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Hit Parade for Week 21

Senior Fantasy Writer
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All stats are updated through Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Catcher

The two players with the easiest names to confuse in all of baseball, Wilin Rosario and Wilson Ramos, are both dealing with hamstring injuries right now. Ramos (the one who plays for the Nationals) says he'll be back Friday, but he also says he "will be scared to run." Sounds ... problematic. Rosario (the Rockies' guy) hasn't offered any sort of timetable, but considering he's available to pinch hit, a DL stint doesn't seem to be in his future. Realistically, a DL stint is still possible for both, but because they've been two of the more productive options at a weak position in recent weeks, I'd be inclined to start both.

Worth a second look: Yan Gomes, Indians
Of course, if Gomes is still floating around on waivers, he's the safer bet this week. He seems to have emerged as the Indians' primary catcher with Mark Reynolds out of the mix (freeing up Carlos Santana to play either first base or DH), and with a .488 (21 for 43) batting average and two home runs over his last 14 games, he's looking like a good one. It could just be a hot streak, but even so, his matchups this week against Jerome Williams, Samuel Deduno, Kyle Gibson and Mike Pelfrey figure to prolong it.
Approach with caution: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox
Even with a .313 (15 for 48) batting average over his last 12 games, Saltalamacchia hasn't been a reliable source of Fantasy points in recent weeks, ranking 16th among all catchers since the All-Star break. Considering he's hit just two of his 10 home runs on the road this year, with a batting average about 30 points lower than at home, he figures to rank significantly lower than that in a week he's playing three games at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park and three games at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium.

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

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.

For most of this season, you've been able to slot David Ortiz into your utility or DH slot without paying it a second thought. But this week, you're going to have to try a little harder. The Red Sox are in the NL for all six of their games, which means they won't be able to use a DH. Ortiz might spell Napoli at first base for a couple games, but they'll have to be the best games of his life for him to factor in standard mixed leagues. And in case that wasn't enough to throw a wrench in your plans, the Tigers are in the NL for three games as well, making Victor Martinez not the most advisable start in mixed leagues either.

Worth a second look: Justin Smoak, Mariners
With a retooled swing and improved plate discipline, Smoak appears to be a changed player this season, compiling a better on-base percentage than Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez and a better OPS than Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer. He's been at his best since the start of August, batting .364 (16 for 44) with four homers in 12 games and faces five righties this week, against whom he's batting .308 with all 13 of his home runs this season. Seems like a good start to me.
Approach with caution: Brandon Belt, Giants
Belt has been even hotter Smoak recently, batting .415 (17 for 41) with four homers in his last 12 games. Considering the streak coincides with a change he made to his batting stance, it might be the start of a full-fledged breakout. This week will be a tough test for him, however. Though he's supposed to play more against lefties now, he has four particularly challenging ones (Jon Lester, Felix Doubront, Jeff Locke and Francisco Liriano) on tap this week, and the righties (Jake Peavy, Charlie Morton and A.J. Burnett) are no walk in the park. He's so hot that maybe you just run him out there and hope for the best, but he's no automatic start.

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

Second base

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Phillies COL4, ARI3
2. Reds ARI4, MIL3
3. Blue Jays @NYY4, @HOU3
4. Nationals @CHC4, @KC3
5. Tigers MIN3, @NYM3
The Blue Jays traded Emilio Bonifacio to Kansas City Wednesday, where he'll try to stop the revolving door at second base while also spelling Mike Moustakas at third. His stay in Toronto was nothing short of disastrous. On the rare occasion he reached base, he didn't run anywhere close to as often as he did in his previous two years with the Marlins. The Royals lead the AL in stolen bases, so if any team can help him recapture that form, it's them. Just something to keep in mind if you're short on steals in a Rotisserie league.

Worth a second look: Anthony Rendon, Nationals
These 23-year-olds can turn on a dime, can't they? After looking like he had hit the dreaded rookie wall in the first three weeks of the second half, Rendon has come roaring back with a .313 (10 for 32) batting average and two home runs in August. You'd prefer to see more before getting him back in your lineup, obviously, but for a seven-game week against the worst the Cubs and Royals can throw at him, he probably deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Approach with caution: Jedd Gyorko, Padres
The last time Gyorko got hot was April 22. From then right up until the time he hurt his groin, he hit .312 with eight home runs in 170 at-bats. With a .333 (8 for 24) batting average and three home runs in his last seven games, he could be in the early stages of another streak like that, but considering the Padres' matchups against Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett, Gerrit Cole and Jeff Samardzija, I'd rather give him another week to prove it.

No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Matt Carpenter, Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Jose Altuve, Brett Lawrie, Martin Prado, Brad Miller, Aaron Hill, Anthony Rendon, Brian Dozier, Neil Walker, Jed Lowrie, Daniel Murphy
Shaky starts: Jedd Gyorko, Nick Franklin, Omar Infante, Gordon Beckham, Marco Scutaro, Scooter Gennett
Strictly AL/NL-only: Jurickson Profar, Ryan Raburn, Darwin Barney, Brian Roberts, DJ LeMahieu, Mark Ellis, Chris Nelson, Emilio Bonifacio, Grant Green, Donovan Solano, Alberto Callaspo, Logan Forsythe, Yuniesky Betancourt, Dustin Ackley, Kelly Johnson, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard, Chris Getz, Daniel Descalso, Alexi Amarista
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Jeff Keppinger, Dan Uggla (eye), Howie Kendrick (knee), Luis Valbuena (oblique), Kolten Wong, Jemile Weeks, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich

Third base

If you didn't hear, the Diamondbacks called up arguably their top hitting prospect in Matt Davidson Sunday. The lack of hype probably has to do with the fact they have nowhere to play him. Even with Cody Ross and Eric Chavez on the DL, they can fill out a lineup with Martin Prado at third base and A.J. Pollock in the outfield. Davidson, whose best tool is his power, will spell Pollock from time to time, bumping Prado to the outfield, but probably not often enough for him to factor in mixed leagues.

Worth a second look: Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
By now, most Fantasy owners are on board with Lawrie, but he's still sitting in enough leagues for me to shine the spotlight on him once more. Since returning from a DL stint for a sprained ankle July 13, he's batting .317 with four homers, three steals and a .900 OPS in 101 at-bats. Manager John Gibbons says he's using the whole field more, which is something he may have gotten away from doing after homering nine times in his first 121 at-bats as a big-leaguer. I don't see how you sit him in a week he's facing pitchers like Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, Brad Peacock and Dallas Keuchel.
Approach with caution: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
Ramirez returned to the lineup Tuesday after his latest absence -- this one of the five-week variety -- for what appears to be a chronic knee issue. He's 35. It happens. Unfortunately, if his May and June are any indication, it's detrimental to his numbers. He's been so good for so long that you wouldn't be crazy to hold out hope he has something left in the tank, but fresh off the DL in a week he's facing the Cardinals and Reds rotations, his chances of contributing aren't the greatest.

No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Adrian Beltre, Matt Carpenter, Hanley Ramirez, Evan Longoria
Advisable starts: Kyle Seager, Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Pedro Alvarez, Brett Lawrie, Martin Prado, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon
Shaky starts: Jedd Gyorko, Nolan Arenado, Chris Johnson, Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez, Mike Moustakas (calf), David Freese, Michael Young, Alex Rodriguez, Will Middlebrooks
Strictly AL/NL-only: Cody Asche, Jurickson Profar, Juan Francisco, Todd Frazier, DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Plouffe, Matt Davidson, Wilmer Flores (ankle), Brett Wallace, Conor Gillaspie, Matt Dominguez, Chris Nelson, Donnie Murphy, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jose Iglesias, Alberto Callaspo, Kelly Johnson, Lonnie Chisenhall, Maicer Izturis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Daniel Descalso, Alexi Amarista
Don't bother: Mike Aviles, Jeff Keppinger, Placido Polanco, David Wright (hamstring), Kevin Youkilis (back), Wilson Betemit (knee), Luis Valbuena (oblique), Eric Chavez (hip), Nick Castellanos

Shortstop

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Brewers STL3, @CIN3
2. White Sox @KC3, TEX3
3. Diamondbacks @CIN4, @PHI3
4. Cardinals @MIL3, ATL4
5. Padres PIT3, CHC3
After spending much of June and July on the bench, Jurickson Profar has started 11 of the Rangers' last 12 games, splitting his time almost evenly between second base, third base, shortstop and DH. He hasn't performed all that well during that stretch, batting .234 (11 for 47) with a .599 OPS, but as long as he's getting regular playing time, the talent that made him such a highly regarded prospect coming into the season will eventually show up. He's a worthy stash in mixed leagues.

Worth a second look: Brad Miller, Mariners
You'd think Miller's two-homer game Tuesday would have his ownership rate above 50 percent by now, but the rookie's steady all-around production continues to go overlooked in Fantasy. Basically, the seventh-ranked shortstop in Head-to-Head leagues since his promotion is hot and facing five opposite-handed pitchers this week. If you think you can do better, then by all means ...
Approach with caution: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
Ramirez has been swinging the bat better recently, batting .392 (20 for 51) over his last 11 games. But he has only two steals in his last 16 games, and with his power numbers down this season, those have been his main source of production. I wouldn't necessarily expect him to keep hitting well in a week he's facing Ervin Santana, James Shields and Yu Darvish. With his steals also in question, he's an iffy start in Fantasy.

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

Outfield

Desmond Jennings, out since Aug. 3 with a broken middle finger, has a good chance of returning to the lineup Monday, just in time for a six-game week. Of course, he was just cleared to swing a bat Tuesday, so most likely, he won't be picking up where he left off. Still, unless his return is delayed over the weekend, most Fantasy owners will probably want to roll the dice on him.

Worth a second look: Darin Ruf, Phillies and Rajai Davis, Blue Jays
With seven homers in 110 at-bats, including five in his last 44, Ruf has proven to be a legitimate source of power in the majors after showing some inconsistency in the minors. He's not getting much help from his teammates, which has curbed his point production to some degree, but his percentages are so impressive that he's a worthy start every week, particularly one where he's playing seven games at home against pitchers like Jeff Manship, Juan Nicasio, Chad Bettis and Randall Delgado. With Colby Rasmus on the DL and Emilio Bonifacio out of the picture, Davis figures to play every day for the Blue Jays. Despite starting just 52 games so far, he's tied for fourth in the majors with 34 steals. Against the Yankees and Astros rotations this week, he should spend plenty of time on the base paths. Even Head-to-Head owners will want to give him a look.
Approach with caution: Alejandro De Aza, White Sox and Norichika Aoki, Brewers
Though an overlooked Fantasy option for much of this year, De Aza has underwhelmed recently, scoring no more than 14 Head-to-Head points in any week since the All-Star break. With the White Sox playing only six games this week -- and three of them against high-end hurlers Ervin Santana, James Shields and Yu Darvish -- a resurgence seems unlikely. He's still usable, but not especially advisable. The same goes for Aoki, who despite an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio, hasn't had much to offer Fantasy owners since the All-Star break, batting .216 (21 for 97) in 25 games. His matchups against Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo and Tony Cingrani figure to keep him down another week.

No-brainers: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Andrew McCutchen, Chris Davis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Yasiel Puig, Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Jason Heyward, Domonic Brown, Carlos Beltran, Bryce Harper, Matt Carpenter, Wil Myers, Alex Rios, Shin-Soo Choo, Alex Gordon
Advisable starts: Michael Cuddyer, Mark Trumbo, Carlos Gomez, Jayson Werth, Starling Marte, Giancarlo Stanton, Ben Zobrist, Torii Hunter, Yoenis Cespedes, Hunter Pence, Austin Jackson, Martin Prado, Josh Hamilton, Alfonso Soriano, Curtis Granderson, Desmond Jennings (finger), Dexter Fowler, Brett Gardner, Shane Victorino, Leonys Martin, Darin Ruf
Shaky starts: Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Rajai Davis, Nick Markakis, Norichika Aoki, Michael Brantley, Marlon Byrd, Alejandro De Aza, Josh Willingham, Josh Reddick, Eric Young, Michael Morse, Carl Crawford, Junior Lake, Christian Yelich, Nate McLouth, Andre Ethier (calf), Coco Crisp (wrist), Raul Ibanez, Logan Morrison, Nate Schierholtz, Gerardo Parra, Denard Span, Jon Jay, Adam Eaton, B.J. Upton, Kole Calhoun, Brandon Moss, Evan Gattis, Ryan Doumit (concussion)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Will Venable, Oswaldo Arcia, Juan Lagares, David DeJesus, Michael Saunders, Robbie Grossman, Corey Dickerson, Ryan Ludwick, Andrew Lambo, Dayan Viciedo (thumb), Ichiro Suzuki, Chris Carter, Luke Scott, David Murphy, J.B. Shuck, Garrett Jones, Drew Stubbs, Seth Smith, Ryan Raburn, Jake Marisnick, Chris Colabello, Peter Bourjos (wrist), Avisail Garcia, Emilio Bonifacio, Grant Green, Jonny Gomes, Andy Dirks, Chris Denorfia, Chris Young, A.J. Pollock, Dustin Ackley, Jarrod Dyson, Kelly Johnson, Matt Joyce, Henry Urrutia, Daniel Nava, David Lough, John Mayberry, Gregor Blanco, Jose Tabata (illness), Alexi Amarista, Justin Maxwell
Don't bother: Jason Kubel, Matt Tuiasosopo, Justin Ruggiano, Vernon Wells, Mike Aviles, Mike Carp, Carlos Gonzalez (finger), Matt Kemp (ankle), Colby Rasmus (oblique), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Ben Revere (foot), Carlos Quentin (knee), Melky Cabrera (knee), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Lorenzo Cain (oblique), J.D. Martinez (wrist), Cameron Maybin (knee), Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), George Springer, Jackie Bradley, Aaron Hicks, 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 . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

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Player News
Josh Willingham able to come off bench Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:50 pm ET) Royals outfielder Josh Willingham is available off the bench Tuesday, according to the Kansas City Star.

Willingham wasn't in the team's starting lineup, but could come off the bench. He felt no pain swinging Tuesday. Willingham received a shot to help him deal with the discomfort. He said he could come off the bench to pinch hit.


A.J. Pollock, Chris Owings brought back from DL
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:48 pm ET) The Diamondbacks activated infielder Chris Owings (shoulder) and outfielder A.J. Pollock (hand) from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, the team announced.

Owings has been out since late June due to his injury, while Pollock's has kept him out since late May.


Charlie Morton's next few steps planned out
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:41 pm ET) Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Tuesday the team's next steps for pitcher Charlie Morton as he continues to work his way back from a sports hernia.

Morton tossed a simulated game at Busch Stadium Tuesday, and is set for another next Tuesday as well. He will also through a side session with coaches watching Thursday or Friday prior to his second simulated game, after which the next step will be determined. He has been out since Aug. 15 as a result of the injury. 


Kolten Wong still not starting Tuesday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:36 pm ET) Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong is not in the starting lineup Tuesday against the Pirates, despite being able to serve as a pinch-hitter in Monday's game.

Wong admitted his neck was still sore even though he got into Monday's game, though it is clearly improved enough for him to be available. At this point, he is considered day to day moving forward. 


J.B. Shuck designated for assignment
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:26 pm ET) The Angels have designated outfielder J.B. Shuck for assignment Tuesday.

Shuck was sent back to Triple-A in early August after hitting .167 over 84 at-bats in the majors. He's a career .272 hitter over 602 at-bats.


Travis Snider, Pedro Alvarez still out Tuesday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:26 pm ET) Pirates outfielder Travis Snider (hamstring) and infielder Pedro Alvarez (foot) remained out of the starting lineup Tuesday against the Cardinals, as they remain sidelined by their injuries. Snider has missed five games as a result of his injury, while Tuesday will be Alvarez's sixth straight start missed. 

Michael Wacha to return to rotation Thursday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:24 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha will return to the Cardinals' rotation Thursday, manager Mike Matheny told reporters Tuesday.

Wacha, who has been out since mid-June with a shoulder injury, will start Thursday against the Brewers, after making just one rehab appearance. He threw 34 pitches for Double-A Springfield, and will likely be on a pitch count for at least his first game.

Wacha had a 2.79 ERA and 5-5 record in 15 starts prior to suffering the injury. 


Carlos Gomez could miss at least a week with wrist injury
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:19 pm ET) Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez is expected to miss at least a week of action due to a sprained wrist, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Tuesday.

Gomez, who has been out since suffering the injury Sunday, could end up missing more than a week as a result of the injury, according to the report. He was spotted wearing a brace on the wrist and will likely get at least a few days off to rest before trying to work his way back.


Michael Morse sidelined again Tuesday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:17 pm ET) Giants outfielder Michael Morse is not in the lineup Tuesday against the Rockies, as he continues to deal with a hip injury. He is awaiting the results of an MRI, and his status moving forward is not known at this point. 

Anthony Rizzo has strained back; no DL at this point
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:04 pm ET) If rosters hadn't just expanded at the start of September, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo would probably be on the disabled list with a back strain, the team announced Tuesday.

Rizzo had an MRI taken on his back which showed a mild lower back strain, an injury that has already cost him eight games. If the team was still restricted to a 25-man roster, Rizzo would have already been placed on the disabled list. He will try to rehab the injury while remaining active at this point, and the team is not considering shutting him down for the final month.


 
 
 
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