Padres
Cabrera's point production hasn't declined too much, so don't feel like you have to replace him if you don't already have a viable alternative on your roster. But he's batting just .209 (18 for 86) over his last 21 games, and the Padres have some especially difficult matchups this week, going against Shelby Miller, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin.

No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Zobrist, Starlin Castro, Ian Desmond, Jean Segura, Elvis Andrus
Advisable starts: Jimmy Rollins, Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Rutledge, Alcides Escobar, Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro
Shaky starts: Andrelton Simmons, Stephen Drew, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Erick Aybar, Dee Gordon, Alexei Ramirez, Brandon Crawford, Danny Espinosa, Zack Cozart
Strictly AL/NL-only: Yunel Escobar, Didi Gregorius, Derek Dietrich, Pete Kozma, Ruben Tejada, Marwin Gonzalez, Brian Dozier
Don't bother: Mike Aviles, Adeiny Hechavarria, Cliff Pennington, Eric Sogard, Daniel Descalso, Maicer Izturis, Clint Barmes, Eduardo Nunez (rib), Hanley Ramirez (hamstring), Jose Reyes (leg), Derek Jeter (ankle), Hiroyuki Nakajima (hamstring), Billy Hamilton

Outfield

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Brewers LAD3, PIT3
2. Nationals @SF3, PHI3
3. Mets CIN3, ATL3
4. Padres STL3, @ARI3
5. Marlins PHI3, @CHW3
Two outfielders on different planes of Fantasy relevance are expected back from the DL this weekend. Jason Heyward, the more highly regarded of the two, has recovered from his appendectomy and should return to the lineup Friday. Because the Braves have a favorable, righty-heavy schedule, you'll want to activate him right away. Chris Young, sidelined since April 29 with a quadriceps injury, should return Friday, but with Coco Crisp also back from the DL, he's likely headed for a part-time role.

Worth a second look: Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays and Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks
So you've already given up on Cabrera, huh? Can't hack it anymore now that he's given up the juice, right? Well then, how do you explain his 17 hits in 42 at-bats (for a .405 batting average), including six doubles and a homer, in his last 10 games? Even if it's just a hot streak, it's a hot streak you can exploit with his team one of only six playing seven games this week, including one against Jeremy Hellickson and four against the Orioles' aceless rotation. As for Parra, his hot start has kept him in the lineup even as the Diamondbacks outfield has gotten healthier, forcing Jason Kubel and Cody Ross into a lefty-righty platoon. And the more he's in the lineup, the less his hot start looks like just a hot start. He'll have another chance to rack up the points this week with three games at Coors Field and three games at home against the Padres rotation.
Approach with caution: Vernon Wells, Yankees and Norichika Aoki, Brewers
Wells refuses to slow down, but now that Curtis Granderson is back in the lineup, a playing time crunch may force the issue. Wells has gotten a reprieve so far because Travis Hafner has been sidelined with shoulder soreness, but it's not the type of injury that will put him on the DL. Maybe the Yankees will occasionally sit Ichiro Suzuki instead of Wells or Hafner, but until we have a better idea how the at-bats will shake out, you might want to avoid Wells in mixed leagues. Aoki has been hot lately, batting .440 (22 for 50) over his last 12 games, but the Brewers have arguably the toughest matchups of any team this week, facing Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez in six games. In all, they face four left-handers, and though Aoki has fared well against lefties this season, his OPS was about 100 points lower against them than righties last season.

No-brainers: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Shin-Soo Choo, Alex Gordon, Adam Jones, Matt Kemp, Matt Holliday, Alex Rios, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ben Zobrist, Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran, Chris Davis, Starling Marte, Carlos Gomez
Advisable starts: Bryce Harper (shoulder), Jay Bruce, Mark Trumbo, Josh Hamilton, Hunter Pence, Nick Markakis, Nelson Cruz, Shane Victorino, Jason Heyward (appendectomy), Desmond Jennings, Melky Cabrera, Carl Crawford, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Bourn, Curtis Granderson, Dexter Fowler, Martin Prado, Matt Carpenter, Nick Swisher, Gerardo Parra, Torii Hunter, Lorenzo Cain
Shaky starts: Coco Crisp, Michael Morse, Vernon Wells, Nate McLouth, Josh Willingham, Norichika Aoki, Alejandro De Aza, Angel Pagan, B.J. Upton, Domonic Brown, Brett Gardner, Brandon Moss, Alfonso Soriano, Jon Jay, Kelly Johnson, Michael Saunders, Dayan Viciedo, Oswaldo Arcia, Lucas Duda, Ichiro Suzuki, Andre Ethier, Justin Ruggiano, Jayson Werth (hamstring), Evan Gattis, Denard Span, Michael Brantley, Colby Rasmus, Garrett Jones, David DeJesus, Andy Dirks, A.J. Pollock, Daniel Nava, Juan Pierre
Strictly AL/NL-only: Chris Carter, Seth Smith, Chris Young (quadriceps), Carlos Quentin, Matt Joyce, Ryan Doumit, Jason Kubel, Nate Schierholtz, Raul Ibanez, Cody Ross, Marcell Ozuna, Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), David Murphy, Will Venable, Drew Stubbs, Ben Revere, Eric Young, Aaron Hicks, Emilio Bonifacio, Ryan Raburn, J.D. Martinez, Delmon Young, Travis Snider, Nolan Reimold, Leonys Martin, Jeff Francoeur, Avisail Garcia, Chris Denorfia, Jonny Gomes, Craig Gentry
Don't bother: Jarrod Dyson (ankle), Greg Dobbs, Chris Parmelee, Robbie Grossman, Jose Tabata, Jason Bay, Jonny Gomes, Jordany Valdespin, John Mayberry, Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring), Austin Jackson (hamstring), Michael Cuddyer (neck), Josh Reddick (wrist), Corey Hart (knee), Adam Eaton (elbow), Rajai Davis (oblique), Justin Maxwell (hand), Chris Heisey (hamstring), Peter Bourjos (hamstring), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Cameron Maybin (wrist), Logan Morrison (knee), Wil Myers, Oscar Taveras, Jackie Bradley, Yasiel Puig, Christian Yelich

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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