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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
Mets CF Juan Lagres goes hitless Tuesday, makes superb catch
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:48 am ET) Mets center fielder Juan Lagares went 0 for 4 in Tuesday's victory over the Orioles. This was just the second time in the last 10 games that he failed to record a hit, as he's hitting over .400 with four RBI in that 10-game stretch.

But just because Lagares was quiet at the plate doesn't mean he didn't help his club. Lagares, who won a Gold Glove last season, made yet another brilliant catch in the outfield on Tuesday to rob Everth Cabrera of extra bases in the fifth inning. 

"He can flat out get the baseball," Mets right fielder Michael Cuddyer said, per MLB.com.


Nationals' Williams: Werth dealing with 'cranky' shoulder from time to time
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:47 am ET) Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth is dealing with post-surgery soreness in his shoulder, which has kept him out of the lineup in back-to-back games, manager Matt Williams told reporters, per the Washington Times. Williams added that the team wanted to take advantage with the upcoming off day on Thursday before inserting him back in the lineup Friday night against the Braves.

"It's part of the progression ... It's going to be cranky from time to time," Williams said.

Michael Taylor drew the start for the Nationals in Werth's absence.

Werth is hitting .231 (6 for 26) with three RBI over his last six games played. He is hitting .176/.247/.203 with seven RBI over his first 85 plate appearances this season.


Nationals' Casey Janssen no longer dealing with shoulder discomfort
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:40 am ET) During a brief visit to the Nationals clubhouse, Casey Janssen told reporters the right shoulder discomfort he experienced during spring training is gone, but his velocity is still a tick off, according to the Washington Post. Janssen will leave the club and start a minor-league rehab assignment on Thursday.

Tigers C Alex Avila trying to find his groove at the plate
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:33 am ET) Tigers catcher Alex Avila may be starting to snap out of his recent funk at the plate. After going 2 for 4 with a solo home run on Tuesday, Avila now has hits in three of his last four games. He recently broke a five-game hitless streak, and has seen his batting average rise to .214, entering play on Wednesday.

"I feel good," Avila said Tuesday after the game, per MLB.com. "It's easy to look at averages, but the difference between hitting .200 and .250, .260 at this point is like two hits, like the line drive that I had caught today." 

Despite the positive outlook, Avila appears will be on the bench for Wednesday's game against the White Sox, with lefty Chris Sale scheduled to be the starter for Chicago. 

"The last few games he's looked good," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He looked good in batting practice the last couple games, but he still won't play tomorrow."


Pirates' McCutchen: 'I'm not doing what I should be doing for the money'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:25 am ET) Pirates manager Clint Hurdle acknowledged that Andrew McCutchen's sore left knee has impacted his approach on running to first base, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

McCutchen, who is making $10 million this season, voiced his frustration after he was held without a hit in four at-bats during Tuesday's loss to Cincinnati.

"I'm sick and tired of going 0-for-freaking-4. I know I'm better than that," McCutchen said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I'm getting paid what I'm getting paid because of the way I should be playing. Right now I'm not doing what I should be doing for the money I'm making. ... It's under mediocre right now. It's bad."

McCutchen has been dealing with a sore knee since spring training, and at one point in early April revealed that he's only at "80 percent." He began the year hitting .238 (10 for 42) with two doubles, two homers and 10 RBI over his first 12 games. However, over his last 13 games, the former MVP has hit only .140 (7 for 50) with a triple and three RBI.

After Tuesday's game, he reassured that injury is not the main factor for his issues at the plate.

"I feel good, I feel strong when I'm up there. I feel fine when I'm hitting," McCutchen said. "I can't sit here and say my knee is the reason. I don't believe so. I just believe I’m a little off. ... Once it's going, it ain't gonna stop. While I'm down, get me while I'm down."


A's SS Marcus Semien reaches base safely nine games in a row
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:24 am ET) Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien went 1-for-3 in Tuesday's 2-1 victory over the Twins. The individual performance is certainly nothing to write home about. But he has now reached base safely via a hit or a walk in nine consecutive games, including hits in four straight.

On the season, Semien is slashing .273/.322/.427 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He should continue to be the regular at shortstop for manager Bob Melvin for the foreseeable future. 


Nationals P Sammy Solis delivers three shutout innings Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:03 am ET) Nationals pitcher Sammy Solis had his best performance of the season on Tuesday against the Marlins. Granted, he's only made two appearances on the season after being recalled in late-April. But there's no denying how effective the young left-hander was on Tuesday.

After starter Stephen Strasburg was forced to leave the game due to a shoulder injury, Solis came in and fired three shutout innings, allowing just one hit and struck out a batter. 

"The good thing about Sammy is that he is a former starter and he understands how to pace himself," manager Matt Williams said after the game, per MLB.com. "He threw the ball really well. He kept us in the game and allowed us to have chances to win it."

Solis had been pitching well in Double-A before his promotion to the big club, throwing four innings and allowing one hit (a solo home run). 


Michael Morse still not starting for Marlins on Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:50 am ET) Struggling first baseman Michael Morse was held out of the Marlins lineup for the second straight game on Wednesday. Morse hasn't recorded a hit since April 28, and will receive his fourth day off in the last five games.

Justin Bour, who has seven hits in 14 at-bats since being recalled on April 25, was the starting first baseman for the third straight day for manager Mike Redmond.


Nationals 3B Yunel Escobar hits third on Wednesday vs. Marlins
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:42 am ET) Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar hit from the No. 3 position in manager Matt Williams' lineup on Wednesday. It was the first time this season that Escobar hit third in the batting order, as Williams shuffled the order a bit for the matinee matchup against the Marlins.

Escobar continues to hit well in 2015, though he did go hitless in three at-bats on Tuesday.

Shortstop Ian Desmond was moved up to the second spot in the lineup, while Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman returned to their normal spots, batting fourth and fifth respectively on Wednesday. 


Jayson Werth sits again for Nationals on Wednesday vs. Marlins
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:33 am ET) Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth was not in the starting lineup once again on Wednesday against the Marlins. Werth, who missed the beginning of the season with a shoulder injury, was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game, though no injury is being reported.

Michael Taylor drew the start in left field on Wednesday, batting eighth in the lineup for manager Matt Williams. 


 
 
 
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