All stats are updated through Wednesday, May 29.
|Player Name||% change|
|1.||Jason Castro, C, Astros||31|
|2.||Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners||27|
|3.||Matt Dominguez, 3B, Astros||21|
|4.||Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies||19|
|5.||Michael Brantley, OF, Indians||19|
|6.||Yasmani Grandal, C, Padres||17|
|7.||Matt Joyce, OF, Rays||15|
|8.||Evan Gattis, C, Braves||11|
|9.||DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Rockies||11|
|10.||J.D. Martinez, OF, Astros||11|
Worth a second look: Jason Castro, Astros
After an encouraging finish to 2012 and an even more impressive spring training, Castro seemed poised for a breakout season entering 2013. It took a few weeks, but he's showing signs of it now, batting .467 (14 for 30) with three homers in his last nine games and .318 with five homers and a .922 OPS in his last 30. He still hasn't figured out how to hit lefties, batting just .124 against them for his career, but the Astros face nothing but righties in their seven games this week. Why not ride the hot hand?
Approach with caution: Russell Martin, Pirates
Just a few weeks ago, Martin was the hot hand at the catcher position, but the predictable ebb and flow of the regular season has him hitting just .138 (4 for 29) over his last eight games. With Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija on tap for the Pirates, he's unlikely to reverse course this week.
No-brainers: Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Yadier Molina, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli, Wilin Rosario, Matt Wieters
Advisable starts: Brian McCann, Jason Castro, J.P. Arencibia, Evan Gattis, Salvador Perez, Yasmani Grandal, Ryan Doumit
Shaky starts: John Buck, Jonathan Lucroy, Miguel Montero, A.J. Pierzynski, Russell Martin, Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Strictly AL/NL-only: Chris Iannetta, A.J. Ellis, Welington Castillo, John Jaso, Erik Kratz, Kurt Suzuki, Ryan Hanigan, Yan Gomes, Tyler Flowers, Brayan Pena, Devin Mesoraco, David Ross, Alex Avila
Don't bother: Rob Brantly, Derek Norris, Kelly Shoppach, Chris Stewart, Geovany Soto, Nick Hundley, Michael McKenry, Martin Maldonado, Carlos Ruiz (hamstring), Wilson Ramos (hamstring), Francisco Cervelli (hand), Mike Zunino, Travis d'Arnaud, Jesus Montero
First baseThe few players who qualify only at DH now appear alongside the first basemen so that their owners might have some context for how to approach them this week. If you see an asterisk (*) next to a player's name, it means he's DH-only and not a legitimate first baseman.
After a long and bumpy rehabilitation from a torn tendon sheath in his wrist, Mark Teixeira is set to make his season debut Friday, the same day Kevin Youkilis is expected back from a bulging disk in his back. Teixeira is the more intriguing of the two for Fantasy owners, but as a notoriously slow starter attempting to hit the ground running without the benefit of spring training after having opted to rehabilitate an injury that often requires surgery, he'll need to have a monster weekend to force his way into Fantasy lineups this week. It's a deep position, after all.
Worth a second look: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
LaRoche is normally a slow starter himself, but he may have spoiled us by performing so well from start to finish last year. Those who cut ties with him after he hit .136 in April should look at his numbers now. Over his last 25 games, he's batting .356 with seven homers and a 1.108 OPS. His matchups this week against Jeremy Hefner, Dillon Gee, Shaun Marcum, Kevin Correia, Scott Diamond and Samuel Deduno should only feed the fire.
Approach with caution: Brandon Belt, Giants
Belt had a nice little run earlier in May, but a .174 (4 for 23) batting average has tripped him up over his last eight games. He could stand to have better matchups this week, but even if you trust him to turn things around against Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey, Patrick Corbin, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy, the fact he'll be limited to five games makes him a long shot for a standout performance at a deep position.
No-brainers: Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Chris Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, Buster Posey, Edwin Encarnacion, Billy Butler,
Advisable starts: Michael Cuddyer, Adam LaRoche, Joe Mauer, Freddie Freeman, Nick Swisher, Mike Napoli, Matt Carpenter, Mark Reynolds, Justin Morneau, Kendrys Morales, Ryan Howard
Shaky starts: Yonder Alonso, Mitch Moreland, Mark Teixeira (wrist), Lance Berkman, Eric Hosmer,
Strictly AL/NL-only: Lyle Overbay, Garrett Jones, Chris Johnson, Ike Davis, Carlos Pena, Chris Carter, Justin Smoak (oblique), Yuniesky Betancourt
Don't bother: Matt Adams, Todd Helton, Gaby Sanchez, Yan Gomes, Chris Parmelee, Jeff Keppinger, Jordan Pacheco, Greg Dobbs, John Mayberry, Joe Mahoney (hamstring), Corey Hart (knee), Logan Morrison (knee), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton
Worth a second look: Neil Walker, Pirates
The Pirates don't have the most favorable matchups this week, going against the Braves and Cubs rotations, but with a .440 (11 for 25) batting average and three home runs over his last six games, Walker might just be hot enough to overcome them. Only one of the pitchers on tap is a lefty. Walker hit .291 with an .824 OPS against righties last year and has been even more productive against them so far this year.
Approach with caution: Rickie Weeks, Brewers
As a strike-out-every-third-at-bat type, Weeks is susceptible to lengthy cold stretches, but because this latest one has lasted one-third of the season already, the Brewers have had to take action, sitting him about every third game over the last couple weeks. Even if he does come around with the somewhat favorable matchups this week, he probably won't get enough at-bats for it to count for anything in Fantasy. He'll matter again at some point, but he's unstartable right now.
No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Brandon Phillips, Jason Kipnis, Ben Zobrist, Matt Carpenter, Jose Altuve
Advisable starts: Kelly Johnson, Daniel Murphy, Howie Kendrick, Jedd Gyorko, Neil Walker
Shaky starts: Martin Prado, Marco Scutaro (illness), Jed Lowrie, Jurickson Profar, Dan Uggla, Omar Infante
Strictly AL/NL-only: Darwin Barney, DJ LeMahieu, Danny Espinosa, Rickie Weeks, Mark Ellis, Emilio Bonifacio, Yuniesky Betancourt, David Adams, Derek Dietrich, Jeff Keppinger
Don't bother: Gordon Beckham (wrist), Nick Punto, Jamey Carroll, Ryan Raburn, Mike Aviles, Freddy Galvis, Brian Dozier, Ryan Roberts, Chris Getz, Cliff Pennington, Eric Sogard, Daniel Descalso, Maicer Izturis, Ian Kinsler (intercostal), Aaron Hill (wrist), Chase Utley (rib), Brian Roberts (hamstring), Logan Forsythe (foot), Donovan Solano (side), Josh Rutledge, Jemile Weeks, Dustin Ackley, Kolten Wong
Third baseThose clamoring for the Braves to get Chris Johnson's .346 batting average in the lineup every day get their way. The Braves designated Juan Francisco for assignment Thursday, turning over full-time at-bats to the former Astros and Diamondbacks full-timer. Now, do you remember how he performed as a full-timer, hitting about .280 with modest pop and a low on-base percentage? You can expect him to settle back into those numbers now that the Braves won't be hand-picking his matchups. I still see him as more of an NL-only type.
Worth a second look: Jedd Gyorko, Padres
For the second straight week, Gyorko occupies this spot in the Hit Parade, but he continues to sit in about 30 percent of Fantasy leagues -- and with eligibility at second base, no less -- even though he's batting .321 (17 for 53) with three homers over his last 14 games. Considering the Padres are one of just a handful of teams playing seven games this week and four of those games are at Coors Field, you need to get him active, if only for now.
Approach with caution: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
As with Rickie Weeks, the Brewers have taken to sitting Ramirez every third game or so, but not for the same reasons. Ramirez still has great percentages, which might lead some Fantasy owners to believe he's as productive as ever, but with the Brewers so protective of his health, he'll struggle to eke out 15 points in a given week. The Brewers play seven games this week, giving him a decent chance of making five starts, so maybe you just stick with him at a fairly thin position. But you should at least stop and consider your alternatives.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, Manny Machado, Chase Headley
Advisable starts: Josh Donaldson, Matt Carpenter, Pablo Sandoval, Mark Reynolds, Jedd Gyorko, Kyle Seager
Shaky starts: Martin Prado, Aramis Ramirez, Hanley Ramirez (hamstring), Nolan Arenado, Michael Young, David Freese, Pedro Alvarez (teeth), Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, Kevin Youkilis (back)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Alberto Callaspo, Chris Johnson, Matt Dominguez, Eric Chavez (oblique), Yuniesky Betancourt, Luis Valbuena, David Adams, Conor Gillaspie, Placido Polanco, Jeff Keppinger
Don't bother: Nick Punto, Jamey Carroll, Mike Aviles, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Roberts, Jordan Pacheco, Greg Dobbs, Adeiny Hechavarria, Daniel Descalso, Maicer Izturis, Brett Lawrie (ankle), Will Middlebrooks (back), Trevor Plouffe (concussion), Alex Rodriguez (hip), Wilson Betemit (knee), Anthony Rendon, Lonnie Chisenhall, Nick Castellanos
Worth a second look: Alcides Escobar, Royals
Considering he profiles as a .300 hitter -- or something close to it -- Escobar's .204 (20 for 98) batting average over his last 23 games suggests he's due. And he has the right pitchers on tap for a resurgence -- all hittable types like Samuel Deduno, P.J. Walters, Mike Pelfrey, Jordan Lyles, Erik Bedard and Lucas Harrell. He's no Hanley Ramirez, but if you're left to scrounge the second and third tier at the position, he'll do.
Approach with caution: Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
Of course, you could just opt for Peralta, who has already been doing what you hope Alcides Escobar will do, but considering his batting average is up near .340 now, the career .267 hitter is probably nearing the end of a hot streak. It's not like he's been distancing himself from every other shortstop in terms of point production during that stretch, so even if Alex Cobb, Matt Moore and Justin Masterson don't slow him down this week, you don't risk losing much by sitting him, at least in Head-to-Head leagues.
No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Elvis Andrus, Everth Cabrera, Starlin Castro
Advisable starts: Jimmy Rollins, Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy
Shaky starts: Hanley Ramirez (hamstring), Alcides Escobar, Nick Franklin, Marco Scutaro (illness), Jed Lowrie, Jhonny Peralta, Erick Aybar, Alexei Ramirez, Stephen Drew, Andrelton Simmons, Didi Gregorius, Brandon Crawford, Zack Cozart, Yunel Escobar
Strictly AL/NL-only: Danny Espinosa, Pete Kozma, Derek Dietrich, Munenori Kawasaki, Marwin Gonzalez, Pedro Florimon
Don't bother: Nick Punto, Mike Aviles, Adeiny Hechavarria, Brian Dozier, Cliff Pennington, Eric Sogard, Daniel Descalso, Maicer Izturis, Clint Barmes, Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Eduardo Nunez (rib), Jose Reyes (leg), Derek Jeter (ankle), Dee Gordon, Josh Rutledge, Billy Hamilton
OutfieldJosh Reddick, out since early May with inflammation in his wrist, was one of this season's more notable disappointments before landing on the DL, so even though he's returning Friday, he'll really need to light it up this weekend to earn a starting nod from mixed-league owners. Bryce Harper obviously deserves more leeway, but with his knee still acting up, you'll want to monitor how he performs over the weekend before activating him for the week ahead. The Nationals do have great matchups against the Mets and Twins, for what it's wroth.
Worth a second look: Michael Cuddyer, Rockies and Chris Denorfia, Padres
Fantasy owners have been slow to come around on Cuddyer since his return from the DL May 24 even though he seems to have picked up where he left off, batting .476 (10 for 21) with a home run, four doubles and two steals in six games. If that's not a sign of good health, I don't know what is. Sooner or later, he has to cool off, but with four games at home against the shaky Padres rotation this week, you can expect him to keep that batting average right around .340 and that OPS right around 1.000 for now. As a platoon player who typically sits against righties, Denorfia is too much of a reach for most Fantasy owners, but if you have to resort to a mostly depleted waiver wire to patch a hole in your outfield, he could be a diamond in the rough with the Padres facing four lefties and playing four games at Coors Field this week.
Approach with caution: Jason Heyward, Braves and Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks
Most likely, if you own Heyward in Fantasy, you're already debating whether or not to sit him and his .152 batting average. The five lefties on tap for the Braves this week should push you over the edge. Last year, when he was more or less a must-start option in Fantasy, he hit just .224 with a .635 OPS against lefties. For his career, he's hitting .220 with a .651 OPS. And who knows? The Braves might use his struggles against lefties as an excuse to get Evan Gattis' bat in the lineup a couple more times this week. Apparently, Parra hasn't gotten comfortable in his everyday role with the Diamondbacks. He's fallen into a season-worst 7-for-34 (.206) slump, collecting just one extra-base hit in his last nine games. Might as well bench him with Shelby Miller, Adam Wainwright, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner on tap for the Diamondbacks this week.
No-brainers: Mike Trout, Ryan Braun, Jose Bautista, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Davis, Justin Upton, Shin-Soo Choo, Adam Jones, Alex Gordon, Alex Rios, Jay Bruce, Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, Carlos Gomez, Mark Trumbo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Hamilton, Carlos Beltran, Nick Markakis
Advisable starts: Michael Cuddyer, Yoenis Cespedes, Dexter Fowler, Domonic Brown, Bryce Harper (knee), Norichika Aoki, Ben Zobrist, Hunter Pence, Nick Swisher, Starling Marte, Matt Carpenter, Desmond Jennings, Michael Bourn, Nelson Cruz, Kelly Johnson, Coco Crisp, Carl Crawford, Melky Cabrera, Nate McLouth
Shaky starts: Josh Willingham, Martin Prado, Brett Gardner, Jason Heyward, Vernon Wells, Gerardo Parra, Matt Joyce, Shane Victorino (hamstring), Jayson Werth (hamstring), Michael Morse (quadriceps), Matt Kemp (hamstring), Evan Gattis, Lorenzo Cain, Angel Pagan (hamstring), Josh Reddick (wrist), Torii Hunter (elbow), Michael Brantley, Lucas Duda, Alfonso Soriano, B.J. Upton, Ben Revere, Jon Jay, Denard Span, Ryan Doumit, Brandon Moss, Alejandro De Aza, Daniel Nava, Justin Ruggiano, Chris Denorfia, Andy Dirks, Michael Saunders, Dayan Viciedo, Marcell Ozuna, J.D. Martinez
Strictly AL/NL-only: Drew Stubbs, Garrett Jones, David Murphy, Carlos Quentin, Aaron Hicks, Andre Ethier, David DeJesus, Chris Young, A.J. Pollock, Ichiro Suzuki, Colby Rasmus, Emilio Bonifacio, Jason Kubel, Seth Smith, Travis Snider, Raul Ibanez, Leonys Martin, Scott Van Slyke, Chris Carter, Juan Pierre, Will Venable, Nate Schierholtz, Kyle Blanks, Delmon Young, Rick Ankiel, Cody Ross
Don't bother: Eric Young, Jeff Francoeur, Craig Gentry, Jason Bay, Ryan Raburn, Avisail Garcia, Greg Dobbs, Chris Parmelee, Jonny Gomes, Jordany Valdespin, John Mayberry, Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), Austin Jackson (hamstring), Curtis Granderson (hand), Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring), Corey Hart (knee), Adam Eaton (elbow), Rajai Davis (oblique), Justin Maxwell (hand), Chris Heisey (hamstring), Peter Bourjos (hamstring), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Cameron Maybin (wrist), Nolan Reimold (hamstring), Logan Morrison (knee), Wil Myers, Oscar Taveras, Jackie Bradley, Yasiel Puig, Christian Yelich, Oswaldo Arcia
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.
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 email@example.com .