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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
Twins SP prospect Jose Berrios earns promotion to Triple-A
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:06 am ET) The Twins promoted starting pitcher prospect Jose Berrios to Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, according to Fox Sports North. 

Berrios, who is considered a top-100 prospect by MLB.com (No. 32) and Baseball America (No. 36), went 8-3 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 15 starts for Double-A Chattanooga. He struck out 92 batters and issued 24 walks in 90 2/3 innings.


Athletics RF Josh Reddick hits first homer Monday since June 12
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:04 am ET) That trot around the bases must have felt good Monday night for Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick. It had been a while since he gave himself a chance to enjoy one.

Reddick had not homered since June 12. But he has been contributing consistently by hitting safely in 17 of his last 20 starts. He has six RBI in the last five games and has maintained a strong slash line that now sits at .287/.347/.474.

He scored twice and drove in two runs in the Monday defeat of Colorado.


Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart totals career-best four hits
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:57 am ET) Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart totaled a career-high four hits and drove in two runs during an 11-7 win Monday against the Twins. He also had one run.

Barnhart had a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the first inning and an RBI single in the third inning. He doubled in the sixth and singled again in the eighth.

Barnhart has been on a nice run offensively, hitting safely in five straight games. He has totaled multiple hits four times in that span. However, Monday was the first time in 10 June games that he drove in a run.

He is batting .600 (12 for 20) with four doubles and one walk in his last five games.


Result of hip surgery for Reds C Devin Mesoraco thrills Price
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:55 am ET) Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco underwent successful surgery Monday to repair a left hip impingement, MLB.com has reported.

Bryan Price expressed joy at the result after hearing from Mesoraco.

"Thumbs up, big thumbs up," Price said. "I've been back and forth with the texts to him. He's very happy."

Mesoraco is expected to miss the rest of the season.


Average falls for Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt on hit streak
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:50 am ET) It seems that Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt states his case for being the finest hitter in the sport every time he swings the bat.

Goldschmidt simply continues to rake. His latest show of force is a 10-game hitting streak in which his batting average has actually fallen from .357 to .352. He has one home run and 10 RBI during that stretch.

He ranks second in the National League in average, fifth in home runs (20) and third in RBI (64).


Hand injuries should not force Reds 2B Brandon Phillips onto DL
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:37 am ET) The hand injuries sustained by Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips on Sunday are not expected to land him on the disabled list, according to MLB.com.

They did, however, keep him sidelined Monday. It remains to be seen how much time he will miss, but he has grown accustomed to dealing with physical issues.

"He has had to handle the hand and wrist injuries, this is his third year of really getting banged up," Bryan Price said. "He's still found a way to give us very competitive at-bats. I think he would have continued to compete if he had some tenderness with that left hand, but the issue with the right was really the one that got him out of the ballgame (Sunday)."

The loss of Phillips is certainly untimely. He is on a six-game hitting streak in which he has nine hits in 29 at-bats with two home runs.


Tigers C Alex Avila claims he's ready to roll
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:22 am ET) Tigers catcher Alex Avila is ready to be the Tigers catcher again. He has been on the disabled list since May 8 with a left knee injury, but he believes he's ready to return.

"I feel fine, I feel good," he said after catching back-to-back games for Triple-A Toledo. "My knee feels good. My legs feel good. I have no complaints. ... Being out for two months, you would expect some cobwebs."

Avila will return with a .200/.342/.317 slash line.


Suspended Mets RP Jenrry Mejia moved to Triple-A
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:48 am ET) Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia is now pitching at Triple-A Las Vegas as he continues his comeback from an 80-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. He pitched a scoreless inning Monday with two strikeouts.

Mejia is eligible to return to the Mets on July 7.


Alejandro De Aza showing up Hanley Ramirez in OF for Red Sox
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:34 am ET) When Hanley Ramirez returns from his wrist injury, which could be soon, he will be back in left field and Alejandro De Aza will assume his spot on the bench.

And that's not good for the Red Sox defense.

Ramirez has cost the team 14 runs in the field, more than any player at any position in the majors, according to Fangraphs.com. His inexperience, poor route-running and lack of assuredness have combined for disaster. He grades out at minus-0.3 WAR despite leading the team with 15 home runs and 38 RBI.

DeAza has provided welcome relief. He saved two runs in the sixth inning of a 3-1 win over Toronto on Monday night by snagging a gapper off the bat of Jose Bautista and adding a sweet catch to take a single away from Josh Donaldson in the ninth inning. Never mind that he's also 9-for-19 at the plate.

"He's got very good range. He can run," John Farrell told the Boston Herald. "...The range he showed tonight was as good as you're probably going to see from a left fielder."

Ramirez, on the other hand, has played the outfield like a designated hitter. But the presence of David Ortiz in that role means that Ramirez will return to left field when healthy.


Yankees SP Nathan Eovaldi start moved up to Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:17 am ET) The move to the bullpen for Yankees staff mate Adam Warren has resulted in the next start for Nathan Eovaldi being switched from Friday to Wednesday against the host Angels, reports Newsday.

Eovaldi, whose outing will now be on his regular rest cycle, is coming off two consecutive quality starts. But he has allowed 105 hits in 82 1/3 innings this season and owns a 4.81 ERA despite a 7-2 record.

His 1.54 WHIP is the worst among major league starters.


 
 
 
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