Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Start and sit hitters for Week 1

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

In more recent iterations of what I'll call the "weekly hitting advice column" (because it's undergone several name changes over the years), I went so far as to rank every player at every position every week. And it was glorious.

But it was also a backbreaker -- a monster undertaking that imposed itself on every other task I set out to accomplish in a given week.

Those tasks are ever-evolving. In case you haven't noticed, CBSSports.com Fantasy News has become increasingly versatile over the last few years with daily podcasts, daily video call-in shows and a growing Twitter presence. Last year, we introduced rest-of-season rankings, and this year, we've added a blog. The goal is clear: to provide Fantasy advice on as many subjects as possible in as many forms as possible as efficiently as possible.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

To put it bluntly, I can no longer justify spending one-third of my office time on something as simple as weekly hitting advice -- at least not in written form.

And that's not coming from me.

So this season, I've been tasked with stripping down last year's version of the weekly hitting advice column to its most essential parts -- the real decision points for those few Fantasy owners who have legitimate decisions to make.

Because let's face it: Baseball is a big-picture sport. Attempting to predict hitter performances from week to week is mostly fruitless and borderline crazy. Players fluctuate between hot and cold without warning, independently of matchups, all season long.

What this column should aim to do -- and if it hasn't in the past, then the extra time I put into it was actually counterproductive -- is give you a sense of direction if you've become totally lost at a position, usually because of injury or the outright collapse of the player you drafted to start there. Rarely will reading it inspire you to make a lineup change, but that should have always been the case. The winning approach to Fantasy Baseball is to start your best players and trust them to perform as they should. And if you ever lose sight of who your best players are, that's what the rest-of-season rankings are for.

All this new version is lacking is the minutia that was probably just distracting you from the big picture anyway. The same research goes into it as the old version. It's just streamlined now. Simplicity and clarity are the goals, with an emphasis on clarity. Again, all the information in the world won't help you if you don't know what to do with it.

So here's how it works. At each position, I list the players who are "too obvious" for the upcoming week. Basically, they supersede whatever else I have to say about the position. In most leagues, that means you're automatically starting them. For shallower ones where you have to choose between a couple, I've gone ahead and ranked them. With those players accounted for, I then suggest a start and a sit for the upcoming week and make my case for each, revealing two or three "instead of" examples to provide additional context.

Altogether, I touch on about 20 players at each position. More than that in the outfield, actually. No, it's not every player, but it's all you should need to feel confident you've put your best foot forward.

All stats are updated through Thursday, March 27.

Catcher

Too obvious: Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Yadier Molina, Jonathan Lucroy, Wilin Rosario, Brian McCann, Matt Wieters, Salvador Perez, Evan Gattis

Start: Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks
Various injuries have contributed to Montero developing a reputation as a slow starter over the last few years, but he was healthy this spring, plays for one of the eight teams with seven games this week and closes out the week at Coors Field, where he's a career .295 hitter with an .872 OPS, his best numbers at any stadium where he's gotten at least 100 at-bats. If you somehow dropped the ball at catcher, deep as the position is, he's a worthy gamble this week.
Instead of: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, A.J. Pierzynski, Russell Martin

Sit: Travis d'Arnaud, Mets
His prospect status has earned d'Arnaud a roster spot in just about all leagues, but he's been completely overmatched against major-leaguers so far. His spring performance hasn't helped. Through Thursday, he was batting just .159 (7 for 44). It's probably just a matter of time before he lives up to his pedigree, so you wouldn't want to cut him for a short-term fix, but you shouldn't expect any breakthroughs in a week he's facing Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Johnny Cueto.
Instead of: Jason Castro, Mike Zunino, Montero

First base

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Marlins COL4, SD3
2. Rays TOR4, TEX3
3. Rockies @MIA4, ARI3
4. White Sox MIN3, @KC3
5. Yankees @HOU3, @TOR3

Too obvious: Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder, Freddie Freeman, Albert Pujols, Eric Hosmer, Buster Posey, Allen Craig, Carlos Santana, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Trumbo, Anthony Rizzo, Matt Adams, Jose Abreu

Start: Brandon Moss, Athletics
Whether or not Moss sits against lefties this season is irrelevant this week, with six righties on the schedule. And considering the one lefty is somebody named Roenis Elias, he might just end up starting all seven games. A 30-homer guy for the first time last year, Moss compiled a .904 OPS against righties and hit two-thirds of his homers on the road, where the Athletics play all seven of their games this week.
Instead of: Mike Napoli, Nick Swisher, Ryan Howard

Sit: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Even if you assume Teixeira is as good as new coming off wrist surgery, which his .091 spring batting average would hardly suggest, he's a notoriously slow starter. He has a career .238 batting average in April compared to .278 overall. The Yankees may have favorable matchups this week, but he has to prove his competence all over again before you can seriously consider starting him in a mixed league.
Instead of: Brandon Belt, Napoli, Moss

Second base

Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis, Matt Carpenter, Ian Kinsler, Martin Prado, Ben Zobrist, Aaron Hill, Jose Altuve, Jedd Gyorko, Brandon Phillips, Daniel Murphy

Start: Kolten Wong, Cardinals
Here's where overemphasizing the week-to-week can get you into trouble. The Cardinals don't have the greatest matchups this week, facing some of the best the Reds and Pirates have to offer, but if you don't have an obvious starter at second base, do you honestly think you'll find a better sleeper than Wong? He has a legitimate prospect pedigree, has hit .375 with a 1.080 OPS this spring and is the latest anointed starter for the organization that brought you Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig the last two years. Keep the faith.
Instead of: Howie Kendrick, Anthony Rendon

Sit: Chase Utley, Phillies
Though still productive overall, Utley has begun to show his age with his struggles against same-handed pitchers. He hit .245 with a .754 OPS vs. lefties last year, and the Phillies face three in their six games this week. That's not exactly a death sentence for him, but he doesn't have any momentum heading into the season, having hit .175 (10 for 57) so far this spring. If you drafted him as part of a tandem with second base being so deep this year, you might want to bench him this week.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Brian Dozier

Third base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson, Ryan Zimmerman, Martin Prado, Kyle Seager, Pedro Alvarez

Start: Marcus Semien, White Sox
The White Sox may soon realize they upgraded with the injury to Gordon Beckham. Now is the perfect time to beat everyone to the punch in Fantasy. Semien, who showed Ian Kinsler-like potential in the minors last year, has impressed with a .333 batting average and .903 OPS this spring and should put his best foot forward against pitchers like Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen this week. You wouldn't want to drop anyone of value for the versatile infielder -- this pick is too speculative for that -- but if you got burned at third base, he's highly available.
Instead of: Will Middlebrooks, Todd Frazier

Sit: Mike Moustakas, Royals
With the work he put in this offseason, Moustakas offers plenty of reasons to believe he'll finally make good on his potential this year, but he's been so disappointing so far in his major-league career that you shouldn't go out of your way to start him just yet. His strong spring performance isn't enough to earn him the benefit of the doubt in a week he's facing Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Sale.
Instead of: Pablo Sandoval, Aramis Ramirez

Shortstop

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Royals @DET3, CHW3
2. Cardinals @CIN3, @PIT3
3. Mets WAS3, CIN3
4. Rangers PHI3, @TB3
5. Brewers ATL3, @BOS3

Too obvious: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jean Segura, Jose Reyes, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Elvis Andrus, Everth Cabrera

Start: Brad Miller, Mariners
The Mariners' matchups are nothing special this week, apart from them playing seven games, but I can't pass up what may be my only opportunity to recommend Miller in this space. If the Cactus League had an MVP award, he'd be in line for it. A .334 hitter over his minor-league career, he has hit well over .400 this spring, piling up 14 extra-base hits in 57 at-bats. If he goes the route of Matt Carpenter this year, as his skill set suggests he could, he'll quickly become "too obvious" at the weakest position in Fantasy.
Instead of: Andrelton Simmons, J.J. Hardy, Starlin Castro

Sit: Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals
Peralta is one of those shortstops who you can get away with starting in a mixed league but who you can't expect to give you any kind of advantage at the position. Particularly this week, with pitchers like Johnny Cueto, Tony Cingrani, Homer Bailey, Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano on tap, you'll want to weigh your alternatives.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Alexei Ramirez, Derek Jeter

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, Bryce Harper, Jose Bautista, Shin-Soo Choo, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Matt Holliday, Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, Yasiel Puig, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Allen Craig, Mark Trumbo, Jason Heyward, Domonic Brown, Jayson Werth, Wil Myers, Starling Marte, Ben Zobrist, Martin Prado, Shane Victorino, Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes, Carlos Beltran, Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Alfonso Soriano, Desmond Jennings

Start: Adam Eaton, White Sox
An elbow injury late last spring robbed Eaton of what could have been a breakout season, but so far, he's making the most of his second chance, demonstrating the patient approach, extra-base pop and plus-speed that got everyone so excited in the first place. And considering his first five games are against Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen, the start of the regular season doesn't figure to slow him down. You drafted him for his upside. Time to cash in.
Instead of: Michael Cuddyer, Khris Davis, Leonys Martin

Sit: Christian Yelich, Marlins
As a second-year player with a top prospect pedigree, Yelich could be poised for a breakout season, but he won't make a strong case for it this week, with the Marlins at home for seven games. Their expansive ballpark stifled his developing power stroke last season, limiting him to a .256 batting average and .672 OPS there compared to .319 and .862 everywhere else. The Marlins also face four left-handers this week, against whom Yelich hit .165 with a .476 OPS last season.
Instead of: Kole Calhoun, Brett Gardner, Marlon Byrd

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Brewers' Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez out of lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:42 am ET) Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun and third baseman Aramis Ramirez are out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Cardinals.

Braun had started 15 straight games in right field coming into Sunday's action, but he'll get his first break from starting since April 8. Ramirez has started 16 of the team's 18 games at third base but will take a seat after making four straight starts.

With Braun out of the lineup, Logan Schafer will play center field and bat second, while Gerardo Parra while shift to right field and bat third. Hector Gomez draws the start for Ramirez and will bat seventh.

The Brewers are home underdogs (+135) against the Cardinals Sunday.


Caleb Joseph, Alejandro De Aza, Travis Snider out of Orioles' lineup
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:33 am ET) The Orioles will rest three starters in Sunday's game against Boston. 

Catcher Caleb Joseph, left fielder Alejandro De Aza and right fielder Travis Snider, who have combined for 36 starts this season at their respective positions, are all out of the lineup.

Ryan Lavarnway gets his fifth start of the year at catcher, batting eighth. Delmon Young is in right, batting fourth. It's his fourth start of the year but third in four days.

Steve Pearce will play left, starting for the third time this year. He's batting sixth. 

The Orioles are +100 money line underdogs at home against Boston. 


Nationals' Max Scherzer tests thumb Sunday, remains day-to-day
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:32 am ET) Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer tested his swollen thumb by throwing in the outfield Sunday but did not see any mound work, CSNWashington.com reports.

Scherzer said that his thumb is still sore and that he's unsure about whether he'll be able to make his scheduled start Tuesday.

"I can't say that, because I'm literally day-to-day," he said.

Scherzer did indicate that the thumb felt better Sunday, but it's apparent he won't pitch unless he feels 100 percent. He's just 1-2 over his first four starts but owns a 1.26 ERA and 29:4 K:BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings.


Sandy Leon replaces Ryan Hanigan at catcher for Red Sox
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:26 am ET) Sandy Leon is in the Red Sox starting lineup for Sunday's game at Baltimore, bumping Ryan Hanigan

Leon starts for the second time in four games and sixth time this season. 

The Sox are -105 money line favorites over Baltimore. 


Cardinals C Yadier Molina (knee) out of lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:25 am ET) Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is not in the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Brewers.

Molina is dealing with knee soreness after taking a foul tip off his knee guard Friday. The team called up a backup catcher before Sunday's game to back up Tony Cruz, who is batting eighth Sunday while making his third start in the last four days.

The Cardinals are road favorites (-144) in Milwaukee Sunday, per VegasInsider.com.


David Ortiz out of Red Sox lineup
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:23 am ET) Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against Baltimore. 

Ortiz has started 14 of the team's 15 DH games, including nine straight. He'll be replaced Sunday by Hanley Ramirez, who moves to DH from left field. Utility man Brock Holt replaces Ramirez in left. 

The Red Sox are -105 money line favorites at Baltimore.


Dodgers considering DL trip for Yasiel Puig
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:21 am ET) Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated Saturday that the possibility of sending right fielder Yasiel Puig (hamstring) to the disabled list has been discussed, the Orange County Register reports.

"If it’s the best thing, then it’s the best thing," Mattingly said. "Obviously, he’s very important to us. In a sense, it’s obvious that he’s not important to us if he can’t play. If you’re going to be banged up every third or fourth day or if he tries to run hard and extend, then we’re going to be better off letting him get healthy."

Puig missed significant time last week due to the hamstring issue but returned to the starting lineup Friday. However, he reinjured the hamstring trying to beat out a ground ball on the same day and was out of the lineup Saturday. Mattingly indicated that he'll leave the decision up to the team's medical staff.

"That decision does not come down to me. That decision is for medical," Mattingly said Saturday. "He played three days in San Francisco and did not have one issue. And he played the day game (Thursday). We talked about giving him the day game after the night game in San Francisco. Medical didn’t feel like he needed it. He played well, made some plays, didn’t look like he needed it. Then yesterday obviously he extended trying to beat that play out and it looked like it grabbed on him a little bit."

Puig has hit .279/.380/.465 with two home runs and four RBI in 43 at-bats.


Phillies' Freddy Galvis (rib) starting, 'feeling pretty good' Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:14 am ET) Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis is back in the lineup Sunday after leaving Saturday's game with a rib injury following an excellent defensive play.

"When I landed after the throw, my elbow hit my rib," Galvis said before Sunday's game, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "I am feeling pretty good now."

Galvis is batting eighth Sunday. He owns a .328/.381/.431 line with one home run and eight RBI in 58 at-bats.

The Phillies are favorites (-110) against the Braves Sunday.


Blue Jays' Jose Bautista getting acupuncture on sore shoulder
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista has missed five games with a sore shoulder. He told the media that the injury was improving, and he's hopeful that he'll be able to play in Toronto's upcoming series with Boston. 

Bautista's treatment of the injury has included acupuncture on the shoulder, per TSN Radio. He remains day-to-day.


Blue Jays' Jose Reyes to have MRI on oblique
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:55 am ET) Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes has been playing through rib soreness for more than a week. Unsure if it's a rib injury or an oblique strain, Reyes has dealt with the pain, although it prevents the switch hitter from batting left handed. 

Reyes is out of Sunday's lineup, but he told Sportsnet that it wasn't injury related--just a day off to rest. 

While Reyes said the injury isn't getting any worse, he'll still have an MRI when the team returns to Toronto after its current road trip. 


 
 
 
Rankings