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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
Report: Christian Yelich likely to return to Marlins on Friday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:21 am ET) The return date for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich has likely been pushed back a day, per MLB.com. He will probably come off the disabled list and join the team Friday in San Francisco.

Yelich will hope to swing a more effective bat upon his return from a back injury. He was 4-for-29 before going down.


P Tyler Lyons looking to keep Cardinals' win streak alive Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:13 am ET) Cardinals pitcher Tyler Lyons has been tabbed to make the start Tuesday agains the Cubs. Lyons is taking the place of one Adam Wainwright, who is likely out for the season after suffering a torn Achilles. 

Lyons, 27, will be making his first appearance of 2015. He has spent beginning of the season pitching in Triple-A, where has a 2.91 ERA over four starts for the Memphis Redbirds. The left-hander does have big-league action under his belt, however. He has appeared in 23 Major League games between 2013-2014, including a dozen starts. 

But, he's never pitched more than six innings in any start with the Cardinals, and has not earned a victory since 2013, going 0-4 last year. But Lyons is confident that he is ready to be a key contributor for the Cardinals this season.

"Being my third season up here, hopefully I've picked up enough along the way and kind of know what to expect", per FoxSports.com.

Lyons owns a lofty 7.84 lifetime ERA in four appearances against the Cubs. 


Report: Padres purchase rights to C Yenier Bello
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:11 am ET) The Padres have purchased the rights to 30-year-old catcher Yenier Bello, per the Joplin Globe. Bello has been playing for the independent Joplin Blasters.

Bello has been impressive in short stints in rookie and Class-A Advanced ball with a .308 average and two home runs in 52 at-bats.


Indians OF Jerry Sands accepts Triple-A assignment
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:04 am ET) The Indians have reported that outfielder Jerry Sands has accepted his assignment to Triple-A Columbus. He is set to join that team Tuesday.

Sands briefly played hero for the Indians with a four-RBI performance against Detroit during the team's first home series. But he received little playing time thereafter and was demoted Sunday.


Seizing the opportunity, Mets P Jeurys Familia is thriving as closer
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:51 am ET) Among all of the early surprises in baseball this season, Jeurys Familia is certainly near the top of the list. Familia has become the closer for the Mets, due in-large to a bulk of injuries, and a suspension to Jenrry Mejia. But these circumstances have allowed Familia to shine, and shine he has.

“Every bullpen pitcher has that kind of moment where you have step up and learn from the bad moments you had, the bad games you had,” said Familia, per the Wall Street Journal. “That’s what I did.”

Through his first 13 appearances in 2015, the 25-year-old right-hander has a 1.35 ERA and has recorded 10 saves, which is currently the most in the National League. He has also struck out an impressive 10.8 batters per nine innings. So, what's the secret behind this new-found success? That would be his improved slider, according to Mets backup catcher Anthony Recker.

“When we tried to use it as a strike [last season], it was hit or miss,” Recker said, whereas this season, “It’s been devastating.”


Report: Brewers are not willing to trade catcher Jonathan Lucroy
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:38 am ET) The Brewers have gotten off to a dreadful 8-18 start this season, which has already spurred a change in manager. Now, talks have started to swirl regarding when the team will start trading away some of its key players, and who those players are expected to be.

It seems as if All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy will not be among the players dealt away this summer, as an executive told CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman last week that Lucroy is likely "untouchable".

This was reportedly confirmed on Tuesday, with the Brewers telling other teams looking for a deal that they will not be trading their starting catcher, according to ESPN.com. 

Lucroy had gotten off to a slow start this season with just six hits in his first 45 at-bats, though he did finish fourth in the NL MVP voting last year. He has been on the disabled list since April 21 due to a toe injury. 


Cardinals SP Carlos Martinez on Monday's start: 'I was anxious'
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:18 am ET) Monday's game against the Cubs was no certainly picnic for Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez. The young right-hander, making his fifth start of the season, surrendered seven runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. After the game, Martinez admitted to not being at his best from the start of the evening.

"In the beginning, I was anxious," Martinez said, speaking through a translator, per MLB.com. "Then the second, third inning, I tried to slow down a little bit and felt better. I need to be better the next time I pitch."

As it would turn out, Martinez gave up five runs in the top of the first inning and never looked to be comfortable on the mound.

"He was a little too amped up for the game," catcher Tony Cruz said. "He didn't get a couple calls [from home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck] that he thought [he should have]. But it happens. He's a young guy. He really wanted to go out there and show what he has."

Martinez will look to rebound in his next scheduled start, Saturday against the Pirates. 


Triple-A coach: Jesus Montero has 'new lease on life in baseball'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) Mariners first baseman Jesus Montero is off to a pretty decent start this season for Triple-A Tacoma. The former top-10 prospect is batting .309 with three home runs, five doubles and 16 RBI through 23 games.

It's not only his offense that is impressing. The former catcher has also made great strides learning how to play first base.

“I mean, he’s a good first baseman now,’’ Tacoma hitting coach Cory Snyder said, per The Seattle Times. “He could play first base in the big leagues right now. It wouldn’t even bother me.”

Montero's success on the field is supported by a turnaround with his attitude. He showed up to camp this year down from 275 pounds to 230 pounds. He has also put behind him a 2013 suspension for performance-enhancing drugs and an incident last year when he threw ice cream at a scout.

“It’s kind of a new lease on life in baseball,’’ Snyder said. “He got everything in order he needed to off the field. With his life, with his family, with kind of everything."


Mariners' Morrison goes on hot streak using one of Nelson Cruz's bats
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:58 am ET) Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison extended his hit streak to six games Monday against the Angels with his third home run in four games.

Morrison credits his latest surge to using one of teammate Nelson Cruz's bats. Cruz leads the majors with 14 home runs.

"I've got a boomstick," Morrison said, per MLB.com. "I started using that when I had a four-hit game in Texas [last week]. So I thought, well, I guess I'm going to be using this bat for the rest of the year."


Report: Nats to promote pitching prospect Lopez to Class A
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:54 am ET) Nationals pitching prospect Reynaldo Lopez is expected to join Class A Potomac this week, a highly-ranking club official told MASNSports.com. Lopez is currently ranked the No. 49 prosepct in baseball, according to Baseball America

In 2014, Lopez tossed 83 1/3 innings between short-season Class A Auburn and low Class A Hagerstown. He went a combined 7-3 with a 1.08 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 16 starts. He is likely to make a start for Potamac sometime this week.


 
 
 
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