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Start and sit hitters for Week 4

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 list the players who are "too obvious" for the upcoming week, meaning 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 17.

Turns out this year's draft-and-stash prospect of choice -- George Springer -- didn't need to be stashed for long. He has already taken over as the Astros regular right fielder. A near 40-40 man in the minors last year, his potential is enormous, but like any player first breaking into the big leagues, he could find the going rough early. In five-outfielder leagues, you'll probably want to start him regardless, but if he doesn't show much over the weekend, you could justify sitting him in three-outfielder leagues.

On the verge of returning from a strained hamstring that has sidelined him since the first game of the season, Jose Reyes is tentatively "too obvious" at shortstop for this week, but you'll want to make sure his return goes without a hitch this weekend. Any minor setback would be reason to reserve him, especially since you already have a replacement in place.

If not for inclement weather at Double-A Portland this week, Shane Victorino would have begun a rehab assignment already. Now, he's aiming for Saturday with Triple-A Pawtucket. Seeing as he's missed the entire season so far, he'll probably need a few days there, putting his availability for the start of this week in doubt. You might want to give him a few days to shake off the rust anyway.

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

Catcher

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

Scott's sleepers for Week 4
Player Own/Start %
1. Michael Morse, OF, SF 84/67
2. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B/OF, CHC 86/61
3. Devin Mesoraco, C, CIN 66/52
4. Torii Hunter, OF, DET 82/61
5. Eric Young, OF, NYM 47/38
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B, KC 58/26
7. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, CLE 71/47
8. Norichika Aoki, OF, KC 69/43
9. Rajai Davis, OF, DET 45/36
10. Corey Hart, OF, SEA 61/34

Start: Devin Mesoraco, Reds
No cupcake matchups or revealing splits here. Mesoraco is just a good old-fashioned hot-hand play. I'm generally not one for chasing streaks, but if you have your choice of any catcher started in less than 80 percent leagues, how can you go against the guy batting .500 (11 for 22) with three home runs in his six games off the DL, especially when he's a popular breakout candidate as a first-year starter? You can't, of course, which is why I don't bother to try.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, Jason Castro, Miguel Montero

Sit: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marlins
Like the rest of the Marlins lineup, Saltalamacchia had a good first week, but like the rest of the Marlins lineup, he's gotten a dose of reality since then, batting .240 (6 for 25) with just two extra-base hits in his last eight games. In two-catcher leagues, he's obviously still a defensible option, but in one-catcher leagues, you're barking up the wrong tree, especially with him facing Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee in a six-game week.
Instead of: Mike Zunino, Montero, Mesoraco

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder, Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, Jose Abreu, Mark Trumbo, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Michael Cuddyer, Matt Adams, Eric Hosmer, Brandon Belt

Start: Allen Craig, Cardinals
For the most part, Fantasy owners have stuck with the mainstays off to slow starts, but Craig is an exception, his starting percentage dropping to the point where I can't just stick him in the "too obvious" section and pretend like nothing has changed. For a player who's hit .312 over the last three seasons, the turnaround could be swift and intense, and he looks like he might be tiptoeing into it with a modest six-game hitting streak in which he's homered and doubled. Plus, in contrast from previous weeks, the Cardinals' matchups this week aren't such an impediment.
Instead of: Brandon Moss, Adam LaRoche, Nick Swisher

Sit: Justin Morneau, Rockies
If you're trolling the waiver wire for help at first base -- and woe to you in that unlikely event -- Morneau's .346 and .924 OPS will probably catch your attention. But don't be lured by his lofty percentages. The reason he's available is because his totals are lacking, and the reason they're lacking is because he doesn't play every day. Michael Cuddyer has already spelled him four times this year, most often against left-handers. The Rockies have three of those on tap this week. Plus, the matchups aren't so good to begin with against the Giants and Dodgers.
Instead of: Corey Hart, Ryan Howard, Swisher

Second base

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

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Tigers CHW4, @MIN3
2. Athletics TEX3, @HOU4
3. Cubs ARI4, @MIL3
4. Dodgers PHI4, COL3
5. Giants @COL3, CLE3

Start: Daniel Murphy, Mets
After an underwhelming start to the season, Daniel Murphy has stepped up his production over his last seven games -- not only batting .333 (11 for 33), but also showing the same willingness to run that elevated him to must-start status last year. As has been true for most of his career, he was especially good against right-handed pitchers last year, batting .292 with a .790 OPS compared to .273 with a .616 OPS against lefties, and depending who the Cardinals choose to fill in for Joe Kelly Monday, he could face as many as seven this week.
Instead of: Brian Dozier, Neil Walker, Brandon Phillips

Sit: Jedd Gyorko, Padres
Gyorko has been either a start or sit at second base every week so far, and through it all, he's bombed, hitting a ghastly .161 (9 for 56). He went all of last April without a home run and still managed to hit 23 in an injury-plagued season, so slow starts are nothing new to him. But that doesn't mean you have to suffer through this one. In a week he's facing Wily Peralta, Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan -- all righties, it's worth nothing -- he's unlikely to break through.
Instead of: Dee Gordon, Emilio Bonifacio, Murphy

Third base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson, Martin Prado, Aramis Ramirez, Anthony Rendon, Pedro Alvarez, Carlos Santana

Start: Mike Moustakas, Royals
I know. You're tired of seeing him. You're tired of hearing about him. You just want Moustakas to go away. But I have to recommend someone to start at third base, and in case you haven't noticed, it's slim pickings. For the second straight week, Moustakas has favorable matchups, facing struggling starters like Danny Salazar, Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Miguel Gonzalez. And because six of the seven pitchers on tap are righties, you don't have to worry about him losing at-bats to Danny Valencia. He has shown modest improvement with a homer, two doubles and just one strikeout over his last six games, so he could be on the verge of something.
Instead of: Todd Frazier, Nolan Arenado, Brett Lawrie

Sit: Trevor Plouffe, Twins
Plouffe was the third base replacement of choice last week, which was understandable given his hot start, but he's 2 for 15 (.133) in five games since. He's never been more than a .254 hitter in the majors, so he's due for continued correction and could face it in a week of especially tough matchups for the Twins. They're one of just a handful of teams playing six games, including three against front liners David Price, Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander.
Instead of: Pablo Sandoval, Kyle Seager, Moustakas

Shortstop

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

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Twins @TB3, DET3
2. Braves MIA3, CIN3
3. Angels @WAS3, @NYY3
4. Pirates CIN4, @STL3
5. Marlins @ATL3, @NYM3

Start: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
For the second straight week, Lowrie gets the nod here because even though he's lived up to every expectation so far in Fantasy Week 3 (April 14-20), his starting percentage has barely budged at what is widely considered the weakest position in Fantasy. It's a little too high for him to qualify for the sleepers table above, but it's clear he's undervalued. The Athletics once again have terrific matchups against the Rangers and Astros rotations, so unless you have someone "too obvious" at the position, you need to start Lowrie, who's currently on pace for 173 walks and 115 runs.
Instead of: Brad Miller, Jimmy Rollins, J.J. Hardy

Sit: Adeiny Hechavarria, Marlins
Hechavarria's hot start attracted some attention on the waiver wire since he's young and still relatively unknown, but he's mostly just a defensive whiz and has come back to earth at the plate, going 1 for 15 in his last four games. He's in line to face some bat-missers against the Braves and Mets this week. Other bottom-feeders like Asdrubal Cabrera and Derek Jeter have more favorable matchups and are showing sign of life, so at least in mixed leagues, you have alternatives at the position.
Instead of: Cabrera, Jeter, 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 Gome z, Matt Holliday, Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Mark Trumbo, Jayson Werth, Yasiel Puig, Wil Myers, Jason Heyward, Allen Craig, Domonic Brown, Starling Marte, Ben Zobrist, Martin Prado, Matt Kemp, Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes, Adam Eaton, Carlos Beltran, Michael Cuddyer, Nelson Cruz

Start: Michael Morse, Giants
Just when Fantasy owners were ready to buy into him with his hot start through two weeks, Morse went into hiding, batting .125 (2 for 16) in his last five games. If he really is back to full health, though, his slumps shouldn't last long, judging by his .296 batting average with the Nationals from 2010 to 2012. His favorable matchups this week include three games at Coors Field, where he's 20 for 40 in his career and two games against the unstable Carlos Carrasco and erratic Danny Salazar. Give him another shot, why don't you?
Instead of: Christian Yelich, Billy Hamilton, Brett Gardner

Sit: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
It was a fun ride while it lasted, but judging by his 1-for-10 performance over his last three games, Blackmon's storybook start is on its last few pages. It's amazing he's kept his batting average above .400 this long, so no need to push your luck. Not only do the Rockies have tough matchups against Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but three of their six games are against lefties. And as hot as Blackmon has been, manager Walt Weiss has still seen fit to sit him more often than not against them. You may be looking at only four starts this week from a player due to regress.
Instead of: Torii Hunter, Norichika Aoki, Eric Young

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
Orioles' Showalter to talk with Bud Norris before deciding next step
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:28 pm ET) Orioles starting pitcher Bud Norris (illness) showed improvement in his second rehab start Wednesday for Double-A Bowie after he allowed nine runs in 2 2/3 innings during his first start May 22. Norris allowed four runs on six hits, while striking out seven in five innings.

"The first three innings were really good. That was good to see," manager Buck Showalter said, per MASNsports.com. "I want to hear what Bud has to say before we decide what we're going to do next. I've got an idea, but I want to hear it from Bud first."

Norris went 1-4 with a 9.88 ERA in six starts before going on the disabled list. Showalter wouldn't speculate about Norris' role upon his return until speaking with him.

"We all know what he's capable of as a starting pitcher for us and we'd like to get him back to that point," Showalter said. "That's a priority. See where the season takes us."


White Sox farmhand Dan Black likely heading to South Korea
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:06 pm ET) First baseman/designated hitter Dan Black, who has been tearing it up at Triple-A Charlotte, will likely not be doing the same for the parent White Sox anytime soon. He is believed to be taking his talents to South Korea, per CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Black boasts a fine slash line of .324/.457/.568 with 24 RBI in 34 games with Charlotte. But the 27 year old has yet to play in a big-league game.


Cubs' Maddon: It's possible Kyle Schwarber is a September callup
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:54 pm ET) All Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber has done since turning pro last season is hit the cover off the baseball in the minors. 

The No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft posted a .344/.428/.634/1.061 slash line and 18 home runs in 72 games last year, and he has continued to rake at Double-A Tennessee in 2015. He has a .307/.436/.584/1.020 slash line and 10 home runs in 42 games.

Schwarber's smooth transition to pro baseball has Cubs manager Joe Maddon thinking the catcher/outfielder could be ready to help the major-league club this season.

“He’s a very, very mature at-bat, and he’s doing better behind the plate, too, from what I understand," Maddon said Sunday. “You ask him, he’ll tell you he can. And that’s a big part of it, too. He’s really confident.

“He’s definitely, definitely got the hitting chip. Every time I look up at the scoreboard at home, it’s like: Schwarber went 3 for 5 with a home run and three RBI. Even if it’s 1 for 5, it’s like a game-winning RBI.”

With the way Schwarber is progressing, he will likely move on to Triple-A this season. However, a September callup might not be out of the question.

"It’s possible," Maddon said. "Anything’s possible."


Report: Red Sox promote RP Robbie Ross from Triple-A
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:51 pm ET) The Red Sox have promoted left-hander Robbie Ross from Triple-A Pawtucket in a move corresponding to the placement of outfielder Daniel Nava on the disabled list, per WEEI.

Ross has spent most of the year with Boston, but has pitched just once for the Sox since a miserable appearance on May 8 that sent his ERA soaring from 3.86 to 6.17.


Report: Red Sox shelve struggling OF Daniel Nava
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:47 pm ET) Red Sox struggling outfielder Daniel Nava is heading to the disabled list with an undisclosed ailment, per WEEI, which is further reporting that veteran southpaw Robbie Ross will be promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his place.

Nava has received sporadic playing time recently and has been scuffling at the plate nearly all season. He has just four hits in his last 31 at-bats.


Report: Angels to promote OF Alfredo Marte from Triple-A
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:20 pm ET) The Angels are expected to call up outfielder Alfredo Marte from Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday. Marte was picked up off waivers from the Diamondbacks in October.

The 26-year-old had 18 hits in 106 at-bats for Arizona in 2014. This season in Triple-A, Marte was hitting a strong .343 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 32 RBI. 

He will likely be a part-time outfield/pinch-hit option for manager Mike Scioscia. He is expected to take the roster spot of Collin Cowgill, who is likely to go on the disabled list according to the Orange County Register


Pirates SP prospect Nick Kingham has Tommy John surgery
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:32 pm ET) Pirates starting pitcher prospect Nick Kingham underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, the team announced Thursday. He will be sidelined 12-18 months.

Kingham was considered the Pirates' sixth-best prospect by MLB.com. He was 1-2 with a 4.31 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He is 28-29 with a 3.35 ERA in 103 career outings (99 starts).


Date set for Orioles P Brian Matusz suspension hearing
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:28 pm ET) Orioles reliever Brian Matusz will have the hearing on his pending suspension on June 3. Matusz was ejected from a game on Saturday due to a foreign substance being found on his arm. As consequence, he was given an eight-game suspension, which he has since appealed. 


Report: Yankees promote top SP prospect Luis Severino to Triple-A
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:23 pm ET) Yankees top pitching prospect Luis Severino has been promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to Baseball America.

The 21-year-old right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in eight starts. He had 48 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Severino is 16-11 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 56 career outings (54 starts). He is striking out 9.5 batters per nine innings.


Orioles SP Wei-Yin Chen sore, but Saturday start still set
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is dealing with some soreness, but has not been scratched from his Saturday start against visiting Tampa Bay, per MASNsports.com.

Chen has struggled in his last two outings in raising his ERA from 2.53 to 3.13. He has worked his way out of jams, but has allowed seven runs on 19 hits in his last 12 innings. His saving grace has been control - he has not walked a batter during that stretch.


 
 
 
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