Week 18 Fantasy Hitting Planner
With the trade deadline a thing of the past, how are lineups shaping up for Fantasy Week 18 and beyond? Our Scott White shares his recommendations for the upcoming scoring period in his Hitting Planner.
The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with news and notes for each team, tracking hot and cold players, injuries and lineup changes.
All statistics are up to date as of Sunday, Aug. 1.
Schedule: WAS4, SD3
Heating Up: After a 4-for-37 (.108) stretch in the middle of July caused many Fantasy owners to lose faith in him, Miguel Montero is batting .529 (9 for 17) with two homers over his last four games. If you're struggling to find a good catcher, you might want to make sure he's not available in your league. Justin Upton has yet to go hitless since the All-Star break and is batting .397 (25 for 63) with two homers and two stolen bases during a 16-game hitting streak. Obviously, you should have a five-category performer like him active.
Cooling Off: Gerardo Parra is getting most of the playing time in left field but hardly doing anything to justify it, batting .080 (2 for 25) over his last 10 games. He's looking like a low-end option even in NL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Diamondbacks face three left-handers this week. Rusty Ryal is now the platoon partner for Parra, so you can expect him to start against the lefties.
Lineup Changes: The Diamondbacks traded Chris Snyder to the Pirates on Saturday, allowing Montero to get the clear majority of the starts behind the plate. Even more reason to like him as a sleeper this week.
Schedule: NYM3, SF4
Heating Up: Omar Infante , getting extra playing time with Martin Prado injured, has multiple hits in three straight games, batting .538 (7 for 13) during that stretch. His ability to hit over .300 makes him a decent stopgap even in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Troy Glaus has gone 31 games without a homer and is batting just .125 (5 for 40) over his last 11. He was out of the starting lineup Sunday and might lose some playing time with Rick Ankiel in town. Considering his history of streakiness, you have to hope the Braves stick with him, but you obviously wouldn't want to start him now. Alex Gonzalez is showing why the Blue Jays were so content to get rid of him, going hitless in his last 15 at-bats. You can probably do better in mixed leagues this week.
Injury Concerns: Prado broke the second knuckle on his right ring finger sliding into home Friday and will miss at least a week. His chances of contributing anything in Fantasy this week are next to nothing, so make sure he's out of your starting lineup.
Platoon Possibilities: The Braves face three left-handers this week, which means newly-acquired Rick Ankiel might have to sit three times, most likely in favor of Melky Cabrera .
Lineup Changes: The Braves acquired Ankiel from the Royals on Saturday and will likely give him most of the starts in center field, bumping light-hitting Cabrera to the bench, at least against right-handers. Ankiel has intriguing power, but as a platoon player, he's just an NL-only option. Infante will get most of the starts at second base in Prado's absence.
Schedule: LAA3, CHW3
Heating Up: Brian Roberts , who has played just about every day since returning from a herniated disc in his back July 23, already seems to be back up to speed, batting .346 (9 for 26) with two doubles and a stolen base during a six-game hitting streak. Time to get him active.
Cooling Off: Luke Scott went from carrying your Fantasy team one week to killing it the next, batting .056 (1 for 18) over his last five games. His streakiness makes him impossible to trust from week to week. Adam Jones is back to doing more harm than good after a June hot streak, batting .212 (7 for 33) over his last nine games. Sit him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Orioles face two left-handers this week, but their lineup changes have little to do with the handedness of the opposing pitcher.
Lineup Changes: The Orioles traded Miguel Tejada to the Padres on Thursday and called up power-hitting prospect Josh Bell to man third base every day. Bell's numbers at Triple-A Norfolk were no better than decent, and even the Orioles aren't convinced he's ready to contribute, saying they'll use the rest of this season to "evaluate" him for next year. Despite his potential, you shouldn't bother adding him outside of AL-only leagues.
Boston Red Sox
Schedule: CLE4, @NYY3
Heating Up: David Ortiz seems to have recovered from his post-break slump, batting .308 (12 for 39) with four homers during a nine-game hitting streak. Because the Red Sox face mostly right-handers this week, he's a safe start in mixed leagues. Marco Scutaro has already validated his worth in mixed leagues as the leadoff hitter for the Red Sox, but he's looking especially useful lately, batting .500 (9 for 18) with two homers over his last four games.
Cooling Off: J.D. Drew has just one multi-hit game in his last 12, batting .205 (8 for 39) during that stretch. He's the kind of player you only use when streaking.
Injury Concerns: Jacoby Ellsbury , who has missed all but nine games with a rib injury, has been rehabbing for about a week and could potentially return sometime this week. Since the Red Sox have yet to establish a clear return date, you'd be taking a big risk by starting him. He'll probably be rusty at first anyway.
Platoon Possibilities: The Red Sox face one lefty this week, which means Ryan Kalish will likely sit once for Darnell McDonald .
Lineup Changes: The Red Sox designated Jeremy Hermida for assignment Saturday and called up prospect Kalish to take his place. Kalish likely becomes the new platoon partner for McDonald and has enough OPS potential to deserve an immediate flier in AL-only leagues. Victor Martinez is back from a thumb injury and has three straight two-hit games. Get him active in all leagues. The Red Sox acquired Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Rangers on Sunday, but he's just a minor-leaguer right now.
Schedule: MIL3, CIN3
Heating Up: Starlin Castro has been a hit machine since the All-Star break, batting .413 (26 for 63) with a homer and four stolen bases in 15 games. He lacks power at age 20, but when he's going this well, it doesn't matter. Tyler Colvin , who seems to have the starting right-field job all to himself now, is batting .310 (9 for 29) with three homers over his last eight games. If you need cheap power, look no further.
Cooling Off: Geovany Soto is batting .125 (2 for 16) over his last five games, but if you've owned him all year, you know better than to sit him. Alfonso Soriano is batting .213 (10 for 47) over his last 14 games and is looking like just a low-end mixed-league option at this stage of his career.
Injury Concerns: Aramis Ramirez was out of the lineup Sunday with a recurrence of the thumb injury that sidelined him for three weeks earlier in the season, which might explain why he's batting .071 (1 for 14) over his last four games. If you have safer options, go with them instead.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cubs face three left-handers this week, which would have been bad news for Colvin, but he seems to be playing against both lefties and righties now.
Lineup Changes: The Cubs acquired Blake DeWitt in the deal that sent Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Cubs. DeWitt figures to assume Theriot's starting spot at second base. He has some potential but hasn't hit for enough power this year to matter outside of deeper NL-only leagues.
|1.||Andres Torres , OF, Giants||64|
|2.||Miguel Montero , C, Diamondbacks||64|
|3.||Scott Rolen , 3B, Reds||63|
|4.||Brian Roberts , 2B, Orioles||58|
|5.||Juan Pierre , OF, White Sox||50|
|6.||Starlin Castro , SS, Cubs||54|
|7.||Raul Ibanez , OF, Phillies||59|
|8.||Stephen Drew , SS, Diamondbacks||59|
|9.||Scott Podsednik , OF, Dodgers||62|
|10.||Chris Johnson , 3B, Astros||24|
Chicago White Sox
Schedule: @DET4, @BAL3
Heating Up: Juan Pierre is doing his best to prove he can still hit a little bit, batting .476 (10 for 21) with four stolen bases over his last six games. If your league heavily rewards steals, don't forget about him. The White Sox's middle infield of Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham continues to reaffirm itself, with Ramirez batting .481 (13 for 27) with two homers and two steals over his last seven games and Beckham batting .412 (7 for 17) with a homer over his last five. Both are worth starting in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Alex Rios is batting just .174 (4 for 23) over his last six games, but considering his five-category potential, you wouldn't even think of sitting him.
Injury Concerns: Mark Teahen , who has been out since May 30 with a fractured right middle finger, began a rehab assignment for Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday. But with Dayan Viciedo hitting .571 (8 for 14) over his last four games, you have to wonder how much of a role Teahen will play when he returns. Leave him for AL-only leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The White Sox don't face a single left-hander this week, which means Andruw Jones might get left out of the picture entirely. Mark Kotsay usually starts against the righties.
Lineup Changes: Viciedo's hot hitting has earned him much of the playing time at third base over Omar Vizquel lately, but the lefty-loaded schedule might have helped. Keep an eye on how the White Sox divide at-bats between the two going forward.
Schedule: @PIT3, @CHC3
Heating Up: Joey Votto is batting .514 (18 for 35) with four homers over his last eight games, which is impressive even by his standards. Start him, obviously.
Cooling Off: Drew Stubbs , who got off to a hot start after the All-Star break, is going nowhere right now, batting .029 (1 for 34). Until he becomes more consistent, he doesn't belong in your starting lineup. Jonny Gomes is notoriously streaky, so his .162 (6 for 37) batting average over his last nine games shouldn't be a surprise. You have no reason to consider him right now in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Reds face two lefties this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Scott Rolen , who missed nine games with a strained hamstring, has looked good in four games since returning, batting .643 (9 for 14) with a homer. Clearly, you should get him active again.
Schedule: @BOS4, MIN3
Heating Up: Shin-Soo Choo , who chose to put off surgery on his sprained right thumb, seems to have made the right decision. He's batting .371 (13 for 35) with six doubles in nine games since returning and is back to being a must-start option.
Cooling Off: Carlos Santana is still too valuable to sit at the weak catcher position, but he's getting colder and colder in July, batting .161 (5 for 31) over his last nine games. Matt LaPorta , who appeared on the verge of a breakout when he first returned to the majors in late June, has gone silent of late, batting .133 (4 for 30) over his last nine games. No reason to hang on to him in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Travis Hafner has already missed three games with a sore right shoulder, and the Indians haven't ruled out putting him on the DL. Considering his history of shoulder woes, you should do your best to avoid him, not that he has any value outside of AL-only leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Indians face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Indians traded Austin Kearns to the Yankees on Friday. Shelley Duncan started in his place Saturday and would be the most-likely candidate to replace him. He offers some cheap pop but doesn't have the upside to matter outside of AL-only leagues. The team also moved Jhonny Peralta earlier in the week to reopen a spot for Jayson Nix , himself a contributor of cheap pop. Luis Valbuena , back in the majors, might also factor at third base.
Schedule: SF2, @PIT4
Heating Up: Carlos Gonzalez might be the hottest player in baseball right now. He hit for the cycle Saturday and has homered in four straight games, batting .667 (12 for 18) during that stretch. Poor plate discipline or not, this guy needs to be in your lineup.
Cooling Off: Ian Stewart homered in his last game Friday but is batting just .133 (2 for 15) over his last four games and is still too streaky to be an every-week option in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: Dexter Fowler looked like he'd have sleeper appeal this week, but he needed help off the field after slamming into the fence on a leaping catch Sunday. Knowing how seriously teams treat concussions these days, you probably shouldn't roll the dice on him. Todd Helton , who is on the DL with a back injury, has begun a rehab assignment and could potentially return this week, but he might have to fend off Brad Hawpe and Jason Giambi for at-bats. He's looking like just an NL-only option at this stage of his career.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rockies face four left-handers this week, making it a bad time to start Seth Smith . He typically sits for Ryan Spilborghs against the lefties.
Lineup Changes: The Rockies haven't given up on Hawpe just yet. He may not have a spot in the outfield anymore, but he has started four of the last five games at first base and has homered twice during that stretch. Unfortunately, you can't pick him up in mixed leagues just yet because nobody knows how the return of Helton will affect his playing time.
Schedule: CHW4, LAA3
Heating Up: Will Rhymes , who is starting at second base with Carlos Guillen sidelined by a calf injury, is showing he can at least make a little contact, batting .364 (8 for 22) over his last five games. Still, his lack of upside limits his appeal to AL-only leagues. Miguel Cabrera is batting .447 (21 for 47) with four homers over his last 13 games, but you'd start him regardless.
Cooling Off: Someone must have kidnapped Brennan Boesch during the All-Star break because the guy who showed up in his jersey clearly isn't the same player. He's batting .102 (6 for 59) with no homers in 16 games and is quickly falling out of favor in mixed leagues. You should do your best to hang on to him, but you wouldn't want to start him right now.
Injury Concerns: Johnny Damon sat out both Friday and Saturday with back spasms -- a nagging injury that always seems to take longer than it should to heal. Consider he's no longer a must-start even when healthy, you probably shouldn't take any chances on him this week.
Platoon Possibilities: The Tigers face two left-handers this week, which means Don Kelly will likely earn the majority of the starts in left field over Ryan Raburn .
Lineup Changes: The Tigers acquired Jhonny Peralta from the Indians on Wednesday and will start him at third base with Brandon Inge sidelined by a broken hand. He wasn't hitting particularly well in the same role for the Indians, so your approach to him shouldn't change. Scott Sizemore , who was the initial replacement for Inge, is back in the minors. Magglio Ordonez fractured his ankle early in the week and will miss most of the season. Kelly and Raburn will likely split time in his absence, though neither is hitting well enough to matter in mixed leagues.
Schedule: PHI3, STL3
Heating Up: So much for that second-half slump for Dan Uggla . The slugging second baseman is batting .343 (12 for 35) with a ridiculous seven homers over his last nine games and is clearly a must-start still. Giancarlo Stanton isn't quite as hot, but his three homers in eight games are still impressive given his inexperience. If your league heavily penalizes strikeouts, you should probably steer clear of him, though.
Cooling Off: After a red-hot June, Gaby Sanchez has had a mostly quiet July. He's batting just .120 (3 for 25) over his last six games and doesn't have the upside to deserve a starting spot in Fantasy when struggling. Hanley Ramirez is also struggling, batting .125 (3 for 24) over his last six games, but you'd never bench him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Marlins don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, not that it matters since they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Marlins have a new left fielder in Logan Morrison , who replaces the injured Chris Coghlan , and a new third baseman in Wes Helms , who replaces the departed Jorge Cantu . Morrison, a rookie, has plenty of upside, but he has yet to develop much power at his young age. Helms has power but has never had much success in a full-time role. You can leave both for NL-only leagues.
Schedule: @STL3, @MIL3
Heating Up: Chris Johnson is making the Astros look ridiculous for keeping him in the minor leagues for so long, batting .451 (23 for 51) with four homers during a 14-game hitting streak. His poor plate discipline makes him hard to trust in mixed leagues, but he at least has some sleeper appeal. Hunter Pence is doing his best to become the face of the franchise, batting .406 (13 for 31) with two homers over his last seven games. He's not exactly a must-start, but he's an advisable one now.
Cooling Off: Michael Bourn has just one hit in his last 15 at-bats and is batting .175 (10 for 57) over his last 15 games. You'd have to be desperate for steals to start him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Astros face one left-handed pitcher this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Astros traded Lance Berkman to the Yankees on Friday and acquired prospect Brett Wallace in a separate trade. Wallace has taken over as the team's starting first baseman and has good power potential, but he's too unproven for mixed-league use.
|1.||Domonic Brown , OF, Phillies||24|
|2.||Andres Torres , OF, Giants||18|
|3.||Chris Johnson , 3B, Astros||18|
|4.||Neil Walker , 2B, Pirates||15|
|5.||Luke Scott , OF, Orioles||13|
|6.||Brett Wallace , 1B, Astros||13|
|7.||Jon Jay , OF, Cardinals||13|
|8.||Danny Valencia , 3B, Twins||13|
|9.||Logan Morrison , 1B, Marlins||10|
|10.||Angel Pagan , OF, Mets||9|
Kansas City Royals
Schedule: @OAK3, @SEA3
Heating Up: Wilson Betemit has fared well as the team's starting third baseman, batting .364 (12 for 33) over his last nine games. He has enough power potential to matter in AL-only leagues but is unlikely to emerge as a mixed-league option at this stage of his career.
Cooling Off: Jose Guillen , who was hot for much of June and the beginning of July, has slowed down since the All-Star break, batting .121 (4 for 33) over his last nine games. Given his streaky nature, you should probably avoid him for now. Mike Aviles is clearly a better player than he was before Tommy John surgery last year, but he has yet to reestablish himself as a mixed-league option, batting .189 (10 for 53) over his last 15 games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Royals face three lefties this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Royals traded Rick Ankiel to the Braves and lost David DeJesus (thumb) for the season, leaving their outfield wide open. Gregor Blanco and Mitch Maier could both end up playing every day, though Willie Bloomquist might factor as well. None of these players has the upside to matter outside of deeper AL-only leagues.
Schedule: @BAL3, @DET3
Heating Up: Alberto Callaspo has hit safely in five straight games, batting .350 (7 for 20). Of course, he has only one extra-base hit during that stretch, making him not all that enticing in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Erick Aybar , who hit well enough at the end of June and beginning of July to start in mixed leagues, is batting .056 (1 for 18) over his last six games. He's not exactly a must-sit, but since he's a borderline option to begin with, you might as well scout out other options. Torii Hunter is hitless in his last 15 at-bats, but he has been steady enough this season for you to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Injury Concerns: Jeff Mathis has been feeling the aftereffects of a collision with Chris Davis a while back. Don't bother with him this week. He's just an AL-only option even when healthy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Angels face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Mathis' injury has allowed Maicer Izturis to play every day at second base, bumping Howie Kendrick to first and Mike Napoli to catcher. But since Mathis' condition is still up in the air, you can't trust Izturis to get any more at-bats this week than he normally does.
Schedule: SD4, WAS3
Heating Up: No player is exceeding expectations right now.
Cooling Off: James Loney is batting .133 (6 for 45) over his last 12 games, dropping his season batting average from .309 to .289. His lack of home-run power already makes him a fringe option at the crowded first-base position. If you have viable alternatives, you might want to turn to them now. Andre Ethier is batting .093 (4 for 43) over his last 13 games, but considering how good he can be, you should probably stick with him. Casey Blake is batting .067 (1 for 15) over his last five games, but he hasn't been a viable mixed-league option all year.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Dodgers face four left-handers this week, but they no longer have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: On Wednesday, the Dodgers acquired Scott Podsednik to fill the void of Manny Ramirez , who is on the DL with a strained calf. Podsednik will bat leadoff for now and will still get enough playing time to matter in Rotisserie leagues, where his stolen bases have plenty of value. The Dodgers also snagged Ryan Theriot in the Ted Lilly deal. He'll likely start for the departed Blake DeWitt at second base.
Schedule: @CHC3, HOU3
Heating Up: After five inconsistent, injury-plagued seasons, Rickie Weeks is finally living up to his elite potential, batting .321 (9 for 28) with three homers during a seven-game hitting streak. Clearly, he should be starting in all leagues.
Cooling Off: The Brewers' two other must-start options, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder haven't fared as well lately, with Braun batting .128 (6 for 47) over his last 12 games and Fielder batting .167 (3 for 18) over his last six. Despite their struggles, you can't honestly considering sitting players of their caliber. Carlos Gomez , on the other hand, is looking like a must-sit. He hasn't made the most of Jim Edmonds ' absence, batting .091 (2 for 22) over his last seven games.
Injury Concerns: Edmonds has missed six straight games with an Achilles' injury. Considering he's a 40-year-old platoon player, you have no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Platoon Possibilities: The Brewers face two left-handers this week, which in the past would have meant Edmonds would sit twice for Gomez. With Edmonds hurting, though, Gomez figures to start against both the righties and lefties.
Lineup Changes: None.
Schedule: @TB4, @CLE3
Heating Up: After flirting with the title over the first three months, Delmon Young is now officially a must-start in Fantasy. He's batting .434 with six home runs in July and .511 (23 for 45) with three home runs during a 10-game hitting streak. Michael Cuddyer has a hit streak of his own, batting .349 (22 for 63) with one homer during a 15-game stretch. Surely you can find a place to start him; he qualifies at three positions. Joe Mauer is beginning to look like the player who won the AL MVP last year, batting .500 (14 for 28) with two homers over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Jason Kubel has been unreliable all season and hardly seems worth using now. He's batting .135 (5 for 37) over his last 10 games.
Injury Concerns: Mauer got a cortisone shot in his sore right shoulder Saturday and was expected to miss two games, so you can expect him to be out of the lineup Monday at Tampa Bay. You can survive one game without an elite player like him, though. Keep him active. Justin Morneau , who has been out with a concussion since July 7, will take batting practice Sunday and potentially begin a rehab assignment this week. Even if he does return sometime this week, he likely won't get enough at-bats to make a contribution in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Twins face one lefty this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: With Orlando Hudson (oblique) and Nick Punto (hamstring), both going on the DL in the last week, Alexi Casilla and Danny Valencia get a chance to play every day. Both know how to handle the bat, but neither has much power. Leave them for AL-only leagues.
Schedule: @ATL3, @PHI3
Heating Up: If you still don't recognize the need to start Angel Pagan , you probably never will. The breakout outfielder is batting .474 (9 for 19) with a homer and a steal over his last five games. Jose Reyes is back to playing like one of the top leadoff men in the game, batting .333 (19 for 57) with a homer and a steal during a 12-game hitting streak. David Wright has gotten back on track after a rough start to the second half, batting .571 (8 for 14) with two homers over his last three games.
Cooling Off: Josh Thole , who is getting most of the starts behind the plate with Rod Barajas sidelined by an oblique injury, is batting .100 (2 for 20) over his last nine games. Considering his only plus category is batting average, you should probably reserve him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mets face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Jason Bay had to go on the DL because of a concussion he suffered July 23, opening the door for Jeff Francoeur to play every day again. Francoeur still has all the same shortcomings that caused him to lose his job in the first place, so you shouldn't rush out to claim him in mixed leagues.
Schedule: TOR3, BOS3
Heating Up: Curtis Granderson , who has been nothing but a disappointment this season, is making his first real contribution since April, batting .342 (13 for 38) with three homers and a steal over his last 11 games. He's still less than a must-start in Fantasy, but if you ever hope to use him, now's a good time. Robinson Cano , who has emerged as the best second baseman in Fantasy this season, is showing no signs of slowing down, batting .444 (8 for 18) with three homers over his last four games.
Cooling Off: Alex Rodriguez 's mostly disappointing season hasn't gotten any better lately. He's batting .125 (3 for 24) over his last six games. You can't sit a player with his kind of potential, though. Same goes for Mark Teixeira , who has cooled off after a hot start to July, batting .150 (3 for 20) over his last six games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Yankees face one left-hander this week, but now that they have Lance Berkman starting at DH, they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Yankees acquired Berkman from the Astros on Friday and have made him their regular DH, ending the platoon between Juan Miranda and Marcus Thames , with Miranda going back to the minor leagues. Berkman has had a down year, but he can only improve from the supporting cast the Yankees offer. His OPS potential makes him worth using in mixed leagues still. The Yankees also acquired Austin Kearns from the Indians. He might spell Granderson or Brett Gardner occasionally against lefties.
Schedule: KC3, TEX3
Heating Up: Rajai Davis looks like he might have another big second half in him. He's batting .471 (8 for 17) with three stolen bases over his last four games and deserves a look in all leagues that heavily reward steals. Coco Crisp hasn't been quite as hot with the bat, but he does have five stolen bases and a .406 on-base percentage over his last seven games, showing he has some mixed-league appeal of his own. Kurt Suzuki is batting .393 (11 for 28) with two homers over his last seven games, but he's a must-start at the weak catcher position.
Cooling Off: The Athletics' middle infield has been an embarrassment since the All-Star break. Cliff Pennington is batting .133 (4 for 30) over his last 10 games, and Mark Ellis is batting .125 (4 for 32) over his last 10.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Athletics face one left-hander this week, which means Matt Carson will likely replace Gabe Gross once. Then again, as often as the Athletics change their starting lineup, who really knows?
Lineup Changes: None.
|1.||White Sox||@DET4, @BAL3|
Schedule: @FLA3, NYM3
Heating Up: Raul Ibanez , who has been a disappointment all season, is showing he might still have some life in his 38-year-old bat, batting .417 (15 for 36) with three home runs during a 10-game hitting streak. This wouldn't be the first year he bounced back from a rocky first half, so you wouldn't be wrong to take a flier on him. Jayson Werth , who had been relatively quiet since May, is suddenly making noise again, batting .483 (14 for 29) with two homers over his last nine games. Keep him active.
Cooling Off: Ryan Howard , who came out of the break blazing, has since cooled off, batting .100 (2 for 20) over his last five games. You normally wouldn't sit him, but considering he's dealing with an ankle injury, it's at least feasible.
Injury Concerns: Howard left Sunday's game with a sprained ankle. Manager Charlie Manuel doesn't think he'll have to go on the DL, but you have to figure he'll miss at least half of the upcoming week. He might still be worth starting, depending on your other options. Ibanez was scratched early Sunday with a sore left wrist, making him less than a sure start this week. He has apparently been dealing with the injury for a while, though, so he probably won't miss too much time.
Platoon Possibilities: The Phillies face four left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Phillies called up top prospect Domonic Brown to replace Shane Victorino , who went on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained left oblique. Brown was considered the top hitting prospect in the minor leagues at the time of his promotion, so he's worth a flier even in mixed leagues.
Schedule: CIN3, COL4
Heating Up: Jose Tabata may only be 21, but he's proving he belongs in the major leagues. He has hit safely in 14 of 15 games since the All-Star break, batting .391 (25 for 64) with two stolen bases during that stretch. If you play in a league that heavily rewards steals, you need to pick him up. Neil Walker isn't quite as hot, but for a player who qualifies at a middle-infield position, he's worth a look, batting .350 (7 for 20) with two homers over his last five games.
Cooling Off: Pedro Alvarez has cooled off since his post-break power surge, batting .042 (1 for 24) over his last seven games. Lastings Milledge is also trending the wrong direction, batting .129 (4 for 31) over his last nine games. Both look like just NL-only options.
Injury Concerns: Ryan Doumit , who is on the DL with a concussion, has resumed baseball activities and could potentially return Sunday. Since he wouldn't play any more than one game this week, you should keep him reserved in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Pirates face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Pirates acquired Chris Snyder from the Diamondbacks on Saturday and will start him at catcher until Doumit returns. He'll likely steal starts from Domit after that, so he remains a No. 2 catcher in mixed leagues.
San Diego Padres
Schedule: @LAD4, @ARI3
Heating Up: Yorvit Torrealba is batting .435 (20 for 46) with a homer and two steals during a 13-game hitting streak and might even have some mixed-league appeal if he didn't have to sit so often for Nick Hundley .
Cooling Off: Will Venable may be healthy again, but he isn't playing like it, batting .120 (3 for 25) over his last 10 games. You'd have to be pretty desperate for steals to use him in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Padres face two left-handers this week, which means Venable and Tony Gwynn will likely get more starts than Chris Denorfia and Scott Hairston .
Lineup Changes: The Padres upgraded their lineup before the trade deadline, acquiring Miguel Tejada from the Orioles and Ryan Ludwick from the Cardinals. Both figure to play every day, with Tejada moving back to shortstop, bumping Everth Cabrera to the bench, and Ludwick crowding an already crowded outfield rotation of Venable, Denorfia, Gwynn and Scott Hairston . Other than Cabrera, nobody's Fantasy value really changes much with these moves.
San Francisco Giants
Schedule: @COL2, @ATL4
Heating Up: Andres Torres , who is off to a good start in the second half, has been especially hot over his last five games, batting .476 (10 for 21) with one homer and two stolen bases. With 10 homers, 19 steals and an .881 OPS on the season, how can he be sitting in Fantasy?
Cooling Off: Edgar Renteria is playing almost every day but isn't convincing anyone he still has something to offer, batting .143 (3 for 21) over his last six games. Pablo Sandoval is having a hard time hitting his weight right now, batting .161 (5 for 31) over his last eight games. In the midst of this disappointing season, he's not beyond sitting in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Juan Uribe sat out Saturday's game with a tight right hamstring and could miss a few more. He has hit pretty well lately, but if you're the cautious type, you'll avoid him this week.
Platoon Possibilities: The Giants don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, which hardly matters since they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.
Schedule: TEX3, KC3
Heating Up: Chone Figgins is having his best offensive stretch of the season, collecting multiple hits in four of his last seven games. He's batting .357 (10 for 28) with two stolen bases during that stretch. He's overdue for a course correction after an awful first half, so you might want to consider starting him this week.
Cooling Off: Franklin Gutierrez 's batting average has dropped from .277 to .247 in the month of July. He's batting .138 (4 for 29) over his last eight games and is clearly too cold for mixed-league use.
Injury Concerns: Jose Lopez missed a fourth straight game with a hamstring injury Saturday. Since he's batting only .236 on the season, the threat of him going on the DL makes him not worth the trouble.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mariners face two left-handers this week, don't have any clear lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Mariners optioned struggling Justin Smoak to the minor leagues Saturday, allowing Russell Branyan and Casey Kotchman to play every day. Branyan can get hot enough to matter in mixed leagues, but Kotchman is one of the lightest-hitting first basemen in the game.
St. Louis Cardinals
Schedule: HOU3, @FLA3
Heating Up: Jon Jay , who will likely have first crack at the starting job in right field now that Ryan Ludwick is gone, is batting .425 (17 for 40) over his last 12 games. He was never a huge prospect but has put up good numbers in the minors. He's worth adding in NL-only leagues and might even be worth an add in deeper mixed leagues this week.
Cooling Off: Felipe Lopez , who continues to start at third base in place of David Freese , is batting .206 (7 for 34) over his last nine games. He's the kind of player you only start when hot.
Injury Concerns: Freese, who has been out since the end of June with a broken big toe, will begin a rehab assignment Monday. He could potentially return before the end of the week, but he's not worth activating for a partial week.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cardinals face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Cardinals traded Ludwick to the Padres on Saturday, creating an opportunity for Jay to get regular playing time. Randy Winn and Nick Stavinoha might also factor in the mix, but the exact distribution of at-bats is unclear right now.
Tampa Bay Rays
Schedule: MIN4, @TOR3
Heating Up: Matt Joyce has homered three times over his last six games. He is batting just .250 (5 for 20) during that stretch, but still, the power potential is good enough for AL-only leagues.
Cooling Off: Evan Longoria is batting .138 (4 for 29) over his last nine games, but you'd never sit a stud like him. Jason Bartlett , on the other hand, is plenty benchable, especially when he's in the middle of a 3-for-18 (.167) stretch.
Injury Concerns: Ben Zobrist hasn't played since Wednesday because of back stiffness. He has reported some improvement, but those back injuries can be tricky. If you have viable alternatives, you might want to go with them instead. Carlos Pena left Saturday with a sore right foot, which is all the excuse you need to sit him considering he's batting .212 on the year.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rays face two lefties this week, which means Joyce will likely sit twice for Gabe Kapler . That's why he's just an AL-only option.
Lineup Changes: None.
Schedule: @SEA3, @OAK3
Heating Up: Nelson Cruz has suddenly become the focal point of the Rangers lineup, batting .385 (30 for 78) with four homers and five steals during a 19-game hitting streak. His injuries are frustrating, but when healthy, he's a Fantasy stud.
Cooling Off: Bengie Molina is batting just .114 (4 for 35) over his last 12 games. No matter what or where he plays, that's not going to cut it in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: Josh Hamilton was out of the lineup Saturday with tendinitis in his right knee. He might miss a game or two more, but the injury doesn't sound like something that'll sideline him for weeks at a time. Considering how hot he's been the last two months, you have to keep him active.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rangers face three left-handed pitchers this week, which means Jorge Cantu will get at least three starts. Mitch Moreland will get most of the starts against righties.
Lineup Changes: The Rangers have once again lost confidence in Chris Davis at first base, trading for Cantu and promoting Moreland from the minor leagues. The two will split at-bats, which pretty much limits both to AL-only leagues. The team also acquired Cristian Guzman at the deadline, and he'll fill in at second base with Ian Kinsler sidelined by a groin injury.
Toronto Blue Jays
Schedule: @NYY3, TB3
Heating Up: Just when you thought he couldn't possibly get any better, Jose Bautista has, batting .591 (13 for 22) with five homers over his last six games. In a season of unprecedented performances, July has topped the list. He's batting .347 (34 for 98) with 11 homers for the month.
Cooling Off: John Buck is still having by far the best season of his career, but his performance over his last six games hasn't been inspiring. He's batting .217 (5 for 23) during that stretch. That's no reason to sit him if you rely on him on a week-to-week basis, though.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Blue Jays don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons anyway.
Lineup Changes: Travis Snider returned from the minors Friday after missing 2 1/2 months because of a wrist injury, but he has yet to start a game. Fred Lewis established himself as the team's leadoff hitter in Snider's absence, so the 22-year-old will have to fight for at-bats. You can leave him for AL-only leagues.
Schedule: @ARI4, @LAD3
Heating Up: Nyjer Morgan , who had a huge second half last year, is batting .321 (18 for 56) with eight stolen bases in the second half this year. Safe to say he's worth a flier, particularly if you need stolen bases. Ian Desmond , who recently had a 6-for-39 (.154) stretch, seems to be back on track, batting .400 (6 for 15) with a homer and a steal over his last five games. He has been inconsistent during his rookie season, but he has the upside to matter in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Adam Dunn is batting only .167 (7 for 42) over his last 13 games, but he does have two home runs during that stretch. His power potential makes him too valuable to sit in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Nationals face three left-handers this week, which means Roger Bernadina will sit three times for Michael Morse . You should probably avoid him in NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: The Nationals traded Cristian Guzman to the Rangers on Friday, opening the door for Adam Kennedy to play second base every day. His modest steals potential makes him worth owning in deeper Rotisserie leagues.
You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball hitting questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Hitting Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.
Mookie Betts' power binge has him in the running for first overall pick in 2017, but he has...
Yulieski Gurriel made his debut over the weekend, but it was overshadowed by stellar pitching...
The two-start options are lacking in quality this week, according to Scott White, making widely...
The Giants have no shortage of sleepers this week, including Angel Pagan, and Martin Prado...
Brandon Moss' power binge isn't anything new. Scott White looks at one of the most overlooked...
Players like Yasmani Grandal and Gary Sanchez are improving the depth at catcher, according...