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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
Report: Padres have discussed Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:32 pm ET) The Padres have discussed a trade for Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, according to the Daily News

Newly-acquired outfielder Wil Myers would be used as the centerpiece in the deal. By bringing in Myers, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, San Diego has a glut of talent in the outfield. While it seems strange that the team would turn around and deal Myers, he would be the type of talent the Phillies are said to be seeking for Hamels. Philadelphia reportedly wants two or three "premium" prospects for Hamels. 

The 30-year-old Hamels posted a 2.46 ERA over 204 2/3 innings last season. He's owed $90 million over the next four seasons. 


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by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will be ready by opening day, according to his agent, Scott Boras. 

Wieters underwent Tommy John surgery is June, and is working his way back from the injury. It's unclear if Wieters will be able to catch full-time at the beginning of the year, or if he'll have to be worked in slowly. Manager Buck Showalter recently told reporters he wasn't sure Wieters would be ready by opening day, but he expected him to good shortly after. Wieters hit .308/.339/.500 over 104 at-bats before having surgery. 


Report: James Shields seeking $110 million
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:19 pm ET) Free-agent pitcher James Shields is reportedly seeking a contract worth about $110 million, according to the Boston Globe

That type of deal would be similar to the one signed by Cole Hamels back in 2012. It's believed the 33-year-old Shields could receive a five-year deal. Both the Giants and Red Sox are involved with Shields, and the Yankees have been mentioned as another suitor. Shields posted a 3.21 ERA over 227 innings last season. He's exceeded 200 innings pitched in each of the last eight years.


Chase Utley staying put in Philly
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:13 pm ET) The Phillies will enter the season with Chase Utley, according to the Daily News. 

With Jimmy Rollins gone, some have expected the team to entertain dealing Utley. As of right now, that's not going to happen. "I've had some dialogue with Wolfie [agent Joel Wolfe] but frankly, he doesn't want to go anywhere," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He wants to honor his contract and that's how we have to perceive it." 

Amaro admitted that the team needs to listen to any offer for the 36-year-old Utley, but doesn't perceive Utley changing his mind at this time. Utley hit .270/.339/.407 in 589 at-bats last season.


Giants' Sabean: No plans to talk to Max Scherzer
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) Giants general manager Brian Sabean said that the Giants have not talked to free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer and have no plans to do so, the Mercury News reports.

Scherzer is the biggest name on the pitching market and could be seeking a deal north of the $155-million pact signed by Cubs pitcher Jon Lester. His price tag may not be feasible for the Giants' budget. The 2013 AL Cy Young winner went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA and 252:63 K:BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings with the Tigers in 2014.


Report: Nick Hundley has two-year offer, unlikely to rejoin Orioles
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) Free-agent catcher Nick Hundley has a two-year offer on the table from an unidentified team, making him unlikely to return to the Orioles, masnsports.com reports.

The Orioles declined a $5-million option on Hundley for the 2015 season but had interest in bringing him back into the fold at a lesser salary. He hit .243/.273/.358 with six home runs and 22 RBI in 218 at-bats between Baltimore and San Diego in 2014.


Report: Phillies could join Asdrubal Cabrera market
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) The Phillies could become involved in the market for free-agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, ESPN.com reports.

The Phillies traded their longtime starter at shortstop to the Dodgers this offseason and will be looking to fill that hole in the infield. However, the team will have to shed some additional payroll in order to make a run at the infielder, according to the report. Cabrera hit .241/.307/.387 with 14 home runs, 61 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 553 at-bats between Cleveland and Washington in 2014.


Rangers release Ben Rowen
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(12/20/2014) The Rangers have released relief pitcher Ben Rowen . Rowen, who was designated for assignment earlier in the week, posted a 4.15 ERA in 8 2/3 innings with the Rangers in 2014 as well as a 3.45 ERA and 31:9 K:BB ratio in 47 innings with Triple-A Round Rock.

Nationals sign Mark Minicozzi to minor-league deal
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(12/20/2014) The Nationals have signed infielder Mark Minicozzi to a minor-league deal.

Minicozzi, 31, hit .298/.400/.470 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI in 315 at-bats with Triple-A San Jose in 2014. He has yet to appear in a regular-season game in the majors.


Indians sign pitcher Scott Downs to minor-league contract
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(12/20/2014) The Indians announced they signed pitcher Scott Downs to a minor-league contract Saturday.

Downs also received a non-roster invite to MLB camp.


 
 
 
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