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Start and sit hitters for Week 6

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, May 1.

In an interleague-heavy week, take note of the AL teams traveling to NL parks, where they no longer have use of the DH. The player most likely to suffer this week is Billy Butler, who could sit out all three of the Royals' games at San Diego unless they decide to play him at first base or Eric Hosmer in right field for the first time this season. Likewise, Adam Dunn could sit out the White Sox's two games at the Cubs, though they have entertained the idea of playing him in the outfield. Dunn is low-end enough that you don't need much of an excuse to sit him. You've probably hoped for an excuse to sit Butler, given his slow start, and now, here it is.

Manny Machado returned to the lineup for the second game of a doubleheader Thursday after a lengthy rehabilitation from knee surgery. He was a must-start in Fantasy for most of last season and will eventually get back there, but you should always be cautious with players returning from injury. Plan on starting Machado Monday, but keep that fill-in handy just in case he doesn't look right this weekend.

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

Catcher

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

Scott's sleepers for Week 6
Player Own/Start %
1. Victor Martinez, 1B, DET 92/71
2. Howie Kendrick, 2B, LAA 85/73
3. Miguel Montero, C, ARI 78/66
4. Dayan Viciedo, OF, CHW 66/55
5. Carlos Ruiz, C, PHI 60/50
6. Omar Infante, 2B, KC 45/34
7. Rajai Davis, OF, DET 64/53
8. Erick Aybar, SS, LAA 51/38
9. Matt Joyce, OF, TB 47/36
10. Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, DET 67/39

Start: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
After a disappointing 2013, Ruiz has come back with a vengeance so far in 2014 and has been especially hot of late, batting .480 (12 for 25) with a home run and four doubles, not to mention six walks to only two strikeouts, in his last seven games. He has typically performed better against left-handers in his career, hitting .300 with an .836 OPS against them even with disappointing overall numbers last year, and has three on tap this week. The Blue Jays and Mets starting rotations shouldn't present too much of a challenge either.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Josmil Pinto

Sit: A.J. Pierzynski, Red Sox
Pierzynski isn't off to a bad start for the Red Sox but hasn't gotten the most regular playing time, having started just two-thirds of their games heading into Friday. With the Red Sox scheduled to play only five games this week, he may not get enough at-bats to make a relevant contribution. And considering some of the pitchers on tap -- including Homer Bailey, Yu Darvish and Martin Perez -- he may not do much with the at-bats he gets.
Instead of: Pinto, Dioner Navarro, Mike Zunino

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, Justin Morneau, Allen Craig, Carlos Santana, Matt Adams, Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli

Start: Victor Martinez, Tigers
That Martinez isn't universally started is one thing. That he's started in so few leagues I can get away with highlighting him here is enough to make me think I'm playing a different game from everyone else. A Fantasy mainstay for much of his career, Martinez rebounded from a slow start to regain must-start status in the second half last year and has seemingly picked up where he left off, producing a near-.300 batting average while performing at a 25-homer, 90-RBI pace. Against the Astros and Twins this week, two rotations that don't have a single pitcher worth rostering in standard mixed leagues, he'll do some damage.
Instead of: Brandon Belt, Chris Colabello, Mark Teixeira

Sit: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
LaRoche's quadriceps injury doesn't seem like anything that would sideline him into the weekend, but the bigger issue for him heading into Fantasy Week 6 (May 5-11) is the schedule. They have the toughest of any team, going against Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez. He's off to a good start, but at a deep position, you're not obligated to stick with him every week.
Instead of: Martinez, Teixeira, Ryan Howard

Second base

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

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Tigers HOU4, MIN3
2. Indians MIN4, @TB3
3. White Sox @CHC2, CHC2, ARI3
4. Mariners @OAK4, KC4
5. Rangers @COL2, COL2, BOS3

Start: Howie Kendrick, Angels
Kendrick, like Victor Martinez, is too high-end to be so overlooked when he's performing so well. Having hit .386 (17 for 44) with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and three stolen bases in his last 12 games, he entered Friday's action ranked fourth among second basemen in both Head-to-Head and Rotisserie leagues. Granted, he won't maintain this pace, and second base is a deep position, but if you don't have one of the "too obvious" options, you might as well play the hot hand, especially with him facing David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Dustin McGowan and J.A. Happ this week.
Instead of: Dee Gordon, Emilio Bonifacio, Neil Walker

Sit: Brandon Phillips, Reds
Coming off a year when a disproportionate RBI total helped inflate his value, Phillips has somewhat predictably disappointed Fantasy owners so far and has been especially useless lately, batting .179 (10 for 56) over his last 14 games. Though he may be overrated, he can't possibly be this bad, but with the Reds playing only five games this week, you probably won't regret sitting him even if he has some kind of turnaround.
Instead of: Kendrick, Bonifacio, Omar Infante

Third base

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

Start: Nick Castellanos, Tigers
The Tigers have stellar matchups this week, facing pitchers like Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, Brad Peacock, Dallas Keuchel, Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson and Samuel Deduno. Castellanos hasn't been especially productive, but given his upside, he's as likely to take advantage as anyone in the lineup. At a position that doesn't seem to offer enough to go around, he's still available in one-third of CBSSports.com leagues.
Instead of: Pablo Sandoval, Brett Lawrie, Will Middlebrooks

Sit: Marcus Semien, White Sox
Despite a high strikeout rate and low batting average, Semien's all-around production has made him a sneaky Fantasy play in the early going, but those days may be nearing an end. He was only able to move to third base when Gordon Beckham returned from an oblique injury because Conor Gillaspie was sidelined by a hand injury, but with Gillaspie expected back Wednesday, Semien could be forced to the bench mid-week. Even with favorable matchups for the White Sox, you should look into alternatives.
Instead of: Trevor Plouffe, Castellanos, Todd Frazier

Shortstop

Too obvious: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Jose Reyes, Elvis Andrus, Alexei Ramirez, Jed Lowrie, Starlin Castro

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Nationals LAD3, @OAK3
2. Red Sox CIN2, @TEX3
3. Dodgers @WAS3, SF4
4. Pirates SF3, STL3
5. Cardinals @ATL3, @PIT3

Start: Erick Aybar, Angels
Though never a high-end option, Aybar has had his stretches of mixed-league relevance and seems to be in the midst of one now, batting .459 (17 for 37) with five doubles, a home run and a stolen base in nine games. The streak coincides with an adjustment from the left side of the plate, where he now stands more upright. You hate to chase the streaks, but against pitchers like David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Dustin McGowan and J.A. Happ, Aybar is a good bet to keep this one going.
Instead of: Xander Bogaerts, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta

Sit: Everth Cabrera, Padres
Though he has hit pretty well since the start of the season, everyone has wondered where the stolen bases have gone for Cabrera. And now, everyone has an answer: He still hasn't fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered April 14, according to manager Bud Black. Cabrera had a couple steals more recently, so he may be on the road to recovery, but against pitchers like Yordano Ventura, James Shields, Jose Fernandez and Nate Eovaldi, you might want to play it safe with him. Also, the Padres aren't facing a single left-handed pitcher this week. Cabrera, a switch-hitter, hit .365 with a .934 OPS against them compared to .248 and .651 against righties last year.
Instead of: Aybar, Jimmy Rollins, Brad Miller

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Gomez, Matt Holliday, Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Jayson Werth, Yasiel Puig, Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Charlie Blackmon, Yoenis Cespedes, Wil Myers, Shin-Soo Choo, Allen Craig, Starling Marte, Domonic Brown, Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, Matt Kemp, Alex Gordon, Carlos Beltran, Coco Crisp, Austin Jackson, Michael Brantley, Michael Morse

Start: Dayan Viciedo, White Sox
Batting .432 (19 for 44) with seven doubles, one triple and one home run in his last 12 games, Viciedo has been the hot hand for a while now -- long enough for you to wonder how much longer this streak could possibly last. But with six walks to just four strikeouts during that stretch, he's seeing the ball exceptionally well still and doesn't face the stiffest competition this week in Edwin Jackson, Jake Arrieta, Brandon McCarthy, Wade Miley and Mike Bolsinger.
Instead of: Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Khris Davis

Sit: Brett Gardner, Yankees
Though his five steals in his last five games make him seem like a hot-hand play, Gardner is another potential victim of this week's interleague-heavy schedule. He doesn't play DH himself, but the Yankees may see Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano, who alternate between DH and the outfield, as more integral to the lineup and bump Gardner to the bench, with Beltran in right field and Soriano in left, for their three games at Milwaukee. It's no certainty, of course, but with Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza on tap, Gardner would be an inadvisable start anyway.
Instead of: Torii Hunter, Norichika Aoki, Matt Joyce

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
Cardinals' Carpenter seeks to balance aggressiveness, patience
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:04 pm ET) Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter hopes to combine the aggressiveness he displayed in 2013 with the patience he showed in 2014, MLB.com reports.

"I've had both extremes of it," Carpenter said. "I've had it where I've led the leagues in walks [2014], and I've had where I've led the league in hits [2013]. I'm trying to search for that perfect balance where you're aggressive, but you're still patient.

"In the postseason, I felt that I was more aggressive than I had been at any point in my career, but at the same time, I wasn't flailing at balls. I didn't lose anything. Now, it's finding the perfect balance to where I'm swinging the bat, I'm being aggressive, I'm trying to do damage, but at the same time, I'm a guy who can walk a lot, get on base and set the tone as a leadoff hitter. I think that's part of growing up as a baseball player. You learn and you adapt and you continue to try to figure out who you are as a hitter."

Carpenter homered four times during last year's postseason after hitting just eight home runs during the regular season, with his first two postseason blasts coming on the first pitch of his at-bats. He's looking to capture that approach more often this season.

"I think he's a smart enough guy to do it because he knows what he does really well," hitting coach John Mabry said. "That's what you take pride in -- those guys who put in all the work to get to where they are and then say, 'I'm not happy.' They want to put in the extra work to get to that next step, the next level."

Carpenter is looking to build off a 2014 season in which he hit .272/.375/.375 with eight home runs and 59 RBI in 595 at-bats.


Mariners' Dustin Ackley to get a lot of playing time this spring
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:01 pm ET) Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley will get a ton of playing time this spring, according to MLB.com.

Manager Lloyd McClendon said he wants Ackley to get off to a strong start, and will give the outfielder a lot of at-bats in March. Ackley seemed happy with the arrangement. "I think that's good," Ackley said. "The more at-bats you get, the better your timing gets and the more comfortable you feel. I think everybody wants to get at-bats and get ready."

Ackley had a tough first half of the season in 2014, but seemed to come on strong late. He stressed that being strong mentally should help in 2015. "I just need to stay consistent and don't start pressing if I don't get a hit for a couple games or don't do this or that," he said. "It's not being result-oriented and just going out there and playing and trusting in my swing and my mental standpoint."

The 27-year-old hit .245/.293/.398 over 502 at-bats last year. He's expected to open the season in a platoon role with Rickie Weeks. 


Nationals' Williams on Zimmerman: 'His athleticism is key for us'
(6:54 pm ET) After playing most of his career at third base, Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman is set to serve as the team's regular first baseman in 2015, and the team has continued to be impressed with how quickly he's learning the position, Comcast SportsNet reports.

"His athleticism is key for us," manager Matt Williams said. "He catches everything. He doesn’t miss a ball."

Zimmerman's Monday workouts had a new twist, as the team timed him to see how long he takes to get to first base after the point of contact with the ball. He also continued his work on throwing to second base, specifically gauging the positioning of shortstop Ian Desmond.

"It’s just comfort level for him," Williams said. "I’m always impressed by his athleticism and what he can do with his glove. The challenge is going to be him being comfortable over there, and the throws to second base, because it’s just backwards."

Zimmerman hit .280/.342/.449 with five home runs and 38 RBI in 214 at-bats last season.


Brewers' Taylor Jungmann taking new approach into this season
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:44 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Taylor Jungmann is taking a new approach into this season, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Jungmann got off to a slow start last season, but a change in approach prompted him to reverse his fortunes. Triple-A pitching coach Fred Danby suggested Jungmann shift from the left side of the pitching rubber to the right side. Jungmann said he had always been told his stuff played better from the left side, but felt a change instantly after switching spots.

"I can’t explain it but I started throwing more strikes," he said. "My mechanics were a little more fluid. I didn’t change a whole lot; I just moved to the other side of the rubber. It felt natural. It made it a little easier to be consistent with my (pitching) motion. The biggest thing was getting my breaking ball back."

Jungmann comes into camp fighting for a spot in the team's rotation. He's already been listed as sixth on the starting pitching depth chart.


Angels' Scioscia: Kole Calhoun's 'intensity' a key strength
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:39 pm ET) Angels manager Mike Scioscia praised the intensity and enthusiasm of outfielder Kole Calhoun Monday as part of what makes him such a valuable part of the team's lineup, MLB.com reports.

"I think part of what makes Kole a good player is his intensity," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You need that focus, that intensity to know this is real and it's how you compete. With Kole, it's in him and it bubbles out. He pumps his teammates up and he does a great job setting the tone for us."

"It's how I was raised," Calhoun said. "I'm a pretty passionate person in most everything that I do. I think at this level, you've got to be. You've got to compete on every pitch because that's your livelihood. Everyone's fighting for the same thing and you want to come out on top."

Calhoun excelled as the team's leadoff batter in 2014, hitting .281/.336/.471 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI in 448 at-bats while slotted first.


Rangers' Lewis, Gallardo to throw on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:36 pm ET) The Rangers will throw both Colby Lewis and Yovani Gallardo on Wednesday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Rangers will take on the Royals during the contest. It's unclear how long either player will throw during the outing. Both players are expected to open the year in the team's rotation. 


Padres' Black on Morrow: 'We like what we've seen'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:26 pm ET) Padres manager Bud Black has been impressed by how pitcher Brandon Morrow has handled his various ailments as well as his overall approach to the mound, MLB.com reports.

"I like his delivery, I like his arm action, I like his stuff," Black said. "First of all, I think he's got a good head. We're still getting to know him. We've only known him less than two weeks. But we like what we've seen."

Morrow has made just 16 starts across the last two season while dealing with forearm and hand injuries. As a result, he says he's begun doing a "pre-hab" program, which is "basically doing what you're doing in rehab, but doing it before you get hurt."

Morrow is competing for a rotation spot, but he doesn't look at the early portion of camp as a competion.

"The last three starts are when it will be more competition mode, I guess," Morrow said. "Right now, I'm still trying to get my arm and body in shape and easing into that. I'm not going to try and go out and blow it out in live batting practice ... Rather than just trying to strike everybody out, I'm going out there and doing some pitching. It's still the same repertoire and still mostly the same approach. But it's taking some speed off here, adding it here."

Morrow posted ERAs of 5.63 and 5.67 in his last two seasons in Toronto while battling through injuries.


Cardinals' Carlos Martinez to pitch on Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:22 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez will get the start on Thursday against the Marlins, according to MLB.com.

Martinez is expected to throw around 40 pitches during the start. The club is hoping Martinez goes two innings. Martinez prepared for the start by throwing two simulated innings against the Cardinals on Monday. Martinez, who is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, said he just needs to go out and perform. 

"I need to go out and perform," he said. "I'm going to keep focused and have the same mentality to do my best even though it's the first [start]. Every time I take the mound, I'm going to feel like it's the last one."

Martinez, 23, posted a 4.03 ERA over 89 1/3 innings last year. 


White Sox prospect Courtney Hawkins taking it slow this spring
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:19 pm ET) White Sox prospect Courtney Hawkins is hoping to make an impact for the club at some point, but he knows it won't happen overnight, according MLB.com.

"My only job is to go out every day and play to the best of my ability. That's what they got me here to do."

Hawkins feels like he has the patience to wait until his number gets called to the big leagues.

"When I first got drafted, I definitely thought that I had to get there fast. I had to do something more," Hawkins said. "I feel like right now, as long as I do what I'm supposed to do and play the game I know I'm able to play and they know I'm able to play, I feel like it's going to come on its own, and that's what they wanted out of me.


Yankees' Rothschild impressed with Jacob Lindgren
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:17 pm ET) Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Monday that he's been impressed with pitching prospect Jacob Lindgren so far and that he has the ability to get outs at the major-league level right now, NJ.com reports.

Rothschild said that Lindgren has to try not to be "too fine" with his location. Dubbed "The Strikeout Factory" by Yankees officials, the pitcher struck out 48 batters in 24 2/3 innings across four levels after being selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft.


 
 
 
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