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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
Braves acquire RP Aaron Kurcz from Athletics
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:48 pm ET) The Braves have announced that they have acquired right-handed reliever Aaron Kurcz from the Athletics for the International Bonus Pool slot No. 113.

Kurcz is having a strong season at Triple-A with a 4-3 mark and 3.27 ERA. He has fanned 38 in 33 innings.


RP Corey Knebel already back with Brewers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:46 pm ET) The Brewers recalled reliever Corey Knebel from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Monday after placing starting pitcher Matt Garza (shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list.

Knebel was optioned to the minors on Friday after posting a 2.95 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 19 relief appearances for Milwaukee. He has 19 strikeouts and seven walks in 21 1/3 innings.


Brewers SP Matt Garza heads to DL due to shoulder tendinitis
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:42 pm ET) Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday due to right shoulder tendinitis, the team announced. The right-hander was scheduled to start Tuesday against the Braves and no replacement has been named yet.

Garza is having a tough season. He is 4-10 with a 5.55 ERA through 17 starts. He is winless in his last five starts and has a 7.88 ERA in his last four starts.


Rockies GM: We will continue to exercise patience with Jon Gray
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:11 pm ET) With the Rockies in last place in the NL West and their chances of making the playoffs fading, calling up starting pitcher prospect Jon Gray could be an option to provide a spark and keep them in the playoff hunt. It seems Rockies manager Walt Weiss would be in favor of it.

"At some point, especially if we're in striking distance, yeah, you want to use all your weapons, absolutely," Weiss said of bringing up Gray, per The Denver Post. "No, I don't think it's early."

However, general manager Jeff Bridich isn't as eager to bring up the 2013 first-round pick, who has has logged 252 innings in the minors.

"Jon Gray is doing a great job right now of learning lessons and evolving at the Triple-A level," Bridich said. "So there are things that he needs to do and will continue to do. And we'll continue to exercise patience with him."

The top-100 prospect is 3-5 with a 4.88 ERA in 16 outings (15 starts) at Triple-A this season. He is 3-2 with a 3.47 ERA in his last 12 games.


Red Sox outright pitcher Zeke Spruill to Triple-A
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:48 pm ET) Red Sox pitcher Zeke Spruill, who was designated for assignment Friday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday.

Report: Red Sox send P Steven Wright back to Pawtucket
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:19 pm ET) The Red Sox on Sunday dispatched knuckleballer Steven Wright back to Triple-A Pawtucket one day after promoting him, multiple league sources have told the Boston Globe.

Wright did not pitch during his latest stay. He owns a 3-2 record and 4.15 ERA in 11 outings for the Red Sox this season.


GM: Pirates have no plans to demote RF Gregory Polanco
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:13 pm ET) Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco is batting a disturbing .148 (12-for-81) over the last month, but if he's going to work his way out of his slump, he's going to do it with Pittsburgh.

The team has no plans to demote Polanco so he can work on his hitting.

"We believe [he] is going to be a quality major league player but there are growing pains," general manager Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "And [a demotion] hasn't even been a conversation."

Polanco, who has been benched often against left-handers and sat against Cleveland righty Danny Salazar on Sunday, owns a .231 average that is at its lowest point since May 25.


Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli struggling mentally as well
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:52 pm ET) The struggles of Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli are starting to take a toll on him mentally.

"I'm on what's supposed to be a winning team and I'm not producing," he complained to the Boston Globe. "...If you're not mentally frustrated, there's something wrong. But I come here every day to work and try to fix it ... I wake up every day thinking that today's the day. I'm just going to keep working, keep doing what I've done in my career, to get out of this thing."

Only Napoli and Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew own a batting average under .200 and on-base percentage under .300 among 116 qualifying regulars in the majors. Napoli owns a slash line of .192/.294/.358.

And it's not getting any better. He is on skids of 2-for-27 and 5-for-46. He has only one RBI in 15 games since June 19.


Report: Teams believe Braves could deal CF Cameron Maybin
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:36 pm ET) Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin has never achieved at the plate anything close to what he has recorded this season. And other teams believe Atlanta might be looking to sell high and trade him by July 31, according to ESPN MLB Insider Buster Olney.

Maybin has been hot in July with nine hits in 24 at-bats, including two doubles and a home run, to break a 6-for-35 skid. He boasts a slash line on the year of .294/.363/.416. All three numbers represent career-bests.


Royals SP Kris Medlen goes six innings in fourth rehab start
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:27 pm ET) Royals starting pitcher Kris Medlen (elbow) took the hill Sunday for his fourth start on a rehab assignment. It was his second start with Triple-A Omaha.

Medlen allowed two runs on five hits and one walk in six innings. He struck out two during his first win in four starts. 

The six innings were the most the right-hander has thrown since beginning his rehab assignment June 19. He also threw 81 pitches (50 strikes), which was also the most he has thrown on his rehab assignment.

Medlen still dealt with some control issues Sunday as he hit a batter. It is the fourth batter he has hit in four starts.


 
 
 
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