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Start and sit hitters for Week 17

Senior Fantasy Writer
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All stats are updated through Thursday, July 17.

The Tigers open Week 17 (July 21-27) in Arizona, which means they won't have use of a DH for three games. Their primary DH, Victor Martinez, is of course a Fantasy stud, but since he's not so capable of playing anything but first base anymore, they'll have to get creative to keep him in the lineup. They've played five games without a DH already this season and have managed to start Martinez in four of them, putting him behind the plate for two and shifting usual first baseman Miguel Cabrera over to third base for two. With that in mind, I'd plan to start Martinez this week, even with him still recovering from a back issue.

Evan Gattis, who hasn't played since June 27 because of a back issue of his own, has begun a rehab assignment but only played DH so far. As long as he catches at some point over the weekend, he's a good bet to return this week, though owners in single-season leagues may want to play it safe with him. Shane Victorino is also on the verge of returning from hamstring and back injuries, but with all the setbacks he's suffered already, you'll want to give him a week to prove his health before activating him in Fantasy.

Scott's sleepers for Week 17
Player Own/Start %
1. Corey Dickerson, OF, Rockies 78/44
2. Coco Crisp, OF, Athletics 91/54
3. Lucas Duda, 1B/OF, Mets 65/54
4. Scooter Gennett, 2B, Brewers 71/57
5. Steve Pearce, 1B/OF, Orioles 77/56
6. Torii Hunter, OF, Tigers 79/64
7. Kurt Suzuki, C, Twins 71/60
8. Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals 90/71
9. Jed Lowrie, 2B/SS, Athletics 79/51
10. Conor Gillaspie, 3B, White Sox 37/29

Allen Craig has started just eight of the Cardinals' 13 games since Oscar Taveras returned from the minors, and Josh Harrison has started 10 of the Pirates' 14 games since Starling Marte returned to the lineup. You could start either in a pinch, but because both have real playing time concerns going forward, neither is the most advisable play in mixed leagues.

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

Catcher

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

Start: Kurt Suzuki, Twins
After hitting .309 in the first half -- more than 50 points higher than his career batting average coming into the season -- Suzuki is due for a downturn in the second half, but it likely won't begin this week. Not only do the Twins have favorable matchups against pitchers like T.J. House, Hector Noesi and Scott Carroll, but they face three left-handers and play all seven of their games at home. Suzuki is batting .333 against lefties and .344 at home.
Instead of: Mike Zunino, Wilson Ramos, Jason Castro

Sit: Derek Norris, Athletics
With Josh Reddick on the verge of returning from a strained knee, the Athletics could soon face a playing-time crunch, and while Reddick himself figures to be a bigger victim than Norris, Norris could be spelled by either John Jaso or Stephen Vogt more often against right-handed pitchers. After a strong start against righties, Norris is now batting just .250 against them, and he's been slumping overall. Despite their favorable matchups, the Athletics face nothing but righties this week.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, Suzuki, Travis d'Arnaud

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Bautista, Jose Abreu, Albert Pujols, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, Todd Frazier, Victor Martinez, Brandon Moss, Jonathan Lucroy, Justin Morneau, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Adams, Eric Hosmer

Start: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Teixeira is started in too many leagues to qualify for the sleepers table above, but because he's less than "too obvious" at first base, he qualifies here. The Yankees are at home all week, where he's slugging about 60 points higher than on the road. An all-or-nothing hitter at this stage of his career, he likes to take advantage of that short porch in right field and should have plenty of opportunity against homer-prone pitchers like Miles Mikolas, Scott Baker, Colby Lewis, Drew Hutchison and J.A. Happ (who throws left-handed, making that short porch no longer on Teixeira's pull side, but still).
Instead of: Mike Napoli, Allen Craig, Ryan Howard

Sit: Michael Morse, Giants
Morse has been terrible since about mid-June, batting .218 (19 for 87) with one home run and a .579 OPS in 25 games, so you probably don't expect much from him in a week he's facing Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu anyway. But because four of those pitchers throw left-handed, it's just about a lost cause. For reasons that remain as of yet unexplained, Morse is batting just .196 (18 for 92) against lefties.
Instead of: Teixeira, Lucas Duda, Steve Pearce

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, Ben Zobrist, Howie Kendrick, Neil Walker

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Tigers @ARI3, @LAA4
2. White Sox KC3, @MIN4
3. Indians @MIN3, @KC4
4. Yankees TEX4, TOR3
5. Athletics HOU3, @TEX3

Start: Scooter Gennett, Brewers
He may not have earned any more playing time over Rickie Weeks, but Gennett just keeps piling up Fantasy points, averaging 19.8 over the last five weeks. He had his best week in terms of Head-to-Head scoring just before the All-Star break, so he's poised to take advantage of the Brewers' six games against right-handed pitchers this week. He's at the point where he's worth starting anytime he's in line for full-time at-bats.
Instead of: Josh Harrison, Kolten Wong, Omar Infante

Sit: Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
Hill, meanwhile, is at a point where you'd need an awfully good reason to get him in your lineup. He homered once the week before the All-Star break, which is more than his owners have gotten used to seeing from him, but he's still batting just .190 (8 for 42) in July and .215 with a .526 OPS in his last 48 games. Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Anibal Sanchez and Cliff Lee should ensure he doesn't try anything funny this week.
Instead of: Gennett, Jed Lowrie, Martin Prado

Third base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Anthony Rendon, Todd Frazier, Josh Donaldson, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Kyle Seager, Matt Carpenter, Ryan Zimmerman, Manny Machado, Carlos Santana, Pedro Alvarez

Start: Conor Gillaspie, White Sox
Though he's maintained a batting average over .300 all season, Gillaspie has been at his best so far in July, finally adding power to the mix with a .378 (14 for 37) batting average and four home runs. The White Sox don't have a strict policy against starting him against left-handers, but when they sit him, that's usually why. The only two they face this week are the especially hittable Bruce Chen and Kris Johnson, giving Gillaspie a chance of not only playing, but playing well. And he should feast on Jeremy Guthrie, Kevin Correia and Yohan Pino regardless.
Instead of: Pablo Sandoval, Lonnie Chisenhall, Casey McGehee

Sit: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Arenado was a must-start in Fantasy before missing six weeks with a broken finger and was showing signs of coming around with two multi-hit games in his last three before the break. So you'd think he'd be an obvious choice to start with the Rockies at home for six games this week, but the first three are against Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg. Besides, Arenado is one of those rare Rockies hitters who's at his best on the road, batting just .254 at Coors Field. If you have options at third base, you might want to avoid him for one more week.
Instead of: Aramis Ramirez, Martin Prado, Brock Holt

Shortstop

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

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Rays @STL2, BOS3
2. Giants @PHI4, LAD3
3. Reds @MIL3, WAS3
4. Cardinals TB2, @CHC3
5. Cubs SD3, STL3

Start: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
After watching his batting average steadily drop from .286 at the end of April to .221 at the end of June, Lowrie has finally begun to hit like he's capable, batting .429 (15 for 35) with four doubles over his last nine games. The toughest pitcher the Athletics face this week is Collin McHugh, and they get three games at hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Particularly in Head-to-Head points leagues, where his walks and doubles count for something, it might be time to trust in him again.
Instead of: Andrelton Simmons, Jhonny Peralta, Xander Bogaerts

Sit: Brad Miller, Mariners
After the tease that was his month of July, when he hit .298 (25 for 84) with five home runs and an .867 OPS, Miller has slipped back into his old ways in July, batting .176 (6 for 34) in 10 games so far. The Mariners are home for all seven of their games this week, where he's batting just .159 for the season, so even at a thin position like shortstop, you can probably do better.
Instead of: Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera, Eugenio Suarez

Outfield

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

Start: Corey Dickerson, Rockies
Dickerson has the same tough matchups as Nolan Arenado to begin the week, but unlike Arenado, he should actually take advantage of the Rockies' six games at home, where he's batting .349 with a 1.047 OPS. He was slowed by a wrist injury just before the break, which might explain his so-so start to July, but he's had plenty of time to recover now. And because the Rockies face five righties, you know he'll play just about every day even with Carlos Gonzalez back in the mix.
Instead of: Marcell Ozuna, Marlon Byrd, Adam Eaton

Sit: Desmond Jennings, Rays
Jennings may also play every day, but the Rays are one of two teams playing only five games this week. If that's not bad enough, four of those games are against high-end hurlers Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Jon Lester and John Lackey, and five are against right-handers. Jennings' OPS is about 200 points lower against righties than lefties.
Instead of: Dickerson, Coco Crisp, Torii Hunter

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Player News
Orioles' Matusz on injured shoulder: 'It's almost 100 percent'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:58 am ET) Orioles reliever Brian Matusz received a cortisone injection into his right shoulder Monday to alleviate the discomfort caused by a strained AC joint, according to MASNsports.com. Matusz said he sustained the injury about six weeks ago while working out.

"It's something that hasn't affected anything on the baseball field, but in the weight room it's definitely limited things, so we decided to just go in there since it was the right shoulder and put a cortisone (injection) in there," Matusz said. "It's starting to feel better, almost 100 percent."

Matusz threw a bullpen session Tuesday and is scheduled to pitch in a game against the Blue Jays on Thursday.

"It was only done for the purposes of being able to get back in the weight room to continue my normal workout routines," he said.


Astros' Hernandez on his way to camp after receiving work visa
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:44 am ET) Astros starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez, who will compete for a spot in the rotation this spring, has received his work visa and will travel from the Dominican Republic to the team's spring complex in Florida on Wednesday, per MLB.com. Hernandez will undergo a physical Thursday.

Astros general manager Jeff Lunhow said Hernandez has been throwing at the Astros complex in the Dominican Republic. But he also added that Hernandez is behind after missing close to two weeks of camp.

“You could argue this is the perfect way to do it, to show up on the first day of games,” Luhnow joked.


Melvin: Coco Crisp moving to LF; Gentry, Fuld to man CF for A's
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:37 am ET) Athletics manager Bob Melvin announced Wednesday the team has decided to move Coco Crisp from center to left field in an attempt to keep him healthy and off the disabled list. Melvin added Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry will platoon in center field for Oakland.

Crisp has not played more than 136 games in a season since joining Oakland in 2010. Crisp, who played in 126 games in 2014, missed time last season after collisions with outfield walls led to neck pain. Crisp said in early February he was going to try to tone down his "aggressive game" in order to avoid more injuries.


Rays DH John Jaso doing well in early stages of outfield experiment
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:31 am ET) Rays manager Kevin Cash seems pleased with how catcher/DH John Jaso is doing in his transition to the outfield, per The Tampa Tribune

“He was reading balls off the bat and he looked great,” Cash said. “(Monday) the outfielders did their first light throwing. Every ball he threw was right on line. I think from speaking with him, he’s been comfortable with it. We probably didn’t anticipate getting him out there until the end of spring, but I think we have him coming in the third or fourth game of the year and see how it goes. If he’s good we’ll keep working him out there. That’s a great asset for us to have.”

While Jaso's role will primarily be at DH, the Rays want him to learn how to play in the outfield to add versatility to the team's roster.

“I’m enjoying the outfield experience so far,” Jaso said. “I think the challenge is going to be picking up the ball and knowing where to throw, knowing where the cutoff man is going to be, and when there are runners on, knowing which base to throw to to keep the double play in order and catch yourself throwing to third base."


Rangers' Andrus not expected to play in first four spring games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:20 am ET) Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was held out of Wednesday's spring opener against the Royals due to mild patella tendinitis in his left knee. He is not scheduled to play in the first four Cactus League games, per MLB.com.

Royals' Yost: Cain, Gordon, Hosmer, Rios all candidate to bat second
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:10 am ET) Royals manager Ned Yost listed Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Alex Rios as viable candidates to bat second in the lineup this season, reports the Kansas City Star.

Gordon, Rios never batted second last season. Cain had only only 13 plate appearances at the No. 2 spot in 2014. Hosmer played 33 games and logged 144 plate appearance at the No. 2 spot in 2014, slashing .275/.326/.344 in those appearances.


Mariners' James Paxton scheduled for Friday bullpen
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon indicated that will stick to the original plan and have starting pitcher James Paxton (forearm) throw his first bullpen session on Friday, reports MLB.com. 

Mariners SP Danny Hultzen could pitch in game by end of week
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:50 am ET) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said starting pitcher prospect Danny Hultzen's live batting practice session went well Tuesday, and he should throw in a game by the end of the week, per 710 ESPN Seattle.

Hultzen is working his way back after having missed the 2014 season due to rotator cuff surgery.


A's DH Billy Butler takes a seat Wednesday due to stomach bug
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:48 am ET) Athletics designated hitter Billy Butler was not in the lineup for Wednesday's Cactus League game against San Francisco because of a stomach bug, according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Matt Olson will take his spot as the team's designated hitter.

Butler signed a three-year deal with the A's in the offseason. He hit .271/.323/.379 over 549 at-bats last year for the Royals.

Edgar Olmos headed back to Mariners due to shoulder injury
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:54 am ET) The Rangers announced Wednesday the waiver claim for pitcher Edgar Olmos is being reversed due to a shoulder injury, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Olmos, who was claimed off waivers last week, will head back to the Mariners roster.

 
 
 
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