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Hit Parade for Week 23

Senior Fantasy Writer
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All stats are updated through Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Catcher

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Though he arrived to much hype in mid-June, Mike Zunino has been a forgotten man in Fantasy since breaking his hand July 25 -- an injury that required surgery. He began a rehab assignment Tuesday, though, and judging by the Mariners' alternatives at catcher, is sure to reclaim the starting gig once he's ready to return. In most Fantasy leagues, you won't have to dip into his tier at catcher, but he still has huge upside and was batting .324 (11 for 34) in his final 11 games before the injury. In leagues that require the use of two catchers, he's worth a look with the Mariners having favorable matchups this week.
Worth a second look: Salvador Perez, Royals
This is strictly a ride-the-hot-hand type of move. The Royals don't have especially favorable matchups, but Perez is on fire, homering four times in four games after coming up short as a power hitter virtually all season. He homered 11 times in 289 at-bats last year, so Fantasy owners know he has it in him. He's also a .311 hitter at home, where the Royals play all seven of their games this week.
Approach with caution: Evan Gattis, Braves
The Braves have started Gattis only once since Jason Heyward broke his jaw Aug. 21, opting instead for Jordan Schafer, who fits neatly into Heyward's leadoff spot. The fact Gattis is 0 for 16 in his last seven games, four of them starts, doesn't exactly help his case. The Braves face high-end hurlers Dillon Gee, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in a six-game week, so if you can't trust Gattis for even part-time at-bats, he's probably not worth the gamble.

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

First base

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Diamondbacks TOR3, @SF4
2. Mariners @KC4, TB3
3. Astros MIN3, @OAK4
4. Athletics TEX3, HOU4
5. Twins @HOU3, TOR3
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.

Daric Barton is back starting at first base for the Athletics, with Brandon Moss shifting to right field. He has Josh Reddick's wrist injury to thank. Barton got on base plenty during his stint at Triple-A Sacramento, but he's had ample opportunities to establish himself as a viable big-leaguer over the years and most likely hasn't undergone any sort of transformation at age 28. My guess is the Athletics will find some other way to fill his lineup spot in short order, whether by playing Chris Young or Nate Freiman every day or introducing a fresh face like Michael Choice.
Worth a second look: Brandon Belt, Giants
After a string of bad matchups in Fantasy Week 21 (Aug. 19-25), Belt has picked up where he left off during the rest of August, going 6 for 10 with a double in his last three games. He's now batting .370 (34 for 92) with five homers and a 1.122 OPS for the month. With favorable matchups this week against pitchers like Ian Kennedy, Robbie Erlin, Eric Stults, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy over a seven-game stretch, you have no reason to think he'll slow down.
Approach with caution: Brandon Moss, Athletics
Moss has been on a roll with six homers in his last nine games -- a streak he credits to a mechanical adjustment he made a couple weeks ago. What has also helped, though, is the eight righties the Athletics have faced during that nine-game stretch. Maybe Moss will get more opportunities against lefties with Josh Reddick on the DL, but he hasn't faced them much this season, most likely because he's batting just .203 against them. The Athletics have favorable matchups this week, but since they'll be facing four lefties in their seven games, you should probably steer clear of Moss in mixed leagues.

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

Second base

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Phillies WAS3, ATL3
2. Yankees CHW3, BOS4
3. Reds STL4, LAD3
4. Braves NYM3, @PHI3
5. Tigers @BOS3, @KC3
After filling in for an injured Mike Moustakas at third base when he first came over from the Blue Jays, Emilio Bonifacio has emerged as the primary second baseman in Kansas City, which shows just how much the Royals value his base-stealing ability. He has responded well to the vote of confidence, swiping eight bases in his first 14 games with his new team. He had 12 in the previous 4 1/2 months with the Blue Jays. In Rotisserie leagues, he's already worth starting, and if he continues to swipe bases at this rate, he'll soon matter in Head-to-Head formats as well.
Worth a second look: Brian Roberts, Orioles
Believe it or not, Roberts has been healthy for a solid two months now after undergoing hamstring surgery earlier this year. You just wouldn't know it by his underwhelming performance. Over his last 15 games, though, he has begun to resemble the player he was a couple years ago, before the rash of injuries, batting .327 (16 for 49) with 10 of his 18 walks this season and two of his three steals. With favorable matchups this week against pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister, John Danks and Andre Rienzo, he's suddenly looking like a viable mixed-league option.
Approach with caution: Chase Utley, Phillies
Granted, sitting a mainstay like Utley would be an especially gutsy move at this crucial point in the season -- I'm not sure I'd be able to do it myself -- but all signs point to a minimal contribution from him this week. Not only is he 7 for 46 (.152) over his last 14 games, but he's facing some of the best the Nationals and Braves have to offer in only six games this week. What's worse is four of them are lefties. He's hitting .204 against lefties this season and hasn't hit better than .214 against them since 2010, so clearly, they pose a problem for him at this late stage of his career.

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

Third base

When second base prospect Kolten Wong came up to the big leagues in mid-August, David Freese became the lesser half of a lefty-righty platoon. But seeing as he's started the Cardinals' last three games against right-handed pitchers, he seems to be back to playing every day, relegating Wong to the bench. A cold spell could reshuffle the deck, but at least for right now, Freese appears to be a viable mixed-league option if you're desperate for help at third base. You might want to wait until he heats up, though.
Worth a second look: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
I had already written off Ramirez this year, believing his knees to be too far gone for him to recapture his power stroke at age 35. But he's done his best to prove me wrong since returning from his latest DL stint two weeks ago, batting .367 (11 for 30) with three homers over his last eight games. I'd rather win my league than any silly argument, so I'll relent and say Ramirez is healthy enough to matter again. And considering he was a top-five third baseman in both Head-to-Head and Rotisserie leagues last year, he could really matter.
Approach with caution: Chris Johnson, Braves
With a .283 (15 for 53) batting average over the last three weeks, Johnson isn't exactly struggling, but the shortage of extra-base hits (and continued shortage of walks) has made him the 31st-best third baseman in Head-to-Head leagues during that stretch. The point production figures to be lacking again this week with the Braves playing only six games and facing Dillon Gee, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

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

Shortstop

Derek Jeter returned to the lineup Monday after his latest bout with injury -- this time a strained calf that landed him on the DL for two weeks -- and has managed to play a whopping three consecutive games for the first time all season. I don't know about you, but I'm not aching to get a 39-year-old with who knows how much left in the tank back in my lineup when he has yet to prove he can handle a full workload. I don't care who he is.
Worth a second look: Brian Dozier, Twins
With a starting rate of only 62 percent, Dozier just can't get Fantasy owners to take him seriously. He's the third-best shortstop in Head-to-Head leagues since the beginning of June, for crying out loud. It's not like he's slowed down either, scoring at least 18 Fantasy points in four consecutive weeks leading up to Fantasy Week 22 (Aug. 26-Sept. 1). The Twins have some of the best matchups of any team this week, facing Paul Clemens, Jordan Lyles, J.A. Happ and Todd Redmond, so why wouldn't you start Dozier?
Approach with caution: Nick Franklin, Mariners
The Mariners have even better matchups than the Twins this week, but you wouldn't want to start Franklin. Sure, those matchups can only help him break out for his dreadful 8-for-72 (.111) slump that has spanned the entire month of August, but not if he doesn't play. Lately, the Mariners have been sitting him about every other game for slick-fielding shortstop Brendan Ryan, shifting Brad Miller to second base. It's a catch-22. Franklin won't play every day unless he hits better, but he probably won't hit better unless he plays every day.

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

Outfield

Out since July 21 with a sprained ankle, the latest in a myriad of injuries during what has been a disastrous season, Matt Kemp was set to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Class A Rancho Cucamonga, where he's expected to play three games. After that, he could conceivably return to the big-league lineup. The Dodgers may work him in slowly, especially since they'll have four outfielders for three spots, but because he was finally beginning to look like himself before spraining his ankle, you wouldn't be out of your mind to start him right away. The same is true for Carlos Gonzalez, who has been out since Aug. 4 with a sprained right middle finger. The Rockies haven't offered a clear timetable for his return, but he could begin a rehab assignment over the weekend and likely wouldn't need more than a couple games in the minors.
Worth a second look: Adam Eaton, Diamondbacks and Andre Ethier, Dodgers
Considering he hit .348 over four minor-league seasons, Eaton's .216 (19 for 88) batting average in his first 27 games after coming off the DL had me thinking his sprained elbow wasn't quite 100 percent. But over his last 11 games, he's been the player he was throughout his minor-league career, batting .347 (17 for 49) with two steals and a variety of extra-base hits. The hot streak seems to have earned him the Dimaondbacks' trust against lefties. He's started against the last two they've faced. They have four on tap this week, but against the banged-up Blue Jays and Giants rotations, I expect Eaton to keep delivering. Ethier also had an obvious turning point this season. Since June 11, he's batting .315 with an .873 OPS. He still stinks against lefties (batting .231 with a .625 OPS) and at home (batting .224 with a .649 OPS), but fortunately, the Dodgers are facing five righties and playing all six of their games on the road this week (and at Colorado and Cincinnati, of all places).
Approach with caution: Josh Hamilton, Angels and Brett Gardner, Yankees
Just when Hamilton looked like he was beginning to come around at the plate, he went and hurt his shoulder, leaving Tuesday's game with the injury. He returned to the lineup Wednesday, but you have to believe he's playing at less than 100 percent, which is especially bad news for a .236 hitter whose mechanics have been called into question this year. With four lefties on tap -- including three high-end types in Matt Moore, David Price and Derek Holland -- Hamilton might have too much to overcome this week. He's batting only .171 against lefties this season. Gardner isn't much better against southpaws, batting .239 on the year, and the Yankees have five on tap this week, with no weak links in the bunch. Add righties Jake Peavy and John Lackey to a slate that includes Jose Quintana, Chris Sale, Hector Santiago, Felix Doubront and Jon Lester, and Gardner is a long shot to break out of his 11-for-51 (.216) funk.

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

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Ryan Howard clubs 16th home run Sunday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:52 am ET) Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard belted his 16th home run Sunday against the Diamondbacks. 

In his first at-bat, Howard homered on the first pitch he saw from Vidal Nuno. He crushed a 90 mph to left center for a two-run shot. He finished 1 for 3, with two runs scored and two RBI. 


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(12:32 am ET) Astros first baseman Jon Singleton hit his seventh home run Sunday against the Marlins. 

Singleton waited until the ninth inning to strike. With the bases empty in the ninth inning, Singleton hit a 92 mph fastball out to left for a solo shot. He also walked twice earlier in the contest. Singleton finished 1 for 2, with one run scored and one RBI. 


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(12:26 am ET) Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hit his fourth home run Sunday against the Marlins.

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(12:13 am ET) Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco hit his fifth home run Sunday against the Rockies.

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Buster Posey hits 12th home run Sunday
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(7/27/2014) Giants catcher Buster Posey hit his 12th home run Sunday against the Dodgers.

Posey struck in the bottom of the fifth. With the bases empty, he hit a 93 mph fastball from Hyun-Jin Ryu out to left field for the solo shot. Posey finished 1 for 3, with one run scored and one RBI.


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(7/27/2014) Giants pitcher Jake Peavy lost his 10th game Sunday against the Dodgers. 

Peavy allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits over six innings of work. He struck out five and walked two during the outing. Peavy got off to a nice start, tossing three scoreless frames to open the game. The Dodgers were able to scratch across a run in the fourth inning, tying the game. In the fifth, things were blown wide open. After a drop-third strike led to Dee Gordon reaching base, Peavy walked Yasiel Puig. A wild pitch moved both players into scoring position. Another drop-third strike brought Gordon home, making the score 2-2. Hanley Ramirez singled, and Brandon Crawford tripled, bringing in the other two runs.

With the loss, Peavy dropped to 1-10 this season. He'll take on the Mets in his next start. 


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by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2014) Rangers infielder Adam Rosales unleashed his first home run of the season Sunday night at home against the Athletics.

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Adrian Beltre homers, reaches base three times
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(7/27/2014) Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre reached base three times in Sunday's loss to the Athletics.

Beltre doubled in the third and launched a solo home run in the eighth inning. He finished 2 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI in a 9-3 victory. He owns a .324/.369/.519 slash line with 15 homers and 55 RBI in 349 at-bats.


Hyun-Jin Ryu wins his 12th Sunday
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(7/27/2014) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu won his 12th game Sunday against the Giants.

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With the win, Ryu moved to 12-5. He'll take on the Cubs in his next start. 


 
 
 
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