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Start and sit hitters for Week 20

Senior 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, Scott White 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 Thursday, Aug. 7.

An unusually high number of interleague games this week could make for some questionable DH situations in Fantasy. The White Sox play two games in NL parks, so what little incentive you have to start Adam Dunn is gone. The Red Sox also play two games in NL parks, but based on the way their recent series at St. Louis went, neither David Ortiz nor Mike Napoli is a lock to sit. The Tigers play two games in NL parks, but they always seem to find a way to keep Victor Martinez in the lineup, usually by shifting Miguel Cabrera to third base and bumping Nick Castellanos to the bench. The Athletics play three games in NL parks, which probably impacts all three of Stephen Vogt, John Jaso and Derek Norris to some degree, but there's no telling which of them is going to start on a given day anyway.

Joe Mauer, out since July 1 with a strained oblique, is on a rehab assignment and could be back as early as Monday. He's worth the gamble over whatever catcher you grabbed off the waiver wire to replace him. Edwin Encarnacion and George Springer, both sidelined by quadriceps injuries, may also return at some point this week, but because the exact date is unknown, you might want to play it safe in standard mixed leagues.

Mark Teixeira needed three stitches after getting spiked in the left pinkie Wednesday. The Yankees have favorable matchups this week, so if he makes it back over the weekend, he's something of a sleeper in Fantasy. Just keep in mind the injury concerns for him don't end with the finger.

And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...

Catcher

Scott's sleepers for Week 20
Player Own/Start %
1. Corey Dickerson, OF, Rockies 82/67
2. Danny Santana, SS/OF, Twins 63/52
3. Chris Carter, 1B/OF, Astros 78/69
4. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs 84/47
5. Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Diamondbacks 92/59
6. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals 60/46
7. Billy Butler, 1B, Royals 58/33
8. Yangervis Solarte, 2B/3B/SS/OF, Padres 64/43
9. Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Padres 58/37
10. James Loney, 1B, Rays 64/46

Too obvious: Jonathan Lucroy, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Salvador Perez, Devin Mesoraco, Evan Gattis, Yan Gomes, Miguel Montero, Brian McCann

Start: Caleb Joseph, Orioles
Even after homering in four straight games, Joseph is owned in only 4 percent of Fantasy leagues, so obtaining him shouldn't be an issue for anyone. Trusting him is another matter entirely. He was useless before this power surge, but considering he hit 22 homers at Double-A Bowie last year, it isn't a total fluke. And he showed faint signs of life before it, batting .294 (20 for 68) in 21 games. He has favorable enough matchups against the Yankees and Indians for you to take a flier on him in two-catcher leagues.
Instead of: Travis d'Arnaud, Tyler Flowers, A.J. Pierzynski

Sit: Dioner Navarro, Blue Jays
Navarro preceded Caleb Joseph as the hot waiver claim at the position and is still batting an impressive .322 (28 for 87) over his last 22 games. But over his last five games, that number drops to .211 (4 for 19). If his matchups against Felix Hernandez, Chris Young, Hisashi Iwakuma and Jose Quintana this week aren't enough to keep him down, his six games on the road, where he has a .605 OPS, figure to be.
Instead of: Joseph, J.P. Arencibia, Brayan Pena

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Jose Abreu, Albert Pujols, Anthony Rizzo, Victor Martinez, Freddie Freeman, Todd Frazier, Brandon Moss, Jonathan Lucroy, Buster Posey, Adrian Gonzalez, Carlos Santana, Lucas Duda, Matt Adams, Justin Morneau, Adam LaRoche

Start: Chris Carter, Astros
At some point, this impossible hot streak of Carter's that has him hitting .330 (33 for 100) with 11 home runs over his last 26 games will come to an end, but considering the Astros have the most favorable matchups of any team this week -- going against pitchers like Kevin Correia, Yohan Pino, Kyle Gibson, Allen Webster, Clay Buchholz, Rubby De La Rosa and Joe Kelly -- I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the ride for now. Nobody's saying you have to start him forever.
Instead of: Mike Napoli, Ryan Howard, Michael Morse

Sit: Michael Morse, Giants
Since June 16 -- a span of nearly seven weeks -- Morse is just 52nd-best first baseman in Head-to-Head points leagues, ranking behind Alberto Callaspo, Yasmani Grandal and Chris Parmelee, among others. And yet his early season success earned him enough trust that he's still started in 53 percent of leagues -- more than double those other three combined. I'm thinking standard mixed leagued owners can do better, especially with the Giants playing only five games this week.
Instead of: Billy Butler, Mark Trumbo, James Loney

Second base

Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon, Dee Gordon, Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler, Matt Carpenter, Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley, Daniel Murphy, Jason Kipnis, Ben Zobrist, Josh Harrison, Howie Kendrick

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Astros MIN3, @BOS4
2. Reds BOS2, @COL4
3. Rays @TEX4, NYY3
4. Marlins STL3, ARI4
5. Diamondbacks @CLE2, @MIA4

Start: Kolten Wong, Cardinals
After a brief cold stretch to end July and begin August, Wong hit two home runs Thursday, giving him eight in 25 games since returning from a shoulder injury. He now has nine on the year to go along with 17 stolen bases in less than half a season's worth of at-bats. Granted, he's still a platoon player -- or at least the Cardinals treated him as such when they last faced a lefty July 25 -- but with six righties on tap, it's not an issue this week. And those righties include pitch-to-contact types like Tom Koehler, Jarred Cosart, Nathan Eovaldi and Odrisamer Despaigne.
Instead of: Martin Prado, Arismendy Alcantara, Tommy La Stella

Sit: Dustin Ackley, Mariners
Ackley is arguably the hottest player at the position right now, batting .367 (29 for 79) with four home runs in his last 19 games, which makes the timing of this selection a little odd. But Ackley has teased us enough in the past -- including hitting .321 (45 for 140) over his final 41 games last year -- that I'd rather not mess with him, especially since he's not a great source of power or speed anyway. He also closes this week with three games against the Tigers' ace-tastic rotation.
Instead of: Wong, Jedd Gyorko, Luis Valbuena

Third base

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

Start: Casey McGehee, Marlins
Hey look, McGehee is regressing in the second half just like we thought he would, batting .130 (7 for 54) in his last 15 games. Pretty cool, right? Well, hopefully he can take a break from that for just one week. At a position with little depth, we need him to take advantage of the Marlins' favorable matchups against Shelby Miller, Justin Masterson, Chase Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Josh Collmenter. The seven games at home should help. McGehee's OPS is about 100 points higher there than on the road.
Instead of: Lonnie Chisenhall, Chase Headley, Chris Johnson

Sit: Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
With manager Clint Hurdle recently declaring Josh Harrison the preferred option at third base, Alvarez's playing time is in question even with Andrew McCutchen sidelined. After all, he's started just four of the Pirates' last 16 games. Granted, his knee was hurting for a few of those games, and he missed three more for personal reasons. But it's clear the Pirates' don't trust his bat or his glove right now. And given their matchups against Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister this week, you shouldn't trust him either.
Instead of: Aramis Ramirez, McGehee, Trevor Plouffe

Shortstop

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

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Pirates DET2, @DET2, @WAS3
2. Braves LAD4, OAK3
3. Mets @PHI1, WAS3, CHC3
4. Mariners TOR3, @DET3
5. Blue Jays @SEA3, @CHW3

Start: Danny Santana, Twins
OK, so Santana has gone hitless in three games since his five-hit performance Aug. 3 at the White Sox, bringing his batting average since he returned from the DL down to a tepid .270. But I actually think that's right on the money for him. I'm most encouraged by his .514 slugging percentage during that same time -- a continuation of the unexpected power surge than made me skeptical of his every move for the first seven weeks of his career. Now, with favorable matchups against the Astros and Royals pitching staffs this week, I expect continued continuation.
Instead of: Arismendy Alcantara, Jean Segura, Alcides Escobar

Sit: Erick Aybar, Angels
After playing over his head for the first 15 weeks, Aybar is making up for lost time, so to speak, batting .197 (13 for 66) with just one extra-base hit in 18 games since the All-Star break. But Fantasy owners have been slow to catch on, starting him in 66 percent of leagues still. Granted, shortstop is a thin position, but enough players have emerged there in recent weeks that you shouldn't have to start Aybar with only five games on tap. That's speaking from a mixed-league perspective, of course.
Instead of: Santana, Javier Baez, Yangervis Solarte

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Yasiel Puig, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, Michael Brantley, Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday, Melky Cabrera, Jason Heyward, Jayson Werth, Nelson Cruz, Billy Hamilton, Matt Kemp, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Jay Bruce, Alex Gordon, J.D. Martinez, Brett Gardner, Lucas Duda, Ben Zobrist, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Blackmon, Josh Harrison, Marlon Byrd, Kole Calhoun, Nick Markakis, Gregory Polanco

Start: Corey Dickerson, Rockies
After setting an impossible standard with what he did in July, Dickerson has mostly frustrated Fantasy owners over the last month or so. But sitting against left-handers certainly hasn't helped. The Rockies have none of those on tap for their seven games this week, which should allow Dickerson to put his .330 batting average against righties to good use. They're also home for four games, where Dickerson is batting .371.
Instead of: Khris Davis, Austin Jackson, Starling Marte

Sit: Curtis Granderson, Mets
If you own him in Fantasy, you're probably already aware: Granderson stinks right now. He's batting .133 (8 for 60) in his last 16 games, and nothing about the Mets schedule this week works in his favor -- not the return home, where he's hitting .208, or the abundance of righties, against whom he's hitting .215, or the matchups against ace-caliber pitchers like Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg and Jake Arrieta. In other words, don't get your hopes up.
Instead of: Dickerson, Carlos Beltran, Christian Yelich

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Report: Padres 'in touch' with Phillies regarding Cole Hamels
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:09 am ET) The Padres are "in touch" with the Phillies in an attempt to land pitcher Cole Hamels, FOX Sports reports.

The Padres have made plenty of upgrades across the roster since general manager A.J. Heller took over, and it's possible they don't have the ammunition to land the Philadelphia ace in a deal. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week that he didn't expect Hamels to be traded before the start of the season. Hamels went 9-9 with a 2.46 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 204 2/3 innings in 2014.


Report: Orioles sign Mark Hendrickson to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) The Orioles have signed Mark Hendrickson to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, CSNBaltimore.com reports.

Hendrickson, who last pitched in the majors in 2011, spent 2014 with York of the independent Atlantic League, posting a 1.54 ERA and 34:11 K:BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings over 55 appearances.


Rangers' Matt Harrison expects to open season on 60-day DL
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said Saturday that he expects to open the season on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from spinal fusion surgery, the Dallas Morning News reports.

"My job is to just get as healthy as I can and get myself right so I don’t have something happen like it did last year when I tried to come back," Harrison said. "I’m just going to focus on that and get ready to contribute whenever it may be."

Harrison is dealing with some stiffness in his right side, which will cause him to throw from a distance of 90 feet for a second consecutive week rather than progress to 105 feet. He hopes that he'll get his hips to rotate more and loosen up with more stretching and more throws from the 90-foot distance.


Report: Rays sign Ronald Belisario to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) The Rays have signed pitcher Ronald Belisario to a minor-league deal with an invitiation to spring training, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Belisaro made 62 appearances with the White Sox in 2014, posting a 4-8 record, 5.56 ERA and 47:18 K:BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings. He'll compete for a bullpen spot during the spring.


Dodgers SP Zack Greinke hasn't decided whether to opt out
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said Saturday that he's yet to decide whether to opt out of his contract at the end of next season but added, "There's not really better options anywhere besides here," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Greinke is set to make $23 million in 2015, and he's due another $71 million over the following three seasons if he remains under his current contract. The Dodgers said earlier this offseason that they wouldn't discuss a contract extension with the pitcher during the winter.

Greinke went 17-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 207:43 K:BB ratio in 202 1/3 innings in 2014.


Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hoping to bounce back in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez can't wait to get on the field and get past the 2014 season.

"I can’t wait," Jimenez said at Saturday’s FanFest event. "Whatever happened in 2014 is in the past. There's nothing I can do about it now. I can just look forward and now I’m going to do everything in spring training to get myself ready the best I can for the season and help the team."

Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50 million deal with Baltimore in 2014, went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in 125 1/3 innings pitched. 

"It was pretty hard, coming in with a new team and signing a contract like that and not to do what everyone is expecting you to do, it’s hard," Jimenez said. "It’s hard not to be there for the team, but regardless what happened, I fought a lot. I think I was trying to find a way to survive to be there for the team and do whatever I can do the best. We got really far. I didn’t help a lot, but I tried to do whatever I could with whatever I had."


Royals' Alex Gordon plans to take it slow in recovery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is still recovering from his wrist surgery this offseason and plans to take it slow in his rehab.

"We really don’t have a timetable," Gordon said. "We’re just going to see how it feels. Obviously, it’s spring training. So we don’t want to rush anything. If it feels good, we’ll be aggressive with it. But if it’s not feeling good, we’ll take it slow."

Manager Ned Yost wants to continue to take things slow with Gordon.
"We’ll just take it slow," Yost said. "We’ll see how he feels. We’ll play him one day. Then we’ll give him a day off. Play him another day, five or six innings, then give him a day off. We’ll just see how he’s doing."
Gordon hit .266 in 2014 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI.

Angels, Garrett Richards settle on $3.2 million for 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) The Angels and pitcher Garrett Richards have agreed to a contract for 2015 for $3.2 million, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Richards was asking for $3.8 million while the Angels offered $2.4 million. Richards posted a 13-4 record in 2014 with a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts for Los Angeles.


Orioles' Manny Machado expects to be ready for spring training
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is progressing through his rehab and says he's "ready to roll" for the upcoming season.

"I have a lot of time to get ready. That is the key: having a regular offseason," Machado said Saturday. "Was doing my rehab in Sarasota and then went to Miami to do my regular weightlifting and get ready for the season. Been exciting. Looking forward to spring training."

Machado has taken part in baseball activities for the past few weeks since having surgery on Aug. 27 after tearing a ligament in his knee.

"It will be awesome," he said of the prospect of having a normal spring. "I'm dying to get back on the field. Spring training is key for a lot of players to get your at-bats and your reps. I think some take it for granted but it's a very big key for success for the year."

Machado hit .278 in 2014 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI for Baltimore.


Bud Norris remains without update for contract extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris said Saturday nothing has changed between he and the organization for a new contract.

"I haven't heard anything of that," Norris said. "I don't see a reason why I'd want to leave, but that's out of my control."

Norris and the Orioles are preparing for arbitration, when Norris filed for $10.25 million and Baltimore offered $7.5 million. He went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 139:52 K:BB ratio in 165 1/3 innings over 28 starts in 2014.


 
 
 
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