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Start and sit hitters for Week 19

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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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, Michael Hurcomb 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.

All stats are updated through Wednesday, July 30.

Allen Craig, Martin Prado and Asdrubal Cabrera were some of the bigger names to switch leagues at the non-waiver trade deadline. The trade to Boston boosts Craig's sagging Fantasy value since now he could see more playing time and hopefully the change of scenery will spark his offensive game. The same sentiment could be said for Prado, who goes from a non-contender to contender. Prado has shown moderate power in the past, but even that's been dormant this season, so maybe the move to Yankee Stadium breathes new life into his home run swing.

The Astros will play half of their six games without the DH in Fantasy Week 19 (Aug. 4-10), so they will have to get creative with Chris Carter, who is swinging a hot bat. Carter is batting .311 with a .716 slugging percentage, 1.097 OPS, six doubles, eight home runs and 19 RBI in his last 20 games. He can play first base and in the outfield, so he might not sit many games in the upcoming scoring period.

Hurc's sleepers for Week 19
Player Own/Start %
1. Chase Headley, 3B, Yankees 69/48
2. Carlos Beltran, OF, Yankees 75/53
3. Arismendy Alcantara, SS/2B/OF, Cubs 70/53
4. Mark Trumbo, OF/1B, Diamondbacks 94/61
5. Justin Morneau, 1B, Rockies 96/45
6. Austin Jackson, OF, Mariners 87/75
7. Dioner Navarro, C, Blue Jays 43/36
8. J.P. Arencibia, C/1B, Rangers 12/7
9. Michael Morse, 1B/OF, Giants 83/52
10. Martin Prado, 3B, Yankees 92/77

Joe Mauer (oblique) is expected to start a rehab assignment in Week 19, so his return doesn't appear to be far off. Troy Tulowitzki underwent a dry needling procedure to help with the healing process with his left hip flexor, but while he has begun movement activities, he isn't expected back until mid-August at the earliest.

George Springer (knee, quadriceps) has increased his baseball activities and appears to be inching closer to a return from the disabled list. Angel Pagan (back) is pretty far along in the recovery process and could be back in the lineup Week 19. In a bit of surprising news, we thought Avisail Garcia was lost for the season due to shoulder surgery, but he's planning to be back in the White Sox lineup before the season ends.

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, Evan Gattis, Yan Gomes

Start: Dioner Navarro, Blue Jays
Navarro has a .295/.326/.462/.788 slash line over his last 35 games. He also has four home runs, 10 doubles and 21 RBI in that span. The Blue Jays will be home for six games in Week 19 and Navarro thrives at the Rogers Centre. He has a .296/.333/.475/.809 slash line in 45 games, and all seven of his home runs have come at home.
Instead of: Kurt Suzuki, Travis d'Arnaud, Yasmani Grandal

Sit: Derek Norris, Athletics
Norris has had a pretty quiet run since late June, batting just .269 with one home run, two doubles and six RBI in his last 24 games. Although the A's have seven games next week, they face just two lefties. Even if he gets a start or two against a right-handed pitcher, Norris is batting just .259 with a .400 slugging percentage and .771 OPS against righties this season.
Instead of: Stephen Vogt, J.P. Arencibia, Jason Castro

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, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Adams, Eric Hosmer, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Lucas Duda

Start: Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians
Chisenhall hasn't been a great Fantasy option for several weeks, batting just .211 with two home runs and nine RBI in his last 37 games. However, Week 19 presents a good opportunity for Chisenhall to break out of his slump. The Indians will be on the road for 5 of 7 games, and the five road games come in hitter's parks (Cincinnati, N.Y. Yankees). He has a .325/.516/.904 slash line in 46 road games. The Indians are also lined up to face seven right-handed pitchers. Chisenhall has a .303/.483/.856 slash line against righties.
Instead of: James Loney, Allen Craig, Mike Napoli

Sit: Brock Holt, Red Sox
The good times might finally be over for Holt, who is mired in a 3-for-32 slump in his last eight games. Holt might have trouble emerging from his slump in Week 19, as Boston hits the road for six games. Three of those games are in NL parks, so with no DH, there's a chance Holt might sit a game, especially if he is struggling. Also, the Red Sox will be facing the likes of Adam Wainwright, Jered Weaver and Garrett Richards, and Holt has just eight RBI in 33 road games.
Instead of: Mark Teixeira, Michael Morse, Justin Morneau

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, Neil Walker

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Tigers @NYY4, @TOR3
2. Rangers @CHW3, @HOU3
3. Astros @PHI3, TEX3
4. Pirates MIA3, SD3
5. Cubs @COL3, TB3

Start: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
Lowrie has been a much-improved hitter since late June, batting .308 with a .348 on-base percentage, .439 slugging percentage and .787 OPS in his last 27 games. The A's will be home for seven games in Week 19, where Lowrie has a career .261/.329/.410/.739 slash line at O.co Coliseum. Since the Rays traded David Price, the pitching matchups look a little more favorable for the A's. Oakland is set to face Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly and Jeremy Hellickson in a three-game series with the Rays, then face Logan Darnell, Yohan Pino, Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes in a four-game series with the Twins.
Instead of: Yangervis Solarte, Scooter Gennett, Tommy La Stella

Sit: Dustin Ackley, Mariners
Fantasy owners might be tempted to finally trust Ackley since he has a .370/.386/.481/.867 slash line since July 1, but Week 19 might not be the time to take that leap of faith. The Mariners will be home for six games, where Ackley is batting just .230 with nine RBI in 51 games. Seattle is also set to face three lefties. Ackley is batting .289 against lefties, but he has no home runs and has drawn just one walk to 20 strikeouts against southpaws this season.
Instead of: Martin Prado, Arismendy Alcantara, Lowrie

Third base

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

Start: Chase Headley, Yankees
Headley has seen his production turn around since he made a change to how he grips the bat. Since July 1, he is batting .316 with a .459 slugging percentage and .796 OPS in his last 24 games. Fantasy owners should continue to ride the momentum into Fantasy Week 19, as New York is home for seven games. Headley is liking his new digs, as he is batting .348 with one home run, two doubles and three RBI in his first six games at Yankee Stadium.
Instead of: Yangervis Solarte, Chris Johnson, Brock Holt

Sit: Chris Johnson, Braves
Johnson has been on a pretty good run offensively over the last two months, batting .300 with six home runs, 11 doubles, 21 runs and 32 RBI in his last 50 games. From Fantasy Week 11 through Week 17, he averaged 16.8 Fantasy points per scoring period. Well, for at least one week, it's time for Fantasy owners to rely on another third baseman. The Braves have just five games in Week 19, and they face the two teams with the best ERAs in baseball -- Seattle (3.05) and Washington (3.11). Some of the pitchers the Braves will face in the upcoming scoring period include Felix Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.
Instead of: Headley, Xander Bogaerts, Nick Castellanos

Shortstop

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

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Braves @SEA2, WSN3
2. Padres @MIN2, @PIT3
3. Brewers SF3, LAD3
4. Mets SF1, @WAS3, @PHI3
5. Twins SD2, @OAK4

Start: Arismendy Alcantara, Cubs
Alcantara makes his first trip to hitter-friendly Coors Field next week. We can't wait to see what kind of damage the 22-year-old infielder/outfielder can do in the thin air in Colorado. Alcantara put up very good numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League this season, so he knows how to perform in favorable ballparks. Also, the Cubs are set to face three lefties next week in Colorado. Though Alcantara hasn't done well against lefties since coming to the majors (5 for 25), he thrived against them in the minors, posting a .374/.667/1.085 slash line in 99 at-bats against left-handed pitchers this season at Triple-A. Maybe this is the week his lefty-killing history translates to the big leagues.
Instead of: Andrelton Simmons, Yangervis Solarte, Everth Cabrera

Sit: Erick Aybar, Angels
The Angels are up for seven games in Week 19, with five at home. Angel Stadium has not been favorable to Aybar, who has a .250/.337/.624 slash line in 55 home games at Angel Stadium. The matchups are not really ideal for Aybar, as he faces Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu to open the week. Not helping Aybar's case is that he is batting just .250 with one home run and 10 RBI in 59 games against lefties this season. He's mired in a 9-for-44 slump in his last 12 games, and it doesn't look like Aybar has a good chance to turn it around in the upcoming scoring period.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Alcantara, Asdrubal Cabrera

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, Josh Hamilton, Kole Calhoun, Christian Yelich, Charlie Blackmon, Matt Kemp, Bryce Harper, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Ben Zobrist, Lucas Duda

Start: Carlos Beltran, Yankees
Beltran's performance at the plate is on the rise as his elbow injury becomes less of a problem. He has a .316/.364/.532/.895 slash line in his last 21 games. He has five home runs in that span as well. Most of Beltran's success this season has come at home and against right-handed pitchers. The Yankees will be at home for seven games and will face six right-handed starters in Week 19. Beltran has a .260/.514/.847 slash line in 40 games at Yankee Stadium and 9 of his 12 home runs have come at home.
Instead of: Khris Davis, Nick Markakis, Desmond Jennings

Sit: Khris Davis, Brewers
Davis has not performed very well over the last few weeks, batting just .234 with a .429 slugging percentage and .734 OPS in 22 games since July 1. It doesn't appear he will get off to a promising start in August, as the Brewers are up for six home games against the Giants and Dodgers. Davis feasts on lefty pitchers, but Milwaukee faces just one in Week 19 and it is Clayton Kershaw. Davis has a .232/.435/.723 slash line against righties and a .230/.443/.730 line at home this season.
Instead of: Martin Prado, J.D. Martinez, Austin Jackson

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Player News
Tigers' Miguel Cabrera not expected to miss much time with injury
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:41 pm ET) Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is not expected to miss much time with his ankle injury, according to the Detroit Free Press

Cabrera had ankle surgery to remove bone spurs shortly after the season, and has been recovering during the offseason. He was recently cleared to ditch his walking boot, and will be re-evaluated by team doctors on Feb. 15. General manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters Cabrera shouldn't miss much time due to the injury. "We're hopeful at that point he gets turned loose," Dombrowski said. "If he's not ready for Opening Day, it's going to be very, very close."

The 31-year-old Cabrera hit .313/.371/.524 over 611 at-bats last year. 


Twins' Joe Mauer says his legs feel strong heading into 2015
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:23 pm ET) Twins first baseman Joe Mauer said his legs feel strong heading into 2015, according to the Star Tribune.

Mauer was able to fully participate in an offseason training program after injuries prevented him from doing so last year. Mauer said his left knee, which has given him trouble in the past, feels strong now. :It’s tough to hit when the knee I’ve had problems with isn’t right," Mauer said. "That’s where you get your power from and the ball jumps. I feel good. I’m excited to get out there."

The 31-year-old Mauer is coming off a season in which he hit .277/.361/.371 over 455 at-bats.


Report: Yankees looking to void milestone bonuses for A-Rod
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:05 pm ET) The Yankees are looking to void milestone bonuses in Alex Rodriguez 's contract, according to the New York Daily News.

When Rodriguez signed his deal with the club in 2007, it contained bonuses as Rodriguez tied or passed the top home run hitters. Rodriguez, who has 654 career home runs, is just six away from tying Willie Mays, which would trigger a $6 million bonus. He is also set to receive an additional $6 million once he ties Babe Ruth, and another $6 milliion if he ties Hank Aaron.

The team, however, now views those bonuses as worthless due to his 2014 suspension. The team will argue that these bonuses were signed under false pretenses. The club is apparently willing to fight the player's union over the decision should Rodriguez file a grievance. 

Rodriguez, who hasn't played since 2013, has already found it difficult to mend the fences with his team. Rodriguez proposed a meeting with the club where he would publicly apologize for his actions last season, but the team declined the offer. "This is a relationship that is never going to be repaired," one source told the Daily News.


Orioles, Ryan Flaherty avoid arbitration
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:42 pm ET) The Orioles have avoided arbitration with infielder Ryan Flaherty, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. 

Flaherty will make $1.075 million next season. He can make an additional $25,000 if he receives 400 plate appearances. The 28-year-old Flaherty hit .221/.288/.356 over 281 at-bats last year.


Angels' Josh Hamilton setting lofty goals for 2015
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:30 pm ET) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton is ready to set some lofty goals for 2015, according to MLB.com.

Hamilton said he's aiming to hit .300, with 30 home runs and 100 RBI this year. After struggling through injuries in 2014, Hamilton said his offseason has been mostly normal. The 33-year-old hit .263/.331/.414 over 338 at-bats last year. 


Angels' Jered Weaver bulked up during offseason
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:57 pm ET) Angels pitcher Jered Weaver decided to bulk up during the offseason, according to MLB.com.

Weaver went from 199 pounds to 224 pounds during the offseason. He said the goal was to get bigger and stronger so that he can pitch deeper into games next year. The 32-year-old Weaver posted a 3.59 ERA over 213 1/3 innings. 


Brewers have discussed Francisco Rodriguez
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:15 pm ET) The Brewers have discussed reliever Francisco Rodriguez, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The news shouldn't come as a major surprise. Rodriguez has been linked to the club since the team traded Yovani Gallardo, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio basically confirmed the news, saying agent Scott Boras contacted the team following the Gallardo trade in order to try and convince them to sign some of his players. Attanasio didn't rule out the move, and said general manager Doug Melvin is considering everything. "Frankie [Rodriguez] had an 89 percent save percentage and the guy has never been on the disabled list," he said. "We know he likes Milwaukee."

Rodriguez posted a 3.04 ERA over 68 innings last year. 


Twins' Mike Pelfrey feels 'normal' heading into camp
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:59 pm ET) Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey feels "normal" heading into camp, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The 31-year-old Pelfrey was knocked around in five starts before undergoing elbow surgery last season. He's been able to rehab during the offseason, and should be 100 percent heading into spring training. Pelfrey said he started throwing Dec. 1, and admitted he feels "normal" now. 

Pelfrey posted a 7.99 ERA over five starts last season.


Mariners sign Endy Chavez to minor-league deal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:06 pm ET) The Mariners have signed outfielder Endy Chavez to a minor-league deal, according to the Tacoma News Tribune

The 36-year-old has been linked to the club recently, and finally decided to return. He spent the first month of last season in the minors, but joined Seattle in late May. Chavez hit .276/.317/.371  over 232 at-bats. The deal includes an invite to spring training. 


Brewers' Scooter Gennett prepping for full-time role
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:52 pm ET) Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett is prepping for a full-time role in 2015, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Gennett had a bit of a breakout season in 2014, but platooned with Rickie Weeks. With Weeks now a free-agent, Gennett is looking at a full-time role. "When it comes to playing every day and facing lefties, I’m looking forward to that," he said. "It has been a while. I can finally get back to my game."

Gennett admitted that he doesn't think it will be that hard to adjust to seeing left-handers while at the plate. "For me, it doesn’t matter what side it is coming from if I’m getting consistent at-bats," he said. 

The 24-year-old Gennett hit .289/.320/.434 over 440 at-bats last year.


 
 
 
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