Week 11 Fantasy Hitting Planner
No shortage of prospects to throw into the Fantasy mix in advance of Week 11. Our Scott White touches on Anthony Rizzo, Dee Gordon, Mike Moustakas and much more in his latest Hitting Planner.
The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Every week, we'll give you the latest on injuries, lineup changes, streaks and matchups, highlighting the players at each position who might surprise or disappoint as a result. NOTE: The Planner will be updated with the latest information every Sunday prior to lineup deadlines.
Any players not listed here fall into the "status quo" category, meaning you should take your usual approach with them.
All statistics are updated through Saturday, June 11.
After weeks of taking their sweet time with Joe Mauer as he recovers from bilateral leg weakness, the Twins suddenly announced Sunday that he'll return to the lineup Thursday. They wanted to see him catch three straight days in the minors before activating him, and they apparently think he'll do that over the next few days. He's coming off a two-month layoff and won't have the opportunity to play more than four games this week, so you probably shouldn't activate him right away. Then again, if you've been making do with nobodies off the waiver wire in his absence, it's at least defensible. Interleague play once again presents the Tigers with a dilemma at the position. They close the week with three games at Colorado, where they won't have use of the designated hitter. Victor Martinez , their usual DH, is perfectly capable of playing catcher, but they also have Alex Avila performing at an All-Star level there. In their May 20-22 series at Pittsburgh, the Tigers started Martinez at catcher twice and Avila at catcher once, and they'll probably do something like that again. In a seven-game week, it won't make enough of a difference for you to sit either in Fantasy.
Must-Start Options: Victor Martinez , Brian McCann , Carlos Santana , Miguel Montero
Miguel Olivo : .292 (21 for 72), 6 HRs, 18 RBI, 2 SBs, .927 OPS in 20 games
Alex Avila : .400 (10 for 25), 1 HR, 1.264 OPS in seven games
Jorge Posada : .579 (11 for 19), 1.232 OPS in five games
Kurt Suzuki : .159 (7 for 44), one extra-base hit, 1 SB, .442 OPS in 14 games
Jonathan Lucroy : .133 (6 for 45), 1 HR, 1 BB, 17 Ks in 13 games
Geovany Soto : .194 (7 for 36), 1 HR, 2 BBs, 14 Ks in 10 games
Russell Martin : .074 (2 for 27), 3 SBs, .316 OPS in eight games
|1.||Anthony Rizzo , 1B, Padres||30|
|2.||Dee Gordon , SS, Dodgers||26|
|3.||Mike Moustakas , 3B, Royals||19|
|4.||Miguel Olivo , C, Mariners||18|
|5.||Michael Morse , OF, Nationals||17|
|6.||Brennan Boesch , OF, Tigers||16|
|7.||Alexi Casilla , 2B, Twins||14|
|8.||J.J. Hardy , SS, Orioles||11|
|9.||Daniel Murphy , 1B, Mets||11|
|10.||Brent Lillibridge , 2B, White Sox||11|
Worth a second look
Kurt Suzuki (61 percent started): Suzuki might seem like an ideal candidate to sit considering his recent slump and the fact the Athletics close the week against the top of the Giants rotation, but the splits say otherwise. The Athletics are home all week and face three left-handed pitchers. Suzuki is batting 66 points higher at home than on the road and 107 points higher against lefties than righties. Don't be surprised if he finally puts together a hot streak.
Nick Hundley (12 percent): Hundley returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing a month with an oblique injury and got a hit in his first game back. He might be a little rusty at first and isn't necessarily a great Fantasy option to begin with, but his first full week is on the road, where all Padres players seem to hit better. The three games at Colorado to begin the week could help him get back to performing the way he did at the beginning of the season, so if you're hurting at catcher, Hundley deserves your attention.
Approach with caution
Miguel Olivo (38 percent started): Olivo has been arguably the best catcher in Fantasy over the last three weeks, so he's gaining plenty of momentum as a sleeper right now. But with pitchers like Dan Haren , Jered Weaver , Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels on the schedule, this week isn't the time to start him. As streaky as he is, they'll probably go a long way to destroying his momentum.
Jorge Posada (27 percent): Posada also might be regaining the favor of Fantasy owners with his recent surge. Hey, you can get away with starting a platoon player at catcher since everyone at the position tends to sit a game or two per week. Still, with the Yankees traveling to an NL park to end the week, Posada will have access to the DH spot for only four games. And with lefties on the schedule for two of those four, he'll likely start only two. Better stay away.
Mike Napoli strained an oblique sometime during Saturday's game and landed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. The Rangers called up Taylor Teagarden to take his place on the roster. Yorvit Torrealba , who already starts more often than not, might get a few more at-bats with Napoli sidelined, but he doesn't offer enough power to see a significant increase in Fantasy value ... Chris Snyder , who was looking like a sleeper just last week when Ryan Doumit went down with a fractured ankle, had back surgery on Friday and will miss 2-4 months. Dusty Brown and Wyatt Toregas figure to split time in his absence, but you can leave both for NL-only leagues.
After holding it off as long as they could with him tearing up Triple-A pitching, the Padres finally promoted Anthony Rizzo , one of the two biggest prospects involved in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, to the majors on Thursday. They plan to play him regularly at first base, moving Brad Hawpe to right field. Rizzo was batting .365 with a 1.159 OPS at Triple-A Tucson, but he's going from a good hitter's park to arguably the worst for a left-handed power hitter. The odds are already against him as a 21-year-old rookie, so you shouldn't have particularly high hopes for him making a significant Fantasy impact this year. Doesn't hurt to take a flier on him just in case, though, especially since he's off to a fast start. Speaking of big-name first base prospects, Eric Hosmer will have to hold off DH Billy Butler for at-bats when the Royals travel to St. Louis for three games this week. Because he has the defensive advantage, Hosmer figures to start at least two of those games, but he's less than a clear-cut starter in mixed leagues this week. Same goes for Butler. The Blue Jays also travel to an NL park for three games this week, which means Juan Rivera will take a seat. He's pretty much just an AL-option anyway, but he had been hitting well recently.
Must-Start Options: Albert Pujols , Miguel Cabrera , Joey Votto , Adrian Gonzalez , Mark Teixeira , Prince Fielder , Kevin Youkilis , Ryan Howard , Lance Berkman , Paul Konerko , Adam Lind , Gaby Sanchez
Mitch Moreland : .396 (21 for 53), 3 HRs, 1 SB, .999 OPS in 15 games
Paul Konerko : .457 (21 for 46), 6 HRs, 1.497 OPS during 12-game hit streak
Prince Fielder : .387 (12 for 31), 7 HRs, 14 RBI, 1.666 OPS in 10 games
Albert Pujols : .371 (13 for 35), 5 HRs, 1 SB, 1.364 OPS during nine-game hit streak
Adam Lind : .462 (12 for 26), 4 HRs, 10 RBI, 1.462 OPS in seven games
Adam Dunn : .125 (10 for 80), 2 HRs, .510 OPS, 17 BBs, 38 Ks in 24 games
Justin Morneau : .074 (2 for 27) in seven games
Worth a second look
Todd Helton (47 percent started): Helton hasn't been the easiest hitter to predict this year, but you have to like him hitting .512 (10 for 18) with a homer over his last five games. You also have to like the Rockies returning home for all six of their games this week. With a .932 OPS on the year, Helton is a player you can get away with starting more often than not, and now seems like an ideal time.
Brett Wallace (30 percent): Not only do the Astros have pretty good matchups in a seven-game week, with three of those games against the Pirates, but six of the pitchers they face are right-handers. Wallace has been a righty killer all season, batting .333 with a .899 OPS against them. Even at his best, he doesn't provide much power for a first baseman, but now seems like a good time to use him if you're short a utility player or corner infielder.
Approach with caution
Justin Smoak (56 percent started): It's mostly a matchups thing for Smoak. The Mariners are facing four legitimate aces in Dan Haren , Jered Weaver , Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels , and Ervin Santana isn't far off. In a weak Mariners lineup, Smoak hasn't been good for much more than the occasional solo home run lately anyway, so you don't have much incentive to start him this week.
Adam Dunn (53 percent): As if Dunn's hitting wasn't reason enough to sit him, the big slugger loses access to the DH spot when the White Sox travel to Arizona for three games to end the week. Dunn could steal a start from Paul Konerko in one of those games, but at best, he's looking at a four-game week. Even if he chooses this week to break out of his season-long slump, he probably won't get enough at-bats to provide much for your Fantasy team.
Justin Morneau , who's still trying to prove he's over the concussion that sidelined him for the second half last season, is also dealing with a pinched nerve in his neck and a sore left wrist. He hasn't played since Thursday and will see a hand specialist on Monday. The Twins hope he can return Tuesday, but with all of his physical limitations, how productive can you honestly expect him to be? He remains a risky start in mixed leagues.
So far, the June call-ups have created more turnover at second base than any other position. The Athletics' Jemile Weeks is the biggest name, but the Indians and Rockies also have new starters in Cord Phelps and Chris Nelson . Phelps isn't considered a top prospect, but he has a good batting eye and was even showing a little power before his promotion. He's worth a look in AL-only leagues, with Orlando Cabrera becoming nothing more than waiver fodder. Chris Nelson is a former top prospect who has managed to get back on the Rockies' radar this year. Of course, that might not be such good news for Fantasy owners. His recent starts at second base have left few at-bats for Eric Young and Jonathan Herrera . Young probably has the highest ceiling of the three with his base-stealing ability, but as usual, the Rockies don't seem interested in clearing a spot for him. Nelson probably isn't worth owning outside of NL-only leagues. He's a free-swinger with marginal power.
Must-Start Options: Robinson Cano , Dustin Pedroia , Ian Kinsler , Ben Zobrist , Rickie Weeks , Brandon Phillips , Chase Utley
Ben Zobrist : .375 (15 for 40), 2 SBs, 1.044 OPS, 5 BBs, 5 Ks in 10 games
Ruben Tejada : .420 (10 for 23), 2 2Bs, 4 BBs, 0 Ks during seven-game hit streak
Chase Utley : .320 (8 for 25), 1 HR, 1 SB, .993 OPS, 5 BBs, 5 Ks in six games
Aaron Miles : .591 (13 for 22), 2 2Bs, 7 RBI, 1.265 OPS in six games
Dustin Pedroia : .556 (10 for 18), 4 2Bs, 1 SB, 6 BBs, 1 K in five games
Michael Young : .159 (7 for 44), no extra-base hits, 1 BB, 12 Ks in 10 games
Neil Walker : .115 (3 for 26), 1 HR, 1 SB, .464 OPS in eight games
Worth a second look
Danny Espinosa (45 percent started): Epinosa has had a tendency to put up points in bunches this year, scoring over 20 Head-to-Head points in four separate weeks, and if the splits have anything to say about it, he'll add to that tally this week. The Nationals face three left-handers in their six games this week. Espinosa, a switch-hitter, has a .302 batting average and .978 OPS against lefties compared to .181 and .641 against righties. He also has a respectable .856 OPS over his last 16 games, so he's clearly a player to get active at second base.
Jemile Weeks (8 percent): Weeks doesn't have nearly as much power as his brother Rickie in Milwaukee, but he has developed a good batting eye in the minors and will probably be in a position to steal some bases for the Athletics. He might only be up for as long as Mark Ellis is on the DL with a hamstring injury, but his upside is high enough that he's a worthwhile sleeper in AL-only and deeper Rotisserie leagues.
Approach with caution
Michael Young (94 percent started): In most formats, you wouldn't even think of benching Young, but he does have several factors working against him this week. Not only is he in a prolonged slump, but he's scheduled to face four hot pitchers in CC Sabathia , Tommy Hanson , Derek Lowe and Jair Jurrjens . That is, if he gets the opportunity. See, the Rangers are in an NL park for three of their six games, and though Young could spell Mitch Moreland at first base or Ian Kinsler at second for any of those games, the slump puts him at risk of playing only three or four games this week. Take an extra moment to weigh your alternatives at the position.
Ryan Raburn (10 percent): When the Tigers traded Scott Sizemore to the Athletics and declared Raburn their starting second baseman, it sounded like a big win for the Fantasy owners who had been stashing Raburn all season, hoping he'd eventually cash in on his sleeper appeal. But he's batting .200 with a .559 OPS, striking out every third at-bat, and losing more and more playing time to slap hitter Ramon Santiago . He has been a monumental disappointment offensively, and because he's a liability defensively, you have to wonder how many more opportunities the Tigers will give him. At this point, Jemile Weeks , Omar Infante and even a notoriously low-end player like Alexi Casilla all have more sleeper appeal than Raburn.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka , who has been out since the first week of the season with a broken leg, will play three minor-league rehab games beginning Sunday and then return to the active roster mid-week. You obviously wouldn't want to activate him in Fantasy, but now is the time to put in a claim for him if you need an extra middle infielder. We still don't know yet how well his game will translate to the U.S., but he was a good contact hitter and base-stealer in Japan. Plus, he'll be taking over at shortstop when he returns, with Alexi Casilla moving over to second base.
As if taking their cue from the Padres, the Royals promoted prospect Mike Moustakas from the minors late Thursday and installed him as their starting third baseman. His arrival bumped Wilson Betemit to the bench and Mike Aviles to the minors, but it'll pay off in the long run for Fantasy owners. Moustakas hit 36 homers with a .999 OPS in two minor-league stops last year. His numbers weren't quite as good at Triple-A Omaha this year, and you shouldn't be surprised if he struggles at first. But third base is such a weak position that he's worth a flier even in mixed leagues. The Athletics have apparently given up on Kevin Kouzmanoff , optioning him to the minor leagues Monday. Adam Rosales and Scott Sizemore will split time at third base, but neither would be a factor in mixed leagues even if playing every day. Some goes for Matt Carpenter , a low-upside player who has been getting the majority of the playing time at third base for the Cardinals. Then again, he can't be much worse than Daniel Descalso , can he?
Must-Start Options: Jose Bautista , Evan Longoria , Kevin Youkilis , Alex Rodriguez , Adrian Beltre
Alex Rodriguez : .297 (11 for 37), 4 HRs, 10 RBI, 1.098 OPS in 10 games
Mark Reynolds : .333 (8 for 24), 5 HRs, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 1.426 OPS in seven games
Adrian Beltre : .435 (10 for 23), 1 HR, 1.196 OPS, 2 BBs, 0 Ks in six games
Chone Figgins : .138 (13 for 94), two extra-base hits, 0 SBs, 5 BBs, 18 Ks in 24 games
Kevin Youkilis : .194 (12 for 62), 1 SB, .550 OPS, 6 BBs, 12 Ks in 16 games
Casey McGehee : .081 (3 for 37) in 11 games
Ryan Roberts : .179 (7 for 39), 2 HRs, 1 SB, 2 BBs, 12 Ks in 10 games
Worth a second look
Mark Reynolds (71 percent started): After a couple of false starts over the first couple months, Reynolds finally seems to be putting together a legitimate hot streak, which means he could rattle off a bunch of homers in a short period of time. Even with the slight risk of him missing a game at the beginning of the week with a bruised forearm, you'll want to get Reynolds active if for no other reason than because he's a notoriously streaky player showing signs of a long overdue course correction, as his abnormally low BABIP would suggest.
Chase Headley (49 percent): Headley recently had a 16-game hitting streak snapped, and not surprisingly, it happened at home. He's a .243 hitter with a .691 OPS at home compared to .299 and .820 on the road. The Padres hit the road for all six of their games this week, including three at Colorado right out of the gate, so Headley has a chance to get another hot streak going. If you need a third baseman, he'll do for now.
Approach with caution
Ryan Roberts (70 percent started): We've been so preoccupied with Roberts' playing time this season that we've kind of overlooked just how unlikely he was to maintain his starter-worthy pace. Sure enough, his numbers are beginning to look rather ordinary. He's still a viable option at a weak position, but with tough matchups this week against the Giants and White Sox rotations, he might have a hard time snapping out of this funk.
Justin Turner (43 percent): Turner is a low-upside player who only got to be owned in so many Fantasy leagues because of the lack of alternatives at third base. Now that his hot streak appears to be over, with him batting .195 (8 for 41) over his last 10 games, you might want to scope out the waiver wire again. Even when he was hot, he wasn't providing much power, and with the Mets on the road for four games to begin this week, he's unlikely to turn it around all of a sudden. He's batting only .238 on the road compared to .343 at home.
Ryan Zimmerman (abdominal) and Pablo Sandoval (wrist) are both on rehab assignments and projected to return Tuesday. You have to expect some rust for both players considering the time they've missed, so if you have viable alternatives at third base, sitting Zimmerman and Sandoval one more week wouldn't be such a bad idea. Then again, if you've been struggling to find a replacement all this time, you wouldn't be wrong to activate them right away.
Dee Gordon pretty much led the prospect charge this week, coming up to replace the injured Rafael Furcal (oblique) on Monday. Gordon is considered a bit raw still, but he managed to hit .315 at Triple-A Albuquerque. His speed alone is reason to take a flier on him in Fantasy. Brandon Crawford , who has produced marginal numbers while starting at shortstop, will apparently remain the starter even when Pablo Sandoval returns at third base. Looks like Miguel Tejada isn't going to be of much use.
Must-Start Options: Troy Tulowitzki , Jose Reyes , Asdrubal Cabrera , Jimmy Rollins , Alexei Ramirez , Elvis Andrus
Jose Reyes : .433 (29 for 67), 1 HR, 5 3Bs, 5 2Bs, 17 runs scored, 3 SBs in 15 games
J.J. Hardy : .406 (13 for 32), 4 HRs, 1.268 OPS in nine games
Alcides Escobar : .471 (8 for 17), 2 2Bs, 1 SB, 1.088 OPS in five games
Troy Tulowitzki : .500 (9 for 18), 1 HR, 10 RBI, 1 K in four games
Jed Lowrie : .160 (8 for 50), three extra-base hits, .472 OPS, 4 BBs, 7 Ks in 12 games
Jimmy Rollins : .161 (5 for 31), 1 HR, 2 SBs, .547 OPS in nine games
Erick Aybar : .160 (4 for 25), one extra-base hit, 0 SBs, .400 OPS in seven games
Worth a second look
J.J. Hardy (41 percent started): Hardy has become a bit of an afterthought in Fantasy after back-to-back down seasons, but as recently as 2008, he was considered one of the better up-and-coming shortstops, hitting 20-plus homers in consecutive seasons. With his recent power surge, he looks like he's regaining that form, which shouldn't be too surprising considering he's only 28. At the weak shortstop position, why wouldn't you take a chance on him?
Dee Gordon (20 percent): Speed doesn't slump, which is why Gordon should generate more interest among Fantasy owners than the average minor-league call-up would. It's such an important aspect of his game that he's almost guaranteed to steal a bunch of bases even if he has trouble getting on base. And if his transition to the majors is a smooth one, watch out. Again, at shortstop, you have to consider him just for the upside.
Approach with caution
Jed Lowrie (40 percent started): Lowrie has been in and out of the lineup recently with a banged-up shoulder, and though the Red Sox don't plan to hold him out for more than a game or two to start the week, that shoulder still probably won't be feeling too great. With Marco Scutaro back from the DL and pushing him for at-bats and an assortment of aces like James Shields , Jeremy Hellickson , David Price , Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo on the schedule, it's shaping up to be a pretty crummy week for Lowrie. You'll want to save him for a week he's facing a bunch of left-handers.
Alex Gonzalez (33 percent): Gonzalez's power numbers are decent, but with a free-swinging approach and a so-so supporting cast, he isn't producing much in Fantasy. After scoring more than 20 Head-to-Head points in three of the first five weeks, Gonzalez has scored less than 10 points in three of the last five despite a .286 (32 for 112) batting average during that stretch. He's probably not much use to mixed-league owners.
Hanley Ramirez , who is out with a strained back, went 5 for 8 during a rehab assignment and rejoined the team Sunday. He should return to the lineup Tuesday. Despite his slow start, the alternatives at the position are scarce enough that you'll probably want to give him the benefit of the doubt and activate him ... Ian Desmond sat out Sunday's game with leg soreness that has been affecting his mobility. Because he hasn't contributed much more than stolen bases this season, his mobility is a big part of his Fantasy value. Even if he returns to the lineup Tuesday, you can't necessarily trust him to put up his usual numbers. If you were already on the fence about him, this injury should give you all the excuse you need to sit him.
Vernon Wells returned Tuesday after missing a month with a strained groin. He's back to playing left field every day, with Howie Kendrick moving back to second base, but with the Angels traveling to an NL park June 17-19, he could find himself on the bench for a brief period of time. Then again, the Angels have used Wells a few times in center, so Peter Bourjos could be the odd man out instead. Both are risky starts this week. Brent Lillibridge has started eight of the last 10 games for the White Sox, but now that Alex Rios ' mental break is over, the at-bats might be a little harder to come by. Lillibridge has decent upside, but he has performed a bit over his head so far. You can leave him for AL-only leagues. Charlie Blackmon looks like the favorite to get at-bats in Colorado with Dexter Fowler sidelined by a strained abdominal. He wasn't considered an elite prospect, but his minor-league numbers are good enough for you to give him a look in NL-only leagues. The Rays keep experimenting with players other than Sam Fuld in left field, giving Justin Ruggiano some starts now. That's probably better news for Desmond Jennings than Ruggiano, though. You have to think the Rays will call up their top prospect sooner than later. The Dodgers outrighted Jay Gibbons and optioned Jerry Sands to the minors Thursday, leaving them with a fearsome combination of Tony Gwynn and Marcus Thames in left field. Clearly, neither of these players matters outside of NL-only leagues.
Must-Start Options: Jose Bautista , Ryan Braun , Matt Kemp , Carlos Gonzalez , Carl Crawford , Josh Hamilton , Lance Berkman , Andrew McCutchen , Shane Victorino , Justin Upton , Jacoby Ellsbury , Curtis Granderson , Jay Bruce , Carlos Quentin , Drew Stubbs , Andre Ethier , Nelson Cruz , Giancarlo Stanton , Ben Zobrist
Michael Morse : .350 (28 for 80), 8 HRs, 25 RBI, 1 SB, 1.134 OPS in 20 games
Jacoby Ellsbury : .400 (28 for 70), 3 HRs, 8 SBs, 1.077 OPS in 16 games
Carlos Quentin : .340 (16 for 47), 5 HRs, 15 RBI, 1 SB, 1.211 OPS in 13 games
Matt Kemp : .439 (18 for 41), 7 HRs, 19 RBI, 1.584 OPS in 11 games
Andrew McCutchen : .474 (18 for 38), 1 HR, 1 SB, 1.207 OPS during 10-game hit streak
Brennan Boesch : .474 (18 for 38), 4 HRs, 1.392 OPS in nine games
Melky Cabrera : .353 (12 for 34), 2 HRs, 3 SBs, 4 BBs, 2 Ks in eight games
Austin Jackson : .389 (14 for 36), 3 3Bs, 2 2Bs, 1 SB in eight games
Jose Tabata : .588 (10 for 17), no extra-base hits in four games
Ichiro Suzuki : .174 (19 for 109), four extra-base hits, 3 SBs, .467 OPS in 27 games
Melvin Upton : .115 (7 for 61), 1 HR, 5 SBs, .424 OPS, 23 Ks in 19 games
Domonic Brown : .147 (5 for 34), 1 HR, 1 SB, .521 OPS in 10 games
Colby Rasmus : .115 (3 for 26), no extra-base hits in eight games
Matt Joyce : .111 (3 for 27), one extra-base hit, .342 OPS, 8 Ks in seven games
Shin-Soo Choo : .120 (3 for 25) in seven games
Jason Bay : .042 (1 for 24), 10 Ks in seven games
Rajai Davis : .038 (1 for 26), .151 OPS in seven games
Jayson Werth : .130 (3 for 23), one extra-base hit in six games
Worth a second look
Logan Morrison (76 percent started): Fantasy owners were quick to pull the plug on Morrison during his first slump of the season, but with a .318 (7 for 22) batting average and one homer over his last six games, he appears to have pulled himself out of it. Patient hitters with high contact rates like him rarely slump for long. You'll want him active when he heats up during the Marlins' eight games this week.
Grady Sizemore (72 percent): As he works his way back from knee surgery, Sizemore has had a harder time finding his form against lefties, batting just .121 with a .497 OPS against them. Needless to say, his numbers look pretty good otherwise. He may seem to be in a slump now, but the six righties on schedule this week should help change that, especially since some of them are A.J. Burnett , Brad Penny and Jeff Karstens . You shouldn't be so quick to bench Sizemore in Fantasy.
Johnny Damon (60 percent): Damon has hit safely in 20 of his last 24 games, batting .320 (31 for 97) during that stretch, which is reason enough to give him a look in Fantasy. Factor in the Rays' matchups this week against pitchers like Phil Coke , Tim Wakefield , Brad Hand and Chris Volstad , and he clearly has plenty of sleeper appeal. You shouldn't feel obligated to get him in your lineup, but if you're short an outfielder, he should fill the need.
Nyjer Morgan (10 percent): Morgan has been playing consistently against right-handed pitchers and hitting like it's 2009 with a .306 (15 for 49) batting average in 15 games since returning from a broken finger. A platoon player like him doesn't have a ton of value in mixed leagues, but with six right-handers on the schedule this week, he should provide some short-term help in batting average and steals.
Ben Revere (6 percent): Denard Span is on the DL with what could be another case of the inner-ear disorder that sidelined him for a few weeks in 2009, but the Twins haven't missed a beat with Revere, who has hit .295 (13 for 44) with three stolen bases in 10 games while filling in for Span and Jason Kubel , who is on the DL with a sprained foot. Clearly, Revere doesn't figure to lose at-bats anytime soon, and with a skill set similar to Span's, he's worth a look even in deeper mixed leagues while playing regularly.
Approach with caution
Ichiro Suzuki (84 percent started): Ichiro is the kind of player you would have never imagined yourself sitting when you drafted him, but in shallower leagues with no shortage of outfield options, you could make a case to go without him this week. He's in the slump of a lifetime, and with matchups against the Angels and Phillies pitching staffs, his chances of turning it around this week aren't so hot. A hit here and there won't cut it. You need multi-hit games from a singles hitter like him, and that's a lot to ask right now.
Corey Hart (86 percent): Hart has been off and on since returning from an oblique injury in late April, and the matchups might have a lot to do with it. He has hit three of his six homers against lefties and has a 1.098 OPS against them compared to .735 against righties. With only one lefty on the schedule in a seven-game week, you shouldn't necessarily feel obligated to sit him, but it wouldn't be a crazy idea either.
Bobby Abreu (80 percent): Abreu has just a .696 OPS against left-handers and hasn't been seeing pitches nearly as well against them, striking out 25 times compared to just nine walks. The Angels face lefties in four of their six games this week, and with three of those games in an NL park, Abreu could end up spending some time on the bench. Despite his hot hitting lately, he's a risky start in mixed leagues.
Nick Markakis (58 percent): Markakis had a big game Friday, but he's still hitting mostly singles and batting only .185 (10 for 54) over his last 13 games. After the disappointment of last year, when he finished with a dozen homers to rank in the middle of the pack at the position, you shouldn't feel obligated to activate him whenever he has a nice game. Frankly, he has a long way to go to reclaim must-start status.
Jason Bay (24 percent): Bay hasn't been a productive Fantasy option in nearly 500 at-bats now, and with manager Terry Collins talking about giving him some time off, he may be losing his grip on the starting job as well. Not only should you have him out of your Fantasy lineup, but you should also be thinking about dropping him.
Matt Joyce , who has finally cooled off a little at the plate, has recently missed time with a sore shoulder and was out of the lineup again Sunday against the Orioles and left-hander Brian Matusz . With another lefty on schedule Monday ( Phil Coke ), manager Joe Maddon suggested Joyce might sit out another game. The Rays are likely just taking advantage of the opportunity to give him some extra rest, so you can probably count on him to play close to a full week. The added risk makes him less than a must-start option, though ... After returning from lower back spasms Saturday, Hunter Pence was out of the lineup again Sunday, but the Astros say they were just giving him some extra rest. He's probably safe to start in Fantasy, but back issues are tricky enough that he's anything but automatic ... Martin Prado , who was already dealing with a bruised knee, was diagnosed with a staph infection Friday and had to go on the 15-day DL. Matt Young and Joe Mather figure to split time in his absence, but in a platoon role, neither player will get a chance to make much of an impact even in NL-only leagues ... Josh Willingham , who was able to start six straight games, was out of the lineup Sunday with continued soreness in his Achilles' tendon. It was probably just a day off more than anything else, though. If you're relying on Willingham as a fourth or fifth outfielder, you shouldn't have any doubts about his availability for this week ... Alfonso Soriano , who has been out since May 30 with a quadriceps injury, will begin a rehab assignment Sunday, which means he has a pretty good chance of returning sometime this week. Of course, it'll likely be closer to the end of the week than the beginning, which means you should continue to sit him. Blake DeWitt will likely go to the bench when Soriano returns ... Cameron Maybin (knee) began a rehab assignment this weekend and is expected to return as early as Monday. But since he's just a low-end option in mixed leagues when healthy, you wouldn't want to roll the dice on him ... After leading us to believe Magglio Ordonez would return from his ankle injury last Monday, the Tigers are now estimating he'll return this Monday. That can't make you feel too comfortable. Truthfully, his ankle will probably never be the same coming off surgery at age 37, so you shouldn't be waiting on pins and needles for him in mixed leagues. Andy Dirks ' future hangs in the balance, however ... The Cardinals are talking like Matt Holliday will be ready to return from the DL when eligible June 16, but as many times as he's been out of the lineup with the same quadriceps injury, you wouldn't want to gamble on him for half a week's worth of numbers. That said, you probably shouldn't have his replacement, Jon Jay , active either ... Jason Heyward (shoulder) doesn't have much of a chance of returning this week, but he's at least taking batting practice again and should begin a rehab assignment in the next few days.
|vs. Pelfrey||vs. Norris||vs. Happ||vs. Rodriguez||vs. Tomlin||vs. Carrasco||vs. Masterson|
|When Masterson is the toughest pitcher on the schedule during a seven-game week, it can only be a good thing.|
|vs. Duke||vs. Hamels||vs. Halladay, Kendrick||vs. Lee||vs. Davis||vs. Cobb||vs. Shields|
|Eight-game week makes up for tough Phillies series. At least the Marlins catch the back end of Tampa's rotation.|
|vs. Burnett||vs. Verlander||vs. Penny||vs. Scherzer||vs. Correia||vs. Maholm||vs. Karstens|
|Some big names here, but Verlander the only scary matchup, really. Pirates staff usually serves up some runs.|
|--||vs. Maya||vs. Hernandez||vs. Lannan||vs. Paulino||vs. Mazzaro||vs. Duffy|
|Only six games, but matchups too tasty to resist. Seriously, who's the ace here? Paulino? Hernandez?|
|vs. Coke||vs. Wakefield||vs. Beckett||vs. Buchholz||vs. Hand||vs. Nolasco||vs. Volstad|
|Beckett, Buchholz, Nolasco make it look tough, but the rest you could argue don't even deserve rotation spots.|
|vs. Haren||vs. Weaver||vs. Santana||--||vs. Oswalt||vs. Worley||vs. Hamels|
|As if the Mariners didn't have a hard enough time producing already, this week they get Cy Young central.|
|--||vs. Shields||vs. Hellickson||vs. Price||vs. Marcum||vs. Wolf||vs. Gallardo|
|With Hellickson and Gallardo stepping up, Wolf is the only pitcher here you wouldn't consider a high-end option.|
|--||vs. Sabathia||vs. Nova||vs. Noesi||vs. Hanson||vs. Lowe||vs. Jurrjens|
|Six games on the road could make it long week for Rangers hitters, especially the beginning and end.|
|--||vs. Duffy||vs. Hochevar||vs. Francis||vs. Lincecum||vs. Sanchez||vs. Cain|
|Big drop-off from Rangers, but if Royals can mount any resistance, Giants should deliver finishing blow.|
|vs. Nolasco||vs. Cain||vs. Bumgarner||vs. Vogelsong||vs. Danks||vs. Humber||vs. Floyd|
|Had to resort to seven-game week here. No aces, but no weak links either, especially with first four.|
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