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, June 2.
|1.||Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres||27|
|2.||Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox||23|
|3.||A.J. Ellis, C, Dodgers||21|
|4.||Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies||17|
|5.||Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox||17|
|6.||Jordan Pacheco, 3B, Rockies||15|
|7.||Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners||13|
|8.||Michael Brantley, OF, Indians||13|
|9.||Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies||12|
|10.||Jeff Francoeur, OF, Royals||11|
Believe it or not, Steve Clevenger is the starting catcher for the Cubs with both Geovany Soto (knee) and Welington Castillo (knee) on the DL, and it might not be the worst thing for Fantasy owners. While neither Soto nor Castillo was able to crack the Mendoza line, Clevenger has hit .394 (13 for 33) in sporadic duty, most of it coming before his own DL stint -- the result of a strained oblique. That number would be easier to dismiss as the product of a small sample size if Clevenger hadn't hit .309 over his seven seasons in the minors. Even during his rehab assignment he was on fire, batting .462 (6 for 13). The 26-year-old doesn't have huge upside and probably won't be anyone's savior in Fantasy, but at least you know he'll make consistent contact. He's worth a look as a second catcher in deeper leagues.
Top prospect Yasmani Grandal got the call to the majors on Friday, but Padres manager Bud Black doesn't seem particularly enthusiastic about starting him, calling him an "extra bat" to "supplement" the bench. Um, OK. It's not like starter Nick Hundley is hitting .162 or anything. Considering Grandal was hitting .317 with a .921 OPS at Triple-A Tucson, he can't be too far from taking over in the majors, but adding him now might just be a waste of a roster spot in a standard mixed league.
Worth a second look: A.J. Ellis, Dodgers
Ellis' red-hot May, during which he hit .333 with four homers and a .975 OPS, has done wonders for his ownership percentage, but with a starting percentage of 65, he still isn't getting the credit he deserves from Fantasy owners. Yeah, the power numbers may be a little over his head, but the hot hitting figures to continue this week against pitchers like Kyle Kendrick, Hector Noesi and Kevin Millwood. If nothing else, you can trust him to get on base.
Approach with caution: Wilin Rosario, Rockies
Rosario has legitimate power potential and should be a serviceable Fantasy option while Ramon Hernandez (hand) is on the DL, but his numbers since taking over for Hernandez, which include a .308 batting average and .973 OPS in eight games, may have inflated Fantasy owners' expectations. Rest assured the free-swinging rookie will have plenty of rough patches, and he's likely due for one this week, with pitchers like Ian Kennedy, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana on the schedule.
No-brainers: Joe Mauer, Yadier Molina, Buster Posey
Advisable starts: Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, Jesus Montero, Carlos Santana (head), Brian McCann (knee), Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Ellis, A.J. Pierzynski, Miguel Montero
Shaky starts: Alex Avila (head), Ryan Doumit, J.P Arencibia, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Wilin Rosario
Strictly AL/NL-only: John Buck, Russell Martin, Kurt Suzuki, Nick Hundley, Devin Mesoraco, Josh Thole, Rod Barajas, Miguel Olivo, Steve Clevenger, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Flores, John Jaso
Don't bother: Josh Donaldson, Yasmani Grandal, Yorvit Torrealba, Kelly Shoppach, Jason Castro, Tyler Flowers, Chris Snyder, George Kottaras, Hector Sanchez, Jose Molina, Ramon Hernandez (hand), Jonathan Lucroy (hand), Geovany Soto (knee), Chris Iannetta (wrist), Salvador Perez (knee), Victor Martinez (knee)
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Michael Morse (back) and Allen Craig (hamstring) both returned from the DL this weekend and are high-end enough that you'll probably want to start them in Fantasy. You have to expect some rust for Morse considering he's playing for the first time this season, but with all the hits the Nationals lineup has taken, you know they'll run him out there every day. Craig's situation isn't quite as clear with rookie Matt Adams thriving in his absence, but haven't we done the fretting over Craig's playing time already? If the Cardinals could work around Lance Berkman, they can work around Adams. Craig will get his at-bats this week, and given the seven-game schedule against the lightweight Mets, Astros and Indians rotations, they'll likely be good ones.
The return of interleague play this week (though again for only half the week) means a handful of 1B-DH types will lose at-bats with their teams traveling to NL parks. Of that group, Kendrys Morales and Eric Hosmer are the most concerning for Fantasy owners. Both have been showing signs of life lately and actually have good matchups this week. But Morales obviously won't bump Albert Pujols from the lineup when the Angels travel to Colorado, and Hosmer will likely cede first base to Billy Butler for at least two of the Royals' three games at Pittsburgh. And you wouldn't want to resort to Mitch Moreland as a replacement. If past precedent is any indication, he'll likely sit out all three of the Rangers' games at San Francisco.
Worth a second look: Bryan LaHair, Cubs
Yes, LaHair has cooled off recently, but his lack of Fantasy production has more to do with the number of left-handers the Cubs have faced, forcing him out of the lineup for five of the team's last 10 games. The Cubs face righties in five of their seven games this week, and LaHair never did slow down against them, batting .344 with a 1.058 OPS. His three-hit game Monday could be an indication that he's on the verge of going off again, so don't be surprised if he puts up big numbers against the Brewers and Twins pitching staffs.
Approach with caution: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
It had to happen sooner or later. After maintaining a batting average of over .300 for the first six weeks or so, the free-swinging LaRoche has fallen on hard times lately, batting .133 (6 for 45) with a .552 OPS and 15 strikeouts in his last 13 games. Given his track record, it's most likely a regression to the mean, and if that's the case, he still has a ways to go. Pitchers like Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey and Jon Lester should help keep him down during a six-game week.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Paul Konerko, Mark Teixeira, Edwin Encarnacion, Joe Mauer
Advisable starts: Adrian Gonzalez, Michael Young, Buster Posey, Freddie Freeman, Adam Dunn, Corey Hart, Michael Cuddyer, Mark Trumbo, Bryan LaHair, Lucas Duda, Justin Morneau, Allen Craig, Michael Morse, Carlos Santana (head)
Shaky starts: Kevin Youkilis, Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli, Adam LaRoche, Carlos Pena, Kendrys Morales, Daniel Murphy, Chris Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Smoak, Yonder Alonso, Mark Reynolds
Strictly AL/NL-only: Matt Adams, Mitch Moreland, Logan Morrison, Todd Helton, Ike Davis, James Loney, Ty Wigginton, Jordan Pacheco, Wilson Betemit (illness)
Don't bother: Garrett Jones, Mike Carp, Juan Rivera (hamstring), John Mayberry, Brandon Belt, Alex Liddi, Tyler Colvin, Casey Kotchman, Casey McGehee, Jesus Guzman, Kila Ka'aihue, Carlos Lee (hamstring), Travis Ishikawa (oblique), Matt Carpenter (oblique), Lance Berkman (knee), Laynce Nix (calf), Ryan Howard (Achilles), Adam Lind, Gaby Sanchez, Anthony Rizzo
Stephen Lombardozzi may not have a ton of raw ability, but one thing he does have is a starting job. Playing mostly left field over the last couple weeks -- a move necessitated by the Nationals' recent rash of injuries -- the rookie has emerged as the team's leadoff hitter, reaching base at a .368 clip. In fact, he's taken so well to the role that the Nationals plan to keep him there even with Michael Morse back from the DL, forcing rookie Bryce Harper from right to center field. Though Lombardozzi has doubles power at best and likely won't approach 20 steals, he does just enough of everything that he could potentially have some low-end mixed-league appeal. And his triple eligibility makes him especially enticing in NL-only leagues.
Worth a second look: Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
After an up-and-down first couple months, Hill has picked it up recently, batting .333 (11 for 33) over his last nine games, and his splits suggest he should remain on the right side of streaky this week. Not only are the Diamondbacks home for all six of their games, where he's batting .311 compared to .196 on the road, but they're facing four lefties, against whom he's batting .321 with a .942 OPS compared to .221 and .628 against righties. Better yet, with the Rockies and Athletics coming to town, the pitchers he's facing are far from aces.
Approach with caution: Omar Infante, Marlins
Even with the recent drop-off in homers, Infante has remained consistent enough to start in mixed leagues, but he may be overdue for a cold spell. He has already started to fall off a little, going 5 for 28 in his last seven games, and his matchups against Tim Hudson, Matt Moore and James Shields could keep him down in a six-game week. If you play in a league that uses middle infield spots, you probably won't find a reasonable alternative for Infante, but he doesn't figure to be one of the top 12 second basemen in Fantasy this week.
No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Dan Uggla, Jason Kipnis
Advisable starts: Michael Young, Brandon Phillips, Aaron Hill, Jose Altuve, Kelly Johnson
Shaky starts: Dustin Ackley, Dustin Pedroia (thumb), Mike Aviles, Omar Infante, Howard Kendrick, Kyle Seager, Daniel Murphy, Danny Espinosa, Rickie Weeks, Gordon Beckham, Jemile Weeks (hip), Neil Walker, Marco Scutaro, Darwin Barney
Strictly AL/NL-only: Ryan Roberts, Elian Herrera, Everth Cabrera, Sean Rodriguez, Tyler Greene, Stephen Lombardozzi, Jamey Carroll, Robert Andino, Freddy Galvis, Alexi Casilla
Don't bother: Brandon Inge, Yuniesky Betancourt, Elliot Johnson, Alexi Amarista, Jose Lopez, Johnny Giavotella, Maicer Izturis, Orlando Hudson, Joaquin Arias, Skip Schumaker (hamstring), Mark Ellis (leg), Jeff Keppinger (foot), Chris Getz (ribs), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Chase Utley (knee), Brian Roberts (concussion), Freddy Sanchez (shoulder)
After toying around with Laynce Nix and John Mayberry, the Phillies have settled on Ty Wigginton at first base, and he has rewarded them by going 10 for 31 (.323) with three home runs over his last eight games. You knew the power would come eventually, even if it is sporadic. If you're desperate for a corner infielder in a mixed league, he's at least serviceable right now. So is the Rockies' Jordan Pacheco, who has provided enough offense at the hot corner to hold off top prospect Nolan Arenado for perhaps another month or two. Pacheco is mostly a singles and doubles hitter and rarely walks, but his strikeouts are just as infrequent, giving him some low-end Head-to-Head appeal.
|1.||Cardinals||@NYM1, @HOU3, CLE3|
|3.||Cubs||@SF1, @MIL3, @MIN3|
|4.||Mets||STL1, @WAS3, @NYY3|
Worth a second look: David Freese, Cardinals
Freese's recent bout with a wrist injury, which forced him to miss three consecutive starts, no doubt has some Fantasy owners rolling their eyes and thinking "here we go again." But despite his injury history, you'll want to give him the benefit of the doubt now that he's back in the lineup. Not only was he heating up before the injury, batting .350 (7 for 20) with two home runs in five games, but he has especially good matchups this week against low-end hurlers like Jeremy Hefner, Lucas Harrell, J.A. Happ, Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez.
Approach with caution: Chris Davis, Orioles
After a recent hot streak, Davis has gone hitless over his last three games, but he would have been a less-than-automatic start this week anyway given the Orioles' matchups. They're facing three legitimately high-end hurlers in Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Cliff Lee and another in Clay Buchholz who has pitched up to the same standard recently. As streaky as Davis has proven to be both this year and throughout his career, you can probably do better in mixed leagues.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Edwin Encarnacion, Martin Prado
Advisable starts: Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Zimmerman, David Freese, Mark Trumbo, Brett Lawrie, Michael Young, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Mike Aviles, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Moustakas, Chase Headley, Daniel Murphy, Will Middlebrooks, Kyle Seager, Chris Davis, Mark Reynolds, Aramis Ramirez (quadriceps)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Chris Johnson, Pedro Alvarez, Placido Polanco, Ryan Roberts, Ian Stewart, Wilson Betemit (illness), Jordan Pacheco, Todd Frazier, Ty Wigginton, Sean Rodriguez, Robert Andino, Lonnie Chisenhall, Josh Bell, Jamey Carroll, Cody Ransom, Stephen Lombardozzi, Pablo Sandoval (hand)
Don't bother: Orlando Hudson, Brandon Inge, Alberto Callaspo, Joaquin Arias, Josh Donaldson, Alex Liddi, Jose Lopez, Juan Francisco, Casey McGehee, Maicer Izturis, Matt Carpenter (oblique), Chipper Jones (calf), Brent Morel (back), Juan Uribe (wrist), Jack Hannahan (calf), Scott Rolen (shoulder), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Evan Longoria (hamstring), Nolan Arenado, Danny Valencia, Eduardo Nunez
Tyler Pastornicky may have won the Braves' starting shortstop job in spring training, but Andrelton Simmons has it now. The Braves did an about-face Thursday, swapping out one rookie for another. The move was mostly for defensive purposes, but Simmons probably won't have too much trouble outperforming Pastornicky's .248 batting average and .605 OPS. He was batting .292 at Double-A Mississippi after winning the Carolina League batting title with a .311 mark last year. Between his high contact rate and his above-average base-stealing ability, he could be surprisingly useful in deeper leagues.
Worth a second look: Dee Gordon, Dodgers
Gordon has looked more comfortable with the move down from the leadoff spot to eighth in the lineup, batting .308 (12 for 39) with two steals in eight games. As long as he's able to hit his way on base, he should steal enough bases to make a relevant contribution. And his matchups this week against pitchers like Kyle Kendrick, Hector Noesi and Kevin Millwood should help him continue the hot hitting. You shouldn't expect him to carry your team or anything, but if you need a fill-in at the shortstop position, Gordon should have one of his better weeks.
Approach with caution: Mike Aviles, Red Sox
The up-and-down season continues for Aviles, who's batting just .178 (8 for 45) over his last 11 games. Given his shaky track record, you can never be too sure whether the latest cold streak is the one that removes him from mixed-league relevance. That's not to say you should drop him or anything, but with pitchers like Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Brian Matusz, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann on tap, he isn't the most advisable start this week.
No-brainers: Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Rafael Furcal
Advisable starts: Derek Jeter, J.J. Hardy, Jed Lowrie, Jimmy Rollins, Mike Aviles, Dee Gordon
Shaky starts: Ian Desmond, Erick Aybar, Zack Cozart, Alexei Ramirez, Jhonny Peralta, Yunel Escobar, Marco Scutaro, Alcides Escobar
Strictly AL/NL-only: Everth Cabrera, Cliff Pennington, Jamey Carroll, Robert Andino, Cody Ransom, Andrelton Simmons, Sean Rodriguez, Brian Dozier, Tyler Greene, Freddy Galvis, Willie Bloomquist, Alexi Casilla
Don't bother: Elliot Johnson, Yuniesky Betancourt, Joaquin Arias, Clint Barmes, Brandon Crawford, Brendan Ryan, Troy Tulowitzki (groin), Jason Bartlett (knee), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Stephen Drew (ankle), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Eduardo Nunez
|1.||Red Sox||BAL3, WAS3|
After sitting out eight straight games in favor of Joe Mather and Reed Johnson, Tony Campana has re-entered the Fantasy spotlight with five steals in his last three games, two of them starts. And he's only the most recent speedster to do so, joining Jose Constanza and Quintin Berry. Fantasy owners who were still active last August might remember the "Summer of Jose," when Constanza stepped in for a slumping Jason Heyward and hit .385 with seven steals over a 20-game stretch. It didn't last long, but it made enough of an impression that the Braves have decided to go back to him with Chipper Jones (calf) on the DL, moving Martin Prado from the outfield to third base. Berry should be an equally cheap source of stolen bases with Austin Jackson (abdominal) sidelined for Detroit, provided his high strikeout rate doesn't condemn him first. So far, so good -- he's batting .362 at the top of the Tigers lineup, making him a reasonable pickup for those needing a one-trick pony.
Worth a second look: Chris Young, Diamondbacks and Lucas Duda, Mets
So far, the Young who returned from a shoulder injury in mid-May isn't the same one who went on the DL in mid-April. But this week is shaping up to be the week he gets back on track. He has always been a significantly better hitter against lefties, posting an OPS about 150 points higher than against righties over his career, and the Diamondbacks are scheduled to face four lefties in their six games this week. And considering those games are against the Rockies and Athletics, neither the lefties nor the righties are all that intimidating. As for Duda, the left-handed slugger gets another righty-heavy week to make good on his potential, with the Mets facing only one left-hander in their seven games. And with three of those games at Yankee Stadium, where he'll be facing the highly hittable Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes, don't be surprised if he pokes a homer or two over the short porch in right. His two-homer game Wednesday helped get him started.
Approach with caution: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners and Carlos Quentin, Padres
Though his season got off to a late start because of offseason knee surgery, Quentin has come off the DL sizzling, batting .474 (9 for 19) with three home runs in five games. But since his near-MVP 2008 season, his career has been one tease after the next, so before you force him into your lineup over someone like Corey Hart or Josh Reddick, keep in mind he'll be playing half of this week at PETCO Park and facing four high-end pitchers in Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo. He's still startable but far from automatic. Likewise, Suzuki has probably been a little more automatic that he deserves to be in Fantasy this year. For the second straight year, the 38-year-old has a batting average well south of .300, and his base-stealing hasn't been nearly as considtent either. If you can live with those marginal numbers, fine, but don't expect anything more against the steady Angels and Dodgers rotations this week.
No-brainers: Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Andrew McCutchen, Matt Holliday, Justin Upton, Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, Andre Ethier, Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Jones, Melky Cabrera, Hunter Pence, Carlos Beltran
Advisable starts: Adrian Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, Martin Prado, Nelson Cruz, Ben Zobrist, Shin-Soo Choo, Corey Hart, Alex Gordon, Jason Heyward, Chris Young, Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, Josh Reddick, Bryan LaHair, Josh Willingham, Bryce Harper, Michael Cuddyer, Alejandro De Aza, Dayan Viciedo, Angel Pagan, Matt Joyce, Lucas Duda, Dexter Fowler, Michael Morse, Allen Craig, Yoenis Cespedes, Ryan Braun (hip)
Shaky starts: Ichiro Suzuki, B.J. Upton, Desmond Jennings (knee), Carlos Quentin, Nick Swisher, Alfonso Soriano, Howard Kendrick, Drew Stubbs, J.D. Martinez, Luke Scott, Jeff Francoeur, Alex Rios, Brennan Boesch, Jason Kubel, Raul Ibanez, Cameron Maybin, Torii Hunter, Michael Brantley, Jordan Schafer, Yonder Alonso, Denard Span, Daniel Nava, Colby Rasmus, Ryan Doumit
Strictly AL/NL-only: Logan Morrison, Mitch Moreland, Rajai Davis, Coco Crisp, Jose Tabata, Delmon Young, David Murphy, David DeJesus, Will Venable, Seth Smith, Michael Saunders, Gregor Blanco, Tony Campana, Wilson Betemit (illness), Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Juan Pierre, Bobby Abreu, Quintin Berry, Jarrod Dyson, Jose Constanza, Stephen Lombardozzi, Ben Revere, Norichika Aoki, Elian Herrera, Jason Bay (ribs)
Don't bother: Garrett Jones, Brandon Belt, Juan Rivera (hamstring), Ryan Sweeney, Alex Liddi, John Mayberry, Mike Carp, Gerardo Parra, Tyler Colvin, Peter Bourjos, Ty Wigginton, Ryan Ludwick, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Gomez, Willie Bloomquist, Johnny Damon, Nyjer Morgan, Chris Heisey, Jesus Guzman, Brian Bogusevic, Nick Markakis (hand), Andy Dirks (Achilles), Skip Schumaker (hamstring), Carlos Lee (hamstring), Matt Kemp (hamstring), Lance Berkman (knee), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Vernon Wells (thumb), Brett Gardner (elbow), Jon Jay (shoulder), Cody Ross (foot), Matt Carpenter (oblique), Nolan Reimold (neck), Austin Jackson (abdominal), Laynce Nix (calf), Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder), Lorenzo Cain (groin), Jayson Werth (wrist), Carl Crawford (elbow), Grady Sizemore (back), Travis Snider, Eric Thames, Brett Jackson, Domonic Brown, Wil Myers
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