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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
Dodgers' Erik Bedard willing to go to Triple-A
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers pitcher Erik Bedard is willing to go to Triple-A if he doesn't break camp with the major-league club, according to MLB.com.

Bedard allowed one run over two innings in his first taste of spring action on Wednesday. The veteran said he knows that if the Dodgers five starters are healthy, he'll be sent to the minors. "I know where I stand," Bedard said. "The game is still fun. I like to play baseball."

Bedard posted a 4.76 ERA over 75 2/3 innings last season. 


Dodgers' Alex Guerrero willing to play third base
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers infielder Alex Guerrero has been willing to learn third this spring, according to MLB.com.

Guerrero is in a bit of a unique position. With Howie Kendrick entrenched at second, Guerrero doesn't really have a spot in the team's infield. Due to his contract, however, the team can't just send him to the minors. Guerrero can block the move, and has already said he plans to do so if the team tries to send him down. If he can play third well, that may not be a problem.

For what it's worth, manager Don Mattingly believes Guerrero has looked better this spring. "I really do think the second year [in camp] he looks a lot different as far as being relaxed," Mattingly said. "He's swinging the bat well and he keeps improving."

The 28-year-old hit .333/.371/.621 over three minor-league levels last season. 


Twins' Byron Buxton doubles twice on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton doubled twice on Wednesday against the University of Minnesota.

Buxton came into last season ranked as one of the best prospects in the minors. He had injury issues, which ended his season early. While Buxton is still considered the Twins top prospect, he was passed by other players in the overall prospect rankings due to the injuries. 

Buxton seemed to be 100 percent on Wednesday, doubling twice during the contest. He scored one run and drove in one RBI. The 21-year-old should open the season in the minors, but could debut as early as this season depending on his performance. 


Twins' Jose Berrios strikes out four on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Twins starter Jose Berrios struck out four during his first spring appearance on Wednesday.

Berrios took on the University of Minnesota, and turned in a good showing. While Berrios is a minor-leaguer, he's only 20, and was taking on players his age. Berrios allowed one hit and one unearned run over two innings of work. He struck out four batters.

Berrios is the team's third-best prospect according to Baseball America. He's expected to begin the year in the minors, but could move quickly based on how well he performs. 


Diamondbacks pitcher Braden Shipley makes debut Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Braden Shipley pitched two innings in his spring training debut Wednesday, allowing just one baserunner and recording one strikeout. Shipley admitted he was a bit worried in his first appearance, reports AZCentral.com.

"I was a little nervous going in, but that was expected," Shipley said. "I think it was more excitement for me. That was really fun."

Manager Chip Hale said he expects Shipley to make starts in his next few appearances this spring.


Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson faces batters for first time this spring
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson was able to face live batters for the first time this spring since recovering from back surgery, the 27-year-old tweeted Wednesday.

Anderson was only able to pitch 43 1/3 innings in 2014 with a 1-3 record and 2.91 ERA after suffering the back injury that cut his season short. 


White Sox SS Tim Anderson looking to become long-term solution
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) White Sox prospect Tim Anderson is on a mission in spring training this year. He wants to prove that he belongs in the majors with the big boys.

"Just show them I can stay at short and my defense has come a long way and it's going to get better," Anderson said. "I want to be a shortstop for a long time. I'm going to be a shortstop. I'm going to work hard to stay there."

Anderson is currently considered Chicago's No. 2 prospect and could be just the prospect the White Sox are looking for. In his 2015 debut, Anderson smacked a two-run single.

"I'm just staying calm and trying not to do too much and just doing what I've been doing to be here," Anderson said. "It has been exciting to get in here and work with all the big leaguers and get my reps in and see how they go in the daily routine."


Reds' Kevin Gregg hoping to win a spot in the bullpen
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Reds pitcher Kevin Gregg is hoping to win a spot in the team's bullpen, according to MLB.com.

Gregg may be 36-years-old, but understands he still needs to prove himself.  "I don't mind coming in and earning a spot," he said. "I'm coming off elbow surgery. At this point in my career, it's something I need to do."

Gregg had bone chips removed from his elbow in August, but was able to hit 92 mph in a showcase in February. He believes his velocity has improved since then.

Manager Bryan Price had good things to say about Gregg thus far. "He looks great. He looks durable," Price said. "He's got hand speed. He's crisp with his location. I've been extremely impressed with Kevin to this point."

The 36-year-old tossed just nine innings in the majors last year.


Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Reynolds sidelined with oblique injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Reynolds was scheduled to throw batting practice Wednesday, but was unable to do so while dealing with a sore right oblique, reports MLB.com.

"I'm like, 'I'm in here again, I can't get out of this darn room,'" Reynolds said.

Reynolds missed all of 2014 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he isn't having any issues with the elbow.

"My elbow feels real good," he said. "It feels strong."


Report: MLB split on whether Josh Hamilton should go to rehab
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Major League Baseball is split over whether Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton should go to rehab, according to the Los Angeles Times

The four person panel assigned to Hamilton's case are deadlocked, and the group will have to bring in an arbitrator in order to break the tie. The panel first must decide whether Hamilton violated any rules, and then must agree on a course of treatment. The panel has not been able to agree on the latter of those conditions, which is why an arbitrator is necessary. 

If Hamilton is sent to rehab, he would receive his full salary for 30 days, and then half his salary over the next 30 days. If he's suspended, but does not have to attend rehab, Hamilton would not be paid during the suspension. 

MLB is also trying to determine whether Hamilton should be charged as a fourth-time offender of the drug policy. If that's the case, Hamilton could be suspended for the entire season.

Hamilton, 33, admitted to MLB that he experienced a relapse a few months ago, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Hamilton has dealt with drug and alcohol issues throughout his career, and was suspended for three seasons after failing drug tests as a minor-leaguer. He met with officials in New York in February regarding the incident. 


 
 
 
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