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Start and sit hitters for Week 8

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 15.

A bunch of those players you've had stashed in your DL slots the last few weeks are set to return in the days ahead. Devin Mesoraco (hamstring) was back in the lineup Friday, putting him immediately in the "too obvious" category at catcher. Wilin Rosario (illness) still needs a rehab assignment but, but assuming it goes as planned, is high-end enough to start this week in anticipation of a Tuesday return.

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In the outfield, Michael Cuddyer, who has been out since mid-April with a hamstring injury, is on about the same timetable as Rosario, but Adam Eaton (hamstring), who has been out with a hamstring injury of his own, could return as soon as Sunday. Kole Calhoun (ankle) is expected back Tuesday, but he's returning from a more serious injury and wasn't as established as Cuddyer or Eaton at the time he went down. In standard leagues, you might want to give him a week to shake off the rust.

Starling Marte's back injury is more of the day-to-day variety, but because he has yet to start a game in Fantasy Week 7 (May 12-18), he's hardly automatic heading into this week. In five-outfielder leagues, you should probably give him the benefit of the doubt (unless he winds up on the DL, of course), but if you have any concerns about his playing time in a three-outfielder league, you don't risk losing all that much by benching him, given his performance to date.

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

Catcher

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

Scott's sleepers for Week 8
Player Own/Start %
1. Yangervis Solarte, 2B/3B/SS/OF, NYY 84/72
2. Seth Smith, OF, SD 37/31
3. Brett Gardner, OF, NYY 70/58
4. Yan Gomes, C, CLE 71/59
5. Torii Hunter, OF, DET 84/69
6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B, SF 72/44
7. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, CLE 68/52
8. Chase Headley, 3B, SD 68/42
9. Dustin Ackley, 2B/OF, SEA 49/34
10. Everth Cabrera, SS, SD 76/52

Start: Yan Gomes, Indians
Gomes has had his ups and downs this season, but so far in May, he's batting .308 (12 for 39) with three homers in 10 games, looking more like the player who broke out with a .294 batting average and 11 home runs in only 293 at-bats last year. While he faces the Tigers rotation at the beginning of this week, he should do enough damage against the Orioles' projected foursome of Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Ubaldo Jimenez and Wei-Yin Chen to remain the hot-hand play.
Instead of: Jason Castro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Carlos Ruiz

Sit: Josmil Pinto, Twins
Pinto's ownership rate peaked at only 38 percent, but for a few weeks there, he was performing like a high-end catcher, reaching base nearly 40 percent of the time with plus power. But alas, that ride appears to be over. The Twins have started him in just two of six games since bringing Chris Parmelee back to the majors, adding to their options at DH. And they won't even have the DH spot available to do them this week with all five of their games (yes, only five games) in NL parks.
Instead of: Mike Zunino, Yasmani Grandal, John Jaso

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Victor Martinez, Justin Morneau, Eric Hosmer, Brandon Moss, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli

Start: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Teixeira's power surge in his return from the DL probably isn't lost on anyone, but what may be is how often he's getting on base. He's back to walking at the rate he did in his first few years with the Yankees, which helped keep him an elite Fantasy option even as his batting average tanked. If it continues, he's not necessarily just a hot-hand play, but of course, he's hot now and should be able to keep it going against Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Hector Noesi, John Danks, Scott Carroll and Andre Rienzo.
Instead of: Matt Adams, Ryan Howard, James Loney

Sit: Juan Francisco, Blue Jays
Excited to take advantage of all the home runs Francisco's been hitting in May? Pardon me while I dampen your enthusiasm. Francisco sat against a left-hander Monday and will likely continue to do so with Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie back from injuries. The Blue Jays face four lefties this week, including high-end types like Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir and Drew Pomeranz. Striking out more than every third at-bat, Francisco is due for a downturn anyway.
Instead of: Loney, Corey Hart, Garrett Jones

Second base

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

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Yankees @CHC2, @CHW4
2. Giants @COL3, MIN3
3. Mariners @TEX2, HOU4
4. Padres MIN2, CHC4
5. Tigers @CLE3, TEX4

Start: Yangervis Solarte, Yankees
He's listed here at second base, but in standard CBSSports.com leagues, you can start Solarte at third base, shortstop or even the outfield. Wherever he best meets your needs, you want him active this week and potentially long after that. He's shown excellent bat control and plate discipline in first big-league season, boasting a 1-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio that makes his high batting average not so far-fetched. He'll get to beat up on the Cubs and White Sox rotations this week and is plenty hot to begin with, batting .429 (15 for 39) with three home runs in his last 10 games.
Instead of: Martin Prado, Neil Walker, Jedd Gyorko

Sit: Brandon Phillips, Reds
A non-factor for much of the season, Phillips has actually been swinging a hot bat in May, batting .349 (15 for 43) with two home runs in 11 games, but because of his putrid plate discipline and lackluster supporting cast, he's been only the 13th-best second baseman in Head-to-Head point leagues during that stretch. That's more disappointing than bad, but against Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark and Adam Wainwright this week, he figures to take a step back from there.
Instead of: Solarte, Walker, Dustin Ackley

Third base

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

Start: Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Though still not hitting for his usual power, Sandoval has piled up singles in his last five games, batting .400 (8 for 20) with only two strikeouts. If it's a sign of him breaking out of his early-season funk, he's picked the right week. The Giants are in Colorado for three games and then host Minnesota for three, making Ricky Nolasco the best pitcher they'll face all week. He's not as promising as Solarte, of course, but at a thin position, he's usable.
Instead of: Brett Lawrie, Trevor Plouffe, Casey McGehee

Sit: Martin Prado, Diamondbacks
Though he's been getting more hits in recent days, Prado still hasn't made much of an impact this season, and while his track record says it's only a matter of time (it certainly was last year, when he hit .324 in the second half), his matchups this week won't help his cause. He's facing six righties, including Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, and Rafael Montero, and what little he's done this year has come against lefties, against whom he's 10 for 30.
Instead of: Solarte, Sandoval, Chase Headley

Shortstop

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

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Rangers SEA2, @DET4
2. Pirates BAL2, WAS4
3. Blue Jays @BOS3, OAK3
4. Reds @WAS3, STL3
5. Twins @SD2, @SF3

Start: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
A forgotten man this season after a disappointing 2013 campaign, Cabrera has started to perform more like the player who made the All-Star team in 2011 and 2012, batting .471 (16 for 34) with two homers, five doubles and a steal in his last eight games. Granted, he had his share of hot streaks last year as well, but once you get past the "too obvious" options at a weak position, you'll cling to whatever you can. His matchups against Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Ubaldo Jimenez and Wei-Yin Chen should at least give him a chance to keep it going.
Instead of: Andrelton Simmons, J.J. Hardy, Xander Bogaerts

Sit: Jonathan Villar, Astros
Fittingly, as soon as I got on the Villar bandwagon, making him my "start" at this position last week, he began doing what he probably should have been doing all along: making out after out after out. He's 3 for 30 over his last nine games, his batting average falling to where you'd expect it to be for a player who strikes out every third at-bat. Expect no letup against Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma this week.
Instead of: Asdrubal Cabrera, Everth Cabrera, Alcides Escobar

Outfield

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

Start: Seth Smith, Padres
Particularly with Carlos Quentin back, Smith probably isn't the safest long-term bet in Fantasy. A big reason why he's on everyone's radar now is because the Padres have faced only two left-handed pitchers in their last 14 games. He sat against both and figures to continue sitting against lefties going forward, but once again, the Padres face only one this week. With a .513 batting average and 1.526 OPS over his last 11 games, Smith is as hot as it gets right now and could keep it going against pitchers like Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta.
Instead of: George Springer, Nick Markakis, Marcell Ozuna

Sit: Chris Colabello, Twins
You know how Chris Parmelee's promotion has impacted Josmil Pinto's playing time? With the DH unavailable to the Twins for their five games in NL parks this week, it could impact Colabello's as well. Clearly encouraged by his .305 batting average and .920 OPS at Triple-Rochester, the Twins have started Parmelee against both lefties and righties so far, and he's justified it with his performance. Colabello, meanwhile, is 0 for 18 in his last six games and 8 for 69 (.116) in his last 18, so sending him to the bench isn't much of a stretch. Even if he plays, he'll face Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Madison Bumgarner in three of those five games.
Instead of: Smith, Brett Gardner, Torii Hunter

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
Report: Mike Zagurski joins Hiroshima Carp
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:43 pm ET) Pitcher Mike Zagurski has agreed to a deal with the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball, SportsNet reports. He delivered a 2.08 ERA and 83:29 K:BB ratio in 60 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level in 2014.

Royals schedule Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas for Games 3, 4
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:39 pm ET) The Royals will start pitcher Jeremy Guthrie in Game 3 of the World Series Friday, with Jason Vargas scheduled to pitch Game 4 the following day, the team announced Tuesday.

James Shields takes the mound in Game 1 Tuesday, while rookie Yordano Ventura is slated to pitch Game 3. If the series reaches five games, Shields would likely be in line to start Game 5 Sunday.


MRI on Michael Wacha's shoulder comes back clean
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:34 pm ET) An MRI on the injured shoulder of Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha came back clean, MLB.com reports.

Wacha has been dealing with a stress reaction in his right shoulder, but he is expected to follow his normal offseason program. "Even the doctors were a little surprised on how that looked," general manager John Mozeliak said.


Giants 2B Joe Panik batting second in World Series Game 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:31 pm ET) Giants second baseman Joe Panik remains in the second spot in the team's announced starting lineup for Game 1 of the World Series against the Royals Tuesday.

Panik has hit second in all nine of the Giants' postseason games so far, but he's hit just .239/.271/.348 in 46 at-bats, with three of his 11 hits coming during the Wild Card game to open the postseason. He bat just after leadoff man and center fielder Gregor Blanco. Catcher Buster Posey bats third, followed by third baseman Pablo Sandoval, right fielder Hunter Pence, first baseman Brandon Belt, designated hitter Michael Morse, left fielder Travis Ishikawa and shortstop Brandon Crawford.


Royals tab SS Alcides Escobar to lead off in World Series Game 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:26 pm ET) Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar is leading off in the team's announced lineup for Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday against the Giants.

Escobar led off just 16 times while playing all 162 games during the regular season, but he's been the man atop the lineup in each of the Royals' first eight postseason games -- all wins. He'll be followed by right fielder Norichika Aoki, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, first baseman Eric Hosmer, designated hitter Billy Butler, left fielder Alex Gordon, catcher Salvador Perez, second baseman Omar Infante and third baseman Mike Moustakas.


Phillies sign Jerome Williams to one-year deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:21 pm ET) The Phillies have agreed to a one-year, $2.5-million deal with pitcher Jerome Williams, the team announced Tuesday. The contract includes performance bonuses.

Williams went 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 38:17 K:BB ratio in 57 1/3 innings over nine starts after joining the team off waivers in August. He has pitched for seven teams while compiling a 4.40 ERA in 891 1/3 career innings.


Cardinals to attempt to trade RP Randy Choate
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:18 pm ET) The Cardinals will look to move relief pitcher Randy Choate this offseason, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

I think in Choate’s case, for us, he’s fairly one-dimensional," general manager John Mozeliak said. "That makes it difficult for us to use him, particularly during a long season."

Choate posted a 4.50 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 32:13 K:BB ratio in 36 innings during the regular season. He fared much better against left-handed hitters, who hit .093/.205/.147 in 75 at-bats against the reliever. Righties posted a .938 OPS when facing Choate in 2014.


Taijuan Walker finishes with Arizona Fall League 'healthy'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:10 pm ET) Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker was scratched from his most recent scheduled start in the Arizona Fall League and will not pitch again in the league, although the team said he is completely healthy, MLB.com reports.

"Taijuan is completely healthy and was very impressive in his two outings, but made a personal decision that he needed to return home at this time," general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. "He will continue with his offseason program and we look forward to seeing him at spring training in February."

Walker posted a 2.00 ERA in his two AFL starts, striking out 11 and walking two in nine innings of work.


Cardinals getting Trevor Rosenthal ready to be 2015 closer
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:08 pm ET) While other relievers have been told to condition themselves as starters before spring training opens, Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal has been told he will stay in the bullpen, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Rosenthal, who had 45 saves in 2014, has not started since the 2012 season in the minors.

"We need Trevor to prepare to be a closer," manager Mike Matheny said. "This was the first full season that he pitched in that role. There's a learning curve to that, to understanding how to make it through a long season as a closer, and how to have the effectiveness, and how to stay in the strike zone and adjusting your workload as far as what you’re doing in between your appearances."


Jon Jay expected to be Cardinals' starting CF in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:48 pm ET) Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay was bumped from the starting job in center field last spring when the team acquired Peter Bourjos in a trade from the Angels. However, as the season progressed, Jay worked his way back into being the regular center fielder and is on track to keep the job heading into 2015.

"Center field (for 2015) right now is Jon Jay’s, based on how he played," general manager John Mozeliak said at a news conference Monday, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I think he played a much better center field than he did a year ago.

“Peter Bourjos is someone we have under control and certainly envision him being a part of this club. How we create more playing time for him is something we strategize over this offseason. But, clearly, Jay’s performance and how he played the second half frankly is altering how we look at him moving forward."

Mozeliak added Jay will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist Wednesday. He is expected to need 6-8 weeks of recovery, but he will be ready for spring training.


 
 
 
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