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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: Padres 'in touch' with Phillies regarding Cole Hamels
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:09 am ET) The Padres are "in touch" with the Phillies in an attempt to land pitcher Cole Hamels, FOX Sports reports.

The Padres have made plenty of upgrades across the roster since general manager A.J. Heller took over, and it's possible they don't have the ammunition to land the Philadelphia ace in a deal. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week that he didn't expect Hamels to be traded before the start of the season. Hamels went 9-9 with a 2.46 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 204 2/3 innings in 2014.


Report: Orioles sign Mark Hendrickson to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) The Orioles have signed Mark Hendrickson to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, CSNBaltimore.com reports.

Hendrickson, who last pitched in the majors in 2011, spent 2014 with York of the independent Atlantic League, posting a 1.54 ERA and 34:11 K:BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings over 55 appearances.


Rangers' Matt Harrison expects to open season on 60-day DL
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said Saturday that he expects to open the season on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from spinal fusion surgery, the Dallas Morning News reports.

"My job is to just get as healthy as I can and get myself right so I don’t have something happen like it did last year when I tried to come back," Harrison said. "I’m just going to focus on that and get ready to contribute whenever it may be."

Harrison is dealing with some stiffness in his right side, which will cause him to throw from a distance of 90 feet for a second consecutive week rather than progress to 105 feet. He hopes that he'll get his hips to rotate more and loosen up with more stretching and more throws from the 90-foot distance.


Report: Rays sign Ronald Belisario to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) The Rays have signed pitcher Ronald Belisario to a minor-league deal with an invitiation to spring training, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Belisaro made 62 appearances with the White Sox in 2014, posting a 4-8 record, 5.56 ERA and 47:18 K:BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings. He'll compete for a bullpen spot during the spring.


Dodgers SP Zack Greinke hasn't decided whether to opt out
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said Saturday that he's yet to decide whether to opt out of his contract at the end of next season but added, "There's not really better options anywhere besides here," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Greinke is set to make $23 million in 2015, and he's due another $71 million over the following three seasons if he remains under his current contract. The Dodgers said earlier this offseason that they wouldn't discuss a contract extension with the pitcher during the winter.

Greinke went 17-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 207:43 K:BB ratio in 202 1/3 innings in 2014.


Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hoping to bounce back in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez can't wait to get on the field and get past the 2014 season.

"I can’t wait," Jimenez said at Saturday’s FanFest event. "Whatever happened in 2014 is in the past. There's nothing I can do about it now. I can just look forward and now I’m going to do everything in spring training to get myself ready the best I can for the season and help the team."

Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50 million deal with Baltimore in 2014, went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in 125 1/3 innings pitched. 

"It was pretty hard, coming in with a new team and signing a contract like that and not to do what everyone is expecting you to do, it’s hard," Jimenez said. "It’s hard not to be there for the team, but regardless what happened, I fought a lot. I think I was trying to find a way to survive to be there for the team and do whatever I can do the best. We got really far. I didn’t help a lot, but I tried to do whatever I could with whatever I had."


Royals' Alex Gordon plans to take it slow in recovery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is still recovering from his wrist surgery this offseason and plans to take it slow in his rehab.

"We really don’t have a timetable," Gordon said. "We’re just going to see how it feels. Obviously, it’s spring training. So we don’t want to rush anything. If it feels good, we’ll be aggressive with it. But if it’s not feeling good, we’ll take it slow."

Manager Ned Yost wants to continue to take things slow with Gordon.
"We’ll just take it slow," Yost said. "We’ll see how he feels. We’ll play him one day. Then we’ll give him a day off. Play him another day, five or six innings, then give him a day off. We’ll just see how he’s doing."
Gordon hit .266 in 2014 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI.

Angels, Garrett Richards settle on $3.2 million for 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) The Angels and pitcher Garrett Richards have agreed to a contract for 2015 for $3.2 million, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Richards was asking for $3.8 million while the Angels offered $2.4 million. Richards posted a 13-4 record in 2014 with a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts for Los Angeles.


Orioles' Manny Machado expects to be ready for spring training
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is progressing through his rehab and says he's "ready to roll" for the upcoming season.

"I have a lot of time to get ready. That is the key: having a regular offseason," Machado said Saturday. "Was doing my rehab in Sarasota and then went to Miami to do my regular weightlifting and get ready for the season. Been exciting. Looking forward to spring training."

Machado has taken part in baseball activities for the past few weeks since having surgery on Aug. 27 after tearing a ligament in his knee.

"It will be awesome," he said of the prospect of having a normal spring. "I'm dying to get back on the field. Spring training is key for a lot of players to get your at-bats and your reps. I think some take it for granted but it's a very big key for success for the year."

Machado hit .278 in 2014 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI for Baltimore.


Bud Norris remains without update for contract extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris said Saturday nothing has changed between he and the organization for a new contract.

"I haven't heard anything of that," Norris said. "I don't see a reason why I'd want to leave, but that's out of my control."

Norris and the Orioles are preparing for arbitration, when Norris filed for $10.25 million and Baltimore offered $7.5 million. He went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 139:52 K:BB ratio in 165 1/3 innings over 28 starts in 2014.


 
 
 
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