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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
Rangers acquire C Bobby Wilson, dump RP Ross Ohlendorf
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:08 pm ET) The Rangers have announced that they have acquired catcher Bobby Wilson on a waiver claim from Tampa Bay and placed veteran pitcher Ross Ohlendorf on waivers.

Wilson has just eight hits in 55 at-bats this season. Ohlendorf has pitched in eight games this season and compiled a 3.52 ERA.


Mariners snag two Rookie League hurlers in Lowe deal
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:02 pm ET) Rookie League pitchers Nick Wells and Jake Brentz are two of the three players heading from the Blue Jays to the Mariners in the deal that sent reliever Mark Lowe to Toronto, per CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. The other is reliever Rob Rasmussen, who has limited major league experience.

Neither Rookie League pitcher has performed particularly well this season. Wells, a third-round pick in 2014, has a 4.78 ERA in seven starts. Brentz, who was taken in the 11th round in 2013, has allowed nine runs in his last 11 innings pitched and has a 4.09 ERA on the year.

Rasmussen has pitched in relief in 11 major league games, but just one this season. He owns a 2.92 career ERA.


Report: Rays trade RP Kevin Jepsen to Twins
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:00 pm ET) The Twins acquired reliever Kevin Jepsen in a trade with the Rays on Friday, a source told Fox Sports.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 2-5 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, five saves and 22 holds through 46 appearances in 2015. He also has 34 strikeouts to 20 walks in 41 2/3 innings.

He is 15-23 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over eight seasons in the majors.


Boras says Marlins keeping Ozuna in minors to delay arbitration
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:44 pm ET) Scott Boras, who is the agent for center fielder Marcell Ozuna, said the Marlins are leaving his client in the minors to delay his arbitration eligibility, according to the Miami Herald. The Marlins have denied their decision is financially-driven.

Ozuna would be eligible for arbitration after this season, if the Marlins bring him back to the majors soon. WINZ reports the cutoff date as Aug. 8, but Boras said the date “is volatile. We’re in that area now where it’s a question.”

“The manager needs a middle of the order bat, the same bat they had for two years that was highly productive and they are restraining him in the minor leagues due to a service time issue,” Boras said. “Ozuna is a proven major-leaguer, certainly deserving of being in the majors with the Marlins. I don’t think anyone would look at the talent with the Marlins and suggest he’s not one of the top 25 players in that organization."

Ozuna has hit .320 with a .587 slugging percentage, .949 OPS, four home runs, eight doubles, nine RBI, 14 runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in 20 games since his demotion to Triple-A New Orleans in early July.


Brewers pick up journeyman RP Preston Guilmet
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:41 pm ET) The Brewers have announced that they have claimed right-handed reliever Preston Guilmet off waivers from the Dodgers.

Guilmet, who has been with three different teams this season, has pitched in three games and compiled a 5.06 ERA.


Report: SP Dan Haren traded from Marlins to Cubs
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:37 pm ET) Veteran right-handed starter Dan Haren is headed from the Marlins to the Cubs, a source has told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Details of the deal have yet to be revealed.

The 34-year-old Haren has had a strong season with a 7-7 record and 3.42 ERA. He has been particularly effective lately with four quality starts in his last five outings. But he has not gone past 6 1/3 innings in any of his last nine starts.


Padres scratch Ian Kennedy; Odrisamer Despaigne to start Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:34 pm ET) Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy was scratched from his start Friday against the Marlins, the team announced. Kennedy left the team to be with his wife, who is giving birth to the couple's fourth child.

The Padres announced Odrisamer Despaigne will start in Kennedy's absence.


RP Mark Lowe dealt from Mariners to Blue Jays
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:25 pm ET) Standout reliever Mark Lowe has been traded from the Mariners to the Blue Jays for prospects, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman has reported.

Lowe has been lights-out in 2015, easily his best season. He has compiled a 1.00 ERA in 34 appearances with 47 strikeouts in 36 innings.


Mets give chance to RP Tim Stauffer
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:12 pm ET) The Mets have signed veteran right-hander Tim Stauffer, who had been released by Minnesota in June, per ESPN.

Stauffer, who was most recently pitching for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, compiled a 6.60 ERA with the Twins in 13 relief appearances. He allowed 24 hits and seven walks in just 15 innings.


Brewers recall pitcher Tyler Thornburg from Triple-A
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:53 pm ET) The Brewers recalled pitcher Tyler Thornburg from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday to take the roster spot of reliever Jonathan Broxton, who was traded to St. Louis. This is the second time Thornburg is on the major-league roster in 2015.

Thornburg started the year in the Brewers bullpen before he joined the rotation at Colorado Springs in late April. He went 2-7 with a 5.28 ERA in 17 starts for Colorado Springs.


 
 
 
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