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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
Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Ynoa land spots on Rockies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:48 pm ET) The Rockies purchased the contract of pitcher Rafael Betancourt while also informing infielder Rafael Ynoa that he has made the team's Opening Day roster Wednesday, MLB.com reports.

Betancourt, who turns 40 in late April, didn't pitch last season while recovering from an elbow injury, but he was able to land a spot in the Rockies bullpen by giving up just one earned run in 7 2/3 innings while striking out nine and walking one. He'll join closer LaTroy Hawkins, 42, in giving the Rockies' bullpen a pair of the league's eldest statesmen.

Ynoa earned his spot by hitting .309/.333/.364 in 55 spring at-bats.


Yankees shortstop Brendan Ryan dealing with Grade 2 calf strain
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:47 pm ET) Yankees shortstop Brendan Ryan has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 calf strain, the team announced Wednesday.

Ryan left Wednesday's game limping off the field with the injury and went for an MRI immediately. It is unknown how long the injury will keep him sidelined.


Royals prospect Brett Eibner continues to make progress
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:43 pm ET) Royals prospect Brett Eibner ripped two home runs in Wednesday's game against the Dodgers. He is hitting a blistering .536 with five home runs and nine RBI in 28 plate appearances this spring.

"He had a real good spring," Royals manager Ned Yost said to MLB.com. "We've just been waiting for him to get healthy at some point and he is now. Now, we got an idea [what he can do]."


Rockies option Rex Brothers, Brandon Barnes
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:42 pm ET) The Rockies optioned pitcher Rex Brothers and outfielder Brandon Barnes to Triple-A Albuquerque and reassigned pitcher Scott Oberg and outfielder Matt McBride to minor-league camp, MLB.com reports.

Brothers racked up 19 saves while posting a 1.74 ERA in 67 1/3 innings with the team in 2013 but was unable to break camp with the team just two seasons later, delivering an 8.22 ERA and 8:6 K:BB ratio in 7 2/3 innings. He also managed a 5.59 ERA in 2014. Barnes received 292 at-bats in his first season with the Rockies in 2014 but hit just .229/.362/.250 this spring.


Yankees acquire INF Gregorio Petit from Astros
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:35 pm ET) The Yankees have acquired infielder Gregorio Petit from the Astros for a player to be named later or cash considerations, the Astros announced Wednesday.

Petit was reassigned to minor-league camp Sunday after failing to win a major-league roster spot with the Astros. He hit .310/.375/.414 in 29 at-bats this spring.


Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel tallies five strikeouts in spring finale
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:34 pm ET) Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel gave up one run on six hits in five innings of work Wednesday against the Brewers. Hammel, in his final start of spring training, added five strikeouts and didn't record a walk.

Hammel, who is projected to be the No. 3 starter in Chicago's rotation, finishes spring training with a 3.24 ERA and a team-high 22 strikeouts.


Mariners' James Paxton surrenders seven runs vs. White Sox
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:32 pm ET) Mariners pitcher James Paxton allowed seven earned runs on 10 hits and one walk in 3 1/3 innings while striking out three in his team's 12-4 loss to the White Sox Wednesday.

Paxton tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his spring debut but has struggled over his last two starts, and he finishes Cactus League action with a 7.84 ERA and 6:5 K:BB ratio in 10 1/3 innings. The Mariners have yet to set the rotation, but Paxton's next start will come during the regular season.


Report: Dodgers trade Drew Butera to Angels
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:16 pm ET) The Dodgers have reportedly traded backup catcher Drew Butera to the Angels for a player to be named later or cash considerations, according to ESPN.com.

Butera was designated for assignment earlier in the week to make room on the 40-man roster. He hit .188 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 170 plate appearances in 2014.


Phillies pitcher Mario Hollands to have arm examined this week
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:03 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Mario Hollands is still dealing with an arm issue and it remains uncertain as to what is causing the issue, reports DelawareOnline.com.

Hollands will undergo an ultrasound on his common flexor tendon this week after his first MRI was unclear, according to the report. Hollands has an 11.81 ERA this spring with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings pitched.

"Having to see everyone get ready for opening day is tough," Hollands said. "It hurts. But maybe I'll be up there for opening day so at least I can put on the uniform for the day."


Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse struggles in spring finale
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:58 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse surrendered seven runs on eight hits, including three home runs, in his final start of spring training. Lohse felt it was more of a way to open his eyes to adjustments before the season starts, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"That's not exactly what I wanted, but it's not a bad thing to kind of have a little bit of a wakeup call," said Lohse. "There wasn't a whole lot of good coming out of that. I definitely put myself in some tough situations out there. Made a couple of good pitches, a lot of bad ones."

Lohse, who will be Milwaukee's Opening Day starter, finishes the spring with a 4.74 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched.

"He made some mistakes," said manager Ron Roenicke. "Tight strike zone, he made some mistakes and they didn't miss much.

"I like what he's been doing. Today, I don't know how explain it. Sometimes your command just isn't there and sometimes you're facing a pretty good team. He knows what he needs to do. We feel good with him opening up."


 
 
 
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