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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
Athletics' Jesse Chavez happy with spring showing
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:55 am ET) Athletics pitcher Jesse Chavez allowed four runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings while striking out one in Thursday's 6-4 win over the Giants.

Chavez, who was on the mound just two days after the birth of his daughter, is happy with his performance this spring, the Bay Area News Group reports.

"I feel good," Chavez said. "I’ve put some men on, but I’ve pitched out of some jams. I’ve showed them I won’t let it snowball."

Chavez believes he needs to improve at changing the eye level of batters.

"I’ve got to get them to change eye levels better," Chavez said. "The last two or three starts, I haven’t been able to do that. The pitches that I’m trying to elevate they’re fouling off (instead of swinging and missing) and that runs up my pitch count."

Chavez has posted a 4.50 ERA in 16 innings as he competes for a spot in the rotation.


Giants' Bochy: Joe Panik pressing, remains starter at second base
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:09 am ET) Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday that while infielder Joe Panik might be pressing, he remains the team's starter at second base without reservations, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Panik is just 8 for 50 this spring after going hitless in four at-bats Thursday, though he has delivered three doubles and two home runs. He's looking for a strong follow-up to an impressive rookie season in which he hit .305/.343/.368 in 269 at-bats.


Pirates P A.J. Burnett changes tune about shifting
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(12:38 am ET) Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett has not had the highest of opinions when it comes to infield-shifting in the past. In 2013, he let some reporters know what he thought about shifting at the time.

When asked about a shift of shortstop Clint Barmes that year, Burnett stated, “I do not have a problem with (Barmes), I had a problem with the (expletive) shift. We play people in the wrong spot.”

But Burnett seemed to change his tune when reflecting upon the subject.

“As much as I complained about the shifts, they helped,” Burnett said. “They really did. It's that one a game, you've got a no-hitter for four or five innings and one gets through, and where you're like … ‘(expletive) shift.'

“But (shifts) saves you more than anything, and that's the truth.”

The 38-year-old has lost some steam on his fastball at this point in his career and he knows that.

“It took me getting a little older to realize that I'm not able to blow it by guys anymore and ground balls are just as good,” he said.

Burnett has posted a 6.39 ERA with nine earned runs, eight walks and 12 strikeouts in four starts this spring.


Time running out for Matt Lindstrom to win spot with Angels
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:35 am ET) Angels pticher Matt Lindstrom can opt out of his contract if he's not placed on the active roster five days before the regular-season opener, and he believes he may not have an opening to fill in the bullpen, MLB.com reports.

"There's a ton of guys in here that have shown they can compete at this level," Lindstrom said. "I just hope I can be one of those guys that breaks camp with the team. It'd be fun to be on a team like this, that has so much potential, especially with how many games they won last year. The pitching staff's going to be solid no matter which way they go, but I'm hoping to be a part of that."

Lindstrom has given up seven runs in 4 2/3 spring innings but is excited about how his arm feels this spring.

"I can just tell the ball's coming out better," Lindstrom said. "Hopefully, that can just translate to outs."


Giants' Tim Lincecum strikes out seven Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:22 am ET) Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks in five innings while racking up seven strikeouts in Thursday's spring start against the A's.

"It comes down to one or two pitches per inning," Lincecum said on alternating good and bad innings, per MLB.com. "I just have to keep my pitches down. The ones that they're hitting are the ones that are up. Leadoff batters are locking in to some of the first pitches."

Lincecum has dealt with neck issues and mediocre performances but has looked much better over the last week, following a one-run outing Saturday by matching his seven strikeouts in his previous four outings. He appears on track to open the season as the team's No. 5 starter.


Rockies' Brandon Barnes displays new swing this spring
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:16 am ET) Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes brought a brand-new swing to spring training that features a high leg kick as he looks to cut down the strikeouts and "be the best version of me," the Denver Post reports.

"I tried to refine who I am and what type of player I am in the box," Barnes said Thursday. "I'm not a guy who's going to hit 30 home runs. I know that. I'm the big guy who needs to be a pest, drive the ball into gaps, hit doubles, use my speed to my advantage, bunt, all those things."

Barnes lost 10 pounds this offseason as he looked to come to camp more athletic and less stiff in the batter's box.

"We have this tremendous athlete, and you see him in the outfield and it shows up daily," manager Walt Weiss said. "But you saw him in the box last season, and there was some stiffness to his approach. And I'm saying, 'Be that guy in the box.' It made sense to him."

Barnes indicated that he's committed to the new approach that pulls the focus away from home runs.

"I had to go back and do some soul-searching to figure out who I was," Barnes said. "I'm the guy who goes out and plays really hard."


Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo goes hitless in return Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo (triceps) returned to the lineup Thursday, going 0 for 4 while serving as the designated hitter in his team's 6-3 win over the Rockies.

Choo had been sidelined since March 15 due to a triceps injury and was reported to be targeting a return Saturday, but he was able to remain in for the entire game Thursday, picking up four at-bats in his role as DH. He's managed just four hits in 22 at-bats this spring.


Rangers' Fujikawa confident in return from Tommy John surgery
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Rangers pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa is scheduled to pitch Friday, and the Rangers will be keeping a close eye on the pitcher to determine if he has fully recovered from Tommy John surgery or if he'll need time in the minors to open the season, MLB.com reports.

Fujikawa hasn't allowed a run in four Cactus League outings but has struggled a bit in two camp games. He remains confident his recovery is on track.

"This is still spring training, not the regular season," Fujikawa said. "It's only going to get better. Coming into spring training, the surgery was out of my mind. As a player, I am really confident. I am not sure what my role will be, but I'll be confident whatever the situation is."

Manager Jeff Banister is looking for the pitcher to build off his spring success.

"The guy is coming off Tommy John," Banister said. "There are good days and bad days. He has logged a couple of good ones. Let's see that continue."


Twins Trevor Plouffe wants to cement his place at third
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe is completely aware of the threat that Miguel Sano brings when it comes to the third base spot. Sano is considered by many to be a can't-miss player. But Plouffe is trying not to let that affect him or his play. 

“You can’t think about anything like that,” Plouffe said. “You can’t worry about what other people are saying about you. I’m more focused on getting this organization out of this rut that we’ve dug ourselves over the last four years.”

After moving around the infield for years, Plouffe seems to have found his place at third. The 28-year-old has a batting average of .245 with 62 home runs, 224 RBI and 398 strikeouts in five seasons.


Rangers' Ross Ohlendorf (groin) leaves Thursday's game
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Rangers pitcher Ross Ohlendorf was removed from Thursday's game against the Rockies due to recurring tightness in his right groin, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Ohlendorf tossed a scoreless inning and struck out two Thursday in his first appearance since March 15 but continued to battle groin issues. He's competing for a spot in the bullpen.


 
 
 
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