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Hit Parade for Week 6

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Hit Parade is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Looking at matchups for the week ahead and considering other factors such as streaks, injuries and lineup changes, we sort all Fantasy-relevant hitters at each position 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. Injuries are shown in parentheses.

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, May 1.

Catcher

Most Added Hitters (as of 5/3)
Player Name % change
1. Nate McLouth, OF, Orioles 54
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies 39
3. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Athletics 32
4. Yuniesky Betancourt, 1B, Brewers 32
5. Russell Martin, C, Pirates 28
6. Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers 14
7. Ryan Raburn, OF, Indians 14
8. Omar Infante, 2B, Tigers 12
9. Luis Valbuena, 3B, Cubs 11
10. Matt Joyce, OF, Rays 10
Brian McCann seems to be on the verge of returning from offseason shoulder surgery, and from a Fantasy perspective, he couldn't pick a better time to do so. Not only is he aiming for Monday, giving him a chance to contribute for an entire week, but his replacement, rookie sensation Evan Gattis, is mired in a 10-for-56 slump. Of course, Gattis isn't going anywhere. With Jason Heyward out, he could move to the outfield on the days he's not catching. Still, with Gattis' struggles the Braves will likely be motivated to keep McCann's bat in the lineup as much as his surgically repaired shoulder will allow. Giving him a week to prove his health wouldn't be the worst move in Fantasy, but McCann is startable if you need him.

Worth a second look: Russell Martin, Pirates
Martin is certainly the hot hand at the catcher position, batting .422 (19 for 45) with six home runs in his last 12 games, but unlike previous hot hands Evan Gattis and John Buck, he might actually have some staying power. He's back in the NL, where he was an All-Star with the Dodgers not so long ago, and at age 30, he's not beyond recapturing that form, especially if he maintains his low strikeout rate. Plus, he has some cupcake matchups this week in Brandon Maurer, Aaron Harang and Jeremy Hefner.
Approach with caution: Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks
Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are just three of the left-handers on tap for the Diamondbacks this week. They're facing four overall. Montero, a left-handed hitter, has at times struggled against lefties in his career, producing a batting average 40 points lower and an OPS 100 points lower against them last year, and it's not like he's tearing the cover off the ball with a .194 batting average .542 OPS so far. If there was ever a time to sit the semi-stud, this is it.

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

First base

Matt Adams, on the DL with a strained oblique, hopes to return Tuesday, which means he can get back to tantalizing Fantasy owners with a home run every third or fourth day when he's in the lineup. Or not. It's not like more playing time has opened up in his absence, and as can't-miss as he was before the injury, you can't expect him to pick up where he left off. He's an intriguing stash in NL-only leagues, but unless something unexpectedly changes with the Cardinals lineup, the thrill ride is most likely over.

Worth a second look: Yonder Alonso, Padres
After another discouraging start to the season, Alonso has picked up his production over his last seven games, batting .333 (9 for 27). And for once, the Padres don't have impossibly tough matchups this week. They're facing pitchers like Wade LeBlanc, Alex Sanabia, Ricky Nolasco, Jeremy Hellickson and Roberto Hernandez, making Alonso a potential utility option in mixed leagues.
Approach with caution: Todd Frazier, Reds
Considering he's already 27, Frazier probably isn't going to get much better than he was last year. Consider his current 5-for-40 (.125) stretch the inevitable regression to the mean. With Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada on tap for the Reds, it's unlikely to end this week.

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

Second base

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Red Sox MIN4, TOR3
2. Rays TOR4, SD3
3. Angels @HOU3, @CHW3
4. Athletics @CLE4, @SEA3
5. Rangers @CHC1, @MIL2, @HOU3
Neil Walker and Mark Ellis are both still technically day to day, but both have been out long enough that they're likely to wind up on the DL. Walker, who hasn't played since April 26 because of a cut on his right index finger, has been having trouble gripping a bat. Ellis, also out since April 26, has a quadriceps injury that has yet to improve.

Worth a second look: Howie Kendrick, Angels
Overlooked on Draft Day because of his relative lack of sizzle, Kendrick has emerged as one of the more trustworthy options at one of the game's shallowest positions, maintaining a batting average right around .300 and showing improved power from a year ago. I still don't think you'll be satisfied with him in the long run, but in a week he's facing Erik Bedard, Jordan Lyles, Bud Norris, Hector Santiago and Dylan Axelrod, give him a whirl.
Approach with caution: Yuniesky Betancourt, Brewers
He has to slow down eventually, right? I understand a second base-eligible player on a 40-homer pace might be too alluring for some owners to pass up, but I have a hard time believing Betancourt could change that much in his age-31 season. His career slugging percentage is .396. And considering he's reaching base at only a .297 clip even with this hot start, he has to keep homering to make any sort of Fantasy contribution. The five-game slate for the Brewers makes him easy to avoid this week, especially since Tony Cingrani and Mat Latos are two of the pitchers on tap.

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

Third base

Aramis Ramirez faked us out last week, but barring a last-minute change of heart, he'll forego a rehab assignment to return from his sprained knee Friday, giving him a weekend to prove his health before you have to make a decision with him. Ryan Zimmerman, sidelined since April 17 with a strained hamstring, is also set to return Friday. Both players are typically must-starts when healthy, but with only five games on tap for each, you might opt to sit them in shallower leagues, particularly if they don't hit the ground running over the weekend.

Worth a second look: Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox
The switch is about to flip again. Middlebrooks has been the epitome of streakiness so far this season, and he's already showing signs of snapping out of his latest funk with three multi-hit games in his last five. He should continue the upward trend with Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, Pedro Hernandez, Kevin Correia, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle and J.A. Happ on tap this week. Notice the four left-handers? Middlebrooks has a career .301 batting average and .881 OPS against lefties.
Approach with caution: David Freese, Cardinals
The lack of production is one thing, but Freese is actually beginning to lose playing time because of it, sitting out both Tuesday and Wednesday to, in manager Mike Matheny's words, "get some work done." The Cardinals are one of several teams playing only five games this week. If he sits even one of those games, he's unlikely to make a worthwhile contribution.

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

Shortstop

Like the aforementioned Yuniesky Betancourt, Jean Segura is subject to less-than-favorable matchups against the Rangers and Reds in a five-game week. But unlike his Brewers teammate, his hot start is likely to last. He strikes me as simply a former top prospect fulfilling his pedigree. And given his profile as a high-contact player with speed to spare, he's less likely to fall victim to matchups anyway. Another couple weeks of multi-hit games, and he'll achieve must-start status, not that he's far off now.

Worth a second look: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
Lowrie has cooled considerably after an impossibly hot start, scoring fewer than 20 Head-to-Head points in every week but Week 1, when he scored 41. Discouraged, his Fantasy owners have taken to sitting him, his start rate dropping to 69 percent. But even though he hasn't homered or hit for a high batting average in his last 20 games, he hasn't fallen off a cliff either. He has seven doubles and 11 walks during that stretch. And with seven games this week against the Indians and Mariners pitching staffs, he's likely to come roaring back.
Approach with caution: Brandon Crawford, Giants
The inevitable course correction seems to have begun for this season's most notable overachiever. Over his last six games, Crawford is 2 for 21. The surprising power hasn't diminished -- his two hits are a home run and a triple -- so maybe not every aspect of his hot start is smoke and mirrors. Still, as a player known for being all glove in both the majors and minors, he likely has a ways to fall yet.

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

Outfield

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Reds ATL3, MIL3
2. Brewers TEX2, @CIN3
3. Blue Jays @TB4, @BOS3
4. Mariners @PIT2, OAK3
5. Cardinals @CHC2, COL3
With injuries to Michael Bourn (finger) and Nick Swisher (shoulder), Ryan Raburn has gotten a rare chance to play every day, starting five straight games. And he's done his best to remind Fantasy owners why he was once an attractive sleeper with the Tigers, going 11 for 13 with four home runs over his last three games. You don't get any hotter than that. Swisher is expected back over the weekend, but Raburn may still get a chance to extend this hot streak with Bourn's timetable up in the air. Then again, given where Bourn is in his recovery, we may only get a day's notice before he returns, so locking in Raburn for a full week is a move better left for AL-only owners.

Worth a second look: Brandon Moss, Athletics and Shane Victorino, Red Sox
Moss isn't strictly a platoon player anymore, having started five of the team's eight games against lefties this season, but he's obviously at his best against righties. And seeing as he's produced in spurts this season, you've been waiting for a week like this one to get him in your lineup. Some of the pitchers on tap: Zach McAllister, Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders. Overall, he's facing five righties. As for Victorino, his starting rate has obviously dropped with his recent back woes, but assuming he proves his health over the weekend, you won't want to miss out on what's in store for him this week. The bottom-feeder Twins rotation and injury-depleted Blue Jays rotation over a seven-game period should lead to many, many runs scored.
Approach with caution: Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays and Matt Joyce, Rays
Long-term, I'm not sitting Cabrera. I understand the concerns after he was caught using PEDs last year, but seeing as his extra-base power was on full display in spring training, I'm willing to believe he's simply off to a slow start. But even if that's the case, I don't expect this week to be the week he snaps out of it, not with Matt Moore, David Price, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Ryan Dempster on tap. Joyce actually has good matchups against the Blue Jays and Padres pitching staffs and has homered in four of his last five games. But since four of the seven pitchers on tap for the Rays this week are left-handers, I don't know how you can start him in Fantasy. More often than not, he sits against lefties, and even if he plays, you can't expect much from him. He has a career .194 batting average and .587 OPS against left-handers.

No-brainers: Ryan Braun, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Jose Bautista, Bryce Harper (side), Jacoby Ellsbury, Adam Jones, Josh Hamilton, Shin-Soo Choo, Yoenis Cespedes, Ben Zobrist, Matt Holliday, Alex Rios, Alex Gordon
Advisable starts: Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, Dexter Fowler, Carlos Beltran, Jay Bruce, Allen Craig, Martin Prado, Austin Jackson, Desmond Jennings, Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, Michael Cuddyer, Michael Morse, Nick Swisher (shoulder), Carlos Gomez, Starling Marte, Brandon Moss, Matt Carpenter, Hunter Pence, Josh Willingham
Shaky starts: Shane Victorino (back), Angel Pagan, Nate McLouth, Jayson Werth (back), Melky Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Brett Gardner, Carl Crawford (hamstring), Norichika Aoki, Vernon Wells, Daniel Nava, Lucas Duda, Domonic Brown, Lorenzo Cain, Andre Ethier, B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn (hand), Ben Revere, Josh Reddick, Alfonso Soriano, Evan Gattis, Alejandro De Aza, Ichiro Suzuki, Chris Young (quadriceps), Denard Span, Carlos Quentin, Michael Saunders, Juan Pierre, Michael Brantley, Ryan Doumit, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra, Garrett Jones, Matt Joyce, Seth Smith, Cody Ross, Eric Young
Strictly AL/NL-only: David Murphy, Justin Ruggiano, Jon Jay, Ryan Raburn, Chris Carter, Travis Snider (side), Colby Rasmus, Nate Schierholtz, Nolan Reimold, David DeJesus, Kelly Johnson, Marcell Ozuna, Andy Dirks, Leonys Martin, Aaron Hicks, Drew Stubbs, Will Venable, Rajai Davis, Delmon Young, A.J. Pollock, Emilio Bonifacio, Raul Ibanez, Oswaldo Arcia, Jeff Francoeur, Chris Denorfia, Greg Dobbs, Craig Gentry, Jordany Valdespin
Don't bother: Jason Bay, Chris Parmelee, Robbie Grossman, Fernando Martinez, Jonny Gomes, Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd, John Mayberry, Stephen Lombardozzi, Gregor Blanco, Jason Heyward (appendectomy), Coco Crisp (hamstring), Curtis Granderson (forearm), Corey Hart (knee), Adam Eaton (elbow), Justin Maxwell (hand), Chris Heisey (hamstring), Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), Dayan Viciedo (oblique), Peter Bourjos (hamstring), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Cameron Maybin (wrist), Logan Morrison (knee), Wil Myers, Oscar Taveras, Jackie Bradley, 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
White Sox's Emilio Bonifacio leaves game with rib injury Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:41 pm ET) Emilio Bonifacio left the White Sox's game against the Red Sox on Tuesday with an injury to his left rib. Bonifacio started the game as the designated hitter, and went 1 for 2 with an RBI double before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning.

Bonifacio will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. Carlos Sanchez replaced him as the DH on Tuesday. 


A's pitcher Aaron Brooks to start Saturday; Pomeranz stays in 'pen
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:24 pm ET) New Athletics right-hander Aaron Brooks will make his first start of the season on Saturday. Brooks was involved in the just-completed Ben Zobrist deal from the Royals. He'll toe the rubber on Saturday against the Indians.

Brooks made a pair of starts for the Royals in 2014. This year he has seen action out of the bullpen for Kansas City--two relief appearances to be exact. He has made 18 appearances (17 starts) at Triple-A Omaha. There he was 6-5 with a 3.71 ERA.

Having Brooks in the rotation will keep lefty Drew Pomeranz in the bullpen for now. It is not clear if this will be a permanent situation.


Blue Jays' Devon Travis leaves game with shoulder irritation
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(8:22 pm ET) Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis left Tuesday's game after two innings, due to left shoulder irritation.  

Travis missed several weeks earlier this year with a left shoulder injury. It's not clear if the irritation is related to that injury. 


A's RP Edward Mujica to become team's closer following trade
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:17 pm ET) With the trade of Tyler Clippard to the Mets official, the Athletics have said that right-hander Edward Mujica will assume the role as the team's closer. Mujica has not recorded a save this season, though he has earned as many as 37 in a single season (in 2013).

The right-hander has had a rough go of it on the mound this season, has he currently owns a 4.13 ERA while pitching with the A's and the Red Sox. Since returning from the disabled list on June 19, Mujica holds a 5.79 ERA in 9 1/3 innings for Oakland.


Mets SP Steven Matz (lat) won't throw for at least another week
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:11 pm ET) Mets rookie left-hander Steven Matz met with doctors on Tuesday to examine his strained lat muscle. Matz was told to refrain from throwing for at least another week, according to ESPN.com.

Matz has been out for nearly three weeks with the injury, and despite the less-than-encouraging news from the doctors, general manager Sandy Alderson did say Matz's lat muscle has improved. Still, he'll go at least another week without picking up a baseball.


Third baseman Brent Morel becomes free agent
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:57 pm ET) Third baseman Brent Morel has elected to become a free agent after clearing waivers, the Pirates announced Tuesday.

Morel was recently designated for assignment by the Pirates after hitting .286 with one RBI in seven at-bats this season.


Dodgers' Paco Rodriguez starts light throwing
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(7:56 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Paco Rodriguez has started a light throwing program, per SB Nation.

Rodriguez missed time with elbow tendinitis, then had surgery in late June to remove loose bodies from the elbow. No timetable has been given on his return, but an earlier estimate had Rodriguez returning in September. 


Pirates scratch Starling Marte from Tuesday's lineup
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:52 pm ET) Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was a late scratch from Tuesday's lineup due to a stomach issue, reports MLB.com.

Marte is dealing with gastritis. He was replaced by Jaff Decker.


Dodgers pitcher Carlos Frias to throw at Class A on Friday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:37 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Carlos Frias is scheduled to make another rehab assignment appearance Friday at Class A, reports TrueBlueLA.com.

Frias allowed two runs in 2/3 of an inning in his first Class A rehab game Sunday. He is on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury.


Dodgers 3B Justin Turner dealing with infection on leg
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:27 pm ET) Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was sent to the hospital Tuesday to deal with an infection on his leg, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Turner had a pimple on his leg, which developed into an infection. He was held out of Tuesday's lineup as a result.


 
 
 
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