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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: Angels' Hamilton likely to receive suspension
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2:05 am ET) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will likely be suspended for at least 25 games, according to FoxSports.com.

Hamilton met with Major League Baseball on Wednesday for a disciplinary hearing. CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported that Hamilton experienced a drug relapse a few months ago, and confessed that relapse to MLB. 

This is technically Hamilton's second violation as a major-leaguer. Hamilton was on the Rays 40-man roster during his first suspension, making him a major-league player. Typically, players who violate their drug treatment program for the first time are subject to a 15-25 game suspension. Given that this is Hamilton's second violation of his drug treatment program, it's unclear how severe the punishment will be.

With that said, commissioner Rob Manfred is reportedly trying to be lenient with any punishment. The league has a "favorable view of Hamilton's efforts to remain sober." Since his return to the majors, Hamilton has spoken honestly about his struggles with addition.

On top of that, Manfred is concerned about making the punishment too harsh. Hamilton's past relaspes have come when he's been away from the game. Manfred reportedly is not close to making a final decision on Hamilton's punishment at this time. 

Hamilton was already expected to miss the beginning of the season due to a shoulder surgery. It's unclear how much longer he'll be out due to a suspension.


Angels, Huston Street haven't talked extension yet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) The Angels and closer Huston Street have not talked about an extension yet, according to MLB.com.

Both sides are reportedly interested in a deal, but Street wanted to wait a week in order to settle in to camp. Once that happens, the two sides are expected to start negotiating a new deal. Street is entering the final year of his contract, and will make $7 million in 2015.

Street, 31, posted a 1.37 ERA over 59 1/3 innings last year.


Phillies' Ryan Howard working on his swing
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is working on his swing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Howard has spent time working with Charlie Manuel during camp. Manuel was brought in as spring training hitting instructor. Manager Ryan Sandberg has noticed the change in Howard's approach already. "As far as making some adjustments there, to really zone in to something that can really be productive for him and a little bit more consistent," Sandberg said. "I think there has been a little tweaking going on there."

Howard apparently has looked different at the plate. His stance has been described as "looser" and his hands are much lower when he starts his swing. 

The 35-year-old hit .223/.310/.380 over 569 at-bats last year. 


Dodgers unsure how Grandal, Ellis will split time
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Dodgers aren't sure how they'll platoon their two catchers, according to the Orange County Register.

A.J. Ellis has been the team's primary option the past few seasons, but the club brought in Yasmani Grandal during the offseason. While Grandal has a much higher offensive upside, it's unclear how much he'll play once the regular season begins. 

"There’s nothing going to come out of this camp where we’re going to say, ‘OK, this guy is going to start 72 percent of the time’" general manager Andrew Friedman said. "It’s going to be much more about Donnie (Mattingly) writing the lineup each and every day for what gives us the best chance to win that day."

Mattingly admitted that Grandal has "tremendous upside offensively," so it's possible he could lead that way more often. While Mattingly has indicated that he doesn't want to assign any personal catchers yet, there's a sense Ellis could be used when Clayton Kershaw is on the mound. 

Grandal hit .225/.327/.401 over 377 at-bats last year. Ellis hit .191/.323/.254 over 283 at-bats. 


Giants sign Ronny Cedeno to minor-league deal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Giants have signed infielder Ronny Cedeno to a minor-league deal, according to the PCL transactions page.

Cedeno, 32, spent most of the year in the minors. He hit .313/.368/.431 over 281 at-bats in Triple-A. Cedeno received nine at-bats with the Phillies, but failed to record a hit. 


Brewers' Scooter Gennett glad to have full-time role
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett is glad to have a full-time role heading into 2015, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Gennett spent last season in a platoon with Rickie Weeks, but with Weeks gone, he'll assume the full-time role. Gennett said he feels far less stressed about his position on the team this spring. "Seeing as I'm pretty much the everyday guy, that eliminated the stress, or whatever you want to call it, off my back," he said. 

"Just not having to worry about stuff out of my control. I've put myself in this position where I've earned the job, I've shown them what I can do, and now it's about consistently doing it," he added. 

Manager Ron Roenicke has already said he'll give Gennett plenty of opportunities to prove himself against left-handers. 

Gennett, 24, hit .289/.320/.434 over 440 at-bats last season. 


Cubs' Arismendy Alcantara will play all over the place
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Cubs utility man Arismendy Alcantara is going to play a lot of positions this season, according to ESPN.

Alcantara saw time in center last season, but the team's trade for Dexter Fowler will alter his role. Alcantara says he's ready for the challenge. "Mentally you have to be ready for that," Alcantara said. "They want me to play second base and the outfield." He's also expected to see some time at third base. 

Manager Joe Maddon is glad to have such a versatile player on the team. "When you get a guy like that and you want to give someone a rest, you don't feel like you're losing anything," Joe Maddon said. "And the big attraction there is also in-game. It's like having an extra guy on the bench."

The 23-year-old Alcantara hit .205/.254/.367 over 278 at-bats last year. 


Rockies ask Corey Dickerson to be more patient
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Rockies want Corey Dickerson to be a little more patient at the plate, according to MLB.com.

Dickerson had a breakout season in 2014, hitting .312/.364/.567 over 436 at-bats. He walked in 7.7 percent of his plate appearances, which was actually just above the league average. Still, the team wants Dickerson to be slightly less of a free-swinging this year.

"I talked to Corey about adding this much discipline to his game," manager Walt Weiss said. "We don't want that much, because then he wouldn't be Corey Dickerson." Weiss explained that it's difficult to deliver this type of message, as Dickerson's aggressiveness makes him effective. 

Dickerson said he would work harder to study pitchers and work on his approach during games. 

The 25-year-old is expected to open the year as the team's starter in left.


Marlins unlikely to add reliever now
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Marlins are unlikely to add a reliever now that Francisco Rodriguez is off the market, according to MLB.com.

The Marlins were involved in negotiations for K-Rod through at least Wednesday, and were reportedly willing to offer $10 million over two years. The club has been looking for a veteran reliever for some time, but may pass now that Rodriguez has signed with the Brewers.

Both Rafael Soriano and Phil Coke have been connected to Miami, but the team would likely only sign those players to minor-league contracts.


Diamondbacks' Chase Anderson a favorite for the rotation
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Diamondbacks consider Chase Anderson a favorite to break camp in the rotation, according to azcentral.com.

The club wants to create a lot of competition for the rotation, and it was initially believed Anderson would be competing for a spot. General manager Dave Stewart sort of quashed those rumors, saying he perceives Anderson as a strong favorite right now. "Chase Anderson won nine games for us last year; you have to strongly consider him as part of our rotation," Stewart said. 

Anderson is expected to pair with Josh Collmenter and Jeremy Hellickson for now. The club will determine the final two spots in the rotation during camp.

Anderson, 27, posted a 4.01 ERA over 114 1/3 innings last year.


 
 
 
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