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Hit Parade for Week 22

Senior Fantasy Writer
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All stats are updated through Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Catcher

Here we go again with Evan Gattis. With Jason Heyward sidelined for what might end up being the rest of the regular season with a broken jaw, the converted catcher once again has a shot at regular playing time in the Braves outfield. Of course, Jordan Schafer also has nice numbers off the bench and would be a better fit in the leadoff spot. At catcher, Gattis doesn't need to play every single day to be a big contributor in Fantasy, but you'll want to see how the at-bats shake out before you trust him as a true No. 1.

Worth a second look: Jason Castro, Astros
Look, I understand that in most Fantasy leagues, you don't have to dig too deep into the catcher pool. It's not like anybody is starting a catcher at utility, so for the most part, every catcher who isn't occupying a catcher spot goes unowned. But I defy you to find 10 catchers better than Castro, particularly in a week the Astros are one of only eight teams playing seven games and facing pitchers like Erasmo Ramirez, Aaron Harang and Joe Saunders. Unless you play in a league as shallow as eight teams, he should be starting for someone.
Approach with caution: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox
Saltalamacchia seems like a decent hot-hand play this week given that he's batting .324 (22 for 68) with two homers and a .916 OPS over his last 17 games, but for players who make as little contact as he does, the hot streaks don't last long. This week seems like a decent time for his to end. He's facing three lefties, against whom he's batting .235, and playing six games on the road, where his OPS is about 130 points lower than at home.

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

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.

The Twins placed Joe Mauer on the DL with a concussion Tuesday, and though they have yet to determine a timetable, they're concerned enough about their franchise player to at least entertain the possibility of moving him out from behind the plate. Neither he nor Justin Morneau would be at risk of losing at-bats in that scenario, but with the DH spot occupied, the Twins would have fewer places to play Josh Willingham, Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Colabello. Just something to keep in mind in leagues where those players are relevant.

Worth a second look: Brandon Belt, Giants
With just three hits in his last five games, Belt has slowed a bit after a torrid first two weeks of August. Given the matchups he's had, it's not too surprising. The good news is the adjustments that initiated the hot streak -- such as moving back in the batter's box, which the Giants coaching staff had suggested he do from the beginning -- are still intact, so I don't see why he wouldn't come roaring back with six games at two of the league's more hitter-friendly parks this week. Only one of the pitchers on tap is a lefty, and four of the righties -- Juan Nicasio, Chad Bettis, Randall Delgado and Brandon McCarthy -- are hittable types.
Approach with caution: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
So Rizzo homered twice Wednesday. Pretty cool, right? He also homered twice Aug. 1 and went on to hit .115 (7 for 61) in his next 16 games. Until you see a sustained hot streak from him, you can assume he's still the .200 hitter he's been since June 1. In a week the Cubs are facing Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Cliff Lee, I'm not willing to get my hopes up.

No-brainers: Joey Votto, Chris Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Eric Hosmer, Prince Fielder, Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, Freddie Freeman, Billy Butler, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz*, Mark Trumbo
Advisable starts: Brandon Belt, Michael Cuddyer, Victor Martinez, Adam Dunn, Kendrys Morales, Justin Morneau, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana
Shaky starts: Daniel Murphy, Jonathan Lucroy, Nick Swisher, Anthony Rizzo, Darin Ruf, Ike Davis, Justin Smoak, Chris Johnson, Mike Napoli, Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, Yonder Alonso, Adam Lind, Logan Morrison, Mitch Moreland, Yan Gomes, Michael Young, Todd Frazier
Strictly AL/NL-only: Brandon Moss, Paul Konerko, Juan Francisco, James Loney, Chris Carter, Garrett Jones, Lyle Overbay, Matt Adams, Daniel Nava, Joe Mauer (concussion), Brett Wallace, Todd Helton, Chris Colabello, Yuniesky Betancourt
Don't bother: Matt Tuiasosopo, Gaby Sanchez, John Mayberry, Josh Satin, Mike Carp, Jeff Keppinger (back), Nate Freiman, 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. Royals TB1, @MIN3, @TOR3
2. Mariners TEX3, @HOU4
3. Astros @CHW3, SEA4
4. Reds @STL3, @COL3
5. Giants @COL3, @ARI3

Kolten Wong, probably the best pure second base prospect in the minors at the time of his promotion Aug. 16, has started four of the last six games for the Cardinals. A left-handed batter, he seems to be replacing David Freese against right-handed pitchers, with Matt Carpenter shifting from second to third base as necessary. As a hitter, Wong is probably somewhere between Carpenter and Jose Altuve, offering less power than the former but more on-base ability than the latter. Of course, that's speaking in terms of upside. As a platoon player just beginning his career, he's better left for NL-only leagues.

Worth a second look: Brad Miller, Mariners
Not a week goes by without Miller getting a mention of some kind in the Hit Parade, but his starting percentage has hardly changed despite his steady production. It's still below 50. This week, the Mariners have an especially favorable schedule. Not only are they one of only eight teams playing seven games, but they're facing low-end hurlers Travis Blackley, Jordan Lyles, Brad Peacock, Dallas Keuchel and Brett Oberholtzer in five of them.
Approach with caution: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
Reduced to being more or less just a doubles hitter after an impressive power display to begin the season, Lowrie needs to be hitting his absolute best to deserve a starting spot in standard mixed leagues. With a .184 (9 for 49) batting average over his last 12 games, he clearly isn't. And with Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Alex Cobb and potentially Matt Moore on tap this week, he doesn't figure to be anytime soon.

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

Third base

So yes, even with Eric Chavez and Cody Ross down, Matt Davidson is getting only limited at-bats for the Diamondbacks. Basically, he's platooning with Adam Eaton, starting strictly against left-handed pitchers, with Martin Prado shifting between third base and left field as necessary. Clearly, Davidson isn't going to make a Fantasy impact that way, and considering he's just 3 for 19 without an extra-base hit, he may be squandering his opportunity to contribute even in that limited capacity. The Diamondbacks are still competing for a playoff spot, after all. Frankly, Eaton owners are rooting for Davidson to fail so that maybe their guy can play every day.

Worth a second look: Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox
In 11 games since returning from Triple-A, Middlebrooks has been as good as ever, batting .441 (15 for 34) with two homers and a 1.241 OPS. Better yet, he has seven walks compared to seven strikeouts, seemingly correcting the poor plate discipline that had characterized his time in the majors up until now. One thing he's done from the beginning is handle lefties, compiling an .863 OPS in 166 career at-bats against them. With three on tap this week, he's a pretty safe bet to continue the hot hitting.
Approach with caution: Mike Moustakas, Royals
Moustakas has had to contend with a calf issue since mid-August, starting just two of the Royals' last nine games. Granted, one of them was Wednesday, but considering how slow calf injuries normally are to heal, you can't assume he's out of the woods yet. And even if he is completely healthy, he was just beginning to get his season on track at the time of the injury. Even with favorable matchups this week, he might not just pick up where he left off.

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

Shortstop

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Marlins @WAS3, @ATL3
2. Cubs @LAD3, PHI3
3. Cardinals CIN3, @PIT3
4. Indians @ATL3, @DET3
5. Athletics @DET4, TB3

Most likely, no prospect bigger than Xander Bogaerts will get called up between now and the end of the season, so Fantasy owners are understandably excited about him. Unfortunately, the Red Sox seem committed to breaking him in slowly, using him mostly just to spell Stephen Drew against tougher lefties. Bogaerts is talented enough (and Drew ordinary enough) that he could potentially force his way into more at-bats, but in mixed leagues, he's little more than a speculative stash right now.
Worth a second look: Erick Aybar, Angels
As of Wednesday, the Angels had played 126 games this season. Since Game 64 -- or half their season so far -- Aybar is the sixth-best shortstop in Head-to-Head leagues, batting .291 with nine doubles, three triples, three homers and 10 steals. Maybe he's not a must-start option, but he deserves to be starting in more than 50 percent of leagues. He's a safe and steady choice if Brad Miller and Brian Dozier are unavailable on waivers.
Approach with caution: Starlin Castro, Cubs
That's quite enough now, I think. We've given Castro four-fifths of the season to show some semblance of the ability that made him an early-round pick this year, and he's only gotten worse, scoring less than 10 Head-to-Head points every week since the All-Star break. Jeff Bianchi has outperformed him during that stretch. A tough week against the Dodgers and Phillies pitching staffs is as good of an excuse as any to move on.

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

Outfield

On the spectrum of all Fantasy-relevant outfielders, Khris Davis still rates pretty low, but if the Brewers had better matchups, he'd be "worth a second look" this week. Since returning from the minor leagues July 23, he's batting .370 (20 for 54) with six homers and a 1.195 OPS, earning the starting left field job vacated by Ryan Braun. Obviously, he won't continue to perform quite at that level, but he did hit .350 with 15 homers and a 1.055 OPS in 260 at-bats between three stops last year. Granted, his numbers weren't as impressive at Triple-A this year, but the same was true for Darin Ruf before his promotion. If you're looking for a relative unknown who could make a similar impact in five-outfielder leagues, Davis is the perfect candidate.
Worth a second look: Marlon Byrd, Mets and Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks
Byrd was in Khris Davis' shoes not too long ago, but Fantasy owners have been slow to come around to him, starting him in just 67 percent of leagues. Maybe this will change their minds: Since June 12 -- or about half the season so far -- he's the 12th-best hitter in Head-to-Head leagues. And it's not like he's ever cooled off. Over his last 10 games, he's batting .364 (16 for 44) with four homers. Let's get his starting percentage up to where he's no longer a candidate for this designation. Parra had a similar run in the first half, at least in terms of Fantasy points, before coming back down to earth in July. But he's showing signs of life again, ranking 14th among outfielders since the start of Fantasy Week 20 (Aug. 12-18). Facing five righties, against whom he's batting .291 with an .810 OPS, in six games at home, where he's batting .289 with a .796 OPS, he should be able to keep it up this week.
Approach with caution: Nick Swisher, Indians and Coco Crisp, Athletics
After disappointing his Fantasy owners for much of this season, Swisher is showing signs of a turnaround, batting .333 (9 for 27) with three homers in his last six games. He's right up there with Kelly Johnson in terms of streakiness, so you'd hate to have him benched the week he goes off. It is just six games, though -- nothing all that definitive. I'd feel more comfortable using him if the Indians had better matchups this week, but against Mike Minor, Alex Wood, Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander, he's a candidate to disappoint. Crisp, who has been dealing with a wrist injury for weeks now, did homer Wednesday, but considering he can't even play against lefties because of how much the wrist bothers him from the right side of the plate, he's not over the hump yet. Against the Tigers and Rays rotations this week, he's not a particularly wise gamble.

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

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
Angels SP Matt Shoemaker has no doubt he'll pitch in ALDS
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:59 pm ET) Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker completed a bullpen session without any issues on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Shoemaker told the paper he feels he could throw 100 pitches in a game and that he has no doubt he'll pitch in the ALDS. Right now, he is a candidate to start Game 3 for the Angels.


Dodgers SP Hyun-Jin Ryu slated to throw simulated game Wednesday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:31 pm ET) Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has been out since mid-September due to a shoulder injury, is slated to throw 45 pitches or three innings during a simulated game Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Red Sox SP Clay Buchholz undergoes knee surgery Tuesday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) The Red Sox announced Tuesday starting pitcher Clay Buchholz had successful surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee. The team added he is expected to make a full recovery.

C.J. Wilson expected to start Game 2 of ALDS for Angels
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:40 pm ET) Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters Tuesday he will announce Wednesday the starter for Game 2 of the ALDS. It is expected to be C.J. Wilson, according to The Orange County Register.

Angels' Matt Shoemaker could be candidate to start Game 3 of ALDS
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:38 pm ET) Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker (oblique) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday with breaks to simulate multiple innings, according to The Orange County Register. He could start Game 3 of the ALDS for the Angels.

Marlins expecting to have Giancarlo Stanton on roster in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:33 pm ET) Marlins president David Samson said even if the team can't sign outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term deal, he is still expected to be part of the Marlins' plans next season, per The Miami Herald.

"He’s on this team [in 2015] either way," Samson said. "I can’t wait until after the season to sit down with Giancarlo and [agent] Joel Wolfe and talk about contract. We’re ready. We want him to be a Marlin well past his arbitration years.

"We hope that he believes in us and believes in Miami and believes in the direction of this team and recognizes that he has a chance to be the leader of a successful team for many years to come."


Russell Martin expects to start for Pirates in wild-card game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:24 pm ET) Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who has been out since aggravating a hamstring injury Friday, told reporters Tuesday he expects to be in the starting lineup for Wednesday's wild-card game against the Giants.

Dodgers 2B Dee Gordon (hip) cleared to run
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:20 pm ET) Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon, who had to leave Saturday's game due to right hip irritation, said Tuesday he feels fine and has been cleared to run, according to MLB.com. The Dodgers will face the Cardinals in the NLDS.

Evan Gattis playing in left field in 2015 is 'an option' for Braves
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:07 pm ET) Braves catcher Evan Gattis appeared in a career-high 108 games in his second season in the majors in 2014, which was three more games than he played as a rookie in 2013. He appeared in 93 games at catcher and three games at DH, but he made no starts at first base or left field, which were two positions he saw playing time at as a rookie.

Though, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated Gattis could play around 140 games next season if he were to play in left field on top of his catcher responsibilities.

"That's an option," Gonzalez said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Angels OF Josh Hamilton confident he will lineup for Game 1 of ALDS
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:55 pm ET) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton (shoulder) is expected to face live pitching Tuesday, according to The Orange County Register. Hamilton added he is confident he will be in the starting lineup Thursday for Game 1 of the ALDS.

 
 
 
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