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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
White Sox's Carlos Rodon expected to see more time with Sale injury
by Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer
(5:02 pm ET) The White Sox pitching staff got a little thinner on Saturday. The team announced ace Chris Sale will miss at least three weeks with a broken bone in his foot, leaving an open spot in the rotation for the time being. 

General Manager Rick Hahn suggested Carlos Rodon , Brad Penny, Scott Carroll, and others could see more time in the rotation in the Cactus League this spring, reports ESPN.com.

"You make adjustments," manager Robin Ventura said. "You just keep going. I know guys would like to have him in there but it's not going to be that way. So you keep going, keep rolling. Next man up, fill in, get it done. When he’s back ready, he's going to come in and fill his spot."

Rodon may have the best chance to crack the starting rotation when the season begins, if Sale if out for an extended period of time.

"It doesn't change anything, just stay on the same path I've been on," Rodon said Saturday. "Just take it day by day and work just as hard."


Red Sox SP Justin Masterson feels 'a lot better' this spring
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4:58 pm ET) Red Sox starting pitcher Justin Masterson said after Saturday's live batting practice session that he feels "a lot better" this spring after dealing with injuries throughout the 2014 season, MLB.com reports.

"I feel a lot better. I feel more flexible, I'm getting more rotation and things are going better," Masterson said. "I just wasn't in a good spot last year, and I was trying to battle real hard through some stuff. This year, I'm much better, but I'm still working and still fighting."

Masterson is healthy again but unsure whether he's throwing at peak velocity.

"Like every guy, he's getting his timing in," manager John Farrell said. "I thought the second half of his BP session was more crisp. The sinker and the action of his pitches were on the plate more consistently. He's just following the progression towards games here next week."

Masterson went 7-9 with a 5.88 ERA and 116:69 K:BB ratio in 126 2/3 innings with Indians and Cardinals in 2014.


Phillies' Pettibone steadily progressing in recovery from shoulder injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:54 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Jonathan Pettibone is well on his way to bounce back in 2015. The 24-year-old hasn't made a major league start since 2013, when the shoulder eventually required surgery and forced him out of action, reports MLB.com.

"It's a little tight just grinding through these past couple days -- starting to throw bullpens, stretching out my long toss and everything," Pettibone said. "It's come along great. We haven't had any setbacks, so that's definitely a positive."

Now, the road to recovery begins for Pettibone.

"Anytime after surgery, you're kind of uneasy about the whole situation," said Pettibone. "But I've been kind of staying positive."


Maddon: Cubs' Wada looks 'very, very healthy' Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4:51 pm ET) Cubs pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada (hamstring) threw a live batting practice session Saturday with no issues, MLB.com reports.

"I thought he threw the ball really well," manager Joe Maddon said. "I did not see any kind of restriction. He looked very, very healthy. The ball had a lot of movement on it. He looked good for his first time out after having been restricted because of his leg."

Wada had been dealing with a tight left hamstring that caused him to miss a pitching session last weekend. He went 4-4 with a 3.25 ERA and 57:19 K:BB ratio in 69 1/3 innings in his first season with the Cubs last year.


Brewers sign Robinzon Diaz to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4:39 pm ET) The Brewers have signed catcher Robinzon Diaz to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday.

Diaz, 31, hasn't played in the majors since 2009 with the Pirates. He hit .264/.288/.339 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 292 at-bats between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville.


Eury Perez, Eric Young Jr. headline Braves' CF options
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4:23 pm ET) The Braves have four candidates to replace the injured Melvin Upton Jr. in center field, the Atlanta Journal-Constition reports.

Eury Perez, Eric Young Jr., Todd Cunningham and Zoilo Almonte all have a chance to win the team's center field job this spring while Upton, who is expected to be sidelined until at least early May, recovers from a left foot injury.

"You’re kidding anybody if you don’t see it as an opportunity," Young said Saturday. "It’s an unfortunate situation. Melvin hopefully gets healthy soon and gets back to playing the game that he loves the way I know he can. But in the meantime, I came into camp with a bunch of gloves, ready for whatever situation or scenario they threw at me. And right now with my speed, we’ve got a void in center and I’ve got this opportunity and just got to go out there and make the most of it."

Perez may be the early favorite as the only natural center fielder of the bunch, but Young is the only player of the quartet with significant major-league experience. Cunningham is a career minor-leaguer and Almonte has limited experience in center field.

"I think the other three guys have played (center) more than Almonte, but we’ll see," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We’ll run them out there and watch. Even E.Y. Jr. has got, I think, 30-some games in center field in the big leagues. Perez is a natural center fielder. (Braves third-base coach) Bo (Porter) had him with the Nationals and he really likes him as a defender."


Yankees' Cashman to Didi Gregorius: Don't try to be Derek Jeter
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:13 pm ET) Yankees general manager Brian Cashman isn't concerned about Didi Gregorius replacing Derek Jeter heading into the 2015 year, reports the New York Daily News.

"I personally can't worry about a shadow of Derek's somehow affecting the next guy," Cashman said. "All you can do is tell the next guy, 'You're not Derek, so don't even waste your time trying to be. Just be the best you can be.’ It’s going to fall short of anything Derek did, because he’s one of the greatest players of all-time."

The 25-year-old hit .226 with six home runs and 27 RBI in 270 plate appearances in 2014 and Cashman likes what's he's seeing.

"He's a developing guy," Cashman said. "He's definitely not a finished product. He's got a big ceiling. We'll see if we can together reach that ceiling."


Brewers' Jimmy Nelson (hamstring) has BP session moved again
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:53 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson didn't throw live batting practice as scheduled Saturday, with the team choosing to let his injured hamstring rest, MLB.com reports.

Manager Ron Roenicke reiterated Saturday that Nelson's hamstring injury is minor and that the pitcher is scheduled to throw Sunday. Roenicke added that he "would be surprised" if the pitcher was pushed back again.

Nelson saw his first significant action with the Brewers in 2014, going 2-9 with a 4.93 ERA and 57:19 K:BB ratio in 69 1/3 innings.


White Sox's Jared Mitchel pushing to make opening day roster
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:52 pm ET) White Sox prospect Jared Mitchell was disappointed he didn't make it to the majors in 2014, but he's not letting that keep him from pushing to make it this spring, reports MLB.com.

"I took it as disappointment and then kind of like straight to, 'Now that's your motivation.' That helps prepare you for where you need to be," Mitchell said. "If you take it the right way, take it in stride and use it as motivation, it can springboard me into a really good year this year."

Mitchell, the team's top pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, has the ability, but needs to get more consistent, according to some in management.

"Mitch's issue is that he has a different feel every day," said White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell. "He's got to trust what he can do, but certainly athletically, there's nobody better. He's as athletic as anyone we have."


Astros' Brad Peacock throws pain-free bullpen session Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:48 pm ET) Astros pitcher Brad Peacock threw 30 pitches in his third bullpen session of the spring Saturday and reported no pain in his hip, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"No pain," Peacock said. "I felt all right. My arm felt good. I was a little wild, but that’s normal. It was only my third bullpen, but no pain in the hip. I’ll take it."

Peacock is working his way back from offseason hip surgery. He'll take two days off and throw another bullpen Tuesday, when he hopes to increase his session to 35 pitches. If he continues to progrees, he hopes to throw his first live batting practice March 11.


 
 
 
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