All stats are updated through Thursday, July 18.
|Player Name||% change|
|1.||Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners||17|
|2.||Marlon Byrd, OF, Mets||14|
|3.||Henry Urrutia, OF, Orioles||13|
|4.||Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees||10|
|5.||Eric Young, OF, Mets||10|
|6.||Darin Ruf, OF, Phillies||10|
|7.||Luke Scott, DH, Rays||10|
|8.||Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs||8|
|9.||Raul Ibanez, OF, Mariners||7|
|10.||Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres||7|
CatcherDusty Baker favorite Ryan Hanigan is back on the DL, this time with a sprained wrist, which means Devin Mesoraco, otherwise known as "the one with all the upside," is back to getting the majority of the starts behind the plate in Cincinnati. Last time Hanigan was on the DL, Mesoraco failed to take advantage, but he has a chance to make a lasting impression with the Reds facing five lefties in eight games this week. He has killed lefties so far in his career, with a batting average about 120 points higher and an OPS about 240 points higher than against righties.
Worth a second look: Wilson Ramos, Nationals
Devin Mesoraco isn't the best under-the-radar pick at catcher this week, though. That honor goes to Ramos, who probably shouldn't be under the radar seeing as he's hit .375 with two homers in 32 at-bats since returning from DL. Granted, just about any player could put up those numbers in such a small sample, but keep in mind Ramos looked like a real up-and-comer at the position when he hit 15 homers in 389 at-bats as a rookie in 2011. With eight games on tap for the Nationals and Kurt Suzuki tucked away on the bench, Ramos has a chance to strut his stuff this week.
Approach with caution: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
Ruiz is still the Phillies' starting catcher, but at least at the plate, he's not doing anything to justify the role. And with backup Erik Kratz returning from knee surgery just before the All-Star break, manager Charlie Manuel didn't exactly give Ruiz a vote of confidence. "We'll see who comes out and plays when we have them both," Manuel told MLB.com. Ultimately, I think Ruiz continues to start, but with the Phillies one of only three teams playing six games and facing the Cardinals and Tigers rotations this week, you might want to avoid him.
No-brainers: Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, Yadier Molina, Wilin Rosario, Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, Brian McCann, Jonathan Lucroy
Advisable starts: Jason Castro, A.J. Pierzynski, Wilson Ramos, Salvador Perez, Evan Gattis, J.P. Arencibia
Shaky starts: Russell Martin, Miguel Montero, Ryan Doumit, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Zunino, John Buck, John Jaso, A.J. Ellis, Devin Mesoraco
Strictly AL/NL-only: Carlos Ruiz, Josh Phegley (finger), Nick Hundley, Chris Iannetta, Dioner Navarro, Alex Avila, Welington Castillo, Derek Norris
Don't bother: Chris Stewart, Erik Kratz, Jose Lobaton, Yan Gomes, Rob Brantly, Geovany Soto, Tyler Flowers, Kurt Suzuki, Hank Conger, Ryan Hanigan (wrist), Francisco Cervelli (hand), Travis d'Arnaud, Jesus Montero
First baseThe 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.
Darin Ruf, last year's minor-league leader in home runs, has taken over at first base for the Phillies with Ryan Howard sidelined 6-8 weeks because of knee surgery. Ruf's numbers weren't nearly as impressive at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, which is especially worrisome since, at age 26, he's supposed to be a finished product, but sometimes when a player knows opportunity is the only thing keeping him out of the majors, boredom sets in. Ruf has demonstrated a patient approach and homered a couple times already, so at worst, he's a sleeper for NL-only leagues.
Worth a second look: Logan Morrison, Marlins
Morrison didn't end the first half on a high note, but you still have to be encouraged by what he's been doing since putting that knee issue behind him once and for all by sitting out the first two months of the season. He's back to walking like he did as a rookie and is no longer selling out for the long ball like he did in his sophomore season. You'll be happy you kept him active for the Marlins' four games at Coors Field this week.
Approach with caution: Adam Lind, Blue Jays
After a late-June swoon, Lind seemingly righted the ship just before All-Star break by collecting five doubles (while striking out just three times) in his last seven games. The four lefties on tap for the Blue Jays this week might be enough to bury him again, though. He has a .612 OPS against lefties in his career and hasn't fared much better against them this season, posting a .679 OPS. You can do better at a deep position.
No-brainers: Chris Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Joey Votto, Allen Craig, Prince Fielder, Buster Posey, David Ortiz*, Matt Carpenter, Michael Cuddyer, Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez
Advisable starts: Joe Mauer, Mark Trumbo, Anthony Rizzo, Carlos Santana, Freddie Freeman (thumb), Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak, Billy Butler, Mike Napoli, Adam LaRoche, Logan Morrison, Adam Dunn
Shaky starts: Nick Swisher, Daniel Murphy, Victor Martinez, Brandon Belt, Adam Lind, Daniel Nava, Mitch Moreland, James Loney, Justin Morneau, Yonder Alonso, Mark Reynolds, Michael Young, Todd Frazier
Strictly AL/NL-only: Brandon Moss, Paul Konerko (back), Lance Berkman (back), Lyle Overbay, Ike Davis, Chris Carter (ankle), Chris Johnson, Matt Adams, Brett Wallace, Juan Francisco, Darin Ruf, Garrett Jones, John Mayberry, Todd Helton
Don't bother: Travis Hafner*, Josh Satin, Gaby Sanchez, Matt Tuiasosopo, Carlos Pena, Mike Carp, Joey Terdoslavich, Yan Gomes, Jeff Keppinger, Jordan Pacheco, Nate Freiman, Ryan Howard (knee), Michael Morse (quadriceps), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Kevin Youkilis (back), Lucas Duda (side), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton
Second baseSince returning from a rehab assignment for a sprained ankle, Brett Lawrie has been playing second base for the Blue Jays and is now only three games from gaining eligibility at the position. He's been a huge disappointment offensively, but gaining eligibility at second would dramatically improve anyone's Fantasy value. Given his potential as a power-speed threat (yeah, yeah ... you've heard it all before), now might be a good time to buy low on him.
Worth a second look: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
Lowrie has been predictably up-and-down this season but seems to be on the upswing with a .316 (25 for 79) batting average and four homers in his last 21 games. He's not back to being an automatic start in Fantasy, but at a weak position, he's still plenty advisable when the matchups are in his favor. That's clearly the case this week with Dallas Keuchel, Jarred Cosart, Bud Norris, Jerome Williams, Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson among the pitchers on tap.
Approach with caution: Dan Uggla, Braves
Yes, Uggla has been on a nice run lately and was "worth a second look" at second base for the shortened Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-21). But that's because the Braves were facing two lefties in three games. This week, they're facing nothing but righties in seven, and most of them -- such as Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner, Zack Wheeler (potentially), Lance Lynn, Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller -- are particularly tough.
No-brainers: Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Jason Kipnis, Matt Carpenter, Brandon Phillips, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Robinson Cano (quadriceps), Anthony Rendon, Jose Altuve, Howie Kendrick, Chase Utley, Brad Miller, Aaron Hill, Jed Lowrie, Daniel Murphy, Nick Franklin
Shaky starts: Martin Prado, Jedd Gyorko, Rickie Weeks, Dan Uggla, Marco Scutaro, Brian Roberts, Gordon Beckham (quadriceps), Brian Dozier, Jurickson Profar
Strictly AL/NL-only: Darwin Barney, Derek Dietrich, DJ LeMahieu, Kelly Johnson, Mark Ellis (leg), Josh Rutledge, Emilio Bonifacio, Dustin Ackley, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Logan Forsythe, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Chris Getz, Neil Walker (oblique), Omar Infante (shin), Jemile Weeks, Danny Espinosa, Kolten Wong
Third baseAlex Rodriguez's rehab assignment will reach the maximum 20 days over the weekend, which means the Yankees will either have to activate him or try something creative Monday. He says he'll be able to play then, but general manager Brian Cashman is less than certain. Though Rodriguez is clearly a shell of his former self at age 37, he's still relevant in Fantasy, especially since third base is lacking in second- and third-tier depth. But there's no need to rush him into your lineup this week.
Worth a second look: Anthony Rendon, Nationals
Since inheriting everyday at-bats June 5, Rendon has been the 12th-best third baseman and the eighth-best second baseman in standard Head-to-Head leagues. He hasn't offered big-time power, which makes him not so exciting in short spurts, but as steady as he is, he has plenty of time to pile up points with the Nationals playing eight games this week. He's practically a must-start option, even.
Approach with caution: David Freese, Cardinals
Freese was in a fairly deep slump heading into the All-Starr break, batting just .225 (18 for 80) in his last 22 games. Even when going well, he hasn't offered much power, so he really needs to be going well to factor in standard mixed leagues. The Cardinals are one of just three teams playing six games this week, and four of the pitchers they're facing are Kyle Kendrick, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Mike Minor. Chances are he won't factor yet again.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson, Kyle Seager, Ryan Zimmerman
Advisable starts: Manny Machado, Anthony Rendon, Pedro Alvarez, Chase Headley
Shaky starts: Pablo Sandoval, Martin Prado, Jedd Gyorko, Nolan Arenado, Brett Lawrie, David Freese, Mark Reynolds, Michael Young, Todd Frazier, Lonnie Chisenhall, Trevor Plouffe
Strictly AL/NL-only: Alex Rodriguez (hip), Juan Francisco, Chris Johnson, Mike Moustakas, Brett Wallace, Matt Dominguez, Alberto Callaspo, Jose Iglesias, Brock Holt, Adeiny Hechavarria, Luis Valbuena, Maicer Izturis, Conor Gillaspie
Don't bother: Eric Chavez (hip), Mike Aviles, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Placido Polanco, Jordan Pacheco, Aramis Ramirez (knee), Kevin Youkilis (back), Wilson Betemit (knee), Will Middlebrooks, Nick Castellanos
|2.||White Sox||DET4, KC3|
Worth a second look: Brad Miller, Mariners
Though Miller's .246 batting average is nothing special, the combination of extra-base pop, patience and speed he has demonstrated in his first 16 games in the majors has won me over. If nothing else, you can trust him to get on base, and against pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister, Kevin Correia, Scott Diamond, Samuel Deduno and Kyle Gibson this week, you can trust the rest of the lineup to drive him in.
Approach with caution: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
After a miserable start last season, Rollins flipped the switch in early June. Here it is mid-July, and we're all still waiting for the 34-year-old to do again. Maybe it's time to stop. If nothing else, you should at least consider alternatives when he has matchups like he does this week, with pitchers like Shelby Miller, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello on tap in only six games.
No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Jean Segura, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Everth Cabrera
Advisable starts: Starlin Castro, J.J. Hardy, Asdrubal Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Brad Miller, Jed Lowrie, Nick Franklin
Shaky starts: Jhonny Peralta, Jimmy Rollins, Alcides Escobar, Alexei Ramirez, Marco Scutaro, Andrelton Simmons, Erick Aybar, Brian Dozier, Jurickson Profar, Yunel Escobar (hamstring), Zack Cozart
Strictly AL/NL-only: Brandon Crawford, Didi Gregorius, Stephen Drew (hamstring), Derek Dietrich, Josh Rutledge, Adeiny Hechavarria, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Pete Kozma, Eduardo Nunez, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Daniel Descalso, Pedro Florimon, Derek Jeter (quadriceps), Danny Espinosa, Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton
OutfieldAdam Eaton has started four of six games since returning from an elbow sprain that sidelined him for the first three months of the season, but in the long run, I expect him to play every day. The Diamondbacks are probably just going easy on him as he returns from an injury that some might consider a precursor to Tommy John surgery. Or maybe they still haven't decided who to bump for him. So far, his at-bats have come at the expense of all their other outfielders, Gerardo Parra included. Parra is among the shaky starts now that you can't trust him to play every day.
Worth a second look: Norichika Aoki, Brewers and Coco Crisp, Athletics
After a relatively quiet June, Aoki has picked it up again in July, batting .345 (19 for 55) in 12 games. He has only one steal and one extra-base hit for the month, which explains why his point total is still lacking, but with matchups against the bottom-feeder Padres and Rockies rotations, he might just break out the power stroke this week, especially during that three-game series at Coors Field. After ranking 15th among outfielders in Head-to-Head leagues over the first 10 weeks of the season (and with a DL stint during that stretch), Crisp ranks just 91st over the last five. Safe to say he has thoroughly regressed to the mean, which means he's now overdue for a rebound. His matchups this week against the Astros and Angels rotations should help the cause.
Approach with caution: Austin Jackson, Tigers and Alejandro De Aza, White Sox
Jackson has been so steady this season that listing him here may seem like an odd choice, but one thing he hasn't done is hit left-handers, batting just .159 with a .599 OPS against them. His batting average was significantly lower against them during his rookie 2010 season as well, so maybe there's something to it. Not only do the Tigers face five lefties this week, but they're some of baseball's best: Hector Santiago, Chris Sale, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Jackson is still probably your best option in most leagues, but if you have a bunch of other no-brainers and advisable starts, he may be the most logical odd man out. De Aza has really picked up his production recently, emerging as a mainstay in mixed leagues with a .301 batting average, five homers and five steals since the start of June. But for whatever reason, he struggles at home, batting just .248 with a .672 OPS, and the White Sox play all seven of their games there this week. Plus, they have some of the toughest matchups of any team against the best the Tigers and Royals have to offer.
No-brainers: Mike Trout, Chris Davis, Carlos Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, Andrew McCutchen, Jacoby Ellsbury, Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Jones, Allen Craig, Jay Bruce, Matt Carpenter, Bryce Harper, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Beltran, Desmond Jennings, Domonic Brown, Michael Cuddyer, Nelson Cruz, Shin-Soo Choo, Ryan Braun, Hunter Pence, Starling Marte
Advisable starts: Matt Holliday (hamstring), Yasiel Puig (hip), Ben Zobrist, Mark Trumbo, Nick Markakis, Alex Gordon, Alex Rios, Alfonso Soriano, Justin Upton (calf), Josh Hamilton, Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Kemp (shoulder), Shane Victorino, Wil Myers, Jason Heyward (hamstring), Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, Dexter Fowler, Norichika Aoki, Austin Jackson, Brett Gardner, Logan Morrison, Coco Crisp
Shaky starts: Nick Swisher, Michael Brantley, Torii Hunter, Carlos Quentin, Alejandro De Aza, Michael Bourn, Martin Prado, Ichiro Suzuki, Nate McLouth, Daniel Nava, Marlon Byrd, Melky Cabrera (knee), Gerardo Parra, Colby Rasmus, Leonys Martin, Eric Young, Evan Gattis, Luke Scott, Josh Reddick, Adam Eaton, Denard Span, Ryan Doumit, Carl Crawford (back), Drew Stubbs
Strictly AL/NL-only: Jose Tabata, Brandon Moss, Andre Ethier, Dayan Viciedo, Michael Saunders, Aaron Hicks, Marcell Ozuna, Chris Carter (ankle), Darin Ruf, Zoilo Almonte, Lorenzo Cain, Jon Jay, Matt Joyce, David Murphy, Will Venable, Nate Schierholtz, Gregor Blanco, Kelly Johnson, Justin Ruggiano, Jason Kubel, Seth Smith, John Mayberry, Garrett Jones, Cody Ross, Delmon Young, Chris Denorfia, A.J. Pollock, J.D. Martinez, David Lough, Jarrod Dyson, Emilio Bonifacio, Dustin Ackley, Rajai Davis, J.B. Shuck, Justin Maxwell, Nolan Reimold, Vernon Wells, Andy Dirks, Chris Young
Don't bother: Grant Green, Mike Carp, Juan Pierre, Jonny Gomes, Michael Morse (quadriceps), Curtis Granderson (hand), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Ben Revere (foot), B.J. Upton (adductor), Lucas Duda (side), Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), Josh Willingham (knee), David DeJesus (shoulder), Peter Bourjos (wrist), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Cameron Maybin (knee), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Oswaldo Arcia, Oscar Taveras, Christian Yelich, George Springer, Jackie Bradley, Avisail Garcia, Anthony Gose
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.