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Hit Parade for Week 3

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's note: We don't state the obvious here at CBSSports.com because we don't want to waste your time (or ours). You won't read Scott telling you to start Evan Longoria or Andrew McCutchen. Instead, he'll be focusing on the fringe players on every roster to help you make those tough weekly lineup decisions. These designations indicate a player's Fantasy value for the current week only.

All stats are updated through Wednesday, April 10.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Schedule: @NYY3, @COL3
Worth a second look: Gerardo Parra, A.J. Pollock
Less than advisable: Jason Kubel
Even though he's only 1 for 12 against lefties this season, I'm throwing caution to the wind and recommending Parra in points leagues with three lefties on tap this week. That's because two of them, Jorge De La Rosa and Jeff Francis, probably won't last long at Coors Field, where all of the Diamondbacks figure to put up big numbers. Pollock should get consistent playing time with the DH available the first half of the week.

Atlanta Braves

Schedule: KC2, @PIT4
Worth a second look: Evan Gattis, Andrelton Simmons
Less than advisable: Jason Heyward
Now that he's actually eligible at catcher and playing every day to help make up for the loss of Freddie Freeman, Gattis is an advisable start in all formats, especially with three hittable lefties in Jeff Locke, Wandy Rodriguez and Jonathan Sanchez on tap. Those lefties might also be the excuse you need to sit Heyward. Even last year, he hit only .224 against southpaws, and his mechanics appear to be out of whack right now.
Scott's sleepers for Week 3
Player Start %
1. Evan Gattis, C, Braves 18
2. Jayson Werth, OF, Nationals 66
3. Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers 68
4. Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals 65
5. Coco Crisp, OF, Athletics 60
6. Lucas Duda, OF, Mets 20
7. Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox 66
8. Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies 54
9. Gerardo Parra, OF, Diamondbacks 35
10. Josh Rutledge, 2B, Rockies 69

Baltimore Orioles

Schedule: TB3, LAD3
Worth a second look: None
Less than advisable: Chris Davis, J.J Hardy
To be honest, I probably won't sit Davis either given his hot start, but I don't think he'll have a particularly good week. The six pitchers he's facing -- Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, David Price, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley -- all have the kind of stuff that should give a free-swinger like him fits. Plus, three of them are lefties. Maybe in a 10-team league with 16-man lineups, I could talk myself into it?

Boston Red Sox

Schedule: TB1, @CLE3, KC3
Worth a second look: Jackie Bradley, Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Less than advisable: David Ortiz
Given his lack of production to date, starting Bradley is no doubt risky, but with Ortiz expected to return from the DL as early as April 19, this week may be Bradley's last chance to make an impression. And seeing as the Red Sox face nothing but right-handers, with the first four being Jeremy Hellickson and whoever the Indians dig up, I trust him to make the most of it.

Chicago Cubs

Schedule: TEX3, @MIL3
Worth a second look: None
Less than advisable: Alfonso Soriano, Darwin Barney
The Cubs have decent matchups this week, but with most of the high-end pitchers around the league making only one start, most teams do. With that in mind, decent matchups aren't enough to compel me to start an ice-cold Soriano, who is without an extra-base hit on the season.

Chicago White Sox

Schedule: @TOR4, MIN3
Worth a second look: Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers
Less than advisable: Dayan Viciedo
The White Sox play in nothing but hitter's parks this week, so the fringy hitters who perform significantly better at home -- another hitter's park -- will be getting a second look from me. Konerko has reached the stage in his career when a slow start gets him benched in a third of all leagues, but I'm thinking he steps it up against Mark Buehrle, J.A. Happ and the lightweight Twins rotation.

Cincinnati Reds

Schedule: PHI3, MIA4
Worth a second look: Todd Frazier
Less than advisable: Zack Cozart
In a week the Reds are facing Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan, Kevin Slowey, Wade LeBlanc and Alex Sanabia over seven games, I'd like to be able to hype all of their hitters. Unfortunately, Frazier is the only one who falls into the fringy range, and with a starting percentage of 87, he's pushing it. OK, so there's Cozart as well, but unless he's blazing hot, he's pretty much worthless to me.

Cleveland Indians

Schedule: BOS3, @HOU3
Worth a second look: Mark Reynolds
Less than advisable: Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall
As much as you paid for him, maybe you stick with Kipnis out of principle. But he has yet to get anything going at the plate this season, and he hit .215 with a .581 OPS against lefties last season. I expect Felix Doubront, Jon Lester and Erik Bedard to give him fits this week and would be looking to the waiver wire for a short-term replacement.
Most Added Hitters (as of 4/12)
Player % change
1. John Buck, C, Mets 47
2. Jed Lowrie, SS, Athletics 34
3. Coco Crisp, OF, Athletics 28
4. Evan Gattis, C, Braves 25
5. Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Mariners 24
6. Vernon Wells, OF, Yankees 21
7. Gerardo Parra, OF, D-Backs 20
8. Lance Berkman, 1B, Rangers 16
9. J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays 15
10. Daniel Murphy, 2B, Mets 14

Colorado Rockies

Schedule: NYM4, ARI3
Worth a second look: Dexter Fowler, Michael Cuddyer, Josh Rutledge, Chris Nelson
Less than advisable: None
A full week at home. It's a beautiful thing for Rockies hitters, especially when hittable types like Jeremy Hefner, Aaron Laffey and Brandon McCarthy are among the seven pitchers they're facing. Hot hands like Fowler and Cuddyer are no-brainers for this week, but even Rutledge and Nelson are advisable in mixed leagues, given their eligibility at second base. Nelson hit .347 with a .911 OPS at home last year.

Detroit Tigers

Schedule: @SEA3, @LAA3
Worth a second look: Alex Avila, Torii Hunter
Less than advisable: Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta
During what was a miserable, injury-plagued 2012, Avila actually posted respectable numbers against right-handed pitchers, batting .262 with a .796 OPS. He gets five this week -- and some of them lightweights like Blake Beavan, Garrett Richards and Joe Blanton. With a couple home runs in his last four games, he could be on the verge of a big week. Coming back from knee surgery, Martinez is 3 for 25 and now playing with a stitched thumb. Sit him until he proves himself.

Houston Astros

Schedule: @OAK3, CLE3
Worth a second look: Jason Castro, Marwin Gonzalez
Less than advisable: J.D. Martinez
Though Gonzalez's power surge is unlikely to continue, he, like many switch-hitters, is significantly better against right-handers than left-handers, batting .291 compared to .138 for his career, so righties like A.J. Griffin, Bartolo Colon, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers and Carlos Carrasco should help him remain the hot hand at a weak position this week. With Fernando Martinez back from the DL this weekend, J.D. Martinez's time as a semi-regular is likely done.

Kansas City Royals

Schedule: @ATL2, @BOS3
Worth a second look: None
Less than advisable: Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain
The problem for the Royals this week is they're the only team playing five games, and three of them are against some pretty tough pitchers in Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Clay Buchholz. With the DH spot unavailable in Atlanta, Hosmer is likely to sit at least one game, leaving him with a four-game week. Cain has been heating up but lacks the big-game potential to factor in such a short week.

Los Angeles Angels

Schedule: @MIN3, DET3
Worth a second look: None
Less than advisable: Erick Aybar
Aybar's bruised left heel showed enough improvement after Wednesday's game that a trip to the DL is no longer a foregone conclusion, but it's still enough of a possibility that you're better off sitting him for an Andrelton Simmons or Jean Segura type. The six righties on tap wouldn't do him much good anyway. He hit about 60 points higher against lefties last season.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Schedule: SD3, @BAL3
Worth a second look: Andre Ethier
Less than advisable: None
Ethier has been a disappointment so far, but when you consider the Dodgers have faced five left-handers in their eight games, it's not too surprising. Ethier hit only .222 with a .606 OPS against lefties last year compared to .325 with a .945 OPS against righties. The Dodgers do face two lefties this week, but the four righties on the schedule -- Jason Marquis, Tyson Ross, Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta -- are the kind that end slumps.
Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Rockies NYM4, ARI3
2. Rangers @CHC3, SEA3
3. Reds PHI3, MIA4
4. Diamondbacks @NYY3, @COL3
5. Red Sox TB1, @CLE3, KC3

Miami Marlins

Schedule: WAS3, @CIN4
Worth a second look: None
Less than advisable: Justin Ruggiano
Maybe if you play in a deep NL-only league, players like Placido Polanco and Donovan Solano might have some value at weak positions during a week when the Marlins are playing seven games, but as much trouble as they've had scoring runs so far, who can I honestly endorse here? Ruggiano did most of his damage against lefties last year, so with six righties on tap, I wouldn't expect a bounce-back week.

Milwaukee Brewers

Schedule: SF3, CHC3
Worth a second look: Norichika Aoki
Less than advisable: Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy
Aoki is hot enough, batting .500 (11 for 22) with three doubles and two steals over his last five games, that the matchups shouldn't have much say in whether you start or sit him. But Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain and Jeff Samardzija won't do much good for anyone else. I wouldn't suggest you drop Lucroy, but given the number of hot-hitting catchers emerging off the waiver wire right now, if you can afford to roster two, Lucroy is probably the one to sit.

Minnesota Twins

Schedule: LAA3, @CHW3
Worth a second look: Justin Morneau, Darin Mastroianni
Less than advisable: Aaron Hicks
It may not happen this week, but with rookie Aaron Hicks bombing at the plate and angering manager Ron Gardenhire with his lack of hustle, the transition to speedster Mastroianni in center field seems inevitable. The 27-year-old, who was hobbled by a bruised ankle at the start of the year, has league-leading steals potential, so even now, he's startable in Rotisserie leagues if you need help in that category.

New York Mets

Schedule: @COL4, WAS3
Worth a second look: Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy
Less than advisable: John Buck
Yes, it's true. Buck, the lord of the long ball, opens the week with four games at Coors Field, and I want nothing to do with him. He's performed so far over his head to this point that you've probably missed your opportunity with him. A course correction is coming, and if it doesn't during that first series, it's sure to against Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann to end the week.

New York Yankees

Schedule: ARI3, @TOR3
Worth a second look: Vernon Wells
Less than advisable: Travis Hafner
The Yankees haven't faced a left-hander since Jon Lester in the season opener, so going against Wade Miley, Patrick Corbin and Mark Buehrle this week is uncharted territory for them. It can only be a good thing for the already-hot Vernon Wells, though, whose career batting average is about 30 points higher against lefties than righties. He's adequate in leagues that require five outfielders.

Oakland Athletics

Schedule: HOU3, @TB3
Worth a second look: Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie
Less than advisable: Brandon Moss, John Jaso
The Athletics have some of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, and pitchers like Brad Peacock, Bud Norris, Jeremy Hellickson and Roberto Hernandez figure to keep it that way. Unfortunately, the other two pitchers on tap, Erik Bedard and Matt Moore, are tough enough lefties that the Athletics are likely to sit Moss and Jaso against them, and I wouldn't recommend any player destined for a four-game week.

Philadelphia Phillies

Schedule: @CIN3, STL4
Worth a second look: Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown, Ben Revere
Less than advisable: None
In short, any Phillie worth rostering is worth starting this week (John Mayberry and Erik Kratz don't quite make the cut for me). Howard, Brown and Revere aren't off to the greatest starts this season, but none of them look lost at the plate either. With seven games at tiny ballparks and six right-handers on the schedule (which is especially important for Howard and Brown), I have a feeling all three come alive this week.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Schedule: STL3, ATL4
Worth a second look: Garrett Jones
Less than advisable: Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte
With the Pirates facing a disproportionate number of lefties to start the season, Jones has been sort of an afterthought in Fantasy, but he hit .289 with an .888 OPS against righties last year. With six on tap this week, he's a sleeper for deeper leagues. The specific pitchers are pretty tough, though. Marte, one of the few Pirates who's been hitting well, has poor splits against righties and at home so far in his career.
Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Padres @LAD3, @SF3
2. Orioles TB3, LAD3
3. Royals @ATL2, @BOS3
4. Brewers SF3, CHC3
5. Pirates STL3, ATL4

San Diego Padres

Schedule: @LAD3, @SF3
Worth a second look: None
Less than advisable: Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Everth Cabrera, Chase Headley
In a week when few teams have bad matchups, the Padres have the worst, facing off against Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner, among others. None of their fringies are good enough to start with those hurlers on tap. Headley doesn't normally fall into that category, of course, but the possibility of him picking up a few at-bats at the end of the week may cause some Fantasy owners to waver. Better give him more time.

San Francisco Giants

Schedule: @MIL3, SD3
Worth a second look: Angel Pagan
Less than advisable: Brandon Belt
Apart from Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval, who are too obvious to mention, really, Pagan is the Giant swinging the hottest bat right now, batting .429 (9 for 21) with a double, a triple and a steal in his last five games. He's startable even with so-so matchups this week. Belt may eventually earn that status, but with him still regaining his strength after losing 10 pounds to an early-season illness, you can do better.

Seattle Mariners

Schedule: DET3, @TEX3
Worth a second look: Kendrys Morales, Kyle Seager, Raul Ibanez
Less than advisable: Dustin Ackley
Looking at last year's splits, the five righties on tap should benefit both Kendrys Morales, who has been heating up lately, and Kyle Seager, who hasn't but who hit .364 with a .977 OPS in 44 at-bats at Texas last year, where the Mariners close out their week. Ibanez figures to be the prime beneficiary of Michael Saunders' sprained shoulder, at least against righties. Deeper-league owners, take note.

St. Louis Cardinals

Schedule: @PIT3, @PHI4
Worth a second look: Matt Carpenter
Less than advisable: Jon Jay, Matt Adams
Adams has raised eyebrows by homering in back-to-back games, the first as a pinch-hitter, but manager Mike Matheny has suggested the rookie will play only two or three times per week -- and not always at Allen Craig's expense. The distribution of at-bats between Carpenter, Freese and Daniel Descalso at second and third base is the one more pertinent to Fantasy owners. The way he's swinging the bat, Carpenter could sit twice during a seven-game week and still deliver starter-worthy numbers.

Tampa Bay Rays

Schedule: @BOS1, @BAL3, OAK3
Worth a second look: None
Less than advisable: Yunel Escobar
The only Rays to play every game through the team's first nine games are Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar. With all that mixing and matching, none of the borderline types are especially advisable even in a seven-game week. Escobar qualifies as a borderline type, but considering he's off to a 3-for-30 start, you can do better.

Texas Rangers

Schedule: @CHC3, SEA3
Worth a second look: Lance Berkman
Less than advisable: Leonys Martin, Mitch Moreland
Fear not, Berkman owners. With only Moreland standing in his way, the Rangers should have no qualms playing the 37-year-old at first base during the three games they'll be without the DH. He may sit once during that series, but chances are he'll sit once a week anyway. Speaking of sitting, Martin has done too much of it so far for me to trust him in mixed leagues, good matchups or not.

Toronto Blue Jays

Schedule: CHW4, NYY3
Worth a second look: J.P. Arencibia
Less than advisable: Colby Rasmus
Arencibia's high strikeout rate hasn't held him back so far. As long as he's hot, you might as well make the most of his power potential. He's always fared better against lefties, and some of the Blue Jays' toughest matchups in a relatively easy week are Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Andy Pettitte. Rasmus has just as many home runs so far but was almost a non-factor against lefties last season.

Washington Nationals

Schedule: @MIA3, @NYM3
Worth a second look: Jayson Werth, Denard Span
Less than advisable: Wilson Ramos, Kurt Suzuki
Yet another of the many teams with terrific matchups this week, about the only Nationals you'd consider sitting are those mired slumps, which basically just includes Ryan Zimmerman. He's obviously too high-end to sit. Given the way Ramos and Suzuki are alternating starts, you should probably avoid both in standard mixed leagues. Werth, meanwhile, is looking like a must-start again now that his wrist is back to full strength.

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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Player News
Rangers' Alexander Claudio hoping to earn a role
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:27 am ET) Rangers pitcher Alexander Claudio is hoping to be the team's lefty in the bullpen, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Claudio is one of three lefties in camp competing for the job. He performed well in his first taste of spring training, retiring two lefties during his inning of work. He allowed one hit, and struck out two batters. While Claudio's fastball barely registers on the radar gun, manager Jeff Banister still came away impressed.

"I like the secondary stuff," Banister said. "He's accepted the type of pitcher he is and is willing to be that guy. He’s really intriguing with the kind of deception he brings."

Claudio posted a 2.92 ERA over 12 1/3 innings last season.


Dodgers' Erik Bedard willing to go to Triple-A
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers pitcher Erik Bedard is willing to go to Triple-A if he doesn't break camp with the major-league club, according to MLB.com.

Bedard allowed one run over two innings in his first taste of spring action on Wednesday. The veteran said he knows that if the Dodgers five starters are healthy, he'll be sent to the minors. "I know where I stand," Bedard said. "The game is still fun. I like to play baseball."

Bedard posted a 4.76 ERA over 75 2/3 innings last season. 


Dodgers' Alex Guerrero willing to play third base
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers infielder Alex Guerrero has been willing to learn third this spring, according to MLB.com.

Guerrero is in a bit of a unique position. With Howie Kendrick entrenched at second, Guerrero doesn't really have a spot in the team's infield. Due to his contract, however, the team can't just send him to the minors. Guerrero can block the move, and has already said he plans to do so if the team tries to send him down. If he can play third well, that may not be a problem.

For what it's worth, manager Don Mattingly believes Guerrero has looked better this spring. "I really do think the second year [in camp] he looks a lot different as far as being relaxed," Mattingly said. "He's swinging the bat well and he keeps improving."

The 28-year-old hit .333/.371/.621 over three minor-league levels last season. 


Twins' Byron Buxton doubles twice on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton doubled twice on Wednesday against the University of Minnesota.

Buxton came into last season ranked as one of the best prospects in the minors. He had injury issues, which ended his season early. While Buxton is still considered the Twins top prospect, he was passed by other players in the overall prospect rankings due to the injuries. 

Buxton seemed to be 100 percent on Wednesday, doubling twice during the contest. He scored one run and drove in one RBI. The 21-year-old should open the season in the minors, but could debut as early as this season depending on his performance. 


Twins' Jose Berrios strikes out four on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Twins starter Jose Berrios struck out four during his first spring appearance on Wednesday.

Berrios took on the University of Minnesota, and turned in a good showing. While Berrios is a minor-leaguer, he's only 20, and was taking on players his age. Berrios allowed one hit and one unearned run over two innings of work. He struck out four batters.

Berrios is the team's third-best prospect according to Baseball America. He's expected to begin the year in the minors, but could move quickly based on how well he performs. 


Diamondbacks pitcher Braden Shipley makes debut Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Braden Shipley pitched two innings in his spring training debut Wednesday, allowing just one baserunner and recording one strikeout. Shipley admitted he was a bit worried in his first appearance, reports AZCentral.com.

"I was a little nervous going in, but that was expected," Shipley said. "I think it was more excitement for me. That was really fun."

Manager Chip Hale said he expects Shipley to make starts in his next few appearances this spring.


Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson faces batters for first time this spring
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson was able to face live batters for the first time this spring since recovering from back surgery, the 27-year-old tweeted Wednesday.

Anderson was only able to pitch 43 1/3 innings in 2014 with a 1-3 record and 2.91 ERA after suffering the back injury that cut his season short. 


White Sox SS Tim Anderson looking to become long-term solution
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) White Sox prospect Tim Anderson is on a mission in spring training this year. He wants to prove that he belongs in the majors with the big boys.

"Just show them I can stay at short and my defense has come a long way and it's going to get better," Anderson said. "I want to be a shortstop for a long time. I'm going to be a shortstop. I'm going to work hard to stay there."

Anderson is currently considered Chicago's No. 2 prospect and could be just the prospect the White Sox are looking for. In his 2015 debut, Anderson smacked a two-run single.

"I'm just staying calm and trying not to do too much and just doing what I've been doing to be here," Anderson said. "It has been exciting to get in here and work with all the big leaguers and get my reps in and see how they go in the daily routine."


Reds' Kevin Gregg hoping to win a spot in the bullpen
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Reds pitcher Kevin Gregg is hoping to win a spot in the team's bullpen, according to MLB.com.

Gregg may be 36-years-old, but understands he still needs to prove himself.  "I don't mind coming in and earning a spot," he said. "I'm coming off elbow surgery. At this point in my career, it's something I need to do."

Gregg had bone chips removed from his elbow in August, but was able to hit 92 mph in a showcase in February. He believes his velocity has improved since then.

Manager Bryan Price had good things to say about Gregg thus far. "He looks great. He looks durable," Price said. "He's got hand speed. He's crisp with his location. I've been extremely impressed with Kevin to this point."

The 36-year-old tossed just nine innings in the majors last year.


Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Reynolds sidelined with oblique injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Reynolds was scheduled to throw batting practice Wednesday, but was unable to do so while dealing with a sore right oblique, reports MLB.com.

"I'm like, 'I'm in here again, I can't get out of this darn room,'" Reynolds said.

Reynolds missed all of 2014 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he isn't having any issues with the elbow.

"My elbow feels real good," he said. "It feels strong."


 
 
 
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