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Hit Parade for Week 16

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's Note: In standard CBSSports.com leagues, Fantasy Week 16 includes only the Friday, Saturday and Sunday immediately following the All-Star break. All rankings and predictions in this edition of the Hit Parade were made with the shortened scoring period in mind.

Most Added Hitters (as of 7/18)
Player Name % change
1. Marlon Byrd, OF, Mets 14
2. Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs 10
3. Eric Young, OF, Mets 10
4. Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners 10
5. Darin Ruf, OF, Phillies 10
6. Luke Scott, DH, Rays 10
7. Raul Ibanez, OF, Mariners 8
8. Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals 8
9. Victor Martinez, DH, Tigers 6
10. Michael Brantley, OF, Indians 6

Catcher

Because of its demands on the body, the catcher position is in a perpetual state of turnover. But three of the more recent newcomers appear to be more than just short-term fill-ins. Of Wilson Ramos, Josh Phegley and Nick Hundley, Ramos has by far the most Fantasy appeal and is practically a must-add in leagues that require the use of two catchers, but Phegley has already shown he can provide cheap power. Hundley is pretty much a known quantity by now, and though uninspiring, he's at least serviceable.
Worth a second look: Evan Gattis, Braves
Gattis returned from his oblique injury in time to make one start for the Braves before the All-Star break, so you can at least trust the rookie slugger's health at this point. Can you trust his playing time? Normally, no, but with Justin Upton among the many Braves hitters nursing injuries entering the second half, Gattis figures to get regular at-bats for the time being. In Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-21), it's a foregone conclusion with the DH spot available for the Braves' three-game series at the White Sox.
Approach with caution: Russell Martin, Pirates
Considering the way his last few seasons had gone, Martin had been surprisingly steady in 2013 until his last 19 games, during which he's batting .175 (11 for 63). If it's a regression to the mean, it's likely nearing its end, but even so, he'll have a hard time jumpstarting his swing against Mike Leake, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey this week.

No-brainers: Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Yadier Molina, Wilin Rosario, Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, Brian McCann, Jonathan Lucroy
Advisable starts: A.J. Pierzynski, Evan Gattis, Jason Castro, J.P. Arencibia, Salvador Perez
Shaky starts: Miguel Montero, Ryan Doumit, Russell Martin, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Zunino, Wilson Ramos, John Buck, John Jaso, Carlos Ruiz
Strictly AL/NL-only: Josh Phegley (finger), Nick Hundley, A.J. Ellis, Chris Iannetta, Devin Mesoraco, Dioner Navarro, Alex Avila, Welington Castillo, Derek Norris
Don't bother: Chris Stewart, Erik Kratz, Jose Lobaton, Yan Gomes, Rob Brantly, Geovany Soto, Tyler Flowers, Kurt Suzuki, Hank Conger, Ryan Hanigan (wrist), Francisco Cervelli (hand), Travis d'Arnaud, Jesus Montero

First base

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 a couple games at first base just before the All-Star break, Victor Martinez gained eligibility at the position in standard CBSSports.com leagues. Previously, he was eligible only at DH. Eligibility at first base isn't quite as useful as eligibility at catcher, but it still dramatically improves his utility at a time when you're looking to get him in your lineup. Over his last 16 games, he's batting .406 (26 for 64) with two homers and a 1.051 OPS.
Worth a second look: Justin Smoak, Mariners
Now in his fourth big-league season, Smoak may have already worn out his welcome with some Fantasy owners, but the former top prospect is showing his clearest signs of a breakout yet, batting .333 (26 for 78) with five homers and a 1.018 OPS in 22 games since returning from a DL stint for an oblique injury. And it's not just an isolated hot streak. He hit .282 with three homers and an .861 OPS in his previous 26 games. With the Mariners facing the Astros pitching staff in Houston this week, I'm willing to try him out.
Approach with caution: Adam Dunn, White Sox
With a .263 batting average, 18 homers and a .950 OPS in his last 54 games, Dunn appears to be himself again, but he's still susceptible to left-handed pitching. Maybe in a six-game week, a couple lefties on the schedule wouldn't be enough to render him useless in standard mixed leagues, but in a three-game week, it's kind of a deal-breaker.

No-brainers: Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Davis, Edwin Encarnacion, Joey Votto, Allen Craig, Prince Fielder, Buster Posey, David Ortiz*, Matt Carpenter, Michael Cuddyer, Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez
Advisable starts: Anthony Rizzo, Mark Trumbo, Carlos Santana, Freddie Freeman (thumb), Eric Hosmer, Joe Mauer, Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak, Billy Butler, Mike Napoli, Brandon Belt, Adam LaRoche, Victor Martinez
Shaky starts: Nick Swisher, Adam Lind, Adam Dunn, Daniel Murphy, Mitch Moreland, James Loney, Daniel Nava, Logan Morrison, Justin Morneau, Mark Reynolds, Michael Young, Yonder Alonso, Todd Frazier
Strictly AL/NL-only: Lyle Overbay, Brandon Moss, Ike Davis, Chris Carter (ankle), Chris Johnson, Matt Adams, Brett Wallace, Juan Francisco, Darin Ruf, John Mayberry, Todd Helton, Garrett Jones
Don't bother: Travis Hafner*, Josh Satin, Gaby Sanchez, Carlos Pena, Matt Tuiasosopo, Mike Carp, Joey Terdoslavich, Yan Gomes, Jeff Keppinger, Jordan Pacheco, Nate Freiman, Ryan Howard (knee), Michael Morse (quadriceps), Paul Konerko (back), Lance Berkman (back), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Kevin Youkilis (back), Lucas Duda (side), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton

Second base

Though Robinson Cano escaped his All-Star game plunking with just a bruised quadriceps -- a milder injury than initially perceived -- he's still less than assured of playing all three of the Yankees' games this week. And in a three-game week, one absence can make a huge difference. Still, he said he probably wouldn't have come out if it was a regular-season game, and any replacement you have likely wouldn't come close to matching his production. Better keep him active.
Worth a second look: Dan Uggla, Braves
Though he's batting just .234 (30 for 128) over his last 36 games, Uggla has been surprisingly productive during that stretch, ranking 10th at his position in Head-to-Head leagues. His homers and walks make all the difference. For the season, he ranks 12th at the position, ahead of both Martin Prado and Marco Scutaro. Don't sleep on him during a week when he's on the road, where his OPS is about 130 points higher than at home, and facing mostly left-handers, against whom he has an .827 OPS.
Approach with caution: Daniel Murphy, Mets
Though Murphy has scored between 14 and 19 Fantasy points each of the last eight weeks, he might have trouble measuring up to other second basemen this week. Not only is he facing two lefties, against whom he's batting .241 with a .537, but they happen to be two of the game's toughest in Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Plus, all three of his games are at home, where he's batting just .240.

No-brainers: Jason Kipnis, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Matt Carpenter, Brandon Phillips, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Robinson Cano (quadriceps), Jose Altuve, Chase Utley, Howard Kendrick, Anthony Rendon, Brad Miller, Dan Uggla, Aaron Hill, Nick Franklin
Shaky starts: Martin Prado, Jed Lowrie, Jedd Gyorko, Marco Scutaro, Daniel Murphy, Rickie Weeks, Gordon Beckham (quadriceps), Brian Dozier, Jurickson Profar, Brian Roberts
Strictly AL/NL-only: Darwin Barney, Derek Dietrich, Josh Rutledge, DJ LeMahieu, Kelly Johnson, Mark Ellis (leg), Emilio Bonifacio, Dustin Ackley, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Logan Forsythe, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Ryan Flaherty, Chris Getz, Neil Walker (oblique), Omar Infante (shin), Jemile Weeks, Danny Espinosa, Kolten Wong

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Indians @MIN3
2. Cubs @COL3
3. Mariners @HOU3
4. Rockies CHC3
5. Giants ARI3

Third base

Though Juan Francisco has been on a nice little run recently, the fact the Brewers sat him for four of their final six games before the break shows they still don't trust him against left-handed pitchers. As a platoon player, he won't matter much in mixed leagues whether he hits home runs or not. He's an adequate option this week, though, with three righties on tap for the Brewers.
Worth a second look: Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Sandoval needed a few weeks to rediscover his stroke after missing time with a strained foot in June, but he finally seemed to be back on track just before the All-Star break, batting .381 (8 for 21) with four doubles and a homer in his last six games. As long as the break didn't interrupt his momentum, he should be a quality option against Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley and Randall Delgado this week.
Approach with caution: Todd Frazier, Reds
Over the last month, Frazier has just one home run and two multi-hit games. Since April 20, he's batting .223 with a .667 OPS. Plenty of mixed-league owners have stood by him that whole time, but he's reached the point where he has to prove himself all over again. Against Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett and Jeff Locke this week, I don't foresee a turnaround.

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

Shortstop

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Dodgers @WAS3
2. Mets PHI3
3. Nationals LAD3
4. Royals DET3
5. Reds PIT3
Starlin Castro has made his way back into the no-brainers at shortstop even though his current starting rate is lower than the 90 percent I usually require of a player in that group. But I just can't envision sitting him at the weakest position in Fantasy when he's finally showing signs of breaking out of his season-long slump, batting .303 (23 for 76) with three homers in his last 18 games, and beginning a three-game series at Coors Field. To me, that's the definition of a no-brainer.
Worth a second look: Brad Miller, Mariners
With so few at-bats to his name, Miller's batting average is still susceptible to extreme fluctuation, but the rookie has already won me over with his seven walks and seven extra-base hits. Though he won't be as consistent as Matt Carpenter, he has similar capabilities when at his best, which I suspect he'll be with three games at Houston this week.
Approach with caution: Alcides Escobar
With only two steals in his last 44 games, Escobar is severely short-changing Fantasy owners of the one thing they expected to get from him. And this week, he doesn't figure to hit so well either. Not only are the Royals facing high-end hurlers in Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister, but they play all three of their games at home, where he has hit .211 this season.

No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Jean Segura, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Ben Zobrist, Ian Desmond, Everth Cabrera, Starlin Castro
Advisable starts: J.J. Hardy, Asdrubal Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Brad Miller, Jhonny Peralta, Nick Franklin, Jimmy Rollins
Shaky starts: Jed Lowrie, Alexei Ramirez, Alcides Escobar, Marco Scutaro, Andrelton Simmons, Erick Aybar, Brian Dozier, Jurickson Profar, Yunel Escobar (hamstring), Zack Cozart
Strictly AL/NL-only: Brandon Crawford, Didi Gregorius, Derek Jeter (quadriceps), Derek Dietrich, Josh Rutledge, Adeiny Hechavarria, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Pete Kozma, Eduardo Nunez, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Daniel Descalso, Pedro Florimon, Stephen Drew (hamstring), Danny Espinosa, Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton

Outfield

Among the higher-profile outfielders who ended the first half on an injured note, Matt Holliday and Jason Heyward seem like fairly safe bets to play this week. Their teams have more or less ruled out DL stints for their sore hamstrings, and both got several days off leading up to the All-Star break. Justin Upton's situation isn't as clear. He's suffering from a strained calf -- an injury that's notoriously slow to heal. In the absence of a clear timetable, you should probably assume the worst and reserve him in standard 10- or 12-team leagues.
Worth a second look: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs and Michael Brantley, Indians
Even in his prime, Soriano was the type of slugger who did 75 percent of his damage in 25 percent of the season. Considering nine of his 16 home runs this season have come in his last 16 games, he hasn't changed in that regard. If you're not using him during these hot streaks, you're not getting anything out of him. With the Cubs visiting Coors Field in the shortened three-game week, he may have a couple more homers in store. Brantley doesn't offer much in the way of homers, but he's been surprisingly productive in Head-to-Head leagues, scoring 20-plus points in four straight weeks. With a .333 (19 for 57) batting average and three steals over his last 15 games, he's clearly at his best right now and is a good bet to keep it going against the ever-hittable Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia and Scott Diamond this week.
Approach with caution: Daniel Nava, Red Sox and Marlon Byrd, Mets
After emerging as a steady contributor over the first 11 weeks or so, Nava has fallen into a rut in the last four, batting .267 with just four extra-base hits -- three doubles and one homer -- in his last 101 at-bats. He's been that way against left-handers all season long, batting .232 with a .627 OPS. Unfortunately, that's who the Red Sox are facing in two of their three games this week. Byrd has been a more recent find for Fantasy owners, batting .299 with nine homers since the start of June -- a span of only 39 games -- but his long track record of mediocrity suggests this run will soon end. Three games at home -- where he's batting just .233 with a .664 OPS on the year -- against the Phillies' high-end trio of Kyle Kendrick, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee could be the start of it.

No-brainers: Mike Trout, Chris Davis, Carlos Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andrew McCutchen, Allen Craig, Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo, Adam Jones, Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, Desmond Jennings, Domonic Brown, Michael Cuddyer, Bryce Harper, Hunter Pence, Starling Marte, Carlos Gomez
Advisable starts: Matt Holliday (hamstring), Yasiel Puig (hip), Ben Zobrist, Alex Rios, Ryan Braun, Mark Trumbo, Nick Markakis, Alex Gordon, Austin Jackson, Alfonso Soriano, Josh Hamilton, Yoenis Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Wil Myers, Jason Heyward (hamstring), Raul Ibanez, Michael Brantley, Alejandro De Aza, Brett Gardner, Jayson Werth, Dexter Fowler, Norichika Aoki
Shaky starts: Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Coco Crisp, Evan Gattis, Justin Upton (calf), Torii Hunter, Carlos Quentin, Colby Rasmus, Leonys Martin, Martin Prado, Ichiro Suzuki, Daniel Nava, Logan Morrison, Nate McLouth, Melky Cabrera (knee), Gerardo Parra, Marlon Byrd, Luke Scott, Drew Stubbs, Eric Young, Adam Eaton, Ryan Doumit, Josh Reddick, Denard Span
Strictly AL/NL-only: Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford (back), Dayan Viciedo, Aaron Hicks, Jose Tabata, Nate Schierholtz, Marcell Ozuna, Brandon Moss, Chris Carter (ankle), Darin Ruf, Zoilo Almonte, Jon Jay, Michael Saunders, Lorenzo Cain, Will Venable, David Murphy, Gregor Blanco, Matt Joyce, Kelly Johnson, Justin Ruggiano, Jason Kubel, Seth Smith, J.D. Martinez, John Mayberry, Garrett Jones, Cody Ross, A.J. Pollock, David Lough, Delmon Young, Jarrod Dyson, Chris Denorfia, Andy Dirks, Emilio Bonifacio, Dustin Ackley, Rajai Davis, J.B. Shuck, Justin Maxwell, Nolan Reimold, Vernon Wells, Chris Young
Don't bother: Grant Green, Mike Carp, Juan Pierre, Jonny Gomes, Matt Kemp (shoulder), Michael Morse (quadriceps), Curtis Granderson (hand), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Ben Revere (foot), B.J. Upton (adductor), Lucas Duda (side), Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), Josh Willingham (knee), David DeJesus (shoulder), Peter Bourjos (wrist), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Cameron Maybin (knee), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Oswaldo Arcia, 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.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite .

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Player News
Pedro Alvarez out of lineup vs. RHP Wednesday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:07 pm ET) Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is out of the lineup for the second game in a row Wednesday against the Giants, despite the team facing a right-handed pitcher yet again. He has started just one of the team's last six games, though it is not yet clear if the knee injury that bothered him last week is still an issue.

No serious talks for Cole Hamels
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:51 pm ET) The Phillies appear willing to move some of their veteran pitchers before Thursday's deadline, but MLB.com reports Cole Hamels is not likely to be among them.

Though reports have indicated there is some willingness to discuss Hamels, no substantive talks have occurred with any team, according to the report. The Phillies have not even reached the point in any talks where prospect names have been discussed.

Hamels lowered his ERA to 2.55 whole improving his record to 6-5 with eight scoreless innings Tuesday. Hamels is under contract through next season, and could be a candidate to be traded in the offseason. 


Rockies, Mets blockbuster unlikely to come together
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:40 pm ET) The Rockies and Mets have gotten together a few times to discuss major deal involving Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, but CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports Wednesday any move is unlikely to come before Thursday's deadline.

"Unless we do speed dating, I think that's safe to say [that any deal will wait until winter]," one person involved in the talks told Heyman.

Gonzalez and Tulowitzki are both under long-term deals with the Rockies, but the team's struggles have pushed them into considering a move. The Mets would likely have to part with much of their young pitching talent to get the deal done, but that will likely have to wait until the offseason. The report also indicates a deal for Gonzalez is more likely than Tulowitzki, once talks resume after Thursday. 


Wednesday foot surgery to end season for Josh Zeid
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:39 pm ET) Astros right-hander Josh Zeid is out for the year. He is set to undergo foot surgery Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Zeid, who had hoped to avoid the procedure, finishes his 2014 season without a decision and a 6.97 ERA in 23 appearances.


Report: Rockies not looking to move Brett Anderson
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:31 pm ET) Rockies pitcher Brett Anderson is set to take the mound Wednesday against the Cubs, and FOXSports.com reports it will not be his last appearance with the team.

The Rockies are not considering trading Anderson according to the report, and will likely look to lock him up for next season and beyond. Anderson has an option for $12 million for next season, and the Rockies plan to pick up that option, and possibly extend him beyond that.

Anderson has a 3.24 ERA in 33 1/3 innings for the Rockies this season, while missing three months due to a broken finger. 


Illness costs Chris Carter lineup spot against Athletics
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:29 pm ET) Astros outfielder Chris Carter, who has slumped a bit after a hot streak, has been scratched from the Wednesday afternoon lineup against visiting Oakland with an illness.

Carter has one hit in his last 12 at-bats, is on a roll in general with two home runs and nine RBI in his last nine games.


Michael Pineda ready to roll into rehab start Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:20 pm ET) Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda is set to make a rehab start Sunday, though his destination has yet to be determined.

Pineda, who threw 45 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday, has been out with a shoulder injury since late April. His minor league rehab is expected to last about a month.

"I think you've got to get him to where he can go 90 pitches, and you feel good abot it (and) where he's not fatiguing," Joe Girardi told the New York Daily News. "I think if you get there, then he's a guy you think about."

Pineda compiled a 2-2 record and 1.83 ERA in four starts before a 10-game suspension from Major League Baseball for his use of pine tar on the mound. He sustained the injury upon his return.


Adam Jones opens game with solo homer
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:19 pm ET) Orioles outfielder Adam Jones snapped out of a bit of a home power outage Tuesday, in a 7-6 win over the Angels.

Jones ended a six-game streak without a home run Tuesday, as he clubbed a solo shot in the first inning to get the Orioles on the board. It was his only contribution to the winning effort, as he finished 1 for 5 with one strikeout.

Jones has seen his average fall to .292 during a month of July that has seen him hit just .244/.286/.456. He still has five home runs and 16 RBI during the month, bringing his season total to 20 and 65, respectively. 


Nick Markakis drives in three with homer in win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:18 pm ET)  Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis played a big part in Tuesday's 7-6 win over the Angels, as he drove in three runs.

Markakis drove in all three runs in the fourth inning with his home run, his eighth of the season. He finished the game 2 for 6 overall, with one strikeout and one run scored.

Markakis has had a successful bounceback season, hitting .285/.346/.393 in 438 at-bats. He also has eight home runs in just 105 games, after hitting just 10 in 160 games a year ago. 


Josh Hamilton drives in three in win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:09 pm ET) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton snapped out of a funk Tuesday, in a 7-6 loss to the Orioles.

 Hamilton, who was just 2 for 14 over his previous five appearances, had hits in half of his at-bats Tuesday. He went 3 for 6 with a solo home run, and added two other RBI with a groundout in the first inning and an infield single in the seventh to tie the game.

Tuesday's was Hamilton's first home run since July 2, and third in the month of July. He has six in 215 at-bats overall, while hitting .293/.365/.442 with 32 RBI on the season. 


 
 
 
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