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Start and sit hitters for Week 15

Senior Fantasy Writer
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All stats are updated through Thursday, July 3.

Oscar Taveras' return hasn't met with the same enthusiasm in Fantasy as his initial callup a few weeks earlier. That's because his playing time will come at the expense of others' this time around. He did get a start in center field Wednesday, but otherwise, he has replaced Matt Holliday once and Allen Craig once. Matt Adams could also be at risk of losing at-bats. Holliday is the only one of the four I'm willing to call "too obvious" for this week.

Josh Willingham has sat out three of the Twins' last eight games. The first time, manager Ron Gardenhire said he just wanted to keep him fresh, but now you have to wonder if, given his injury history and 35 years of age, the Twins see him as an everyday player still. Sit him for now.

Scott's sleepers for Week 15
Player Own/Start %
1. Kole Calhoun, OF, Angels 74/60
2. Corey Dickerson, OF, Rockies 85/65
3. Lonnie Chisenhall, 1B/3B, Indians 92/72
4. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies 94/33
5. Mike Napoli, 1B, Red Sox 84/62
6. Scooter Gennett, 2B, Brewers 66/50
7. C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels 53/39
8. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins 87/52
9. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees 86/65
10. Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves 67/44

Joey Votto continues to have leg issues dating back to his DL stint that ended nearly a month ago. The Reds hold out hope he can avoid a return trip to the DL, but given the way his production has suffered, he's less than "too obvious" for the time being.

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

Catcher

Too obvious: Jonathan Lucroy, Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, Carlos Santana, Miguel Montero, Salvador Perez, Devin Mesoraco, Brian McCann, Wilin Rosario

Start: Yan Gomes, Indians
Gomes has been especially productive in recent days, plating seven runs with a .276 (8 for 29) batting average and two homers in his last seven games. Against pitchers like Vidal Nuno, Chase Whitley, David Phelps, Hector Noesi and Scott Carroll this week, he should have plenty more RBI opportunities this week, and with seven home games, he's a good bet to take advantage. He's batting .305 with an .833 OPS there compared to .242 and .662 on the road.
Instead of: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Zunino, Jason Castro

Sit: Derek Norris, Athletics
Norris only recently returned from a back injury that sidelined him for about a week, so when the Athletics go without the DH for two games in the middle of this week, you have to think they might use it as an opportunity to rest their top catcher. Even if they don't, Norris faces long odds against pitchers like Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Taijuan Walker, Hisashi Iwakuma and Chris Young. He does most of his damage against lefties, and only one of those pitchers fits that description.
Instead of: Gomes, Kurt Suzuki, Wilson Ramos

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Abreu, Albert Pujols, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, Todd Frazier, Chris Davis, Jonathan Lucroy, Justin Morneau, Adam LaRoche, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Adrian Gonzalez

Start: Mike Napoli, Red Sox
Napoli has swung a hot bat since returning from the DL in early June, batting .309 (25 for 81) with five home runs and a .411 on-base percentage in 23 games, but his starting rate remains in the 60-percent range, about 10 percent lower than before the injury. He's a good bet to keep it going this week against the White Sox and Astros rotations, especially since three of the pitchers on tap throw left-handed.
Instead of: Allen Craig, Eric Hosmer, Ryan Howard

Sit: Steve Pearce, Orioles
You never like sitting the hot hand, but the Orioles themselves may have to do it when they travel to Washington for two games to begin this week. No DH most likely means no Pearce. And while the 31-year-old journeyman has beat up on bottom-feeders like Joe Saunders, Nick Martinez and Scott Baker in recent days, he'll be in for more of a challenge against Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka this week.
Instead of: Napoli, C.J. Cron, Mark Teixeira

Second base

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

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Indians NYY4, CHW3
2. Rockies SD3, MIN3
3. Angels TOR3, @TEX4
4. Yankees @CLE4, @BAL3
5. Red Sox CHW4, @HOU3

Start: Scooter Gennett, Brewers
Though Gennett remains one of the hottest players in baseball, batting .412 (21 for 51) with a 1.170 OPS over his last 14 games, his Fantasy owners haven't benefited recently because of all the lefties the Brewers have faced. They do face two in their seven games this week, but some of the righties -- Kyle Kendrick, Roberto Hernandez, David Buchanan and, at least at this stage of his career, Carlos Martinez -- are as hittable as they come.
Instead of: Neil Walker, Aaron Hill, Jed Lowrie

Sit: Josh Harrison, Pirates
Though manager Clint Hurdle said just a couple weeks ago that he needs to find playing time for Harrison, general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday that the team wants to keep the 26-year-old in a utility role. It's not a strict contradiction, but many hoped Harrison would take over at shortstop once Neil Walker and Starling Marte returned from their injuries. Against some of the best the Cardinals and Reds have to offer, you might want to play it safe and bench him this week.
Instead of: Gennett, Brandon Phillips, Mookie Betts

Third base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Josh Donaldson, Adrian Beltre, Todd Frazier, Evan Longoria, Anthony Rendon, Kyle Seager, Matt Carpenter, Carlos Santana, Ryan Zimmerman, Pedro Alvarez, Aramis Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval

Start: Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians
Though he still boasts a .344 batting average and .960 OPS for the season, Chisenhall's starting rate has dropped from 84 to 72 percent over the last three weeks. It's not like he's fallen flat on his face during that time, batting a disappointing but not debilitating .203 (12 for 59) with a .688 OPS in 16 games, and he has a good chance of bouncing back against Vidal Nuno, Chase Whitle, David Phelps, Hector Noesi and Scott Carroll this week.
Instead of: Manny Machado, Casey McGehee, Martin Prado

Sit: Nick Castellanos, Tigers
Castellanos looks like a hot-hand play with his .330 (35 for 106) batting average over his last 29 games, but a lack of power and patience has limited his productivity during that stretch, which explains his comparatively low .874 OPS. He'll open this week against Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke before traveling to pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium for four games, which should bring him down to size. He's a .226 hitter away from Tiger Stadium this year.
Instead of: Nolan Arenado, Trevor Plouffe, Brock Holt

Shortstop

Too obvious: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro, Alexei Ramirez, Elvis Andrus, Ben Zobrist, Erick Aybar

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Orioles @WAS2, WAS2, NYY3
2. Dodgers @DET2, SD4
3. Athletics SF2, @SF2, @SEA3
4. Pirates @STL4, @CIN3
5. Phillies @MIL4, WAS3

Start: Andrelton Simmons, Braves
Though six games in the two-hole haven't fundamentally changed Simmons as a hitter -- he's batting .276 (8 for 29) since moving there on a near-everyday basis -- it has improved his run-scoring potential enough to make him relevant in mixed leagues again. Already, he has 12 Head-to-Head points in Fantasy Week 14 (June 30-July 6), putting him just three away from his season high. With him set to play seven more games this week, you could do worse at the weakest position in Fantasy.
Instead of: Jimmy Rollins, Alcides Escobar, Jhonny Peralta

Sit: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
Just when you think Lowrie is on the verge of snapping out of his two month-long funk, the Athletics end up having some of the toughest matchups of any team this week, going against Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Taijuan Walker, Hisashi Iwakuma and, yes, even Chris Young, who's suddenly good again. All of those games are in a pitcher's parks, too. Hey, you've already gotten used to benching him, right?
Instead of: Simmons, Asdrubal Cabrera, Xander Bogaerts

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Yasiel Puig, Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, Nelson Cruz, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Brantley, Justin Upton, Matt Holliday, Shin-Soo Choo, Alex Rios, Melky Cabrera, Jason Heyward, Jay Bruce, Alex Gordon, Billy Hamilton, Charlie Blackmon, Michael Morse, Khris Davis, Martin Prado, Matt Kemp, George Springer, Ryan Zimmerman, Gregory Polanco, Bryce Harper, Josh Hamilton, Coco Crisp, Brett Gardner, Jayson Werth, J.D. Martinez

Start: Kole Calhoun, Angels
Calhoun has been so hot lately, batting .375 (27 for 72) with five home runs and a 1.064 OPS in his last 21 games that you haven't so much cared about him sitting against left-handers. Well, guess what? He faces only one of those in seven games this week, and some of the righties on tap include R.A. Dickey, Nick Tepesch, Colby Lewis, Nick Martinez and Miles Mikolas. Cha-ching!
Instead of: Desmond Jennings, Marcell Ozuna, Adam Eaton

Sit: Austin Jackson, Tigers
Though the lineup crunch hasn't been as notable in recent days with Victor Martinez nursing a sore ribcage (he just returned Thursday), Jackson is one of the more logical choices to forfeit his at-bats to the red-hot J.D. Martinez given that he himself is batting just .211 (35 for 166) with a .557 OPS over his last 46 games. Granted, his defense ensures he'll at least get semi-regular at-bats, but those won't be enough to satisfy you in Fantasy, especially with tough matchups against the Dodgers and Royals on tap.
Instead of: Calhoun, Corey Dickerson, Christian Yelich

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.

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Player News
Lisalverto Bonilla shows control issues Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) Rangers pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla had some control issues Friday against the Angels.

Bonilla allowed two runs on two hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked four during the outing. Bonilla was strong to start things off, going four scoreless frames to open the game. He gave up his only runs in the fifth inning. After a leadoff double, Bonilla allowed a two-run shot to Brennan Boesch. He was able to get out of the inning, but was pulled prior to the start of the sixth.

With the win, Bonilla improved to 2-0. He’ll take on the Astros if he gets another start.


Hector Santiago has disastrous outing vs. Rangers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) Angels pitcher Hector Santiago turned in a disaster start Friday against the Rangers.

Santiago allowed seven runs, six earned, on seven hits over one inning. He did not record any walks or strikeouts during the contest. Leonys Martin singled to lead off the contest, and was driven in a single later in the inning. Jake Smolinski then belted a two-run shot, giving the Rangers a three-run lead. Things didn’t get any easier in the second inning. Santiago gave up four straight singles, plating two more runs. Santiago was pulled at that point, but was charged with two more runs.

With the loss, Santiago dropped to 5-9. He’ll take on the Athletics in his next start.


Domonic Brown dealing with sprained hand
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:22 am ET) Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown was scratched Friday night against the A's because of a right hand sprain, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Brown landed awkwardly on his wrist making a leaping catch the previous day against the Padres. He is hitting .237 with 10 homers and 61 RBI over 452 at-bats.

The struggles continue for Tim Hudson on Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:06 am ET) The struggles continued for Giants starter Tim Hudson in a loss to the Padres in San Diego on Friday, dropping to 9-12 on the year.

Hudson, who is working past a hip issue, allowed a two-run double to Alexi Amarista and a run-scoring single to Cameron Maybin in the opening frame. He also allowed a run-scoring double to Seth Smith in the third inning. The right-hander permitted five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits and two walks while striking out two over 4 1/3 innings of a 5-0 defeat. Of his 76 pitches, 47 were strikes.

Hudson owns a 3.52 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP over 30 starts (184 innings). His final start of the regular season will come Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.


Odrisamer Despaigne spins seven scoreless innings vs. Giants
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:05 am ET) Padres pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne bounced back with a gem Friday night at home against the Giants, improving to 4-7 on the year. The right-hander allowed only two hits and one walk while striking out six over seven innings of a 5-0 victory.

Despaigne picked up his first win since Aug. 12. Over his last three starts covering 17 innings, Despaigne has allowed nine earned runs. He owns a 3.36 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP over 16 starts (96 1/3 innings). He will make his final start of the season at home on Wednesday against Colorado.


Sean Doolittle picks up save No. 22
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:49 am ET) Athletics closer Sean Doolittle picked up his 22nd save Friday against the Phillies.

Doolittle entered with a two-run lead and slammed the door. He tossed a perfect inning during the appearance, facing just three batters. Doolittle did not record any strikeouts. 


Jon Lester turns in fantastic start Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Athletics pitcher Jon Lester turned in a great start Friday against the Phillies. 

Lester allowed one run on five hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked two during the outing. Lester gave up his only run in the fourth inning. With one out in the inning, Lester allowed a solo home run against Ryan Howard. The run didn’t impact him too much, as Lester tossed three more scoreless innings before being pulled. 

With the win, Lester improved to 16-10. He’ll take on the Angels in his next start. 


Edwin Encarnacion belts 33rd home run Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:36 am ET) Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion clubbed his 33rd home run Friday against the Yankees. 

Encarnacion struck in the first inning. With a man on, Encarnacion belted an 81 mph slider out to left for the two run shot. He finished 1 for 4, with one run scored and two RBI.


David Buchanan posts quality start in losing effort
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:35 am ET) Phillies pitcher David Buchanan posted another quality start in a losing effort Friday night in Oakland, dropping to 6-8 on the year. The right-hander permitted three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out six over 6 2/3 innings of a 3-1 defeat.

Over his last four starts covering 23 innings, Buchanan has allowed 11 earned runs. He owns a 3.77 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP over 19 starts (112 1/3 innings). His final start of the season will come Thursday in Miami.


Yoenis Cespedes belts home run Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:29 am ET) Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes belted his 22nd home run Friday against the Orioles. 

Cespedes struck in the fourth inning. With the bases empty, Cespedes belted an 80 mph slider out to center for a solo shot. He finished 1 for 5, with one run scored and one RBI. 


 
 
 
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