The Fantasy Baseball Hit Parade is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Each week, we'll assess Fantasy-relevant hitters based on streaks, matchups, injuries and lineup changes and divide them into five categories: "no-brainers," "advisable starts," "shaky starts," "strictly AL/NL-only" and "don't bother."
These designations are designed to rate each player's Fantasy value for the current week only and have no bearing on his value for the season as a whole.
Any player dealing with injury will have the injury listed in parentheses after his name. His condition will most definitely influence his category designation for the week.
Any players not appearing on these lists are presumed to be below "don't bother" status and are obvious sits in Fantasy.
The information has been updated through Saturday, May 26.
|1.||Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals||42|
|2.||Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox||30|
|3.||Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers||25|
|4.||Raul Ibanez, OF, Yankees||24|
|5.||Mitch Moreland, 1B, Rangers||15|
|6.||Sean Rodriguez, SS, Rays||15|
|7.||Xavier Avery, OF, Orioles||15|
|8.||Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals||14|
|9.||J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays||14|
|10.||Freddy Galvis, 2B, Phillies||11|
Miguel Montero has been out since May 21 with a groin injury, but the Diamondbacks resisted putting him on the DL and now may get him back Monday. He's no certainty to return then, of course, but manager Kirk Gibson's optimism makes Montero at least a usable option in Fantasy this week. At his best, he's a must-start option, but because he's been significantly less than his best this season, the injury might be enough to scare away some owners in shallower leagues.
Worth a second look: A.J. Ellis, Dodgers
Ellis may not seem like he belongs among the top 12 catchers in Fantasy. He's a 31-year-old first-time starter, and typically players who get stuck in the minors for that long don't amount to much. But his .442 on-base percentage is positively legit, according to his minor-league track record, and the abundance of walks helps set him apart in standard points leagues. He's been especially hot in May, batting .338 (22 for 65) with four homers in 19 games, and he should be in for another good week with seven games on tap, including three at Coors Field.
Approach with caution: Russell Martin, Yankees
As A.J. Ellis rises in the rankings, Martin continues to sink, his batting average now at .177 after another low-scoring week. He may still have a hot streak in him that helps redeem his mixed-league value, but he hardly seems worth the wait at this point, especially now that he's dealing with a stiff neck. And you can pretty much guarantee he won't bounce back this week, not with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, Doug Fister and Justin Verlander on the schedule.
No-brainers: Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey
Advisable starts: Yadier Molina (dehydration), Brian McCann (illness), Alex Avila, Mike Napoli, Jesus Montero, Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Lucroy, A.J. Pierzynski, A.J. Ellis, Ryan Doumit
Shaky starts: Miguel Montero (groin), J.P Arencibia, Russell Martin (neck), John Buck, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Wilin Rosario
Strictly AL/NL-only: Kurt Suzuki, Nick Hundley, Devin Mesoraco, Rod Barajas, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Flores
Don't bother: Josh Donaldson, Yorvit Torrealba, John Jaso, Miguel Olivo, Kelly Shoppach, Jason Castro, Lou Marson (face), Tyler Flowers, Chris Snyder, George Kottaras, Hector Sanchez, Jose Molina, Ramon Hernandez (hand), Carlos Santana (head), Geovany Soto (knee), Chris Iannetta (wrist), Josh Thole (concussion), Salvador Perez (knee), Victor Martinez (knee)
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With Gaby Sanchez's recent demotion to the minors, Logan Morrison has been playing first base for the Marlins and recently became eligible at the position in Fantasy. Kevin Youkilis and Corey Hart both followed over the weekend. Granted, those players are probably more valuable at their primary positions -- outfield, third base and outfield, respectively -- but the added versatility can only help.
With Lance Berkman (knee), Allen Craig (hamstring) and Matt Carpenter (oblique) all on the DL, power-hitting prospect Matt Adams has taken over as the starting first baseman in St. Louis. The length of his stay will depend somewhat on how he performs, but with Berkman's timetable reportedly at 8-10 weeks, Adams will no doubt have his chances. His potential makes him worth a flier in all leagues.
Worth a second look: Justin Morneau, Twins
Some Fantasy owners are still on the fence about Morneau's performance this year, but one thing nobody can deny is just how effective he's been against right-handed pitchers, compiling a .324 batting average and 1.144 OPS. Even last year, as awful as his overall numbers were, he managed a .270 batting average against them. He already has a couple homers since returning from a wrist injury in mid-May, and he may have a couple more in store this week with five righties on tap, including low-end hurlers like Tyson Ross, Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin.
Approach with caution: Bryan LaHair, Cubs
As much as LaHair has accomplished this season with his high batting average and other-worldly OPS, his performance against left-handers has left much to be desired. He has exactly two hits against them for less than a .100 batting average. It hasn't been such a big deal over the last couple weeks because the Cubs have faced mostly right-handers, but with three lefties coming up in six games this week, you have to expect LaHair's recent struggles (2 for 29 over his last 10 games) to continue.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Paul Konerko, Mark Teixeira, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Dunn, Joe Mauer
Advisable starts: Michael Young, Buster Posey, Michael Cuddyer, Mark Trumbo, Eric Hosmer
Shaky starts: Bryan LaHair, Adam LaRoche, Mike Napoli, Carlos Pena, Kendrys Morales, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Justin Morneau, Todd Helton, Chris Davis, Carlos Lee, Matt Adams, Justin Smoak, Yonder Alonso, Mitch Moreland, Freddie Freeman (eyes), Mark Reynolds (oblique)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Logan Morrison, Ike Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, James Loney, Wilson Betemit, Brandon Belt, Garrett Jones, Mike Carp, John Mayberry
Don't bother: Alex Liddi, Tyler Colvin, Ty Wigginton, Aubrey Huff, Travis Ishikawa (oblique), Casey Kotchman, Casey McGehee, Jesus Guzman, Kila Ka'aihue, Daric Barton, Brett Pill, Carlos Santana (head), Matt Carpenter (oblique), Allen Craig (hamstring), Lance Berkman (knee), Juan Rivera (hamstring), Laynce Nix (calf), Michael Morse (back), Ryan Howard (Achilles), Adam Lind, Gaby Sanchez, Anthony Rizzo
Tyler Greene, who has demonstrated impressive power and speed as the lesser half of a lefty-righty platoon this season, seems to be gaining the trust of the Cardinals coaching staff, having started nine of the last 12 games at second base, including three against right-handers. Of course, the extra at-bats may just be a side effect of the Cardinals having to move Skip Schumaker off second base with all the injuries to their outfield. Still, if Greene makes the most of this opportunity, he could suddenly become a relevant mixed-league option, so keep an eye on him.
Worth a second look: Jose Altuve, Astros
After coming out of his first rough patch with a batting average still on the right side of .300, Altuve is looking more and more like one of this season's breakout players. And now that he's hot again, batting .308 (12 for 39) with one homer and three steals over his last 10 games, he's once again an advisable start in mixed leagues. The matchups certainly work in his favor this week, beginning with a four-games series at Coors Field and ending with two hittable right-handers in Mike Leake and Bronson Arroyo.
Approach with caution: Howard Kendrick, Angels
Compared to Rickie Weeks' slow start this season, Kendrick's struggles have kind of gone unnoticed. Not to his Fantasy owners, though. They've endured his .182 (10 for 55) batting average over his last 16 games and the lack of Fantasy production that goes along with it. Because he's a free-swinger, when he stops hitting, he literally brings nothing to the table. He's not a lost cause in mixed leagues, of course, but until his numbers pick up again, you should probably look into other options.
No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Dan Uggla, Brandon Phillips
Advisable starts: Mike Aviles, Jason Kipnis, Jose Altuve, Omar Infante
Shaky starts: Dustin Ackley, Howard Kendrick, Daniel Murphy, Rickie Weeks, Aaron Hill, Jemile Weeks, Neil Walker, Marco Scutaro, Danny Espinosa, Kyle Seager, Gordon Beckham, Kelly Johnson (hamstring)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Ryan Roberts, Darwin Barney, Sean Rodriguez, Tyler Greene, Jamey Carroll, Robert Andino, Elliot Johnson, Ryan Raburn, Freddy Galvis, Alexi Casilla, Elian Herrera
Don't bother: Alexi Amarista, Skip Schumaker, Jose Lopez, Johnny Giavotella, Stephen Lombardozzi, Maicer Izturis, Joaquin Arias, Brandon Inge (groin), Mark Ellis (leg), Jeff Keppinger (foot), Chris Getz (ribs), Chris Nelson (wrist), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Yuniesky Betancourt (ankle), Chase Utley (knee), Brian Roberts (concussion), Freddy Sanchez (shoulder)
The return of Kevin Youkilis from the DL on Tuesday didn't send Will Middlebrooks back to the minors after all. The rookie will continue to get regular at-bats for however long the Red Sox are comfortable using Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield, with Youkilis shifting over to first base.
Josh Bell, who the Diamondbacks acquired from the Orioles in a trade about a month ago, joined the big club on Monday and figures to get the majority of the at-bats going forward, bumping Ryan Roberts to a utility role. Bell has significant power potential, but in his past opportunities in the majors, his free-swinging approach ultimately got the best of him. Perhaps the new environment will help him maximize his potential, but you don't need to gamble on that possibility outside of NL-only leagues.
Worth a second look: Mike Moustakas, Royals
Moustakas' batting average has been slowly declining over the last couple weeks, but it'll likely see a boost this week with five right-handers on tap for the Royals. He has done almost all of his damage against righties in his career, hitting all 12 of his home runs while compiling a .285 batting average. And this particular fivesome -- Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson, Jeanmar Gomez, Bartolo Colon and Graham Godfrey -- is unlikely to reverse the trend.
Approach with caution: Chris Davis, Orioles
In what looks to be a roller-coaster ride of a season, Davis is seemingly back on the upswing, batting .412 (14 for 34) with three home runs over his last nine games. But with the matchups in place for the Orioles this week, his hot streak could end before it really begins. He's facing the top of the Blue Jays and Rays rotations, which include Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore. Plus, three of them are lefties, against whom he's hitting only .243 with a .595 OPS.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Edwin Encarnacion, Martin Prado
Advisable starts: Ryan Zimmerman, David Freese, Brett Lawrie, Michael Young, Mike Moustakas, Mike Aviles, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Trumbo, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Aramis Ramirez (elbow), Chase Headley, Daniel Murphy, Will Middlebrooks, Kyle Seager, Chris Davis, Chris Johnson, Mark Reynolds (oblique)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Pedro Alvarez, Placido Polanco, Ryan Roberts, Ian Stewart, Josh Bell, Robert Andino, Wilson Betemit, Sean Rodriguez, Todd Frazier, Jamey Carroll, Juan Francisco, Jack Hannahan
Don't bother: Alberto Callaspo, Jordan Pacheco, Cody Ransom, Joaquin Arias, Josh Donaldson, James Darnell, Ty Wigginton, Alex Liddi, Stephen Lombardozzi, Jose Lopez, Casey McGehee, Maicer Izturis, Chipper Jones (calf), Matt Carpenter (oblique), Chris Nelson (wrist), Brent Morel (back), Juan Uribe (wrist), Brandon Inge (groin), Scott Rolen (shoulder), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Evan Longoria (hamstring), Pablo Sandoval (hand), Lonnie Chisenhall, Nolan Arenado, Danny Valencia, Eduardo Nunez
Cody Ransom, who did an admirable job filling in for an underachieving Ryan Roberts earlier this season, was claimed by the Brewers on Wednesday. The 36-year-old journeyman has consistently put up big power numbers in the minors and has played his share of shortstop there as well. With Alex Gonzalez and Cesar Izturis both on the DL for the Brewers, the only player who stands in Ransom's way for regular at-bats at the position is Edwin Maysonet. It's something of a long shot, but if Ransom can finagle even part-time at-bats at the position, his power potential will make him worth a flier in deeper leagues.
Worth a second look: Jed Lowrie, Astros
As Jose Altuve goes, so goes Lowrie -- or at least that's been the case so far this season. Like his double-play partner, the Astros shortstop has gotten back on the right side of streaky in the last week, batting .273 (9 for 33) with three homers, one steal and a .957 OPS over his last nine games. So all of his Fantasy owners who feared they were reliving his early-season fake-out of a year ago can breathe a sigh of relief and get him active again, if for no other reason than to take advantage of the Astros' four-game series at Coors Field to begin the week.
Approach with caution: Ian Desmond, Nationals
Yes, Desmond's hot streak seems to be never-ending -- he's now batting .296 (32 for 108) with six homers and four steals over his last 24 games -- but considering his 20-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that stretch is just as miserable as ever, the performance is most likely a mirage. Between Carlos Zambrano, Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson, Brandon Beachy and Tommy Hanson, the Marlins and Braves pitching staffs should bring him back down to earth this week.
No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro, Elvis Andrus, Derek Jeter, Rafael Furcal
Advisable starts: Jimmy Rollins, Mike Aviles, Jed Lowrie, J.J. Hardy
Shaky starts: Erick Aybar, Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring), Zack Cozart, Alexei Ramirez, Jhonny Peralta, Dee Gordon, Yunel Escobar (groin), Ian Desmond, Marco Scutaro, Alcides Escobar
Strictly AL/NL-only: Cliff Pennington, Jamey Carroll, Robert Andino, Tyler Pastornicky, Sean Rodriguez, Brian Dozier, Elliot Johnson, Tyler Greene, Freddy Galvis, Willie Bloomquist, Alexi Casilla, Joaquin Arias
Don't bother: Cody Ransom, Everth Cabrera, Clint Barmes, Brandon Crawford, Brendan Ryan, Jason Bartlett (knee), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Stephen Drew (ankle), Yuniesky Betancourt (ankle), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Eduardo Nunez
The growing number of injuries to the Red Sox outfield -- with Cody Ross (foot) and Ryan Sweeney (concussion) the most recent two to go down -- has given the team a (temporary?) case of insanity, bumping perennial Gold Glove first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to right field to fit both Kevin Youkilis (first base) and Will Middlebrooks (third base) into the starting lineup. The added versatility could make a big difference to Gonzalez's Fantasy owners since a high-end outfielder is often harder to find than a high-end first baseman, but you have to hope his lack of familiarity with the position doesn't make him the next to visit the DL.
After spending a couple weeks tending to a personal matter, Torii Hunter is set to return to the Angels lineup this week. No word yet whether he'll play the full week, but his return all but guarantees Peter Bourjos will remain on the bench even with Vernon Wells sidelined by a thumb injury.
Worth a second look: Alex Gordon, Royals and Dayan Viciedo, White Sox
Yes, Gordon is cold right now, batting .149 (10 for 67) over his last 17 games, but remember how quickly he turned it around last time? If you lost faith in him during his cold three-week stretch to begin the season, you missed out on the 33-point week that followed, and you wouldn't want to do that again. Trust in the ability that made him your No. 2 outfielder in the first place, and keep him active for a week of favorable matchups against the Indians and Athletics rotations. As for Viciedo, he seemingly can do no wrong lately, homering in three straight games to give him seven homers (to go along with a .413 batting average) in his last 12. Eight of his 10 homers this season have come against right-handers, and the White Sox have five of those on tap this week.
Approach with caution: Matt Joyce, Rays and Raul Ibanez, Yankees
You should know the drill with Joyce by now, but because the Rays have faced just three left-handers in their last 13 games, you may have forgotten. Joyce, a left-handed hitter, is far better against righties (.294 batting average and 1.008 OPS) than lefties (.250 batting average and .762 OPS), which causes him to sit against lefties some of the time, and the Rays are the lucky team facing four lefties this week. Incidentally, the surplus of lefties is also bad news for Luke Scott, but he's the more obvious sit in mixed leagues right now. Speaking of lefty-righty splits, Ibanez would seem like a lock to start in Fantasy this week with all righties on the schedule for the Yankees (considering he has a .904 OPS against them), but take a second look at the names of some of those righties: Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, Doug Fister and Justin Verlander. Yeah, you shouldn't count on Ibanez for much this week.
No-brainers: Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Andrew McCutchen, Matt Holliday, Justin Upton, Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, Andre Ethier, Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Jones, Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Hunter Pence
Advisable starts: Jay Bruce, Ben Zobrist, Alex Gordon, Jason Heyward, Corey Hart, Nick Markakis, Shin-Soo Choo, Martin Prado, Nick Swisher, Alejandro De Aza, Josh Willingham, Michael Cuddyer, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Josh Reddick, Angel Pagan, Ichiro Suzuki, B.J. Upton, Dayan Viciedo, Matt Kemp (hamstring)
Shaky starts: Chris Young, Bryan LaHair, Bryce Harper, Dexter Fowler (ankle), Howard Kendrick, Drew Stubbs, Lucas Duda, Matt Joyce, Andy Dirks, J.D. Martinez, Luke Scott, Jeff Francoeur, Carlos Lee, Alex Rios, Brennan Boesch, Jason Kubel, Raul Ibanez, Jordan Schafer, Torii Hunter, Yonder Alonso, Alfonso Soriano, Denard Span, Ryan Doumit, Mitch Moreland
Strictly AL/NL-only: Cameron Maybin (wrist), Logan Morrison, Coco Crisp, Tony Campana, Gerardo Parra, Colby Rasmus, Jose Tabata (leg), Delmon Young, David Murphy, Eric Thames, Michael Brantley, David DeJesus, Brandon Belt, Will Venable, Seth Smith, Michael Saunders, Gregor Blanco, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Juan Pierre, Garrett Jones, Johnny Damon, Andres Torres, John Mayberry, Bobby Abreu, Jarrod Dyson (hamstring), Daniel Nava, Xavier Avery, Mike Carp, Elian Herrera, Carlos Quentin (knee), Desmond Jennings (knee), Yoenis Cespedes (hand), Ryan Sweeney (head)
Don't bother: Tyler Colvin, Carlos Gomez, Stephen Lombardozzi, Jonny Gomes, Shelley Duncan, Peter Bourjos, Ty Wigginton, Ryan Ludwick, Nate Schierholtz, Ryan Raburn, Marlon Byrd, Aubrey Huff, Alex Presley, Willie Bloomquist, Skip Schumaker, Nyjer Morgan, Chris Heisey, Rajai Davis, Jesus Guzman, Brian Bogusevic, Brett Pill, Allen Craig (hamstring), Lance Berkman (knee), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Vernon Wells (thumb), Brett Gardner (elbow), Jon Jay (shoulder), Cody Ross (foot), Juan Rivera (hamstring), Matt Carpenter (oblique), Nolan Reimold (neck), Jason Bay (ribs), Austin Jackson (abdominal), Laynce Nix (calf), Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder), Lorenzo Cain (groin), Michael Morse (back), Jayson Werth (wrist), Carl Crawford (elbow), Grady Sizemore (back), Travis Snider, Brett Jackson, Domonic Brown, Wil Myers
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