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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
Braves P Shelby Miller looking forward to new start
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(7:00 pm ET) After being traded from the Cardinals, Braves pitcher Shelby Miller is looking forward to a new start with his new ball club, reports MLB.com. He spent his first three years with the Cardinals.

"I'm looking forward to a clean start to the season because getting traded over from St. Louis, you never really expect that," Miller said. "It's everything I've known, being drafted by them and coming through the farm system and stuff like that.

"But it's exciting. You're getting traded from a good team to another. I'm excited about the opportunity with my new teammates. I think we have a great chance to do something special here in Atlanta, and I'm looking forward to helping however I can."

Over his career, the right-hander has an ERA 3.33 with 312 strikeouts and 134 walks.


Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes shines again in outing Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:58 pm ET) Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes continues to impress the club with his poise and prowess on the mound, reports the Boston Herald. Barnes was called on with two runners on and two outs after previous pitcher, Stephen Wright, gave up five unearned runs.

He managed to get a groundball and get out of the inning. He finished with four strikeouts and no runs allowed  in 2 1/3 innings of work.

"It was good to be in a situation like that, coming in, especially in the middle of an inning, I haven't done that in a while, starting an inning with a guy on second and having to pitch through that," said Barnes. "I was happy with all of it."


Athletics' Tyler Ladendorf pushing for spot on Opening Day roster
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:51 pm ET) Athletics utility man Tyler Ladendorf is increasing his chances by the day of making the Opening Day roster in Oakland, reports MLB.com.

Ladendorf, who was suspended for 50 games last year after testing positive for a drug of abuse, has turned heads just about every day he's been on the field.

"Tyler's really emerged this year for us," manager Bob Melvin said this week. "To me, he looks a lot more confident here. We put him on a roster for a reason. His versatility stands out, and we're all about versatility. He has a similar versatility to Ben Zobrist. He can play any of the outfield positions, any of the infield positions, and does well defensively, and his bat emerged last year as well. He's one that's stood out."

Ladendorf just hope it translates into a roster spot.

"Any time you got them talking about you," Ladendorf said, "you're doing something right."


Tigers P Bruce Rondon not a lock for the roster
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:49 pm ET) After spending last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, Tigers pitcher Bruce Rondon believes he'll be ready to go for the start of this season, reports MLB.com. But the pitcher is not guaranteed to make the roster.

"I know that we've been discussing it quite a bit," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I do think you have to keep in mind that he came to Spring Training and hadn't pitched in a game in a long time. Whether he makes the team or not, or whether we think he needs more development, the important thing is his strength is there, the arm strength is there. In the long term or even in the near term, you would think he's going to have some impact on the Detroit Tigers. But I think your questions are fair and they're certainly questions that we've discussed."

Rondon has yet to pitch a full season at the Major League level. This spring he has an ERA of 5.68, allowing 10 hits, two home runs while walking two batters.


Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna tagged with blown save Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:43 pm ET) Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna last just 1/3 of an inning Saturday in relief against the Braves. Osuna was tagged for one run on three hits with one walk and earned a blown save. Osuna didn't sound to worried about his struggle Saturday, reports MLB.com.

"I'll learn from today and I'm going to try to make those adjustments for the season," Osuna said. "I think it was a good day.

"That's going to happen in the season so I've got to get ready. I think everything was there. I just missed a couple fastballs a little bit up and they hit it."


Nationals' Stephen Strasburg roughed up in start Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:39 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is still washing off the effects of a sprained left ankle suffered last week in the weight room. It showed Saturday as Strasburg gave up four runs on four hits, including two home runs, in four innings of work.

"It's kinda like a trust factor," Strasburg said. "You sprain your ankle really bad you're bracing for it so it's hard to get over that. I didn't really feel anything alarming so it's progress. I've just gotta keep going out there and I'm sure it'll be an afterthought soon."

Strasburg still thinks he has enough time to get his ankle right for his first start of the regular season.

"Yeah, it's going to have to be," Strasburg said. "The thing is you make 33 starts. The biggest thing is having the stamina up there, and I'm just going to go out there and give everything I have and keep plugging along."


Reds remain without plan for Cuban pitcher Raisel Iglesias
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:35 pm ET) Reds pitcher Raisel Iglesias is still in limbo as the final week of spring training looms, reports MLB.com. Iglesias may make the pitching staff as a bullpen arm or be sent down to the minors for some extra work, but manager Bryan Price won't say just yet.

"I imagine he might be a little of both this year, and where he does it, I just don't know yet," Price said on Saturday. "We'd be hard pressed to throw him out there for 30-plus starts at any level and think we're going to be able to control his innings to a level we're comfortable with."

Iglesias has made three starts this spring with three other appearances out of the bullpen. 

"He needed to be more effective with the location of his fastball," Price said. "That's something we did see in the [Arizona Fall League] and instructional league, better command of the fastball in the strike zone. We know it's in there. But his fastball command hasn't been as good as we have seen in the past. We're working on helping him improve."


Rockies OF Corey Dickerson leaves game due to back tightness
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:32 pm ET) Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson left Saturday's game after the third inning due to lower back tightness, according to the Denver Post.

His exit was said to be precautionary and he should be back in action soon. Dickerson told the media that his scheduled play on Sunday is now a "maybe." He added that if this was the regular season he would have played through it.

The 25-year-old is batting .273 with twelve hits, one triple, one home run, four doubles and six RBI in 15 games played this spring.


Tigers optimistic Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez ready for Opening Day
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:25 pm ET) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus expressed optimism he will have both first baseman Miguel Cabrera and designated hitter Victor Martinez available for Opening Day, reports MLive.com.

"I'd say, as of right now, I'm optimistic that we can have them both ready for Opening Day," Ausmus said. "But I'm probably more optimistic that at this point that Miggy will be ready to play."

Cabrera, who hit his second home run of spring training Saturday, missed nearly a month after surgery to remove bone spurs in his right ankle while Martinez underwent surgery in early February for a torn meniscus in his left knee.


Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom allows one run in seven innings Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:20 pm ET) Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom continued his roll through spring training hitters Saturday against the Nationals, allowing just one run on four hits with four strikeouts in seven innings of work.

"That's the most stretched out I've been all spring, and I felt really good out there today," deGrom said to ESPN.com.

He needed just 81 pitches to get through his outing.

"I struggled today a little bit," said deGrom, who sliced his Grapefruit League ERA to 2.45. "I don't know if I lost concentration or something with those two four-pitch walks. That's the main thing today, but the spring has been going pretty smooth. I'm still trying to work on things. I was getting under my changeup today. And that’s what I fell behind Bryce with before he hit the home run."


 
 
 
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