All stats are updated through Wednesday, July 3.
Yasmani Grandal has been a bit of a disappointment for owners who stashed him during a 50-game PED suspension -- or even those who snagged him the week he returned. Owned in 33 percent of leagues, Grandal is hitting .226 with a home run so far this season. But he's seen a steady points progression leading up to this week (going from eight points to 10, 12, 13, and 17). Over the last 14 days, Grandal leads all catchers in doubles (five), is seventh in walks (five), and is third in OBP among catchers with 15 or more at-bats (.419). Don't consider this a call to run and grab Grandal in all leagues, but if you're still searching for a steady catcher in deeper Head-to-Head leagues, he's getting better and can provide some value as a second catcher.
|Player Name||% change|
|1.||Raul Ibanez, OF, Mariners||27|
|2.||Rajai Davis, OF, Blue Jays||21|
|3.||Leonys Martin, OF, Rangers||14|
|4.||Jose Iglesias, SS, Red Sox||14|
|5.||Juan Francisco, 1B, Brewers||12|
|6.||Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals||10|
|7.||Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees||10|
|8.||Erick Aybar, SS, Angels||8|
|9.||Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles||7|
|10.||Brad Miller, SS, Mariners||7|
Worth a second look: Welington Castillo, Cubs
Castillo has decent numbers on the season -- a .271 average and 14 doubles. But with the Cubs facing six righties this week, one would think that the right-handed hitting 26-year-old would be facing an "NL-only" designation this week. However, Castillo is significantly better against righties than he is against lefties. In 163 at-bats against righties, Castillo is hitting .294, while he has hit just .210 against lefties. Additionally, six of the team's seven games are at home, where Castillo is hitting .324 and sporting an .806 OPS (as opposed to his .225 average and .576 OPS on the road). With a double-dip of favorable splits, I'm running Castillo up to "advisable start." It may be the only time this season you see that.
Approach with caution: Mike Zunino, Mariners
I'm dropping Zunino down to AL-only territory. His matchups aren't terrible (a resurgent Jon Lester, plus games against Ryan Dempster and Jered Weaver comprise his toughest games), but Zunino has been mostly unimpressive during his stint in the majors, which looks like an extension of his lackluster minor league season. He'll eventually be a very good catcher, but I'd rather have Castillo starting for my Fantasy team than Zunino right now.
No-brainers: Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Yadier Molina, Carlos Santana, Matt Wieters, Wilin Rosario, Mike Napoli
Advisable starts: Jason Castro, Jonathan Lucroy, Salvador Perez, Brian McCann, A.J. Pierzynski, Russell Martin, Welington Castillo
Shaky starts: J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Doumit, Miguel Montero, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, John Jaso, Carlos Ruiz, Tyler Flowers
Strictly AL/NL-only: John Buck, Yasmani Grandal, Chris Iannetta, A.J. Ellis, Mike Zunino, Alex Avila, Derek Norris, Wilson Ramos, Yan Gomes, Devin Mesoraco, Kurt Suzuki
Don't bother: Jose Lobaton, Ryan Hanigan, Rob Brantly, Chris Stewart, Geovany Soto, Hank Conger, Nick Hundley, Evan Gattis (oblique), Erik Kratz (knee), Francisco Cervelli (hand), Travis d'Arnaud, Jesus Montero (knee)
The 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.
With Paul Konerko on the shelf, we will be seeing more Adam Dunn at first base. And this is a good thing for Dunn owners. While his batting average is still pretty low no matter where he plays this season, his OBP is higher as a first baseman (.330 at first vs .281 as a DH). Over the course of his career, Dunn is also a better player at first than he is at DH. His average (.230 vs .197), OBP (.361 vs .319), and OPS (.846 vs .738) are all markedly better. It's not a slam dunk to start Dunn just because he's playing first base, but he's definitely a better Fantasy option when he's not stuck at DH.
Worth a second look: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
The Dodgers have some stellar matchups this week, catching the weaker part of the Arizona rotation and then getting four games against the Rockies. On top of that, Gonzalez is currently slated to face just one lefty, and this works because he has a .288 average with a .741 OPS against lefties this season, but a .303 average with an .872 OPS against righties. While Gonzalez still has very solid numbers overall, he should see a nice little boost this week with the good matchups.
Approach with caution: Ryan Howard, Phillies
Not only is Howard dealing with a cranky knee, he's also lined up to face five lefties (across seven games) this week. Howard is hitting .171 with a .509 OPS against lefties this year. He's struck out 39 times in 76 at-bats against them. In a normal week, Howard is still an advisable start, but staring down a string of left-handed pitchers, I had to drop him down to "shaky" level.
No-brainers: Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder, Allen Craig, Albert Pujols, Buster Posey, David Ortiz*, Anthony Rizzo, Adrian Gonzalez
Advisable starts: Freddie Freeman, Mark Trumbo, Joe Mauer, Matt Carpenter, Billy Butler, Carlos Santana, Adam Lind, Michael Cuddyer, Adam Dunn, Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava
Shaky starts: James Loney, Juan Francisco, Adam LaRoche, Kyle Blanks, Mitch Moreland, Ryan Howard (knee), Todd Frazier, Brandon Belt, Kendrys Morales, Nick Swisher, Justin Morneau, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Moss, Victor Martinez*, Michael Young, Daniel Murphy
Strictly AL/NL-only: Lance Berkman, Chris Carter, Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner*, Logan Morrison, Carlos Pena, Chris Johnson, Todd Helton, Justin Smoak, Matt Adams, Garrett Jones, Tyler Colvin
Don't bother: Gaby Sanchez, Yan Gomes, Mike Carp, Chris Parmelee, John Mayberry, Jeff Keppinger, Jordan Pacheco, Nate Freiman, Michael Morse (quadriceps), Mark Teixeira (wrist), Kevin Youkilis (back), Yonder Alonso (hand), Paul Konerko (back), Lucas Duda (side), Ike Davis, Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton
DJ LeMahieu is hitting .283 with 11 steals and nine doubles over 138 at-bats this season. It isn't a line that will blow anyone away -- there's a glaring lack of power (one home run) here, for instance -- but LeMahieu is a serviceable option at middle infield in Roto leagues, considering he's on a 50-steal pace (if he had played an entire season). Colorado has neither easy nor hard matchups this week, so I'd stay the course with LeMahieu (which, in my case, is at MI in 12-team Roto leagues).
Worth a second look: Omar Infante, Tigers
Omar Infante is hitting .311 with six home runs, 18 doubles, and four steals this year. And the Tigers have some nice matchups this week -- Scott Kazmir, Jose Quintana, Justin Grimm, Derek Holland, Martin Perez, and Dylan Axelrod. While these pitchers could all throw good games, they're susceptible to what Infante does well -- get timely hits and occasionally steal a base or hit a home run. An underrated option at middle infield, Infante is lined up to have a solid, if unspectacular, week. Just keep an eye on his bruised shin, which he incurred in a Wednesday night game when Colby Rasmus made a hard slide into second base.
Approach with caution: Jose Altuve, Astros
The Astros are playing just five games this week, and they get Shelby Miller, Adam Wainwright, and David Price in three of them. I'm approaching Altuve with a little more caution in H2H leagues, because there are a lot of teams out there with seven games this week, so Altuve is already starting at a disadvantage among his second base peers. Still, I don't want to get too crazy with his matchups and totally overlook the fact that he's a top option at the position. Five games of Altuve is still a solid Fantasy start.
No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Jason Kipnis, Brandon Phillips, Ben Zobrist, Matt Carpenter
Advisable starts: Chase Utley, Jose Altuve, Omar Infante (shin), Anthony Rendon, Nick Franklin, Aaron Hill, Rickie Weeks, Martin Prado
Shaky starts: Daniel Murphy, Dustin Ackley, Neil Walker, Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro, Jurickson Profar, DJ LeMahieu, Howie Kendrick, Dan Uggla, Josh Rutledge, Kelly Johnson
Strictly AL/NL-only: Johnny Giavotella, Logan Forsythe, Gordon Beckham, Darwin Barney, Mark Ellis, Emilio Bonifacio, Derek Dietrich, Brian Dozier, Jordy Mercer, Brian Roberts, Mike Aviles
Don't bother: David Adams, Willie Bloomquist (hand), Jedd Gyorko (groin), Ryan Flaherty, Daniel Descalso, Elliot Johnson, Jordany Valdespin, Omar Quintanilla, Jeff Keppinger, Chris Getz, Eric Sogard, Maicer Izturis, Jemile Weeks, Danny Espinosa, Kolten Wong
|5.||White Sox||CHC1, @DET3, @PHI3|
Aramis Ramirez isn't having his worst season (he had a lower batting average and OPS in 2010), but it has been a frustrating campaign, especially coming on the heels of his 2012, when he hit 50 doubles and 27 home runs. Next week looks pretty unappealing for his owners, as he has to face Tony Cingrani, Mike Leake, Mat Latos, and Patrick Corbin (Ian Kennedy and Wade Miley also work in there, but they've been a little too erratic/bad this season to really worry about). On top of the ugly matchups, Ramirez has fallen into a nasty habit of sitting every five/six days or so. This week might be a good time to sit him on the bench for an alternate.
Worth a second look: Juan Francisco, Brewers
I realize Francisco has the same matchups as Aramis Ramirez, being that they play for the same team, but Francisco is in a nice little power groove right now, and it could have been spurred on by the announcement that Corey Hart will be missing the rest of the season with a second knee injury. Francisco knows he'll be the starting first baseman for the Brewers the rest of the season, and may be more relaxed. With his power potential, Francisco at least deserves a little consideration from owners in leagues of 14 teams and deeper.
Approach with caution: Chris Johnson, Braves
I thought it would be poetic to pair Francisco with his old platoon-mate from the Braves. Johnson is hitting .330 this season, but has proven to be a somewhat streaky player over the course of his career. The Braves start the week with Tom Koehler, but get a challenging pitcher every day thereafter: Ricky Nolasco (if he makes it to Tuesday with the Marlins), Justin Turner, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Tony Cingrani, and Mike Leake. That's a tough group to face even for a hitter who's not susceptible to streaks. With Johnson's history, though, a couple tough games could compound, leading to a messy weak.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman, Hanley Ramirez, Manny Machado, Matt Carpenter
Advisable starts: Kyle Seager, Anthony Rendon, Chase Headley, Pedro Alvarez, Pablo Sandoval, Evan Longoria (foot), Josh Donaldson, Aramis Ramirez, Martin Prado
Shaky starts: David Freese, Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, Nolan Arenado, Mark Reynolds, Juan Francisco, Lonnie Chisenhall
Strictly AL/NL-only: Matt Dominguez, Chris Johnson, Michael Young ,Trevor Plouffe, Alberto Callaspo, Jose Iglesias, Luis Valbuena, Adeiny Hechavarria, Eric Chavez, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Aviles
Don't bother: David Adams, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Placido Polanco, Jordan Pacheco, Maicer Izturis, Kevin Youkilis (back), Brett Lawrie (ankle), Alex Rodriguez (hip), Jedd Gyorko (groin), Jayson Nix (something), Wilson Betemit (knee), Will Middlebrooks, Nick Castellanos
Andrelton Simmons will probably be lucky to enter the All-Star break hitting .250. But he has shown an unexpected bit of power this season, with 11 doubles and six home runs over 322 at-bats. It's come at the expense of his speed -- he only has five steals -- but Simmons should start to re-adjust at some point. His matchups this week start out wonderfully (against the Marlins) but spiral down by the end against the Reds. Still, with the majority of his at-bats coming from the leadoff position, and an eight-game streak of scoring a run, (through July 4) Simmons makes for a steady, dependable Fantasy plug-in.
Worth a second look: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
Alexei Ramirez quietly put together a nice June, hitting .288 with eight stolen bases. He's still not showing the power that he's capable of (one home run so far this year -- his career-high is 21), which suggests that maybe he's due. The White Sox don't have the best matchups this week, but Ramirez is worth a second look just based on how quietly he had a near-double digit steal month. I'm not bumping him up to "advisable" level, but he's definitely worth consideration and is "shaky," at the very least..
Approach with caution: Erick Aybar, Angels
Not only do the Angels play just five games this week, but they face a tough group of pitchers, including Jeff Samardzija, Felix Hernandez, and Hisashi Iwakuma. And it looks even tougher if you're a fan of Travis Wood. While Aybar has been decent this season, he's stolen just four bases over 61 games, which is a bit of a disappointment considering he's averaged 24 steals over the last three seasons. One needs to get on base in order to deliver the speed value, and this may be a tough week for Aybar to find his way to first.
No-brainers: Jean Segura, Hanley Ramirez, Ben Zobrist, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes
Advisable starts: J.J. Hardy, Elvis Andrus, Nick Franklin, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jimmy Rollins, Jhonny Peralta, Starlin Castro, Andrelton Simmons
Shaky starts: Jed Lowrie, Alcides Escobar, Marco Scutaro, Alexei Ramirez, Erick Aybar, Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar, Josh Rutledge, Didi Gregorius, Brandon Crawford, Zack Cozart
Strictly AL/NL-only: Derek Dietrich, Brian Dozier, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jordy Mercer, Pete Kozma, Jayson Nix, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Aviles
Don't bother: Willie Bloomquist (hand), Elliot Johnson, Daniel Descalso, Pedro Florimon, Omar Quintanilla, Marwin Gonzalez, Eric Sogard, Maicer Izturis, Troy Tulowitzki (ribs), Everth Cabrera (hamstring), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Eduardo Nunez (rib), Derek Jeter (ankle), Danny Espinosa, Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton
|2.||Tigers||@CLE1, CHW3, TEX3|
I'm moving Josh Hamilton up to the "no-brainer" section for this week. I'm not sure if this Los Angeles Times story has any merit, but it seems a little too coincidental that Hamilton would take up chewing tobacco again and get back to his old self at the plate. It's wholly unscientific, but I'm willing to go along with it for as long as his hot run lasts. Besides, this is Josh Hamilton, of the otherworldly streakiness and preternatural talent. I'm starting him without hesitation every week, regardless of what's in his mouth.
Worth a second look: Eric Young, Mets, and Daniel Nava, Red Sox
While your speed-hungry leaguemates run out to the waiver wire to grab Rajai Davis, there may be a nice consolation prize on the wire in Eric Young. The Mets face the Giants in their first three games this week, and Buster Posey has allowed the second-most steals this season (42). Young has 10 steals already in 2013 (although only two with the Mets through his first 13 games), but this series could give him a chance to show off his speed against a catcher who already allows a lot of stolen bases. Nava, meanwhile, is facing what looks to be an all-righty barrage of starters next week. Here are some splits to make you salivate: against righties, Nava has a .305 average and .880 OPS. He has a .233 and .648 against lefties. If there's any week to feel supremely confident about starting Nava, this would be it..
Approach with caution: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs, and Alex Rios, White Sox
The Cubs also face a healthy diet of righties this week, and while that's good news for Nate Schierholtz (your bonus "Worth a second look!"), it makes Alfonso Soriano look a little less attractive. The 37-year-old has a .231 average and .653 OPS against righties this season. He's also struck out 50 times in 37 games against righties, against just four walks. Rios, meanwhile, is in the midst of a sad little slump (hitting below .200 over his last 10 games and in a homer drought dating back to June 9) and has to face Matt Garza and Justin Verlander in his first two games next week. I'm moving him down to "shaky start," and tucking him away on the bench for a more favorable week.
No-brainers: Mike Trout, Chris Davis,
Advisable starts: Leonys Martin, Ben Zobrist, Matt Carpenter, Desmond Jennings, Mark Trumbo, Domonic Brown, Alex Gordon (hip), Bryce Harper, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Michael Cuddyer, Starling Marte, Carlos Gomez, Nick Markakis, Gerardo Parra, Yoenis Cespedes, Jason Heyward, Coco Crisp, Shane Victorino, Rajai Davis, Oswaldo Arcia, Nate Schierholtz, Michael Bourn, Wil Myers,, Norichika Aoki, Daniel Nava, Jayson Werth
Shaky starts: Ben Revere, Alex Rios, Kyle Blanks, Martin Prado, Alejandro De Aza, Ichiro Suzuki, Nate McLouth, Nick Swisher, Matt Joyce, Michael Brantley, Torii Hunter, Brandon Moss, Alfonso Soriano, Colby Rasmus, Ryan Doumit, Josh Reddick, Raul Ibanez, Eric Young, Denard Span, Drew Stubbs
Strictly AL/NL-only: Zoilo Almonte, Carlos Quentin, Kelly Johnson, David Murphy, Chris Carter, Marcell Ozuna, Andre Ethier, Logan Morrison, Dayan Viciedo, B.J. Upton (forearm), Marlon Byrd, Lorenzo Cain, Juan Pierre, Gregor Blanco, Jon Jay, Justin Ruggiano, Jason Kubel, Will Venable, Michael Saunders, Seth Smith, J.D. Martinez, Garrett Jones, Cody Ross, Chris Parmelee, A.J. Pollock, Jarrod Dyson, Tyler Colvin, Chris Denorfia, Andy Dirks, Emilio Bonifacio, J.B. Shuck, Chris Young, Travis Snider
Don't bother: Delmon Young, Ryan Flaherty, John Mayberry, Justin Maxwell (concussion), Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos (thumb), Dexter Fowler (wrist), Josh Willingham (knee), Mike Carp, Jordany Valdespin, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Braun (thumb), Carl Crawford (hamstring), Michael Morse (quadriceps), Curtis Granderson (hand), Evan Gattis (oblique), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Adam Eaton (elbow), Lucas Duda (side), Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), David DeJesus (shoulder), Aaron Hicks (hamstring), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Cameron Maybin (knee), Melky Cabrera (knee), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Nolan Reimold (hamstring), Oscar Taveras, Christian Yelich, George Springer, Jackie Bradley, Avisail Garcia, Anthony Gose
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.