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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
Mariners SP Roenis Elias moves past elbow soreness
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:12 am ET) Mariners starting pitcher Roenis Elias is doing well after being shut down late in the season due to elbow soreness, according to MLB.com. Elias intends to spend the offseason at his home in Texas and resume his normal throwing program before he reports to camp in the spring.

Mariners' Dustin Ackley to undergo further evaluation for ankle issue
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:11 am ET) Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley is expected to visit with a specialist to determine a course of action he might take to deal with a nagging left ankle injury, according to MLB.com.

Mariners SP Danny Hultzen expected to have no restrictions this spring
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) Mariners starting pitcher prospect Danny Hultzen, who missed the 2014 season due to rotator cuff surgery on his left shoulder, will be shut down until spring training after throwing three times in the Instructional League, according to MLB.com. Hultzen threw 25 pitches in his last outing Tuesday.

"They said it was really impressive," general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "He feels really good and is now shut down. He’s finished for the fall. He showed an average fastball, really good curve and changeup. He was confident and his delivery is sound. So he’ll go home and come back in January and be ready for spring training."

Hultzen is expected to have no restrictions during the spring.

"We were real cautious. There was some talk of putting him in the Fall League, but we’re going to back off a little," Zduriencik said. "This kid has been through a lot this year. The fact he’s been on the mound in Instructional League is enough. There’ll be a challenge for him next year regardless of how he reports physically, where is he going to be innings-wise after missing a whole year like this."


Geovany Soto suffers thumb injury in wild-card game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:59 am ET) Athletics catcher Geovany Soto was forced to leave Tuesday's wild-card game against the Royals in the bottom of the third inning due to a left thumb injury. Soto actually hurt his thumb applying a tag with his glove hand on Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer as he attempted to steal home in the first inning, according to MLB.com.

"He kind of pulled his thumb back on the jersey on the play at the plate, and after that it kept getting worse and worse," manager Bob Melvin said. "Certainly as a catcher you need your thumb, especially when Jon Lester is throwing cutters."


Angels SP Matt Shoemaker has no doubt he'll pitch in ALDS
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/30/2014) Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker completed a bullpen session without any issues on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Shoemaker told the paper he feels he could throw 100 pitches in a game and that he has no doubt he'll pitch in the ALDS. Right now, he is a candidate to start Game 3 for the Angels.


Dodgers SP Hyun-Jin Ryu slated to throw simulated game Wednesday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9/30/2014) Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has been out since mid-September due to a shoulder injury, is slated to throw 45 pitches or three innings during a simulated game Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Red Sox SP Clay Buchholz undergoes knee surgery Tuesday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9/30/2014) The Red Sox announced Tuesday starting pitcher Clay Buchholz had successful surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee. The team added he is expected to make a full recovery.

C.J. Wilson expected to start Game 2 of ALDS for Angels
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9/30/2014) Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters Tuesday he will announce Wednesday the starter for Game 2 of the ALDS. It is expected to be C.J. Wilson, according to The Orange County Register.

Angels' Matt Shoemaker could be candidate to start Game 3 of ALDS
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9/30/2014) Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker (oblique) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday with breaks to simulate multiple innings, according to The Orange County Register. He could start Game 3 of the ALDS for the Angels.

Marlins expecting to have Giancarlo Stanton on roster in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9/30/2014) Marlins president David Samson said even if the team can't sign outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term deal, he is still expected to be part of the Marlins' plans next season, per The Miami Herald.

"He’s on this team [in 2015] either way," Samson said. "I can’t wait until after the season to sit down with Giancarlo and [agent] Joel Wolfe and talk about contract. We’re ready. We want him to be a Marlin well past his arbitration years.

"We hope that he believes in us and believes in Miami and believes in the direction of this team and recognizes that he has a chance to be the leader of a successful team for many years to come."


 
 
 
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