Week 14 Hitting Planner
Gary Sheffield is back with a bang while Evan Longoria and Carlos Delgado went bananas last week. Our Scott White takes a closer look in his Week 14 Hitting Planner.
The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every Saturday, we provide you with favorable and unfavorable matchups, along with news and notes on lineups. The Pitching Planner, complete with upcoming two-start pitchers, will be posted on Sunday.
Don't forget to check out our Weekly Planner page, under the stats tab on your league pages. It has the weekly matchups for each team broken down by day, the number of games ahead for each team, and finally, the hitting and pitching stats for each team (broken down by home and away).
Weather planner: Taking into account all games with at least a 50 percent chance of precipitation according to Weather.com, the following games are in danger of being rained out: Washington at Florida (50 percent chance) on Monday and Washington at Florida (50 percent chance) on Wednesday.
This week's news and notes for each team:
Arizona Diamondbacks: Back playing in NL parks for the first time with both Eric Byrnes and Chad Tracy healthy, the Diamondbacks have too many hitters to work into the lineup at once. Early indications have them rotating Justin Upton , Conor Jackson , Mark Reynolds and Tracy between right field, first base and third base. Upton has managed to avoid a minor-league assignment for now, but the Diamondbacks might still opt to send the 20-year-old down if they decide they don't like him getting irregular at-bats ... After a mostly slow June, Orlando Hudson has shown small signs of breaking out, batting .417 (5-for-12) in the three games leading up to Saturday.
Atlanta Braves: The Braves have too many injuries, hot streaks and cold streaks for paragraph form to do them justice. Let's examine their entire lineup spot by spot:
|1.||Gary Sheffield , DH/OF, DET||29|
|2.||Josh Willingham , OF, FLA||20|
|3.||Rickie Weeks , 2B, MIL||17|
|4.||Eric Byrnes , OF, ARI||17|
|5.||Mike Aviles , SS, KC||15|
|6.||Clint Barmes , SS, COL||15|
|7.||David DeJesus , OF, KC||14|
|8.||Carlos Pena , 1B, TB||13|
|9.||Jeff Keppinger , SS, CIN||13|
|10.||Chris Davis , 3B, TEX||11|
, SS -- Escobar
reportedly can't swing a bat after jamming his shoulder diving back to a
base Tuesday. The Braves have acknowledged he might have to go on the DL
and called up
start in his place.
2. Kelly Johnson , 2B -- The Braves second baseman has moved back to No. 3 in the batting order with Chipper Jones nursing a quadriceps injury. He's batted .281 (9-for-32) in the spot.
3. Chipper Jones , 3B -- Jones still hasn't returned from the latest aggravation of his quad injury, having not played defense since June 20. The Braves have acknowledged he has a chance of going on DL, but they've said also said he might return Tuesday against the Phillies. Sounds like a real headache, doesn't it? Unless you have another next-to-elite third baseman, you probably can't afford to bench a Fantasy stud like Chipper.
4. Mark Teixeira , 1B -- Fortunately for the Braves, Teixeira has stepped up his play in Chipper's absence, homering again Saturday to give him six in his last six games. He's batting .450 (9-for-20) over that stretch, giving his Fantasy owners an early indication he'll have his usual monster second half.
5. Brian McCann , C -- McCann has fallen into a little bit of a slump, batting 2-for-15 over his last four games, but nothing to drop him from the No. 1 perch at his position.
6. Jeff Francoeur , RF -- The free-swinging outfielder continues to struggle despite wearing a contact lens in his right eye. He's batting .136 (3-for-22) over his last seven games and shouldn't start in any mixed leagues right now.
7. Gregor Blanco , CF -- The rookie has assumed the leadoff spot with Jones and Escobar out of the lineup and batted .615 (8-for-13) over his last three games. He has enough speed for NL-only use.
8. Brandon Jones , LF -- Jones is a decent prospect who's compiled a .300 batting average and .500 slugging percentage during 50 mostly streaky at-bats. Mark Kotsay might return Tuesday, but he doesn't have the upside to make him worth the risk outside of deeper NL-only leagues.
Baltimore Orioles: Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts have each had a blistering month of June after beginning the season slowly. Markakis entered Saturday with a .347 batting average and .998 OPS. Roberts entered with a .359 batting average and seven stolen bases. You wouldn't ever normally bench either of these guys, but if you have them benched now, you've obviously fallen asleep at the wheel.
Boston Red Sox: Coco Crisp will begin serving a five-game suspension, reduced from seven, on Saturday after the MLB office took its sweet time ruling on his appeal. He won't return until Thursday at the Yankees, giving him only half a week's worth of production. You should probably start someone else in mixed leagues ... J.D. Drew has slowed down considerably since last Saturday, batting 2-for-19 (.105). Both of the hits, though, went over the fence, giving reason to think he hasn't totally lost his form from earlier in the month. Keep him active ... Dustin Pedroia entered Saturday batting .500 (13-for-26) over his last seven games and has nestled himself just behind the elite class of Fantasy second basemen.
Chicago Cubs: Jim Edmonds entered Saturday with five home runs in his last six games but batting only .278 (5-for-18) over that stretch, meaning you probably shouldn't go scrambling to the waiver wire for him just yet ... With Alfonso Soriano sidelined, the Cubs have lately opted to play Mark DeRosa in the outfield, giving light-hitting second baseman Mike Fontenot everyday at-bats. Of course, they could change their tune once they return to NL parks and lose the DH.
Chicago White Sox: For those who soured on Carlos Quentin when he had his first slump of the season in early June, the 25-year-old has caught fire again at the plate. He hit .458 (11-for-24) in seven games leading up to Saturday, when he connected for his 18th homer. No White Sox, though, is hotter than Jermaine Dye , who also homered Saturday to give him eight in his last 12 games. Start both.
Cincinnati Reds: Early-season surprise Jerry Hairston is back playing shortstop and leading off, moving Jeff Keppinger over to third base for now. Hairston has the better Fantasy value of the two because of his stolen-base potential, but you can't expect him to hit over .300 all season ... Manager Dusty Baker said Edwin Encarnacion , out with back spasms for much of the week, will likely return Sunday, meaning he looks safe to start for Fantasy Week 14. Of course, he's hitting only .241 and might lose at-bats to Keppinger. Leave him for NL-only leagues.
Cleveland Indians: After a hot first few weeks, Ben Francisco has started to lose some momentum at the plate, batting .172 (5-for-29) in nine games leading into Saturday. You couldn't expect a player who spent so many years in the minors to have consistent success in the majors. Treat him as a low-end Fantasy option ... Speaking of low-end Fantasy options, Jamey Carroll , a slap-hitting utility infielder pressed into starting at second base, went 3-for-4 Friday to raise his batting average over the last seven games to .440 (11-for-25). He's nothing more than a stopgap, though, in AL-only leagues.
Colorado Rockies: Middle infielders Troy Tulowitzki (quadriceps) and Clint Barmes (knee) haven't exactly set the world on fire since returning from the DL, with Tulowitzki batting .130 (3-for-23) and Barmes batting .143 (2-for-14). Feel free to reserve them until they find their form. Meanwhile, the Rockies keep trying to find a spot for Jeff Baker , who manned second base with Barmes sidelined. They started him at first base over Todd Helton on Friday, but he'll likely remain nothing more than a utility player.
Detroit Tigers: Gary Sheffield (oblique) has come off the DL with a bang, going into Saturday with two home runs and a four-hit game in his first four games back. He still has a lot of work to do get his batting average back to a respectable level, but he looks worthy of starting in mixed leagues again ... Curtis Granderson has seriously upped his performance over his last seven games, batting .586 (17-for-29) with a home run and two four-hit games over that stretch. He's making a push to re-enter the elite rank of outfielders ... With Marcus Thames slowing down his home-run production lately, the Tigers have begun giving Clete Thomas at-bats against right-handed pitchers. Think of both as merely AL-only options.
Florida Marlins: Dan Uggla sprained his ankle Saturday and might miss a few games at the beginning of Fantasy Week 14. He leads the majors in home runs, but if you have a decent alternative, go with it ... Over the last 14 days, Jeremy Hermida is hitting .333 (16-for-48) with two home runs and showing signs of playing like he did in the second half last year, when he hit .340 with 10 home runs. Get him back active in mixed leagues ... Cody Ross continues to get semi-regular at-bats and slowly lift his batting average out of the low .200s, batting .300 (6-for-20) over his last six games. His power potential makes him worth a flier in Rotisserie leagues.
Houston Astros: Carlos Lee has cooled off again after a brief power surge, batting .235 (4-for-17) over his last five games. He remains a must-start, though ... Don't expect a new leaf for David Newhan as he fills in for Kazuo Matsui (hamstring) at second base. The career .253 hitter isn't worth adding in any league.
Kansas City Royals: The Royals called up DH Billy Butler from Triple-A Omaha on Saturday, where the top prospect hit .337 with five home runs in 101 at-bats. His role is unclear right now, but you can bet the Royals didn't call him up to sit him on the bench. Take a flier on him in all leagues ... Light-hitting first baseman Ross Gload has suddenly come to life, batting .476 (10-for-21) in the seven days leading up to Saturday. You can use him as a stopgap in AL-only leagues, but don't expect him to hit well for long. Mark Grudzielanek returned Friday from his most-recent four-game absence with a back injury. He'll likely have another four-game absence in the next week or two.
L.A. Angels: Vladimir Guerrero (illness) returned to the lineup Friday, so he appears completely over his ailment. Maicer Izturis , meanwhile, does not, having missed five games with a hamstring injury. Erick Aybar looks like the full-time shortstop again and is the better play going forward ... Chone Figgins , who recently came back from a hamstring injury, missed Friday's game with an infection in his knee. The Angels call him day to day, but an infection that forces anyone to miss even one game sounds pretty serious. Don't be surprised if he sits out beyond this weekend.
L.A. Dodgers: Delwyn Young has emerged as Andre Ethier platoon partner with Andruw Jones (knee) on the disabled list. With neither player getting full-time at-bats, leave both for NL-only leagues ... Russell Martin , who hit .356 in May, has turned up the power in June, connecting for four home runs, including two in the last seven days. He has hit .333 over that stretch.
|1.||Detroit Tigers||@MIN3, @SEA4|
|2.||Chicago Cubs||@SF4, @STL3|
|3.||L.A. Dodgers||@HOU4, @SF3|
|4.||Baltimore Orioles||KC4, TEX3|
|5.||Atlanta Braves||PHI3, HOU3|
Milwaukee Brewers: If he left any doubters after his 20-20 season last year, even they would agree that Corey Hart has officially broken out. His two home runs Friday give him four over the last seven days and eight in the month of June ... Rickie Weeks , stuck around the Mendoza line all season with decent power and speed numbers, has hit .350 (7-for-20) in five games since coming off the disabled list. He has the upside to hit at least .250 or .260, so get him back active in all leagues.
Minnesota Twins: Brian Buscher , a 27-year-old rookie, has taken hold of the starting third-base job, batting .375 through his first 48 at-bats. He has an outstanding batting eye, walking more times (three) than he's struck out (two). When going this well, he deserves to start in all AL-only leagues ... Delmon Young is back playing every day with the Twins back playing in AL parks. Of course, the fact they chose to bench him shows just how far his stock has fallen since the beginning of the season. He still has amazing upside, but you shouldn't trust him as more than a No. 4 Fantasy outfielder.
N.Y. Mets: Ryan Church looks like he'll come off the disabled list Sunday, meaning he might finally be over his May 20 concussion after his false start off the DL earlier in June. The 29-year-old breakout has mashed all season and deserves an immediate activation in all leagues. Trot Nixon appears the likely candidate to drop out of the starting lineup, considering his .177 batting average in 34 at-bats ... Moises Alou (calf) will begin a rehab assignment, setting up a possible return next weekend, but he's not the kind of player you start for half a week in Fantasy.
N.Y. Yankees: Bobby Abreu has already made up for his 2-for-33 slump, going 10-for-20 with two home runs and three stolen bases since the slump ended. Get the potential 20-20 man back active if you benched him ... Robinson Cano is showing early signs of his usual second-half breakout, batting .444 (8-for-18) with two home runs in four games entering Saturday.
Oakland Athletics: Ryan Sweeney sat Friday with a sprained ankle. He'll miss at least the weekend, but if his injury forces him to miss any more time, the Athletics might turn to Travis Buck , who has more upside ... Eric Chavez continues to sit off and on with soreness in his right shoulder. Considering he had offseason surgery on both shoulders, you can't like this development. He's probably not worth the trouble outside of AL-only leagues, especially considering he hasn't hit 30 home runs in a season since 2002 ... Top prospect Carlos Gonzalez looks like he's finding his footing in the majors, batting .333 (7-for-21) with a home run and a stolen base over the last seven days. Get him active in AL-only leagues.
|1.||Cleveland Indians||@CHW3, @MIN3|
|2.||Oakland Athletics||@LAA3, @CHW4|
|3.||Seattle Mariners||TOR3, DET4|
|4.||New York Mets||@STL4, @PHI3|
|5.||San Diego Padres||@COL3, @ARI3|
Philadelphia Phillies: Reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins has gone ice cold at the plate, batting .103 (3-for-29) over his last seven games. You wouldn't bench a 30-30 middle infielder ever, but if you somehow have another stud at the position, feel free ... Jayson Werth has begun to get regular at-bats again even though he continues to struggle against right-handed pitchers. We've gone down this road before, and it ends at cliff. Leave him for NL-only leagues.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Xavier Nady (shoulder) returned to the starting lineup Thursday during a game that got rained out. The Pirates used him as a pinch hitter Friday, but he got back in the lineup Saturday. If he hits well over the weekend, go ahead and activate him, but keep in mind shoulder injuries sometimes affect power ... Jose Bautista continues to hit well in June, batting .333 with two home runs over the last seven days. He has hit five of his nine home runs in the month and is slowly becoming mixed-league viable.
San Diego Padres: Kevin Kouzmanoff has returned from a back injury, making the Chase Headley -in-the-outfield plan a full-go. The rookie homered in the role Friday, but he's hitting only .250 overall.
San Francisco Giants: Rich Aurilia and Jose Castillo , two players normally reserved for deeper NL-only leagues, have hit well in June, batting .348 and .295 respectively. Aaron Rowand , meanwhile -- normally a No. 3 Fantasy outfielder in mixed leagues -- is batting only .228 for the month. Reserve him until he heats up again.
Seattle Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki continues to hit well below his career average, batting .290 this season and .269 (7-for-26) over the last seven days. Considering he usually performs much better in the first half, you have to feel a little concerned if you own him in Fantasy. Still, he remains a must-start because of his 33 stolen bases.
St. Louis Cardinals: Troy Glaus still has the occasional good game -- like his 3-for-4, home-run performance at Kansas City on Friday -- but they've become much fewer and farther between. He remains one of the more streaky players in baseball, so reserve him until he gets hot again ... Rick Ankiel , coming off a two-homer game Wednesday, has gone only 2-for-9 since. You want to keep him active in Rotisserie for those power surges, but you obviously don't like to deal with the inconsistencies.
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria , one of the most desirable rookies in Fantasy this season, has gone crazy at the plate lately, emerging as the hottest player in Fantasy over the last week. He has four home runs in his last five games and is batting .625 (10-for-16) over his last three. Obviously, you want him active right now ... Longoria's recent exploits have somewhat overshadowed Carl Crawford . The longtime Fantasy stud is starting to play like it again, hitting three home runs in his last three games to put him on pace for 16. He's batting .429 (15-for-35) over his last eight games.
Texas Rangers: Josh Hamilton (knee, hand) and Milton Bradley (quadriceps) finally appear over their injuries and remain two of the better Fantasy outfielders. Have no reservations about starting them again ... Chris Davis , a 22-year-old power prospect, homered in his first start Friday, but he also struck out three times. The Rangers talk like he'll go back to the minors as soon as Hank Blalock comes off the DL, so don't go crazy over him in Fantasy. If anything, he'll just rob Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Max Ramirez of at-bats over the next week.
Toronto Blue Jays: Scott Rolen appears to have found his power stroke again, doubling his season total with three home runs over the last seven days. He's batting .333 during that stretch and is a decent stopgap corner infielder ... Joe Inglett is by no means a Fantasy stud, but new manager Cito Gaston seems to like him playing every day at second base. And why not? He came into Saturday batting .421 (8-for-19) over his last five games. Ignore him in mixed leagues, but pick him up if you need an extra middle infielder in AL-only formats.
Washington Nationals: Aaron Boone (knee) returned to the lineup and started at third base Friday. He doesn't have the offensive upside to make an impact outside of NL-only leagues ... Austin Kearns , who had surgery to remove bone fragments from his elbow in late May, is on rehab assignment and might return this week, likely forcing Wily Mo Pena to the bench. Don't consider starting either outside of NL-only leagues this week, but Kearns could develop mixed-league appeal before season's end ... Paul Lo Duca had to leave a game recently for dizziness, further solidifying Jesus Flores place in the starting lineup. He continues to move up the catcher rankings and deserves a flier in all leagues.
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