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Hit Parade for Week 4

Senior Fantasy Writer
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After three weeks of trying something new, I've decided to ammend this year's Hit Parade so that it more closely resembles last year's.

Though time constraints factor in to what I can and can't do, my first priority is to write something people will benefit from reading. Some of the feedback we've received over the last three weeks suggests the new approach was a step in the wrong direction.

If you'd like to weigh in on the matter, drop me a line on Twitter (@CBSScottWhite). Compare this week's Hit Parade to last week's and tell me which you like better. I have a feeling I know what the answer will be.

In this version, I've assessed Fantasy-relevant hitters based on streaks, matchups, injuries and lineup changes and divided them 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.

Any players not appearing on these lists are presumed to be below "don't bother" status and are obvious sits in Fantasy.

All stats are updated through Wednesday, April 17. Injuries are shown in parentheses.

Most Added Hitters (as of 4/19)
Player Name % change
1. Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants 45
2. Evan Gattis, C, Braves 41
3. Chris Carter, OF, Astros 25
4. Chris Johnson, 3B, Braves 25
5. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Athletics 24
6. John Buck, C, Mets 21
7. Nate Schierholtz, OF, Cubs 20
8. Everth Cabrera, SS, Padres 18
9. Daniel Nava, OF, Red Sox 17
10. Daniel Murphy, 2B, Mets 16

Catcher

This offseason, the Mariners decided they could live with Jesus Montero's shortcomings behind the plate as long as he lived up to his potential at the plate. So far, he has not, and so Kelly Shoppach has gotten the nod over him in three of the team's last five games. Montero has favorable matchups against the Astros and Angels this week, so if they don't get him going, he might have a hard time reclaiming regular at-bats apart from a lineup shuffle that frees up the DH spot. Avoid him for now.

Worth a second look: Evan Gattis, Braves
Gattis has cooled off over his last five games, going 2 for 19, but he has become such a critical part of the Braves lineup that you can count on him remaining a part of it at least until Brian McCann comes back. He has three games at Coors Field this week and also gets to beat up on Rick Porcello when the Braves travel to Detroit (DH, anyone?), so I expect him to come roaring back.
Approach with caution: Salvador Perez, Royals
Not only is Perez off to a slow start this season with a sub-.600 OPS, but he has to face Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez to start out the week, followed by three more righties in the Indians series. He hit .279 with a .711 OPS against righties last year compared to .358 and 1.021 OPS against lefties, so now isn't the time for a rebound.

No-brainers: Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, Yadier Molina, Matt Wieters, Wilin Rosario, Mike Napoli
Advisable starts: Miguel Montero, Jonathan Lucroy, Evan Gattis, A.J. Pierzynski
Shaky starts: Salvador Perez, Jesus Montero, John Buck, J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Doumit, Tyler Flowers, Alex Avila, Russell Martin, John Jaso, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, A.J. Ellis
Strictly AL/NL-only: Chris Iannetta, Welington Castillo, Kurt Suzuki, Derek Norris, Jason Castro, Francisco Cervelli, Rob Brantly, Nick Hundley, Devin Mesoraco, Erik Kratz
Don't bother: Kelly Shoppach, Martin Maldonado, Michael McKenry, David Ross, Carlos Ruiz (suspension), Yasmani Grandal (suspension), Brian McCann (wrist), Wilson Ramos (hamstring), Mike Zunino, Travis d'Arnaud

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Rangers @LAA3, @MIN4
2. Mariners @HOU3, LAA4
3. Phillies PIT4, @NYM3
4. Cubs @CIN3, @MIA4
5. Red Sox OAK3, HOU4

First base

Looks like Freddie Freeman's stay on the DL will be a minimal one. Sidelined since the team's fifth game with a strained oblique, he's been taking swings in the cage and seems to be on track to return Monday at Colorado. Three games at Coors Field should help him shake off the rust pretty quickly, so unless you're just loaded at first base, you'll want Freeman in your lineup this week.

Worth a second look: Lance Berkman, Rangers
Berkman has had to sit out four of the team's last seven games, partially because the Rangers seem reluctant to use him against left-handed pitchers and partially because they've been without the DH during their current series at the Cubs. They'll be back in the American League all of this week, though, and are facing five of the league's most hittable righties in Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson, Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey. For what it's worth, the two lefties on tap are pretty hittable themselves.
Approach with caution: Ike Davis, Mets
Davis' dreadful start has the Mets experimenting with other options at first base. He has sat out two of the team's last three games against lefties, which isn't too surprising considering he hit .174 against them last year. It's pretty scary in a week he's scheduled to face four lefties, though, especially when their names are Ted Lilly, Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Cole Hamels.

No-brainers: Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Buster Posey, Edwin Encarnacion, Joe Mauer, Billy Butler, Paul Goldschmidt
Advisable starts: Carlos Santana, Allen Craig, Anthony Rizzo, Paul Konerko, Freddie Freeman (oblique), Ryan Howard, Nick Swisher, Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, Mike Napoli, Matt Carpenter, Lance Berkman, Todd Frazier, Michael Cuddyer (hamstring), Kendrys Morales
Shaky starts: Ike Davis, Eric Hosmer, Justin Morneau, Adam LaRoche, Kevin Youkilis, Adam Dunn, Brandon Belt, Yonder Alonso, Mark Reynolds, Michael Young, Brandon Moss, Chris Carter
Strictly AL/NL-only: Carlos Pena, Justin Smoak, Adam Lind, Jeff Keppinger, Matt Adams, Chris Johnson, Garrett Jones, Chris Parmelee, Mitch Moreland, Greg Dobbs
Don't bother: Todd Helton, Jordan Pacheco, John Mayberry, James Loney, Yuniesky Betancourt, Lyle Overbay, Mark Teixeira (wrist), Corey Hart (knee), Logan Morrison (knee), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton,

Second base

Aaron Hill's fractured hand isn't all bad news for Fantasy owners. In his absence, Martin Prado has gotten a chance to play second base and is now only two games shy of gaining eligibility at the position in standard leagues. He's not playing it every day, so he may not gain it over the weekend, but if he does, he's a no-brainer at the position for next week.

Worth a second look: Josh Rutledge, Rockies
Rutledge isn't off to the greatest start with the bat, but his feet have helped make up for it. After going 7 for 7 on stolen bases in 73 games last year, he's already 4 for 4 this year, which helps explain why he's the No. 3 second baseman in Head-to-Head leagues over the last seven days. Clearly, new manager Walt Weiss is going to let him run. With three games at Coors Field and four games at Arizona this week, he should get on base often to make an impact in mixed leagues.
Approach with caution: Jason Kipnis, Indians
Looks like Kipnis has picked up where he left off in the second half last year, which isn't at all a good thing. Though the elbow injury that has already sidelined him for four games shouldn't hold him out over the weekend, it likely won't help him snap out of his season-opening 4-for-32 slump. Neither will his matchups against Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Jake Peavy to begin this week.

No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Brandon Phillips, Chase Utley
Advisable starts: Jose Altuve, Matt Carpenter, Rickie Weeks, Josh Rutledge
Shaky starts: Dan Uggla, Neil Walker, Jason Kipnis, Howie Kendrick, Jedd Gyorko, Daniel Murphy, Danny Espinosa (wrist), Marco Scutaro, Dustin Ackley, Emilio Bonifacio
Strictly AL/NL-only: Chris Nelson, Kelly Johnson, Omar Infante, Darwin Barney, Donovan Solano, Mark Ellis, Jeff Keppinger, Chris Getz, Cliff Pennington
Don't bother: Yuniesky Betancourt, Eric Sogard, Brian Dozier, Daniel Descalso, Maicer Izturis, Aaron Hill (wrist), Brian Roberts (hamstring), Gordon Beckham (wrist), Logan Forsythe (foot), Jurickson Profar, Jemile Weeks, Kolten Wong

Third base

Luis Jimenez has started the last five games at third base for the Angels with Alberto Callaspo sidelined by a tight calf. Callaspo's injury might not require a DL stint, but it's not like the Angels are itching to get him back in the lineup. He was always miscast as an everyday player. Jimenez, thought not a top prospect, has hit at every level of the minors and is off to a terrific start in Callaspo's place. His lack of plate discipline will likely catch up to him sooner or later, but AL-only owners should take note of him.

Worth a second look: Kyle Seager, Mariners
Seager's batting average has been hovering around the Mendoza line, but he entered play Thursday with a modest six-game hitting streak and an MLB-leading seven doubles. His matchups this week against Brad Peacock, Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell, Garrett Richards, C.J. Wilson, Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas should turn that little flicker into a full-fledged flame, especially since five of them are righties. He hit only .237 against lefties last year.
Approach with caution: Kevin Youkilis, Yankees
Even if Youkilis' new stance is largely responsible for this hot start, he's probably due for a bit of a cool down and has the kind of matchups this week that might even make it a foregone conclusion. In a seven-game week, he's facing Matt Moore, David Price, Alex Cobb, Josh Johnson and R.A. Dickey, among others, so if you've been itching to swap him out for a Matt Carpenter or Brett Lawrie type, this week is a good time to do so.

No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre, David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring), Martin Prado, Pablo Sandoval
Advisable starts: Chase Headley, Matt Carpenter, Will Middlebrooks, Todd Frazier, Kyle Seager
Shaky starts: Brett Lawrie, Kevin Youkilis, David Freese, Pedro Alvarez, Mike Moustakas, Jedd Gyorko, Manny Machado, Lonnie Chisenhall, Michael Young, Josh Donaldson, Trevor Plouffe
Strictly AL/NL-only: Chris Nelson, Chris Johnson, Jeff Keppinger, Juan Francisco, Placido Polanco, Matt Dominguez, Luis Cruz, Greg Dobbs, Alberto Callaspo (calf)
Don't bother: Yuniesky Betancourt, Luis Valbuena, Eric Chavez, Jordan Pacheco, Maicer Izturis, Daniel Descalso, Hanley Ramirez (thumb), Aramis Ramirez (knee), Alex Rodriguez (hip), Wilson Betemit (knee), Ian Stewart (quadriceps), Wilson Betemit (knee), Nolan Arenado, Nick Castellanos, Anthony Rendon

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Tigers KC3, ATL3
2. Mets LAD3, PHI3
3. Yankees @TB3, TOR4
4. Royals @DET3, CLE3
5. Padres MIL3, SF3

Shortstop

Hanley Ramirez is looking to surprise people with how quickly he returns from thumb surgery, saying it will be "way sooner" than the original mid-May timetable. How much is "way" is a judgment call, of course, but I'm guessing it measures weeks rather than days, which means I'm on the lookout for Ramirez to return before the end of April. I'm not suggesting anyone should start him this week, but I'd keep an eye out for further developments this weekend.

Worth a second look: Andrelton Simmons, Braves
Granted, a thumb injury in the season's opening week didn't help, but Simmons hasn't performed up to anyone's expectations so far. The home run Sunday was a good sign, but considering he has only one double, the pop has been lacking so far. I get the feeling we'll see more of it during the Braves' three games at Coors Field to open the week. In a lineup full of home run hitters, all Simmons needs to do to matter in mixed leagues is get on base.
Approach with caution: Alcides Escobar, Royals
Escobar was a firecracker to start the year but has been a dud over his last six games, going 4 for 25. As rarely as he walks, when he's slumping, it really shows. He still has top-10 potential at shortstop, but Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez won't help him get back on track this week. Go with a Simmons or Everth Cabrera instead.

No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Zobrist, Ian Desmond, Starlin Castro, Jimmy Rollins
Advisable starts: Elvis Andrus, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jed Lowrie, Josh Rutledge, Andrelton Simmons
Shaky starts: Everth Cabrera, Alcides Escobar, Jean Segura, Danny Espinosa, Marco Scutaro, J.J. Hardy, Zack Cozart, Jhonny Peralta, Brandon Crawford
Strictly AL/NL-only: Yunel Escobar, Stephen Drew, Cliff Pennington, Eduardo Nunez, Ruben Tejada, Luis Cruz, Pete Kozma
Don't bother: Marwin Gonzalez, Eric Sogard, Brian Dozier, Maicer Izturis, Deniel Descalso, Clint Barmes, Alex Gonzalez, Jose Reyes (leg), Hanley Ramirez (thumb), Erick Aybar (heel), Derek Jeter (ankle), Hiroyuki Nakajima (hamstring), Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton

Outfield

In Minnesota, Oswaldo Arcia has taken the roster spot of Darin Mastroianni, who had to go on the DL with an ankle injury, but unlike Mastroianni, he has little experience in center field. This should bother Fantasy owners for two reasons. One, it means Aaron Hicks' job is safe for the time being. Two, it means Arcia, who's looking like the more intriguing of the two prospects right now, won't be getting regular at-bats. Hopefully, he steals enough from Chris Parmelee and Ryan Doumit to factor in deeper leagues, but you shouldn't roll the dice on him just yet.

Worth a second look: Carlos Gomez, Brewers and Coco Crisp, Athletics
Gomez was a popular drop when he got off to a 6-for-37 start, but with three consecutive three-hit games, his batting average is suddenly up to .300. Granted, he needs to pick it up on the base paths since steals are supposed to be his primary contribution, but when he's hitting well, I'd trust in him. He faces hittable pitchers like Jason Marquis, Tyson Ross, Edinson Volquez and Ted Lilly this week. As for Crisp, even with his recent bout with a groin injury, he's still the highest scoring outfielder in Head-to-Head leagues so far, outpacing even Justin Upton. He's perennially one of the more underrated hitters in Fantasy when he's able to take the field, so you want him active while he's performing well.
Approach with caution: Ichiro Suzuki, Yankees and Torii Hunter, Tigers
Suzuki is almost too obvious given the way he's started the season, but it's worth noting that, perhaps in response to his sub-.200 batting average, the Yankees have taken to sitting him in favor Brennan Boesch against left-handers. They face four lefties in their seven games this week, and the three righties are Alex Cobb, Josh Johnson and R.A. Dickey. Hunter, meanwhile, is off to a hot start, but it's been mostly singles so far. Against Wade Davis, James Shields, Ervin Santana, Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen and Mike Minor this week, he might have trouble maintaining that pace.

No-brainers: Ryan Braun, Mike Trout, Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton, Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Hamilton, Carlos Gonzalez, Ben Zobrist, Bryce Harper, Matt Holliday, Adam Jones, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo, Alex Gordon, Alex Rios
Advisable starts: Jose Bautista (back), Martin Prado, Jason Heyward, Allen Craig, Austin Jackson, Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton, Melky Cabrera, Michael Morse, Shane Victorino, Josh Willingham (illness), Andre Ethier, Nick Swisher, Nelson Cruz, Mark Trumbo, Nick Markakis, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Norichika Aoki, Dexter Fowler (foot), Chris Davis, Matt Carpenter, Carlos Gomez, Hunter Pence, Coco Crisp, Michael Cuddyer (hamstring)
Shaky starts: Carlos Beltran, Ben Revere, Josh Reddick, Starling Marte, Evan Gattis, Angel Pagan, Alejandro De Aza, David Murphy, Torii Hunter, Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner, Domonic Brown (back), Ryan Doumit, Lucas Duda (back), Denard Span (illness), Carlos Quentin, Jon Jay, Lorenzo Cain, Brandon Moss, Colby Rasmus, Franklin Gutierrez, Gerardo Parra
Strictly AL/NL-only: Chris Young, Nate Schierholtz, Daniel Nava, Leonys Martin, Jackie Bradley, Emilio Bonifacio, Juan Pierre, Aaron Hicks, Andy Dirks, Justin Ruggiano, Matt Joyce, Cody Ross, Michael Brantley, Garrett Jones, Dayan Viciedo, Peter Bourjos, Justin Maxwell, Drew Stubbs, Nate McLouth, Will Venable, Raul Ibanez, Oswaldo Arcia, Jeff Francoeur, Nolan Reimold, David DeJesus, Chris Denorfia, Chris Heisey, Chris Parmelee, Rajai Davis, Greg Dobbs, Jordany Valdespin, Michael Saunders (shoulder)
Don't bother: Travis Snider, Jonny Gomes, Collin Cowgill, A.J. Pollock, J.D. Martinez, Marlon Byrd, John Mayberry, Stephen Lombardozzi, Eric Young, Gregor Blanco, Yoenis Cespedes (hand), Curtis Granderson (forearm), Michael Bourn (hand), Corey Hart (knee), Adam Eaton (elbow), Jason Kubel (quadriceps), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Delmon Young (ankle), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Cameron Maybin (wrist), Logan Morrison (knee), Wil Myers, Oscar Taveras, Yasiel Puig, Christian Yelich

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
Red Sox, Padres complete Hanigan-for-Middlebrooks trade
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The Red Sox and Padres completed a trade Friday, with catcher Ryan Hanigan heading to Boston in exchange for third baseman Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox announced.

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Report: Cubs sign veteran C David Ross
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(12/19/2014) Catcher David Ross has signed a two-year contract with the Cubs for $5 million, sources have told Fox Sports insider Ken Rosenthal.

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(12/19/2014) The Padres have announced that they have also received right-hander Aaron Northcraft in the deal with the Braves that landed them slugger Justin Upton.

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Rays designate veteran RHP Brandon Gomes
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(12/19/2014) The Rays have designated right-hander Brandon Gomes for assignment.

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