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Start and sit hitters for Week 9

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 22.

While Prince Fielder's decision to have season-ending neck surgery is obviously a devastating blow for his Fantasy owners, at least they know exactly what to do with him this week. Fielder's former teammate, Ryan Braun, is another story. He left Thursday's game with tightness in the same side that forced him to the DL in late April, which he said wasn't quite 100 percent from the get-go. A return to the DL is plausible enough for you to bench him unless he returns to the lineup over the weekend.

Carlos Gonzalez is also less than a lock this week, but for several smaller injuries as opposed to one big one. Most recently, he's been bothered by inflammation in his left index finger (not the same one that cost him most of the second half last year), but he's also had to contend with tendinitis in his left knee for several weeks now. How the Rockies use him this weekend should give you some idea of his availability for Fantasy Week 9 (May 26-June 1). As of now, they don't expect him to go on the DL.

As for the good news, Josh Hamilton is set to return from a torn ligament in his thumb Monday, and Jason Kipnis should return from an abdominal injury either Monday or Tuesday. Both are so high-end that you'll want to activate them right away, barring any sort of setback over the weekend.

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, Devin Mesoraco, Wilin Rosario

Scott's sleepers for Week 9
Player Own/Start %
1. Curtis Granderson, OF, NYM 87/68
2. Adam LaRoche, 1B, WAS 79/11
3. Jimmy Rollins, SS, PHI 91/73
4. Dexter Fowler, OF, HOU 59/48
5. Trevor Plouffe, 3B, MIN 63/41
6. Marlon Byrd, OF, PHI 65/52
7. Xander Bogaerts, 3B/SS, BOS 82/56
8. Domonic Brown, OF, PHI 89/59
9. Matt Dominguez, 3B, HOU 55/41
10. Denard Span, OF, WAS 41/28

Start: Jason Castro, Astros
Castro was a must-start catcher for most of his breakthrough 2013, so he was due for this hot stretch that has him batting .346 (9 for 26) with three doubles and one home run over his last seven games. He's still striking out too much, but if the matchups are any indication, he'll continue to overcome it this week against pitchers like Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Zunino

Sit: Derek Norris, Athletics
Just a week ago, Norris was the hottest catcher in baseball, producing with such consistency that the Athletics finally gave in and began playing him every day instead of just against left-handers. So wouldn't you know he's slumping now, batting .182 (4 for 22) in his last eight games. The Athletics haven't backed off him yet, but that's a more likely scenario than him bouncing back in a week he's scheduled to face Drew Smyly, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Jered Weaver.
Instead of: Castro, Gomes, Kurt Suzuki

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez, Victor Martinez, Brandon Moss, Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Justin Morneau, Eric Hosmer, Michael Morse, Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, Allen Craig

Start: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
Like Josh Hamilton and Jason Kipnis, LaRoche is expected back from the DL at the start of this week, but unlike those two, he's not the type of player you'd for sure activate right away. Remember what he was doing before the injury, though? Typically a slow starter, he was batting .319 with an exceptionally high walk rate, granting him, if only briefly, "too obvious" status at first base. And as you might expect for a left-handed hitter, he was doing most of his damage against righties, batting .326 with all five of his home runs. The Nationals face all righties this week -- and most of them hittable types in the Marlins and Rangers rotations.
Instead of: Michael Cuddyer, Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn

Sit: Garrett Jones, Marlins
Jones has been hot recently, batting .452 (14 for 31) with a home run over his last nine games, and faces nothing but right-handers this week, which always works to his benefit. Unfortunately, they're pitchers like Tanner Roark, Jordan Zimmermann, Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang. At a deep position, you can probably do better than him if you need a one-week sleeper.
Instead of: LaRoche, Matt Adams, Nick Swisher

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, Yangervis Solarte, Neil Walker

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Twins TEX4, @NYY3
2. Royals HOU3, @TOR4
3. Astros @KC3, BAL4
4. Phillies COL3, NYM4
5. Mets PIT3, @PHI4

Start: Gordon Beckham, White Sox
Though my unabashed Marcus Semien fandom has prohibited me from saying anything positive about Beckham up to this point, I can't deny he's swinging a hot bat, hitting .343 (23 for 67) with three home runs and a .909 OPS over his last six games. Second base has become so deep that you probably have no use for him in the 66 percent of leagues where he's still available, but just in case, he's an advisable sleeper against Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson, T.J. House and Eric Stults this week.
Instead of: Aaron Hill, Martin Prado, Gordon Beckham

Sit: Emilio Bonifacio, Cubs
If you own Emilio Bonifacio for steals (and why else would you own him?), you probably won't want to hear this: He has only two in his last 26 games, or more than half the season so far. He's also batting just .240 (25 for 104) during that stretch. In other words, after an impossibly hot start, he has come crashing back down to earth even though his overall numbers look satisfactory still. You shouldn't expect a turnaround in a week he's scheduled to face Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Wily Peralta, Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Beckham, Kolten Wong

Third base

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

Start: Trevor Plouffe, Twins
After a cold stretch to begin May, Plouffe has gotten back on track, batting .333 (11 for 33) with two home runs in his last eight games. Even though he's batting just .257 overall, he has been a relevant Fantasy contributor all season and should benefit from especially favorable matchups this week, going against pitchers like Nick Tepesch, Scott Baker, Nick Martinez, Vidal Nuno and Chase Whitley.
Instead of: Pablo Sandoval, Juan Francisco, Casey McGehee

Sit: Kyle Seager, Mariners
Seager has made regular appearances in the "too obvious" section at this position even though most of his production so far this season was confined to a four-game stretch in late April when he hit five home runs, accounting for a 42-point week in standard CBSSports.com leagues. He certainly hasn't done much in his last eight games, batting .179 (5 for 28), and against pitchers like Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Justin Verlander, Drew Smyly and Max Scherzer, that doesn't figure to change this week. Plus, check out the sleepers table above. Third base is well represented.
Instead of: Plouffe, Matt Dominguez, Chase Headley

Shortstop

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

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Athletics DET4, LAA3
2. Mariners LAA4, DET3
3. Marlins @WAS3, ATL3
4. Cubs @SF3, @MIL3
5. Rockies @PHI3, @CLE3

Start: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Thanks in part to a dramatically improved walk rate, Rollins is having what appears to be a resurgent season after falling off the map in 2013. Though not the power hitter he once was, he's showing plenty of pop now, batting .311 (14 for 45) with three doubles and three home runs over his last 12 games. With a full seven games at hitter friendly Citizens Bank Park against the suspect Rockies and Mets rotations this week, he's a good bet to keep it going.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Andrelton Simmons, Jonathan Villar

Sit: Erick Aybar, Angels
Aybar looked unsittable in late April when he went 17 for 33 (.515) during an eight-game stretch, but he could be in for a bumpy finish here in May, batting just .184 (7 for 38) over his last 10 games. Three of the seven pitchers on tap for the Angels this week throw left-handed, and he's batting just .208 (10 for 48) against lefties this year.
Instead of: Asdrubal Cabrera, Alcides Escobar, Everth Cabrera

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Yasiel Puig, Shin-Soo Choo, 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, Mike Morse, Starling Marte, Christian Yelich, Yangervis Solarte, Allen Craig, Wil Myers, Jason Heyward

Start: Curtis Granderson, Mets
Though his overall numbers are still in need of correction after a dreadful first month with the Mets, Granderson has clearly found his stroke in May, batting .310 (22 for 71) with five home runs in 19 games. Facing six righties and playing four games at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park should help his cause this week, as should his matchups against bottom feeders like Brandon Cumpton, Edinson Volquez, Charlie Morton, David Buchanan and Kyle Kendrick.
Instead of: Coco Crisp, A.J. Pollock, David Murphy

Sit: Seth Smith, Padres
The Padres have favorable matchups against the Diamondbacks and White Sox this week, and Smith has been a monster since about the beginning of May, batting .464 with four home runs and an absurd 1.487 OPS in 17 games. But the Padres faced only three left-handers during that stretch. Smith sat against all of them and has yet to start against one this season. So you can understand why I recommend sitting him, regardless of the matchups or how productive he's been, in a week the Padres are scheduled to face three.
Instead of: Dexter Fowler, Marlon Byrd, Denard Span

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
Astros RP Luke Gregerson earns save Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:53 am ET) Astros pitcher Luke Gregerson picked up his third save of the season during Monday's 7-5 win over the Mariners.

Gregerson entered in the ninth inning with a two-run lead and only allowed one base runner before recording the save. In addition to walking one batter, Gregerson also struck out a batter.

Gregerson has yet to surrender a run in seven innings of work this season and is a perfect 3 for 3 in save opportunities.


Astros 3B Luis Valbuena hits two home runs Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:48 am ET) Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena connected on two home runs to help lead the Astros to a 7-5 win over the Mariners on Monday.

Valbuena hit his fourth home run of the season when he connected on a solo home run off Hisashi Iwakuma during the first inning. During the eighth inning, Valbuena hit another solo shot off Danny Farquhar for his fifth homer of the season. He is now batting .244 on the season.


Mariners OF Nelson Cruz collects two hits Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:47 am ET) Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz continued his hot start when he drove in two runs during Monday's 7-5 loss to the Astros.

Cruz was 2 of 5 during the game, including a double in the fifth inning, which drove in Robinson Cano. He also struck out once. Cruz is not batting .358 on the season.


Astros SP Asher Wojciechowski fails to go five innings Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:45 am ET) Astros pitcher Asher Wojciechowski was only able to pitch four innings during Monday's win over the Mariners.

Wojciechowski surrendered four runs on eight hits over four innings of work Monday. He also struck out six batters, while walking two in his second start of the season. Wojciechowski also failed to go past the fourth inning in his first start of the season. His ERA now stands at 6.00.

His next start is expected to be Saturday at Oakland.


Mariners SP Hisashi Iwakuma gives up four runs Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:44 am ET) Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma failed to get past the fifth inning of Monday's loss to the Astros and received a no-decision as a result.

Iwakuma surrendered four runs on five hits over 5 1/2 innings. He struck out three and walked three on 71 pitches. He has given up four runs in each of his three starts this season.

Iwakuma's troubles began in the first inning when he gave up a solo home run to Luis Valbuena. He also surrendered a solo shot to Colby Rasmus in the fifth inning and his ERA is now 6.61. Felix Hernandez remains the only Mariners starter with a win this season.

Iwakuma's next expected start will be Sunday against the Twins.


Athletics P Tyler Clippard earns first save of season Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) After going the first 13 games without a save opportunity, Athletics pitcher Tyler Clippard converted his first save chance of the season during the A's 6-3 win over the Angels on Monday.

Clippard entered the game with a three-run lead in the ninth inning, but walked two batters before recording the final out. He also struck out one batter. 


Athletics C Stephen Vogt hits three-run home run Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:19 am ET) Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt connected on a three-run home run to help lead the Athletics to a 6-3 win over the Angels on Monday.

Vogt hit the home run off starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker in the third inning of the game. The home run was his only hit for the game. He finished the game 1 for 3 with one walk.


Athletics SP Kendall Graveman only throws 3 innings Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:15 am ET) Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman started Monday's game against the Angels, but only pitched the first three innings.

Graveman started the fourth inning, but was pulled after walking the first two batters of the inning. Over three innings of work, Graveman surrendered four hits and two earned runs, while walking three batters and striking out two.

Despite only throwing three innings, Graveman was able to lower his ERA from 7.27 to 6.94, but he received a no-decision for his effort.

His next start is expected to be Saturday against the Astros.


Angels SP Matt Shoemaker struggles during Monday's loss
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker started to struggle during the first inning of Monday's loss to the Athletics and he never improved.

After giving up a run in the first, Shoemaker pitched a scoreless second, but ran into trouble in the third and fourth innings. Shoemaker gave up a three-run home run to Stephen Vogt in the third and failed to get out of the fourth inning after being replaced following a solo home run to Marcus Semien.

Shoemaker (2-1) surrendered five runs on seven hits over three innings. He struck out two and walked three, while taking the loss. It was the first time in his three starts this season that he failed to pitch at least six innings. His ERA rose from 4.38 to 6.46.

His next expected to start will be Saturday against the Rangers. 


Rockies' Nolan Arenado doesn't think wrist injury is serious
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:46 am ET) Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado thinks he'll be able to return to the diamond for Tuesday night's game against the Padres. 

According to The Denver Post, Arenado said he started feeling soreness in his wrist just before his final at-bat against the Dodgers on Sunday. That carried over to Monday, which is why he was a late scratch in the lineup. 

“This is nothing chronic, just some soreness,” he said. “I’ve never had this before. I think I’ll be fine.”

Arenado is hitting .311 with three home runs and 10 BRI. 


 
 
 
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