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 16.
It's been a 2 1/2-month wait, but at long last, Salvador Perez's return appears to be on the horizon. The 22-year-old, who hit .331 in 148 at-bats as a rookie last year before needing offseason knee surgery, has spent only a little more than a week rehabbing at Triple-A Omaha, but after seeing him go 13 for 39 (.333) there, the Royals are at least considering activating him this week. The exact date he'll return is enough of a mystery that you should probably keep him reserved, but his high-contact bat will give him plenty of mixed-league appeal when he's back up to speed. The wait hasn't been quite as long for Geovany Soto, but the Cubs catcher is expected to return from his own knee surgery on Monday. Of course, as much as Fantasy owners were dropping him before the injury, this news probably falls on deaf ears.
Worth a second look: A.J. Ellis, Dodgers
After losing himself a little at the end of May and beginning of June, Ellis is once again channeling his impressive batting eye, walking nine times in his last seven games to give him a .536 on-base percentage to go along with a .316 batting average during that stretch. As long as home runs aren't the priority for you at the catcher position, Ellis could be in for a big week against less-than-consistent hurlers like Tommy Milone, Ervin Santana, Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams.
Approach with caution: Ryan Doumit, Twins
Doumit is batting .290 (9 for 31) over his last eight games, but the loss of the DH spot could be his demise. The Twins are in NL parks for all six of their games this week, and the only other time they've gone without a DH this season (during a three-game series at Milwaukee in May), Doumit was on the bench. Of course, he was dealing with a calf injury then, so the Twins might be more inclined to sit Ben Revere for him this time around. But considering they haven't trusted Doumit to start in the outfield since way back on May 4, that's hardly a guarantee. If nothing else, you should expect him to get less than his usual at-bats, so look elsewhere in mixed leagues.
No-brainers: Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana, Matt Wieters, Brian McCann
Advisable starts: Joe Mauer (quadriceps), Miguel Montero, Jesus Montero, Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Pierzynski, A.J. Ellis
Shaky starts: Russell Martin (foot), Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Wilin Rosario, J.P Arencibia, Ryan Doumit, Geovany Soto (knee)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Alex Avila (hamstring), Salvador Perez (knee), Rod Barajas, Kurt Suzuki, John Buck, Nick Hundley, Devin Mesoraco, Miguel Olivo, Martin Maldonado, Josh Thole, Jesus Flores
Don't bother: John Jaso, Steve Clevenger, Hank Conger, Ryan Hanigan, Yan Gomes, Josh Donaldson, Yorvit Torrealba, Kelly Shoppach, Jason Castro, Tyler Flowers, Chris Snyder, George Kottaras, Hector Sanchez, Jose Molina, Ramon Hernandez (hand), Jonathan Lucroy (hand), Chris Iannetta (wrist), Victor Martinez (knee)
First base is such a deep position that few Fantasy owners will ever have a need to start a true "sleeper." But in case you're one of those few, Matt Adams is a candidate this week, with favorable matchups against the Tigers and Royals pitching staffs and the DH spot available for all six of the Cardinals' games. The only problem is Matt Carpenter (oblique) is nearing a return from the DL, and because his role before getting hurt was basically the same one Adams has now, you shouldn't be surprised if Adams gets shipped back to the minors. Hopefully, he'll stick around long enough to make an impact this week, but he's still too risky to use outside of deeper leagues.
Brett Wallace did a nice job filling in at first base for the Astros, but Carlos Lee's return from a hamstring injury Sunday resulted in the 25-year-old going straight back to the minors. NL-only owners might want to hang on to him in case the Astros toy with the idea of moving him to third base (or Lee to the outfield), but he's obviously not going to do anybody any good this week.
Worth a second look: Justin Morneau, Twins
Morneau has had enough high points mixed in with the low points that he's already approaching every-week status in Fantasy, but this week might be the one that puts him over the top. He has some of the most dramatic home-away and lefty-righty splits in the game right now, and both happen to work in his favor this week. The Twins are on the road for all six games, where he's batting .279 with a .960 OPS (compared to .196 and .620 at home) and are facing five righties, against whom he's batting .313 with a 1.025 OPS (compared to .095 and .328 against lefties).
Approach with caution: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
After a hot start, LaRoche has spent the last few weeks regressing to the mean, batting .149 (13 for 87) over his last 24 games. Of course, he didn't have far to go against lefties. He's batting .241 with a .709 OPS against them this season. With three notable lefties on the schedule this week -- David Price, Matt Moore and Wei-Yin Chen -- the regression only figures to continue.
|1.||Trevor Plouffe, 3B/SS, Twins||45|
|2.||Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles||23|
|3.||Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs||18|
|4.||Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners||15|
|5.||Torii Hunter, OF, Angels||13|
|6.||Ben Revere, OF, Twins||13|
|7.||Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-Backs||9|
|8.||Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays||9|
|9.||Marco Scutaro, 2B, Rockies||7|
|10.||Russell Martin, C, Yankees||7|
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Paul Konerko, Mark Teixeira, Mark Trumbo
Advisable starts: Adrian Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Dunn, Billy Butler, Joe Mauer (quadriceps), Allen Craig, Michael Cuddyer, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Justin Morneau, Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli, Corey Hart, Paul Goldschmidt, Michael Young, Chris Davis
Shaky starts: Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales, Lucas Duda, Carlos Lee, Kevin Youkilis, Bryan LaHair, Adam LaRoche, Carlos Pena, Mark Reynolds, Daniel Murphy, Justin Smoak, Brandon Moss, Freddie Freeman (thumb), Matt Adams, Tyler Colvin
Strictly AL/NL-only: Mitch Moreland, Yonder Alonso, Logan Morrison, Todd Helton, Ike Davis, James Loney, Gaby Sanchez, Ty Wigginton, Jordan Pacheco, Brandon Belt, David Cooper, Wilson Betemit, Brett Wallace, Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee, Matt Carpenter (oblique)
Don't bother: Tyler Moore, Juan Rivera, John Mayberry, Taylor Green, Yan Gomes, Chris Parmelee, Casey Kotchman, Mike Carp (shoulder), Travis Ishikawa (oblique), Lance Berkman (knee), Ryan Howard (Achilles), Adam Lind, Anthony Rizzo
Brian Roberts made his season debut Tuesday after being sidelined for more than a year because of a concussion. Coming back from that sort of injury is no easy task, and at age 34, Roberts' best is probably behind him. Unless he gets back to being an elite base-stealer, which seems unlikely, he'll be more of an AL-only option in Fantasy. Frankly, Jamey Carroll might be a better option for those owners looking for a quick pickup. Now that he's actually stringing together a few hits to go along with his high walk rate, he's making a legitimate impact in Head-to-Head leagues. If nothing else, he seems to have secured regular at-bats over Alexi Casilla in Minnesota.
Worth a second look: Danny Espinosa, Nationals
Unlike his partner on the right side of the diamond, Espinosa thrives against left-handed pitchers, batting .375 with a 1.140 OPS this season and .295 with a .925 OPS for his career. Considering he's a career .231 hitter with a .725 OPS overall, those splits are a pretty big deal. Espinosa isn't a model of consistency, but if you drafted him for his power potential, you have to take advantage of weeks like this one, when he's facing three lefties.
Approach with caution: Gordon Beckham, White Sox
Well, that didn't last long, did it? Beckham was one of the hottest claims off the waiver wire when he hit eight homers (to go along with a .278 batting average) over a 31-game span, but since then, he's reverted back to his underwhelming ways, batting .216 (11 for 51) in 12 games. At age 25, it's possible he's still in for a career season power-wise, but you shouldn't expect much from him in a week he's facing Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Zack Greinke.
No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Dan Uggla, Jason Kipnis
Advisable starts: Dustin Pedroia, Ben Zobrist, Brandon Phillips, Jose Altuve, Michael Young, Kyle Seager, Danny Espinosa
Shaky starts: Kelly Johnson, Dustin Ackley, Rickie Weeks, Omar Infante, Jemile Weeks, Aaron Hill, Mike Aviles, Howard Kendrick, Daniel Murphy, Neil Walker, Gordon Beckham, Everth Cabrera, Marco Scutaro
Strictly AL/NL-only: Brandon Inge, Brian Roberts, Ryan Roberts, Darwin Barney, Sean Rodriguez, Jamey Carroll, Ryan Theriot, Robert Andino, Jerry Hairston, Logan Forsythe (abdominal), Elliot Johnson, Elian Herrera, Chris Getz (leg)
Don't bother: Ryan Raburn, Stephen Lombardozzi, Taylor Green, Tyler Greene, Alexi Casilla, Alexi Amarista, Jose Lopez, Maicer Izturis, Orlando Hudson, Joaquin Arias, Skip Schumaker (hamstring), Freddy Galvis (back), Mark Ellis (leg), Jeff Keppinger (foot), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Chase Utley (knee), Freddy Sanchez (shoulder)
Evan Longoria, who has been out since April 30 with a hamstring injury, began a rehab assignment over the weekend, which would put him on track to return at some point in Fantasy Week 12 (June 18-24). He likely won't play enough to make his presence known in mixed leagues, but when he gets back to full capacity, he'll obviously be one of the top options at the position. Scott Rolen (shoulder) is also set to return this week, but that's probably bad news for Fantasy owners. Todd Frazier, his replacement, had begun to earn some looks in mixed leagues because of his power potential.
Worth a second look: Chris Davis, Orioles
With a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, Davis has a tendency to run hot or cold, which makes him frustrating to own in Fantasy. But he certainly seems to be running hot right now, batting .324 (11 for 34) with three home runs over his last nine games. These stretches are why you own him, so you should probably get him active this week. Because he's a young left-handed hitter, the five righties on tap should only work to his advantage.
Approach with caution: Pablo Sandoval, Giants
The fractured hamate bone that landed Sandoval on the DL in early May was nothing he couldn't overcome. What he did to himself during his DL stint might be, though. The Round Mound of Pound, whose struggles with weight have been well documented, apparently didn't make conditioning his top priority when he was away from the diamond, and manager Bruce Bochy has voiced his disapproval. Guys can play big, of course, but the last time the Giants expressed concerns over Sandoval's weight was in 2010, when he struggled at the plate and was eventually benched. The concern is enough for you to sit him until you're confident he's back to form.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Martin Prado, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Trumbo
Advisable starts: Edwin Encarnacion, Ryan Zimmerman, David Freese, Aramis Ramirez, Brett Lawrie, Michael Young, Jed Lowrie, Kyle Seager, Chris Davis
Shaky starts: Pablo Sandoval, Mark Reynolds, Mike Aviles, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Moustakas, Chase Headley, Daniel Murphy, Will Middlebrooks, Trevor Plouffe, Chris Johnson, Evan Longoria (hamstring)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Brandon Inge, Chipper Jones, Pedro Alvarez, Placido Polanco, Ryan Roberts, Todd Frazier (illness), Wilson Betemit, Jordan Pacheco, Ty Wigginton, Sean Rodriguez, Robert Andino, Jamey Carroll, Cody Ransom, Jerry Hairston, Logan Forsythe (abdominal), Juan Uribe, Casey McGehee, Scott Rolen (shoulder), Matt Carpenter (oblique)
Don't bother: Joe Mather, Josh Bell, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jack Hannahan, Taylor Green, Stephen Lombardozzi, Orlando Hudson, Alberto Callaspo, Joaquin Arias, Josh Donaldson, Jose Lopez, Juan Francisco, Maicer Izturis, Ian Stewart (wrist), Brent Morel (back), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Nolan Arenado, Danny Valencia, Eduardo Nunez
Troy Tulowitzki was all set to return from his groin injury over the weekend until he suffered a setback during his rehab assignment Wednesday. Now the Rockies are looking into whether or not it's a sports hernia, so you shouldn't expect him to return at any point Fantasy Week 12 (June 18-24). Stephen Drew, who has been out all season after suffering a gruesome ankle injury last July, could potentially return this week, but like Tulowitzki, the exact date is unknown. He's mixed league viable when at full capacity, but for just a partial week, he's stictly an NL-only option.
Worth a second look: Trevor Plouffe, Twins
Plouffe has obviously been on a power binge lately, batting .310 (27 for 87) with 13 home runs over his last 23 games. So who's to say it'll end now? He hit 15 homers in only 192 at-bats at Triple-A Rochester before getting the call last year, so he profiles as a legitimate source of power in the majors. And though the Twins have a couple tough matchups this week, pitchers like Kevin Correia, Homer Bailey and Mat Latos have given up their share of homers this season. You might want to stick with the hot hand at the weak position.
Approach with caution: Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have tried just about everything to get Escobar going, most recently moving him down from second to sixth in the batting order, but nothing has worked. He's batting just .207 (6 for 29) over his last eight games to give him a .251 batting average overall. He's not a big home run or steals threat, so he needs to hit for average to factor in mixed leagues. With Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo, Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle on tap, this week doesn't seem like the week he turns it around.
No-brainers: Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro, Elvis Andrus, Asdrubal Cabrera, Rafael Furcal
Advisable starts: J.J. Hardy, Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, Jed Lowrie, Trevor Plouffe
Shaky starts: Mike Aviles, Ian Desmond, Zack Cozart, Jhonny Peralta, Erick Aybar, Dee Gordon, Alexei Ramirez, Yunel Escobar, Everth Cabrera, Marco Scutaro, Alcides Escobar
Strictly AL/NL-only: Stephen Drew (ankle), Cliff Pennington, Jamey Carroll, Ryan Theriot, Robert Andino, Cody Ransom, Andrelton Simmons, Sean Rodriguez, Elliot Johnson, Brian Dozier, Willie Bloomquist
Don't bother: Tyler Greene, Alexi Casilla, Joaquin Arias, Clint Barmes, Brandon Crawford, Brendan Ryan, Troy Tulowitzki (groin), Freddy Galvis (back), Jason Bartlett (knee), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Eduardo Nunez
|2.||Blue Jays||@MIL3, @MIA3|
With Corey Hart's move to first base, Norichika Aoki has become a regular in the Brewers lineup, starting 13 straight games. And given his performance during that stretch -- .283 (15 for 53) batting average with two home runs and three stolen bases -- the Brewers won't be making a change any time soon. As an on-base specialist with some measure of pop and speed, Aoki has more mixed-league appeal than his 17 percent ownership rate would have you believe.
Worth a second look: Austin Jackson, Tigers and Michael Saunders, Mariners
Sitting a guy who just came off the DL is normally a justifiable move in Fantasy, but Jackson has been active for a few games now. He has already homered twice and has shown no lingering effects from the abdominal injury that sidelined him for three weeks. Before the injury, he looked like one of this season's biggest breakouts, flashing five-category potential with an improved strikeout-to-walk ratio, so you'll want him active for a week he's facing Jake Westbrook, Kyle Lohse, Brad Lincoln and Kevin Correia. As for Saunders, hey, the splits speak for themselves. He's batting .312 with a .919 OPS on the road compared to .202 and .577 at home, so when he's on the road, he's usually mixed-league viable. He's certainly been hot enough to justify a starting nod, batting .379 (25 for 66) with three homers and three steals over his last 16 games.
Approach with caution: Matt Joyce, Rays and Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays
Yup, I'm going there with Joyce again. The Rays may be playing him more often against lefties this season, including Johan Santana on Thursday, but they still sit him a fair amount of the time. And because he's batting .263 with a .777 OPS against lefties, he's not so attractive in Fantasy even when he does get to face them. The three on tap for the Rays this week -- Gio Gonzalez, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels -- will probably eat him alive, and that Stephen Strasburg matchup isn't a walk in the park either. Rasmus, meanwhile, has been an attractive pickup given his recent hot streak -- he's batting .301 (25 for 83) with six homers over his last 19 games -- but his matchups this week are the kind that should have mixed-league owners consulting the waiver wire again. The Blue Jays are facing Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo, Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle in a six-game span.
No-brainers: Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Andrew McCutchen, Matt Holliday, Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, Andre Ethier, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Beltran, Adam Jones, Melky Cabrera, Hunter Pence, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Josh Willingham, Jay Bruce
Advisable starts: Josh Hamilton (illness), Justin Upton, Adrian Gonzalez, Martin Prado, Nelson Cruz, Bryce Harper, Josh Reddick, Ben Zobrist, Allen Craig, Michael Cuddyer, Michael Morse, Corey Hart, Jason Heyward, Alejandro De Aza, Angel Pagan, Austin Jackson, Desmond Jennings, Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Gordon
Shaky starts: Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring), Carlos Gonzalez (knee), Matt Joyce, Nick Swisher (quadriceps), Lucas Duda, B.J. Upton, Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, Dexter Fowler, Chris Young, Bryan LaHair, Alfonso Soriano, Howard Kendrick, Carlos Lee, J.D. Martinez, Brennan Boesch, Jason Kubel, Dayan Viciedo, Cameron Maybin, Michael Brantley, Denard Span, Colby Rasmus, Trevor Plouffe, Gregor Blanco, Michael Saunders, Torii Hunter, Brandon Moss, Norichika Aoki, Tyler Colvin
Strictly AL/NL-only: Daniel Nava (hand), Jeff Francoeur, Raul Ibanez, Jordan Schafer, Mitch Moreland, Yonder Alonso, Delmon Young, Ryan Doumit, Gerardo Parra, David DeJesus, Logan Morrison, Rajai Davis, Coco Crisp, David Murphy, Will Venable, Seth Smith, Jose Tabata, Tony Campana, Wilson Betemit, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Juan Pierre, Bobby Abreu, Alex Presley, Ben Revere, Garrett Jones, Jerry Hairston, Ty Wigginton, Brandon Belt, Elian Herrera, Franklin Gutierrez, Cody Ross (foot), Matt Carpenter (oblique)
Don't bother: Quintin Berry, Jarrod Dyson, Stephen Lombardozzi, Ryan Sweeney, John Mayberry, Juan Rivera, Peter Bourjos, Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Gomez, Willie Bloomquist, Johnny Damon, Nyjer Morgan, Chris Heisey (groin), Drew Stubbs (oblique), Jason Bay (concussion), Luke Scott (back), Mike Carp (shoulder), Skip Schumaker (hamstring), Andy Dirks (Achilles), Nick Markakis (wrist), Matt Kemp (hamstring), Lance Berkman (knee), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Vernon Wells (thumb), Jon Jay (shoulder), Nolan Reimold (neck), Brett Gardner (elbow), 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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