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Start and sit hitters for Week 5

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 24.

Adrian Beltre (quadriceps), Will Middlebrooks (calf) and Adam Eaton (hamstring) were all expected to return Friday. Beltre's and Middlebrooks' injuries had them on the DL while Eaton's was day-to-day. Provided Beltre goes all weekend without a hiccup, you'll obviously want to get him active, and Eaton had earned "too obvious" status before his injury as well. Middlebrooks needs to earn your trust before you activate him, though.

Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday's game with a strained hamstring and remained out of the lineup Friday. The Athletics are keeping his timetable vague, saying only that he'll miss a few games, which is the same way the White Sox approached Eaton's hamstring injury. Eaton ended up missing five games, so assuming he doesn't return over the weekend, Cespedes may be looking at only three or four games this week. Since the matchups are unfavorable anyway, you should probably play it safe in mixed leagues.

After missing the first 3 1/2 weeks with an oblique injury, Gordon Beckham returned to the lineup Thursday with assurance from manager Robin Ventura that he'll retain the starting second base job. That's bad news for Marcus Semien owners, who were hoping to see just how productive their early season waiver gem could be once he actually starting hitting for average. Semien should still get some time at third base with Conor Gillaspie battling a hand injury, but prepare for life without him in mixed leagues.

Catcher

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

Scott's sleepers for Week 5
Player Own/Start %
1. Billy Hamilton, OF, CIN 89/68
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL 89/73
3. Josmil Pinto, C, MIN 28/18
4. Khris Davis, OF, MIL 75/43
5. Eric Young, OF, NYM 61/50
6. Kyle Seager, 3B, SEA 85/52
7. Yan Gomes, C, CLE 78/56
8. Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, CLE 66/34
9. Carl Crawford, OF, LAD 58/27
10. Todd Frazier, 3B, CIN 79/63

Start: Josmil Pinto, Twins
For as productive as he's been since claiming everyday at-bats with Oswaldo Arcia (wrist) and Josh Willingham (wrist) on the DL, Pinto sure hasn't gotten a lot of love in Fantasy. Yeah, he's hitting only .222, but it's not like the four home runs home runs are all he has to show for himself. He's on pace for 123 walks. Too good to be true? Of course, but his minor-league stats made him out to be a patient hitter, and he's been an OPS monster since arriving in the big leagues late last year. Favorable matchups at not, he's your best bet outside of the "too obvious" picks at the position.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, Jason Castro, Miguel Montero

Sit: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marlins
Saltalamacchia is the choice here for the second straight week because of difficult matchups for the Marlins. So far, Fantasy Week 4 (April 21-27) has gone as it should for him. He's 0 for 10 in his last for games. This week, he's not only facing the Braves and Dodgers starting rotations, which have been terrific to begin the year, but he's going against three lefties. A switch-hitter, Saltalamacchia hit .218 with a .628 OPS against lefties last year compared to .294 with an .873 OPS against righties.
Instead of: Pinto, Russell Martin, Travis d'Arnaud

First base

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

Start: Justin Morneau, Rockies
Morneau was the "sit" at this position last week because of all the lefties on tap for the Rockies. So far, he's already gone 5 for 14 with a home run and two doubles for the week, making him 13 for 33 (.394) with four homers and 14 RBI over his last eight games. So much for all that. The Rockies are one of just four teams playing seven games this week -- including four at Coors Field, where everybody mashes -- and though two are against lefties, that's a moot point with Michael Cuddyer on the DL. Morneau will play, and judging by the matchups, he'll play well.
Instead of: Allen Craig, Chris Colabello, Adam LaRoche

Sit: Brandon Moss, Athletics
We know the drill with Moss by now. He almost always sits against lefties, and the three on tap this week -- Martin Perez, Robbie Ross and Jon Lester -- don't look to be exceptions. But just think of all the damage he'll do in those three games against Yu Darvish, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey! Yeah ... not really.
Instead of: Morneau, Colabello, Nick Swisher

Second base

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

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Rockies @ARI3, NYM4
2. Mets @PHI2, @COL4
3. Dodgers @MIN3, @MIA3
4. Yankees SEA3, TB3
5. Reds CHC3, MIL4

Start: Dee Gordon, Dodgers
Gordon's point production has been down the last couple weeks, which has caused his start percentage to drop below 75. But recently, he's had to miss time because of a head injury (read: not a concussion) and manager Don Mattingly's stubborn refusal to play him against lefties. His head is fine now, though, and lo, no lefties on the schedule this week. Against Mike Pelfrey, Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia and Kevin Slowey to begin the week, Gordon should be able to make up for lost time.
Instead of: Daniel Murphy, Jed Lowrie, Jedd Gyorko

Sit: Emilio Bonifacio, Cubs
Bonifacio is coming off a week where he had good matchups and couldn't take advantage, so how would you expect this week against Alfredo Simon, Tony Cingrani, Homer Bailey, Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha to go? His batting average has fallen about 150 points since April 9 (granted, it was up at .500 then, but still, a lot more bad than good recently), so he clearly isn't a hot-hand play anymore. If you need steals, you might have to stick with him, but you should look into alternatives otherwise.
Instead of: Gordon, Murphy, Neil Walker

Third base

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

Start: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
With four home runs already, Arenado is showing signs of breaking out in his sophomore season, and his matchups this week should only help the cause. OK, so four games against the Mets starting rotation isn't exactly a cakewalk, but considering that series is at Coors Field, I'll give the Rockies lineup the edge. Meanwhile, Arenado's other three games are against the Diamondbacks' browbeaten trio of Wade Miley, Mike Bollsinger and Josh Collmenter. And just for good measure, he's riding a 14-game hitting streak during which he has hit .345 (20 for 58) with two home runs.
Instead of: Trevor Plouffe, Brett Lawrie, Mike Moustakas

Sit: Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Third base is a position of need and all, but right now, Sandoval is more of a problem than a solution. Most likely, he'll recover from this ghastly start at some point in the near future. Even in his "bad" years, he's not this bad. But he won't get a break this week with Tyson Ross, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Alex Wood on the schedule.
Instead of: Arenado, Kyle Seager, Todd Frazier

Shortstop

Too obvious: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Jose Reyes, Elvis Andrus, Alexei Ramirez

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Cubs @CIN3, STL3
2. Athletics @TEX3, @BOS3
3. Giants SD3, @ATL3
4. Marlins ATL3, LAD3
5. Cardinals MIL3, @CHC3

Start: Alcides Escobar, Royals
Important caveat: Not every "start" is meant for every league in every format across the board. The "instead of" picks should give you an idea just how deep I'm thinking. If they're all on the waiver wire in your league, Escobar should probably be too. But if they're not, he's certainly the hot hand of the group, batting .400 (16 for 40) with five doubles, a homer and two steals in his last 12 games. The home-away and lefty-righty splits, based on what he's done so far, work in his favor as well. The samples are absurdly small, but ... look, do you need a shortstop or not?
Instead of: Jhonny Peralta, Asdrubal Cabrera, Derek Jeter

Sit:Starlin Castro, Cubs
Again, just because Escobar is a "start" and Castro a "sit" doesn't mean you should start Escobar over Castro. Look to the "instead of" picks for context. In leagues shallow enough that you can justify sitting Castro, this week would be a good time. He hasn't done much of anything since his two-homer game April 8, batting .255 with a .584 OPS in 14 games, and the Cubs have the toughest matchups of any team this week, going against Alfredo Simon, Tony Cingrani, Homer Bailey, Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Everth Cabrera, Brad Miller

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Matt Holliday, Adam Jones, Jay Bruce, Bryce Harper, Justin Upton, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Jayson Werth, Yasiel Puig, Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Charlie Blackmon, Wil Myers, Starling Marte, Domonic Brown, Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, Matt Kemp, Alex Gordon, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, Coco Crisp

Start: Billy Hamilton, Reds
In a week when six teams play only five games, the four that play seven are going to have that much more of an opportunity to contribute in Fantasy. And that's an especially big deal for speedsters, who steadily accumulate their points via small accomplishments over the course of the week. Granted, Hamilton has broken the mold so far, with most of his scoring limited to those two or three games when he was able to reach base and run wild, but even if his .355 (11 for 31) batting average over his last nine games isn't a sign of steadier times to come, he has more chances for a monster game than most players do this week.
Instead of: Shane Victorino, Michael Morse, Emilio Bonifacio

Sit: Christian Yelich, Marlins
You probably don't want to sit Christian Yelich with him riding a 17-game hitting streak in which he's hit .366 (26 for 71) with four doubles, a triple and four steals, but his splits from last year suggest you should this week. Not only are the Marlins at home, where he hit .256 with a .672 OPS compared to .319 and .862 on the road, but they're facing three left-handers, against whom he hit .165 with a .476 OPS compared to .362 and .941 against righties. Some of the pitchers on tap include Alex Wood, Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke.
Instead of: Hamilton, Michael Brantley, Khris Davis

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
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara not utilizing fastball this season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:02 am ET) Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has been throwing an unusual amount of offspeed pitches to start the season. Uehara has thrown fastballs on just 15 percent of his pitches this season, compared to 50 percent over the last three years, according to the Boston Herald.

Manager John Farrell isn't reading too much into it.

"He's going to go with what he feels," Farrell said. "Every 3 mph is about a foot distance in traveling to home plate. So there's a little bit different reaction time. But regardless of velocity there still needs to be the use of (the fastball) just to create separation between his fastball and his split."

Uehara is 1-1 so far this season with a 4.15 ERA and three saves in 4 1/3 innings.


White Sox send reliever Daniel Webb back to Triple-A
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(4/26/2015) White Sox reliever Daniel Webb , who was called up Sunday as the 26th man for the team's doubleheader against the Royals, was sent back down to Triple-A Charlotte after the game. 

Webb pitched in 57 games last season for the White Sox but was one of the team's final cuts in spring training. 


Diamondbacks struggling to fill in void at third base
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale knew his team wasn't going to go the entire season without an injury. But the skipper was hoping to avoid the issue he currently has at third base, according to AZCentral.com.

With Jake Lamb on the disabled list with a foot injury, Aaron Hill and Yasmany Tomas have struggled to put it together, combining for a .559 OPS in the last five games.

"Yeah, that's huge," Hale said. "You're going to have injuries all year. There's going to be a multitude of them for every team. If you can't make the adjustment — if guys can't come in and fill the void — then you're going to be in trouble as a club."

Tomas is hitting .286 in 14 at-bats this season while Hill is scuffling along at .156 in 45 at-bats.


Phillies pitcher Chad Billingsley allows seven runs in rehab start
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Phillies pitcher Chad Billingsley allowed seven runs in five innings of work in his third rehab start in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, according to Philly.com.

Billingsley, who is currently on the 15-day DL with an elbow injury, added three strikeouts and two walks in the appearance. He has yet to appear in a major league game since 2013 while dealing with multiple elbow injuries.


Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez still working out of funk
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has yet to put things together at the plate so far this season. Gonzalez is hitting just .197 with two home runs in 66 at-bats and it's wearing on him a bit, according to the Denver Post.

"I'm not in a good place. I'm still hitting (.197)," he said. "But I'm happy that I'm healthy, and that I'm playing, and that we are winning. I think we are having a good month so far as a team."

Manager Walt Weiss thinks he's really close to seeing Gonzalez get all the pieces together and go on a run.

"I saw real good signs from CarGo, hitting the ball hard the opposite way," Weiss said. "It wasn't just the couple of hits he got. It was the way he got them. Those are things that he had been working on. Then, to get results like that, is always encouraging."

Report: Josh Hamilton trade expected to be completed Monday
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(4/26/2015) The trade of outfielder Josh Hamilton from the Angels to the Rangers is expected to be completed Monday, with Hamilton then reporting to Texas' spring training site in Arizona to continue his rehab from offseason surgery, per MLB.com. 

The trade was rumored to have been completed Sunday, but complications arose in finalizing the deal. The Rangers are expected to hold a press conference announcing the trade on Monday. Hamilton is expected to play several games in Triple-A before being called up to the Rangers. 


Dodgers' Jimmy Rollins not concerned with early slump at the plate
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins isn't worrying just yet about his struggles at the plate, according to the Orange County Register.

"Well, some people like to panic. That has never been my MO," he said. "I have, what, 50, 60 at-bats, I'm not sure. So if these are my worst 50 at-bats this year – I'm glad they're happening now. (If they are his worst at-bats) it’s going to be a very good year."

Rollins is hitting just .186 in 70 at-bats so far this season. He believes he's still been taking good swings at the plate, just not finding the gaps in the defense.

"It's hard to compute if you just look at numbers," he said. "I'm getting myself in good counts, just not finishing it off. I know it's coming. I'm hitting some off the end, some are getting in just a little bit. But the swing path is right. It's just a click here, a click there.

"The process is good. You have to continue to trust in the process and believe in the process. You get oriented in just results – especially at times like this – then you're trying to make all these technical changes and that's when you go from one to two to 100. So the process is right. Executing it is about fine-tuning."


Angels OF Matt Joyce hopes hit signals end of slump
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(4/26/2015) Angels outfielder Matt Joyce saw his eight-game hitless streak come to an end Sunday with an eighth-inning single that ended an 0-for-26 skid. The right fielder, who figures to be a fixture in Los Angeles' lineup with the expected departure of Josh Hamilton, said he hopes the small start will lead to bigger things, according to the Los Angeles Times

"Sometimes it's a tough game," Joyce said. "It seems like you try everything, and you put in so much time and effort and work, it gets to be frustrating. It gets to be hard to swallow and accept it, and hard to keep showing up and grinding it out."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he will continue to stick with Joyce, who is hitting just .140 on the season. 


Mets starter Jonathon Niese struggles vs. Yankees
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(4/26/2015) Mets starter Jonathon Niese was not sharp Sunday in the finale of the Subway Series against the Yankees, lasting just five innings while allowing six runs and eight hits. Niese was betrayed somewhat by his defense, which committed four errors behind him, leading to two unearned runs. 

Niese was spotted a 2-0 first-inning lead, but he quickly gave it back, allowing a first-inning homer to Alex Rodriguez and then giving up four second-inning runs as the Yankees broke the game open. 

"You can't look into it too deeply," Niese said to MLB.com. "It's a loss. It's a tough loss. Obviously we want to win, but we've just got to get through it, learn from it, move on and play better."

Niese, who threw 86 pitches, saw his ERA rise to 2.74 in absorbing his first loss of the season. 

"I just wish I could have a couple pitches back," Niese said. "But I threw them. The results were what they were. I've just got to move on."

Niese will look to get back on track Saturday against the Nationals.


Nationals considering keeping Yunel Escobar at third base
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Nationals manager Matt Williams will have a decision to make when his regular third baseman Anthony Rendon comes back from injury. With Rendon on the shelf, Yunel Escobar has shifted to third and Williams is considering leaving him there even after Rendon returns, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

The team is unsure yet what will happen when Rendon returns, but one theory has Escobar staying at third and Rendon shifting to second base, according to Heyman.

Escobar is hitting .292 with five RBI in 65 at-bats while slotted at third base.


 
 
 
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