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Start and sit hitters for Week 7

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 8.

Rougned Odor got the call to the majors Thursday, sending Fantasy owners flocking to the waiver wire. He's a big-time prospect for sure -- one who offers a similar all-around skill set to Jurickson Profar -- but like Profar, he may not be quite ready for the big stage. Profar actually looked more polished at Triple-A at the time of his call-up than Odor looked at Double-A, where he compiled a .314 on-base percentage. Granted, every prospect develops differently, but at a deep position like second base, no need to force Odor into your lineup.

A couple big boppers are on the verge of returning from oblique injuries. Chris Davis will begin a rehab assignment Saturday and should return in time to play most of the Orioles' seven games this week. Ryan Braun is expected back Tuesday, which would put him on track to play all six of the Brewers' games. Both are so high-end that they're probably worth the risk this week, though I excluded them from the "too obvious" section at their respective positions just in case they suffer a setback.

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

Catcher

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

Scott's sleepers for Week 7
Player Own/Start %
1. Jonathan Villar, SS, HOU 62/50
2. Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, OAK 87/70
3. Todd Frazier, 3B, CIN 86/70
4. George Springer, OF, HOU 84/38
5. Wilson Ramos, C, WAS 60/24
6. Yasmani Grandal, C, SD 22/14
7. Corey Hart, 1B, SEA 53/28
8. Alcides Escobar, SS, KC 55/42
9. Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, MIA 40/31
10. Yangervis Solarte, 2B/3B, NYY 64/51

Start: Yasmani Grandal, Padres
With him coming back from knee surgery, the Padres made a point not to start Grandal two games in a row earlier this season. But now that he's had a chance to get his legs under him, they're having a harder time justifying it, especially given their lack of offense so far. He's started five of the team's last six games, including one at first base, and has homered in three of his last seven. With a career .800 OPS in the majors, he deserves a look as a second catcher, especially with him traveling to Cincinnati and Colorado, two of the more favorable hitting environments in the NL, this week.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, A.J. Pierzynski, Dioner Navarro

Sit: Welington Castillo, Cubs
Castillo was the hot hand at catcher just a week ago and looked like he might be having a breakout season, particularly in terms of power. But he's gone 1 for 20 over his last six games, and his matchups this week don't figure to help him out of this rut. Some of the pitchers on tap for the Cubs include Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Kyle Lohse and Marco Estrada.
Instead of: Grandal, Josmil Pinto, Mike Zunino

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Abreu, Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Anthony Rizzo, Eric Hosmer, Victor Martinez, Mike Napoli, Justin Morneau, Mark Teixeira

Start: Brandon Moss, Athletics
Though he's played more often against left-handed pitchers recently -- and has performed better than expected, hitting .333 (7 for 21) -- Moss still sits against them too often for you to trust him during those weeks when the Athletics face several. Not only do they face only one in their six games this week, but they have some of the most favorable matchups of any team, facing John Danks, Scott Carroll, Andre Rienzo, Zach McAllister, Josh Tomlin and Justin Masterson.
Instead of: Matt Adams, Chris Colabello

Sit: James Loney, Rays
Though he reminded everyone how good of a contact hitter he is with his 10 multi-hit games during a 15-game stretch in late April and early May, Loney is reminding everyone now that even those types struggle, going 1 for 13 in his last four games. His upside isn't high enough from week to week for you to bother with him in a week he's facing Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson.
Instead of: Moss, Corey Hart, Garrett Jones

Second base

Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Matt Carpenter, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Brian Dozier, Anthony Rendon, Jose Altuve, Dee Gordon, Chase Utley, Aaron Hill, Daniel Murphy, Howie Kendrick, Jed Lowrie

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Mariners TB3, @MIN3
2. Athletics CHW3, @CLE3
3. Royals COL2, BAL4
4. Yankees NYM2, @NYM2, PIT3
5. Astros TEX3, CHW3

Start: Derek Dietrich, Marlins
I should preface this selection with a quick reminder that not all starts apply equally. Second base has become so deep that most anyone who plays in a mixed league is pretty well covered there. So I went a little deeper with this pick, skipping over the Neil Walker and Brandon Phillips types for someone who might still be available in the leagues that don't have enough second basemen to go around. Dietrich showed good pop during his time in the majors last year and has a .375 on-base percentage this year. The Marlins have noticed, starting him against 10 of the last 11 righties they've faced. They face six righties in their seven games this week.
Instead of: Marcus Semien, Dustin Ackley, Scooter Gennett

Sit: Martin Prado, Diamondbacks
Not only did I remove Prado from the "too obvious" section for the first time, but I made him a sit this week, my resolve for one of my go-to players weakened for the moment. Prado got off to a similarly unimpressive start last season and rebounded to hit .324 in the second half, so don't mistake this recommendation as a surrender of some kind. It's just that the Diamondbacks have far and away the worst matchups of any team -- going against Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Dan Haren -- and second base is deep. Sitting Prado at third base, meanwhile, might be easier said than done.
Instead of: Brandon Phillips, Neil Walker, Omar Infante

Third base

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

Start: Todd Frazier, Reds
After a downer 2013, Frazier is back to the form he showed as a rookie in 2012, hitting for enough power to separate him from the pack at a position of need in most Fantasy leagues. He ranks fourth among third baseman in Head-to-Head points leagues to date and has hit safely in his last eight games, batting .323 (10 for 31). His start percentage suggests he's not "too obvious" just yet, but he probably should be.
Instead of: Brett Lawrie, Trevor Plouffe, Casey McGehee

Sit: Manny Machado, Orioles
Though he homered Friday, Machado has looked pretty rusty since returning from offseason knee surgery, batting under .200. With third base being as shallow as it is, you may not have any choice but to stick with him and hope for the best, but his matchups this week won't do him any favors. Some of the pitchers he's facing include Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly, Justin Verlander, Yordano Ventura and James Shields.
Instead of: Frazier, Yangervis Solarte

Shortstop

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

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Diamondbacks WAS3, LAD3
2. Mets @NYY2, NYY2, @WAS3
3. Rays @SEA3, @LAA4
4. Cubs @STL4, MIL3
5. Orioles DET3, @KC4

Start: Jonathan Villar, Astros
The best part about Villar's performance to date, which ranks him 13th at shortstop in Head-to-Head leagues and fourth in Rotisserie, is that it doesn't hinge on a batting average he can't sustain. As often as he strikes out, he might not hit much better than .240, but again, he's been productive regardless. He's been especially productive at home, batting .327, and against left-handers, batting .273. The Astros are at home for all six of their games this week, and they're facing three left-handers. Plus, they have favorable matchups against the Rangers and White Sox.
Instead of: Andrelton Simmons, Everth Cabrera, J.J. Hardy

Sit: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Thanks in part to the availability of the DH for the Phillies' recent series at Toronto, Rollins has been able to play through a groin injury so far, but of course, that's the type of injury that could linger. He hasn't hit especially well with it either, going 2 for 10 over his last four games. Rollins is already looking at a short week with the Phillies scheduled to play only five games. If the injury costs him one or two of those, you've wasted a lineup spot on him.
Instead of: Villar, Brad Miller, Alcides Escobar

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Gomez, Matt Holliday, Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Jayson Werth, Yasiel Puig, Shin-Soo Choo, Melky Cabrera, Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Charlie Blackmon, Yoenis Cespedes, Wil Myers, Desmond Jennings, Michael Morse, Michael Brantley, Matt Kemp, Austin Jackson, Jason Heyward, Alex Gordon, Carlos Beltran

Start: George Springer, Astros
After doing nothing in his first two weeks on the job, Springer is finally showing signs of life, batting .313 (10 for 32) during an eight-game hitting streak. It's not the most impressive streak ever, but it has included a three-hit game and his first career home run. If it's a sign of him getting comfortable, he's picked the right time to do so. The Astros have some of the best matchups of any team this week, facing pitchers like Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Hector Noesi and John Danks.
Instead of: Emilio Bonifacio, Nick Markakis, Dayan Viciedo

Sit: Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays
Rasmus has no doubt earned a place on mixed-league rosters with his performance so far in May. In only eight games, he has hit .355 (11 for 31) with five home runs. But as often as he strikes out -- about every third at-bat so far this season -- he figures to run hot and cold, as he has throughout his career. By now, you may be too late to capitalize, especially with three lefties on tap this week. Rasmus' matchups against C.J. Wilson, Danny Salazar, Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Martin Perez aren't particularly favorable either.
Instead of: Brandon Moss, Shane Victorino, Angel Pagan

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
Rangers push back Derek Holland's start due to sorenes
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:25 am ET) Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team pushed back Derek Holland's start due to normal soreness in his throwing shoulder, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Holland was scheduled to throw in Sunday's intrasquad game, but it will be pushed back to Monday as a precaution. Holland missed most of the 2014 season with a knee injury.


Orioles' Paul Janish hopes to begin throwing by end of the week
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:56 am ET) After having surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, Orioles shortstop Paul Janish hopes to begin throwing by the end of the week, reports CSNBaltimore.com.

Janish had the surgery in mid-February and was expected to miss six-to-eight weeks.


Yankees' Alex Rodriguez may play in spring training opener
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:45 am ET) Yankees coach Joe Girardi said the team will decide Monday if Alex Rodriguez will play in Tuesday's spring training opener, reports the Associated Press.

Rodriguez is attempting to comeback after being suspended for the entire 2014 season and Girardi said the decision will be based on how Rodriguez is feeling.

"It's something I have to talk to him about," Girardi said. "See where he's at physically."


Blue Jays sign Dayan Viciedo to minor-league deal
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:17 am ET) The Blue Jays signed outfielder Dayan Viciedo to a minor-league contract Sunday, the team announced.

The deal includes an invite to spring training. In 2014, Viciedo hit .231 with 21 home runs and 58 RBI.


Red Sox's Henry Owens impresses during camp
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:19 am ET) Red Sox pitcher Henry Owens impressed during batting practice recently, according to the Boston Herald

Owens hadn't faced big league hitters since last spring training, and had something to prove. While Owens didn't have great fastball command during the session, his changeup was spot on. 

"Great deception, hard to pick up," catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "He got me on the changeup today because you can’t see the spin. It looks just like his fastball. That’s a huge advantage."

Pitching coach Juan Nieves agreed, but said he wasn't sure whether Owens was ready for the majors just yet. "Is anybody ready to come to the big leagues?" Nieves said. "I don’t know. We don’t know until they get there and experience the competition."

The 22-year-old Owens enters the year as the team's second-best prospect according to Baseball America. He posted a 2.94 ERA over two minor-league levels last year. 


Brewers GM confident Jean Segura will bounce back
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Brewers general manager Doug Melvin expressed confidence Saturday that shortstop Jean Segura will bounce back after a subpar 2014 season, the Journal Sentinel reports.

"I'm pretty confident he's going to bounce back," Melvin said. "He had a very good September. He had a lot of stuff going on last year. But everybody says he's a much happier person and everything. He's a good, athletic player that we need."

After delivering a .294 average, smacking 12 home runs and stealing 44 bases in 2013, Segura hit just .246/.289/.326 with five home runs, 31 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 513 at-bats in 2014.


Brewers' Dontrelle Willis making a good impression in camp
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Brewers pitcher Dontrelle Willis has made a favorable impression during camp, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

In particular, Willis has impressed manager Ron Roenicke. "He's got a great attitude," Roenicke said. "The things he said are exactly what you want a player to say. He gets it." Willis has also made a strong impression on his new teammates.

Willis, 33, has not pitched in the majors since 2011. He's attempting to make a come back with the Brewers this spring. 


Blue Jays' Michael Saunders: 'No pain' day after surgery
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders said Saturday that he's feeling no pain one day after undergoing knee surgery, the Toronto Sun reports.

"I feel great," Saunders said. "I couldn’t believe it when I woke up this morning and I was walking around just fine. I walked out of surgery just fine. I actually started doing some exercises today and just got checked out by the doctor and he was pleasantly surprised with what he saw. There’s not as much swelling as he originally thought. Everything is checking out so far and everything is good news. No pain. It feels like I banged my knee on a pole and it’s a tiny bit swollen."

Saunders suffered a torn meniscus while tracking a foul ball Wednesday, tripping over a sprinkler head and hearing a popping sound. After initially being told he could need to have the meniscus repaired, a procedure that carries a recovery time of three-to-five months, Saunders had the torn portion of the meniscus removed, which places him on track to return to action within six weeks. While the outfielder is excited to be back on the field in a much shorter time, he indicated he'll be cautious with his rehab.

"I’m going to miss some spring training but it could be a lot worse," Saunders said. "My ligaments are intact. For me this is the best-case scenario. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready to go. I’d love to say that I’ll be ready opening day. That’s my goal. But we’re targeting more mid-April, on the safe side. At the end of the day I have to listen to my knee. It’s a long season. I’m going to get this right the first time and not rush back."


Athletics' Doolittle hoping to throw in a week or two
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle is hoping to be cleared to throw in a week or two, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

Doolittle was able to participate in strength tests on Saturday, and the results were positive. He has not been cleared to throw just yet, but is hoping that will come shortly. Doolittle has been sidelined by a shoulder injury during the start of camp. 

The 28-year-old posted a 2.73 ERA over 62 2/3 innings last year. 


Rays release OF Josh Sale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) The Rays have released outfielder Josh Sale, Baseball America reports.

Sale was suspended for use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2013 as well as for conduct detrimental to the team that same season. He received a 50-game suspension last August for a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Before his most recent suspension, he hit .238/.313/.344 with four home runs and 46 RBI in 323 at-bats with high Class A Charlotte.


 
 
 
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