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Start and sit hitters for Week 2

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Though normally in Fantasy Baseball, you'd start your best players every week regardless of matchups, in those weeks when you do need a fill-in, whether because of injuries or the total collapse of a trusted starter, Scott White is here to help. At each position, he'll reveal which players are "too obvious" for the upcoming week -- the ones you wouldn't consider sitting for anyone off the list -- and then suggest a start and a sit based on a variety of short-term factors.

All stats are updated through Thursday, April 3.

Matt Kemp made his season debut Friday, returning from offseason ankle surgery. The Dodgers were able to find a lineup spot for him right away with Yasiel Puig benched for disciplinary reasons, but going forward, they'll have to figure out a way to fit four outfielders into three spots. Puig is the safest bet for regular at-bats as the youngest, healthiest and (some might say) best of the bunch, but Kemp's two-homer game Sunday buys him the benefit of the doubt for now. I still wouldn't consider him "too obvious" in the outfield, but in most cases, you'll want to start him.

Emilio Bonifacio still doesn't have a position to call his own, but so far, the Cubs have managed to bat him leadoff every day, making him a worthy mixed-league addition for his speed and versatility. The Cubs don't have the most favorable matchups this week, going against some of the best the Pirates and Cardinals have to offer, so no need to rush him into your lineup (unless, of course, speed is a specific need for you).

The Tigers play five games in NL parks this week, which could have an adverse effect on Victor Martinez's playing time. Just something to keep in mind if you have a compelling alternative.

And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...

Catcher

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

Scott's sleepers for Week 2
Player Own/Start %
1. Anthony Rendon, 2B, WAS 74/49
2. Brandon Moss, 1B, OAK 84/61
3. Aramis Ramirez, 3B, MIL 86/66
4. Brian Dozier, 2B, MIN 87/59
5. Yan Gomes, C, CLE 84/64
6. Angel Pagan, OF, SF 71/52
7. Adam LaRoche, 1B, WAS 62/42
8. Alejandro De Aza, OF, CHW 62/43
9. Norichika Aoki, OF, KC 74/47
10. Dexter Fowler, OF, HOU 60/34

Start: Yan Gomes, Indians
Though his breakthrough performance last year should have probably made him a hotter commodity on Draft Day, Gomes was a victim of the numbers at a surprisingly deep position. But that just makes him more available for a week such as this one, when the Indians are one of just five teams playing seven games, including five against left-handed pitchers. Gomes was at his best against lefties last year, hitting .327 with a .934 OPS.
Instead of: Evan Gattis, Jason Castro, Mike Zunino

Sit: Devin Mesoraco, Reds
Mesoraco is poised to return in Fantasy Week 2 (April 7-13) after missing the start of the season with a strained oblique and is one of this season's more notable breakout candidates as a former top prospect finally getting a chance to play every day. But he figures to be rusty after missing most of spring training with the injury and won't get any favors from the opposition. In six games, the Reds are scheduled to face Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, David Price, Alex Cobb and Matt Moore.
Instead of: Mike Zunino, Dioner Navarro

First base

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. White Sox @COL3, CLE4
2. Astros LAA1, @TOR3, @TEX3
3. Giants ARI3, COL3
4. Blue Jays HOU3, @BAL3
5. Indians SD3, @CHW4

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, Matt Adams, Jose Abreu

Start: Brandon Belt, Giants
At 74 percent, Belt is started in too many leagues to qualify as one of my top 10 sleepers for this week (see table), but given the type of start he's had, 74 percent still isn't enough. True, after beginning the year on the road, he returns home this week, where he's had a harder time hitting home runs in the past, but the Giants' matchups are among the best of any team. In six games, the best pitcher they face is Bronson Arroyo. David Ortiz owners get a pass since he obviously has to occupy their utlity spot, but the rest can make room for what may be one of this season's biggest breakout players.
Instead of: Anthony Rizzo, Mike Napoli

Sit: Justin Smoak, Mariners
Speaking of breakout players, Smoak has the look of one himself, collecting four hits, including two homers, in his first four games. But unlike the Giants, the Mariners don't have especially favorable matchups this week, in part because they're one of two teams playing just five games. Plus, three of those games are against left-handed pitchers. Smoak had a .548 OPS against lefties last year compared to .839 against righties.
Instead of: Brandon Moss, Adam LaRoche

Second base

Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis, Matt Carpenter, Ian Kinsler, Martin Prado, Ben Zobrist, Aaron Hill, Jose Altuve

Start: Anthony Rendon, Nationals
For as much upside as Rendon offers -- enough to put him in the discussion for the first pick in the 2011 draft before an injury late in his college career -- he's lacking hype in Fantasy. Especially with the kind of start he's had, he should be a priority play in a week he's scheduled to face Henderson Alvarez, Justin Turner, Tom Koehler and Aaron Harang. Granted, it's a deep position, but knowing his upside, he appears poised to distinguish himself from some of the fringier types at second base.
Instead of: Brandon Phillips, Daniel Murphy, Dustin Ackley

Sit: Jedd Gyorko, Padres
Gyorko has the upside to distinguish himself from the fringier second basemen as well, but unlike Anthony Rendon, he's gotten off on the wrong foot. His power potential is such that you may never want to risk benching him in a Rotisserie league, but his lack of plate discipline could make him frustratingly streaky, as he showed as a rookie. Plus, the Padres' matchups are among the toughest this week. They face pitchers like Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
Instead of: Chase Utley, Brian Dozier, Rendon

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: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
As a 36-year-old coming off a down year, Ramirez fell in Fantasy drafts, but a closer look at that down year reveals it was mostly the result of him playing through knee injuries (yes, multiple) through the first 4 1/2 months. Over the last 1 1/2, he hit .301 with seven homers and a .916 OPS, looking as studly as ever. By all accounts, he's healthy now and is off to a great start for the Brewers. At a weak position, you should take advantage while you can.
Instead of: Chase Headley, Todd Frazier

Sit: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
At 22 and beginning his first full big-league season, Arenado has legitimate breakout potential, but he's off to a slow start and doesn't have the best matchups for righting the ship this week, facing Jose Quintana, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Hudson, among others. If you play in such a deep league that he's your only real choice at third base, no need to force anything, but for this week, he's the least advisable of the position's many unproven, high-upside types.
Instead of: Mike Moustakas, Will Middlebrooks

Shortstop

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Reds @STL3, TB3
2. Padres @CLE3, DET3
3. Tigers @LAD2, @SD3
4. Cubs PIT3, @STL3
5. Rockies CHW3, @SF3

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

Start: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
Ramirez's career-high 30 stolen bases last year seemed like an outlier for a middle infielder in his early 30s, but so far this season, he already has two. He has also performed well at the plate, taking advantage of the White Sox's favorable matchups to begin the year. Those favorable matchups continue this week, with pitchers like Jordan Lyles, Franklin Morales, Juan Nicasio, Carlos Carrasco and Zach McAllister on tap.
Instead of: Jimmy Rollins, Jhonny Peralta

Sit: Dee Gordon, Dodgers
Gordon has gotten off to an encouraging start, showing he might hit enough to take advantage of his blinding speed. But manager Don Mattingly hasn't settled on him as an everyday player yet, sitting him for the Dodgers' one game against a left-hander so far. They face only one lefty this week, but considering they play only five games, that could mean only four starts for Gordon. And two of them would be against Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez.
Instead of: Erick Aybar, Chris Owings

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, Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes, Carlos Beltran, Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Alfonso Soriano, Desmond Jennings, Nelson Cruz

Start: Angel Pagan, Giants
Like Coco Crisp, Pagan has been an overlooked Fantasy option over the years because of an extensive history, but he's healthy now and raking for the Giants, showing enough extra-base pop for his speed to matter even in Head-to-Head points leagues. He also has favorable matchups against the Diamondbacks and Rockies this week.
Instead of: Kole Calhoun, Brett Gardner, Dexter Fowler

Sit: Billy Hamilton, Reds
Hamilton is one player to consider sitting in favor of Dexter Fowler, at least in Head-to-Head points leagues. In Rotisserie leagues, where you most likely drafted him as your primary source of steals, you wouldn't want to take the chance of missing a boatload if he does suddenly turn things around, but the matchups suggest he won't. Against Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, David Price, Alex Cobb and Matt Moore, he could be overmatched again.
Instead of: Alejandro De Aza, Lucas Duda, Pagan

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

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Player News
Tigers' Joakim Soria throws live batting practice on Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:35 pm ET) Tigers reliever Joakim Soria was able to throw live batting practice on Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press

Soria wasn't listed on the team's pitching schedule for the first five spring games, which caused some confusion. While Soria said he's fine, manager Brad Ausmus said Soria is slightly behind the other pitchers in camp by his own choice. Soria did receive positive reviews during his session. "By all accounts, Soria threw very well," Ausmus said.

The 30-year-old Soria posted a 3.25 ERA over 44 1/3 innings last year.


Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland won't play spring games until next week
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:36 pm ET) Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland will run the bases on Tuesday, and won't seen any spring games until next week, according to the Star-Telegram. Texas is taking a cautious approach with Moreland in camp after he underwent ankle surgery last June.

The 29-year-old Moreland hit .246/.297/.347 over 167 at-bats last year.


Blue Jays' Gibbons yet to settle on closer, could use committee
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:34 pm ET) Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Tuesday that while Brett Cecil has the ability to close, he might not serve as the team's closer, the National Post reports.

"He could do it. He might not. It might be somebody else," Gibbons said.

The manager also raised the possibility of using multiple closers.

"It could be one of those deals where one night he might be closing, the other night he might have to come in at the end of the seventh or eighth inning," Gibbons said.

Despite the face that Gibbons hasn't deemed Cecil his closer, he did praise his pitching ability Tuesday.

"He’s got some overpowering stuff," Gibbons said. "He’s a lefty and I don’t think there’s a better curveball out there. He can throw it for strikes, he can bring it down low in the zone and bounce it for a strikeout. That’s kind of his go-to pitch. He doesn’t rattle. He’s pretty confident and calm when he’s out there."

Cecil went 2-3 with a 2.70 ERA, 76:27 K:BB ratio and five saves in 53 1/3 innings in 2014. He owns a 11.1 career K/9 rate in relief.


White Sox's Geovany Soto feeling good at the start of spring games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:23 pm ET) White Sox catcher Geovany Soto said he is feeling good after being limited to 78 games the last two seasons due to injuries. He missed time in 2014 because of arthroscopic surgery on his left foot and a torn meniscus in his right knee.

"I love where I'm at," Soto said, per The Chicago Tribune. "My legs feel great. My whole body feels great. I'm just anxious to get started and show these guys what I can do, hopefully stay healthy and break camp."


Dodgers' Mattingly: Hyun-Jin Ryu's (back) next step will be BP
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:22 pm ET) Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters that starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu came out of Monday's bullpen session "fine," and that his next step will likely be throwing batting practice, according to SB Nation.

Ryu is dealing with a back injury, but has been throwing the last couple of days without pain. At this point, Ryu remains without a timetable for his first spring game. He went 14-7 in 2014 with a 3.38 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 152 innings pitched last season.


Hinch: Astros 'likely' to use seven-man bullpen in 2015
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Astros manager A.J. Hinch indicated that the team is likely to use a seven-man bullpen this season, leaving two spots open for competition this spring, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"Likely," Hinch said of a seven-man bullpen. "There’s always a chance that (changes) depending on how the schedule plays out, and there’s always a debate on how many pitchers to carry during interleague. Now interleague is pretty much year round, so I mean, in a perfect world with our roster, it’s likely to carry a seven-man ‘pen. If we feel like we need an extra pitcher or injury happens, there’s different ways to shape our roster, then we will, but likely 12."

The two open spots will likely be filled by a left-handed pitcher and a long reliever. The competition for the second lefty in the pen likely comes down to Kevin Chapman and nonroster invitees Joe Thatcher and Darin Downs. The long relief role has a broader list of candidates, including Alex White and Asher Wojciechowski, who will prepare both as starters and relievers.

"We’re going to stretch out a lot of our guys," Hinch said. "Some of them are because they’re competing in that fifth starter spot, some of them are bullpen guys. Will Harris is going to throw multiple innings. Obviously (Sam) Deduno has been a starter in the past, he’s in a competition for the fifth man spot. Wojo, White, those guys are going to need to, going to plan for the season on both fronts, whether it’s a starter or reliever. But we’re preaching multiple innings. It’s important if you have a seven-man bullpen that you have a couple of guys that can get four, five, six outs if needed and be a bridge to the rest of the bullpen."


Rangers' Tolleson: 'I'd like to be that bridge' between starters, closers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Shawn Tolleson told reporters he would like to become the link between the starting rotation and back-end relievers Tanner Scheppers and Neftali Feliz this season, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"I would like to be that bridge," Tolleson said.

Tolleson led the club with 71 2/3 innings of relief last season. He pitched more than one inning 20 times and held left-handed hitters to a .282 on-base percentage.

"He's got the skill set to be one of those that we use in the latter portions of the game," manager Jeff Banister said. "He seems to love the competition."


Nationals faced with tough decision regarding Michael Taylor
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:10 pm ET) The Nationals are faced with a tough decision when it comes to outfield prospect Michael Taylor, who appears to be on the cusp of being ready for a regular role at the major-league level.

A major issue is playing time since the Nationals have a starting outfield of Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Denard Span. Taylor would be a solid fourth outfielder, but having him coming off the bench is not ideal for his development.

“It’s the same age-old decision that must be made regarding guys that are just on the cusp of being big-league ready and everyday players,” manager Matt Williams said, per NatsInsider.com. “And a question of depth on your team, too. … It’s a question of depth on your team, it’s a question of how much playing time they’re really going to get, and are they better served staying in the minor leagues and getting those at-bats until their opportunity arises. But Mike’s close. He’s really close.”


Nationals' Aaron Barrett: 'I'm ready for a full season'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Aaron Barrett worked on strengthening his shoulder and legs in the offseason to improve his longevity throughout the entire season. Barrett admitted he wasn't used to a full major-league schedule, which contributed to him feeling "tired" in the middle of his rookie season.

"I'm ready for a full season," Barrett said. "Last year was a long season for me. It was my first year up. I had a lot of appearances, a lot of warm-ups and stuff like that. I think that is part of the process of coming up and working on that. I did as much training as I possibly could for this year."


Daniel Descalso brings versatility, playoff experience to Rockies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Rockies infielder Daniel Descalso is ready to fill the role of versatile veteran who can play second base, third base or shortstop as needed, the Denver Post reports.

"I'll be ready for whatever comes my way," Descalso said Monday. "It's been a while since I've played just one position for any length of time, so I've worked hard to reach a comfort level at all three spots. I have an idea of what it takes to stay sharp."

Another factor that piqued the interest of the Rockies this offseason was his postseason experience, as he has played in 44 postseason games and won one championship.

"All of that factored in quite a bit," manager Walt Weiss said. "I think we sometimes underestimate the value of that — guys that have played in big games, pennant races, and have won a World Series. Those types of players are valuable, and that's a big reason why we brought Danny in here."

Descalso has made 110 starts at second base, 91 at third base and 88 at shortstop in his five-year career, seeing at least 100 appearances at all three poitions. He hit .242/.333/.311 in 161 at-bats last year with the Cardinals.


 
 
 
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