Start and sit hitters for Week 15
All stats are updated through Thursday, July 3.
Oscar Taveras ' return hasn't met with the same enthusiasm in Fantasy as his initial callup a few weeks earlier. That's because his playing time will come at the expense of others' this time around. He did get a start in center field Wednesday, but otherwise, he has replaced Matt Holliday once and Allen Craig once. Matt Adams could also be at risk of losing at-bats. Holliday is the only one of the four I'm willing to call "too obvious" for this week.
Josh Willingham has sat out three of the Twins' last eight games. The first time, manager Ron Gardenhire said he just wanted to keep him fresh, but now you have to wonder if, given his injury history and 35 years of age, the Twins see him as an everyday player still. Sit him for now.
|1.||Kole Calhoun , OF, Angels||74/60|
|2.||Corey Dickerson , OF, Rockies||85/65|
|3.||Lonnie Chisenhall , 1B/3B, Indians||92/72|
|4.||Nolan Arenado , 3B, Rockies||94/33|
|5.||Mike Napoli , 1B, Red Sox||84/62|
|6.||Scooter Gennett , 2B, Brewers||66/50|
|7.||C.J. Cron , 1B, Angels||53/39|
|8.||Christian Yelich , OF, Marlins||87/52|
|9.||Mark Teixeira , 1B, Yankees||86/65|
|10.||Andrelton Simmons , SS, Braves||67/44|
Joey Votto continues to have leg issues dating back to his DL stint that ended nearly a month ago. The Reds hold out hope he can avoid a return trip to the DL, but given the way his production has suffered, he's less than "too obvious" for the time being.
And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...
Too obvious: Jonathan Lucroy , Buster Posey , Yadier Molina , Carlos Santana , Miguel Montero , Salvador Perez , Devin Mesoraco , Brian McCann , Wilin Rosario
Gomes has been especially productive in recent days, plating seven runs with a .276 (8 for 29) batting average and two homers in his last seven games. Against pitchers like Vidal Nuno , Chase Whitley , David Phelps , Hector Noesi and Scott Carroll this week, he should have plenty more RBI opportunities this week, and with seven home games, he's a good bet to take advantage. He's batting .305 with an .833 OPS there compared to .242 and .662 on the road.
Instead of: Jarrod Saltalamacchia , Mike Zunino , Jason Castro
Norris only recently returned from a back injury that sidelined him for about a week, so when the Athletics go without the DH for two games in the middle of this week, you have to think they might use it as an opportunity to rest their top catcher. Even if they don't, Norris faces long odds against pitchers like Ryan Vogelsong , Madison Bumgarner , Matt Cain , Tim Hudson , Taijuan Walker , Hisashi Iwakuma and Chris Young . He does most of his damage against lefties, and only one of those pitchers fits that description.
Instead of: Gomes, Kurt Suzuki , Wilson Ramos
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera , Paul Goldschmidt , Jose Abreu , Albert Pujols , Anthony Rizzo , Freddie Freeman , Todd Frazier , Chris Davis , Jonathan Lucroy , Justin Morneau , Adam LaRoche , Buster Posey , Carlos Santana , Adrian Gonzalez
, Red Sox
Napoli has swung a hot bat since returning from the DL in early June, batting .309 (25 for 81) with five home runs and a .411 on-base percentage in 23 games, but his starting rate remains in the 60-percent range, about 10 percent lower than before the injury. He's a good bet to keep it going this week against the White Sox and Astros rotations, especially since three of the pitchers on tap throw left-handed.
Instead of: Allen Craig , Eric Hosmer , Ryan Howard
You never like sitting the hot hand, but the Orioles themselves may have to do it when they travel to Washington for two games to begin this week. No DH most likely means no Pearce. And while the 31-year-old journeyman has beat up on bottom-feeders like Joe Saunders , Nick Martinez and Scott Baker in recent days, he'll be in for more of a challenge against Stephen Strasburg , Doug Fister , Tanner Roark , Gio Gonzalez , Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka this week.
Instead of: Napoli, C.J. Cron , Mark Teixeira
Too obvious: Robinson Cano , Jose Altuve , Brian Dozier , Ian Kinsler , Dee Gordon , Anthony Rendon , Matt Carpenter , Dustin Pedroia , Jason Kipnis , Chase Utley , Daniel Murphy
|5.||Red Sox||CHW4, @HOU3|
Though Gennett remains one of the hottest players in baseball, batting .412 (21 for 51) with a 1.170 OPS over his last 14 games, his Fantasy owners haven't benefited recently because of all the lefties the Brewers have faced. They do face two in their seven games this week, but some of the righties -- Kyle Kendrick , Roberto Hernandez , David Buchanan and, at least at this stage of his career, Carlos Martinez -- are as hittable as they come.
Instead of: Neil Walker , Aaron Hill , Jed Lowrie
Though manager Clint Hurdle said just a couple weeks ago that he needs to find playing time for Harrison, general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday that the team wants to keep the 26-year-old in a utility role. It's not a strict contradiction, but many hoped Harrison would take over at shortstop once Neil Walker and Starling Marte returned from their injuries. Against some of the best the Cardinals and Reds have to offer, you might want to play it safe and bench him this week.
Instead of: Gennett, Brandon Phillips , Mookie Betts
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera , Josh Donaldson , Adrian Beltre , Todd Frazier , Evan Longoria , Anthony Rendon , Kyle Seager , Matt Carpenter , Carlos Santana , Ryan Zimmerman , Pedro Alvarez , Aramis Ramirez , Pablo Sandoval
Though he still boasts a .344 batting average and .960 OPS for the season, Chisenhall's starting rate has dropped from 84 to 72 percent over the last three weeks. It's not like he's fallen flat on his face during that time, batting a disappointing but not debilitating .203 (12 for 59) with a .688 OPS in 16 games, and he has a good chance of bouncing back against Vidal Nuno , Chase Whitley , David Phelps , Hector Noesi and Scott Carroll this week.
Instead of: Manny Machado , Casey McGehee , Martin Prado
Castellanos looks like a hot-hand play with his .330 (35 for 106) batting average over his last 29 games, but a lack of power and patience has limited his productivity during that stretch, which explains his comparatively low .874 OPS. He'll open this week against Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke before traveling to pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium for four games, which should bring him down to size. He's a .226 hitter away from Tiger Stadium this year.
Instead of: Nolan Arenado , Trevor Plouffe , Brock Holt
Too obvious: Troy Tulowitzki , Hanley Ramirez , Dee Gordon , Ian Desmond , Jose Reyes , Starlin Castro , Alexei Ramirez , Elvis Andrus , Ben Zobrist , Erick Aybar
|1.||Orioles||@WAS2, WAS2, NYY3|
|3.||Athletics||SF2, @SF2, @SEA3|
Though six games in the two-hole haven't fundamentally changed Simmons as a hitter -- he's batting .276 (8 for 29) since moving there on a near-everyday basis -- it has improved his run-scoring potential enough to make him relevant in mixed leagues again. Already, he has 12 Head-to-Head points in Fantasy Week 14 (June 30-July 6), putting him just three away from his season high. With him set to play seven more games this week, you could do worse at the weakest position in Fantasy.
Instead of: Jimmy Rollins , Alcides Escobar , Jhonny Peralta
Just when you think Lowrie is on the verge of snapping out of his two month-long funk, the Athletics end up having some of the toughest matchups of any team this week, going against Ryan Vogelsong , Madison Bumgarner , Matt Cain , Tim Hudson , Taijuan Walker , Hisashi Iwakuma and, yes, even Chris Young , who's suddenly good again. All of those games are in a pitcher's parks, too. Hey, you've already gotten used to benching him, right?
Instead of: Simmons, Asdrubal Cabrera , Xander Bogaerts
OutfieldToo obvious: Mike Trout , Andrew McCutchen , Jose Bautista , Giancarlo Stanton , Yasiel Puig , Carlos Gomez , Adam Jones , Jacoby Ellsbury , Hunter Pence , Nelson Cruz , Yoenis Cespedes , Michael Brantley , Justin Upton , Matt Holliday , Shin-Soo Choo , Alex Rios , Melky Cabrera , Jason Heyward , Jay Bruce , Alex Gordon , Billy Hamilton , Charlie Blackmon , Michael Morse , Khris Davis , Martin Prado , Matt Kemp , George Springer , Ryan Zimmerman , Gregory Polanco , Bryce Harper , Josh Hamilton , Coco Crisp , Brett Gardner , Jayson Werth , J.D. Martinez
Calhoun has been so hot lately, batting .375 (27 for 72) with five home runs and a 1.064 OPS in his last 21 games that you haven't so much cared about him sitting against left-handers. Well, guess what? He faces only one of those in seven games this week, and some of the righties on tap include R.A. Dickey , Nick Tepesch , Colby Lewis , Nick Martinez and Miles Mikolas . Cha-ching!
Instead of: Desmond Jennings , Marcell Ozuna , Adam Eaton
Though the lineup crunch hasn't been as notable in recent days with Victor Martinez nursing a sore ribcage (he just returned Thursday), Jackson is one of the more logical choices to forfeit his at-bats to the red-hot J.D. Martinez given that he himself is batting just .211 (35 for 166) with a .557 OPS over his last 46 games. Granted, his defense ensures he'll at least get semi-regular at-bats, but those won't be enough to satisfy you in Fantasy, especially with tough matchups against the Dodgers and Royals on tap.
Instead of: Calhoun, Corey Dickerson , Christian Yelich
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.