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Week 7 Fantasy Hitting Planner

by | Fantasy Writer
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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, May 14.

Catcher

Jorge Posada asked to be taken out of the lineup for Saturday's game against the Red Sox and created a national controversy in the process. Some reports suggest he demanded more than requested the move, which if true, would obviously put him at odds with Yankees management. Posada himself says he's dealing with a stiff back. Considering his .165 batting average, you might want to steer clear of him until this situation reaches some sort of resolution. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman recently said he wants to gradually increase Wilson Ramos' playing time, starting him two and three days in a row instead of every other day. That's obviously bad news for Ivan Rodriguez, but Ramos has the higher ceiling at this point and is the more intriguing option in Fantasy. He's certainly worth owning in two-catcher leagues. Ryan Hanigan has started six of the last 10 games, perhaps earning a split role with Ramon Hernandez. Hard to keep either out of the lineup with the way they've hit lately, but unfortunately, the split role limits their appeal to two-catcher leagues. Carlos Ruiz returned to the lineup Friday after missing 12 games with a back issue. He immediately got a day off Saturday, which is certainly curious, but it supposedly had nothing to do with the injury. His plate discipline makes him a useful option at times, but he was struggling too much before the injury for you to activate him now.

Must-Start Options: Buster Posey, Brian McCann, Victor Martinez, Carlos Santana, Russell Martin

Heating up
Victor Martinez: .468 (22 for 47), 2 HRs, 1.252 OPS in 13 games
Ramon Hernandez: .412 (14 for 34), 3 HRs, 1.164 OPS during nine-game hit streak
Ryan Hanigan: .500 (9 for 18) in five games
Jonathan Lucroy: .500 (7 for 14), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1.390 OPS in four games

Cooling off
Jorge Posada: .153 (11 for 72), three extra-base hits, 20 Ks in 22 games
Mike Napoli: .077 (2 for 26), one extra-base hit, 11 Ks in nine games
Russell Martin: .087 (2 for 23), 1 HR, .467 OPS in seven games
John Buck: .105 (2 for 19), 1 HR in six games

Worth a second look
Kurt Suzuki (75 percent started): Suzuki remains one of the more underrated catchers in Fantasy because of his underwhelming totals and occasional slumps, but he's once again closing in on the top 10 at the position with three homers in his last 12 games. He opens this week with four games at home, where he's batting .309 compared to .200 on the road, so you don't have much incentive to sit him.
Wilson Ramos (20 percent): Ramos' increase in playing time is one thing. His schedule this week against shaky pitchers like Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton, Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey and Chris Tillman is another. The Nationals should put up some good offensive numbers this week, and Ramos could be one of the biggest beneficiaries. He's not a bad choice even in mixed leagues.

Approach with caution
Alex Avila (81 percent started): Avila has emerged as one of the top catchers in Fantasy and is approaching must-start status, so now might seem like an odd time to shy away from him. But with three games in an NL park to close out the week, the Tigers may have to bench Avila to keep Victor Martinez, their usual DH, in the lineup. You have to figure that'll happen at least two of three games at Pittsburgh. It doesn't necessarily mean you should bench Avila, but it's food for thought.
Chris Iannetta (49 percent): The return home has helped Iannetta get back on track at the plate, but the Rockies will spend most of this week on the road, where Iannetta is only a .186 hitter. If that's not bad enough, he's also facing a collection of aces in Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. Sounds like a player to avoid, doesn't he?

Injury concerns
The Cubs placed Geovany Soto on the disabled list Wednesday because of a strained groin. He'll likely miss the minimum 15 days, but you obviously can't use him this week. Koyie Hill will start in his place and has minimal appeal in NL-only leagues.

First base

The Angels announced Wednesday that Kendrys Morales will need another surgery on the leg he fractured last season and miss all of 2011, which is terrible news for the Fantasy owners who invested an early-round pick in him. But it's good news for Mark Trumbo owners, who will now have use of their rookie slugger all season. Of course, he'll probably just continue to do what he's done already, so he isn't necessarily worth adding in leagues where he isn't already owned. The Rays appear to have finally gotten their fill of Dan Johnson at first base, starting Casey Kotchman there 14 of the last 16 games and 19 of the last 24. Kotchman has hit pretty well lately, but his lack of power potential limits his appeal to mixed leagues.

Must-Start Options: Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Mark Teixeira, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Buster Posey, Ryan Howard, Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko

Heating up
Gaby Sanchez: .417 (20 for 48), 4 HRs, 15 RBI, 1.222 OPS in 12 games
Adrian Gonzalez: .389 (14 for 36), 7 HRs, 13 RBI, 1.028 SLG during eight-game hit streak
Adam Dunn: .464 (13 for 28), 2 HRs, 1 SB, 1.246 OPS, 4 Ks in seven games
Paul Konerko: .464 (13 for 28), 2 HRs, 1.246 OPS during seven-game hit streak

Cooling off
Adam LaRoche: .148 (9 for 61), .461 OPS, 21 Ks in 18 games
Billy Butler: .212 (7 for 33), .593 OPS in nine games
Mark Trumbo: .133 (2 for 15) in five games

Worth a second look
Carlos Pena (37 percent started): With a .323 (10 for 31) batting average and three home runs over his last 10 games, Pena is back, folks. Of course, even at his best, Pena is no more a .240 hitter, but that's all the more reason to get him active now, when he's actually performing. He has legitimate 40-homer potential, and those players are getting harder and harder to find.
Brett Wallace (31 percent): Wallace recently hit a bump in the road that may have turned some Fantasy owners off to him, but he has even more recently begun to come back around, batting .385 (5 for 13) over his last four games. The Astros face nothing but right-handers this week, and Wallace is batting .365 with a .973 OPS against righties compared to .241 with a .588 OPS against lefties. His sleeper appeal hasn't worn off just yet.

Approach with caution
Aubrey Huff (54 percent started): Huff has struggled to keep his batting average over the Mendoza line and doesn't get any favors from the schedule this week, facing pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez. He's hardly a lost cause this season, but now isn't the time to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Mitch Moreland (47 percent): Moreland has gotten back on track lately and is even more of a certainty to play every day with Nelson Cruz (quadriceps) now sidelined. But just because he's playing against lefties doesn't mean he's performing against them. His batting average is about 100 points lower against lefties than righties, and he's facing three this week in John Danks, Jeff Francis and Cliff Lee. At a deep position like first base, you can do better.

Injury concerns
Ike Davis sprained his left ankle Tuesday and was forced to go on the 15-day DL. The sophomore slugger had emerged as a high-end option this season, so you'll want to keep him stashed in all leagues. Daniel Murphy will move over from second base to take Davis' place, creating more playing time for Justin Turner at second ... Adam Lind, who has been out since May 7 with back spasms, was too sore to return Friday and will likely sit out through Sunday. The Blue Jays are talking like he could return Monday, but with the nagging nature of his injury, that's obviously not something they can guarantee. Lind was arguably the hottest player in baseball before the injury, but you'd still be taking a fairly big gamble by activating him this week.

Second base

Vernon Wells' groin injury has led to a surprise replacement in left field: second baseman Howard Kendrick. OK, so Kendrick will still have more Fantasy appeal at second base, but the added versatility can only help. With his continued hot start to the season, he's looking more and more like a breakout candidate at age 27 and has more or less earned must-start status at second base.

Must-Start Options: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Dan Uggla, Ben Zobrist, Rickie Weeks, Brandon Phillips, Michael Young, Howard Kendrick, Martin Prado

Heating up
Ben Zobrist: .403 (29 for 72), 5 HRs, 3 SBs, 1.234 OPS, 11 BBs, 13 Ks in 19 games
Michael Young: .478 (11 for 23), 1 HR, 1 3B, 2 2Bs in six games
Brandon Phillips: .450 (9 for 20), 1 HR, 1.055 OPS in five games

Cooling off
Danny Espinosa: .119 (8 for 67), 2 HRs, 2 SBs, .497 OPS, 22 Ks in 19 games
Robinson Cano: .175 (7 for 40), two extra-base hits, .550 OPS in 11 games
Dan Uggla: .118 (4 for 34), 1 HR, .475 OPS, 11 Ks in nine games
Brian Roberts: .111 (4 for 36), no extra-base hits, 1 SB in nine games

Worth a second look
Gordon Beckham (60 percent started): After weeks of misery -- most of it inexplicable -- the White Sox offense finally seems to be coming around, and Beckham is no exception. Granted, he hasn't caught fire yet, but his .286 (10 for 35) batting average in May is certainly a step in the right direction. He has too much upside to stay down for long, so now might be a good time to take a chance on him.
Kelly Johnson (46 percent): Johnson, like Gordon Beckham, has shown small signs of coming around lately, collecting at least one hit in seven of his last eight starts. For a player with his upside, small signs are all you need, especially since the Diamondbacks play all seven of their games at home, where he had a .976 OPS last season.

Most Added Hitters
* as of May 13
Player % increase
1. Melky Cabrera, OF, Royals 26
2. Erick Aybar, SS, Angels 24
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals 21
4. Matt Joyce, OF, Rays 21
5. John Buck, C, Marlins 20
6. Mark Trumbo, 1B, Angels 18
7. Jhonny Peralta, 3B, Tigers 14
8. Chris Iannetta, C, Rockies 13
9. Mitch Moreland, 1B, Rangers 11
10. Alex Avila, C, Tigers 10

Approach with caution
Brian Roberts (75 percent started): Roberts doesn't look like Roberts anymore. He's gone Willie Mays Hayes on us and is hitting everything in the air, which is of course destroying his batting average. And because he's not running the way he used to, he doesn't have much to fall back on. No sense starting him until he turns things around.
Mike Aviles (62 percent): Aviles is still swinging the bat pretty well, but the crowding of the Royals infield isn't going away anytime soon. The Royals have gone back to playing Chris Getz more often at second base, leaving Aviles to alternate starts with Wilson Betemit at third. And even if that changes this week, Justin Masterson, Alexi Ogando, Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia likely won't give Aviles much to hit. He's looking like a risky choice in mixed leagues.

Injury concerns
Orlando Hudson, who has been out since May 3 with a hamstring injury, was set to begin a rehab assignment Sunday and potentially return to the team Tuesday. The Padres wouldn't necessarily activate him at that point, perhaps sending him on a second rehab assignment, so now doesn't seem like the best time to activate Hudson in Fantasy. At age 33, he isn't especially productive anyway, batting just .245 to begin the season.

Third base

Ty Wigginton returned from a strained oblique Friday and immediately took over as the Rockies' starting third baseman, with Ian Stewart going back to the minor leagues. Wigginton doesn't exactly have high-end potential in Fantasy, but he's a legitimate 20-homer threat with enough versatility that you probably have use for him somewhere. He should go unowned in all but shallower leagues. Mainstays Ryan Zimmerman and Pablo Sandoval continue to make progress, but neither is all that close to returning. Zimmerman, who is recovering from abdominal surgery, ran for the first time Friday, which is at least a step -- or several hundred -- in the right direction, but he's still roughly six weeks away. Sandoval, who is recovering from a broken right wrist, fielded grounders Tuesday, but he was still wearing a cast and is also several weeks away. In the meantime, their Fantasy owners will have to mix and match with the latest flavors of the week off the waiver wire.

Must-Start Options: Evan Longoria, Jose Bautista, David Wright, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Martin Prado

Heating up
Danny Valencia: .297 (11 for 37), 1 HR, 1 SB, .825 OPS in 10 games
Maicer Izturis: .364 (16 for 44), 1 HR, 1 SB, .939 OPS during 10-game hit streak
Alberto Callaspo: .441 (15 for 34), 10 RBI, 1.059 OPS, 0 Ks in nine games

Cooling off
Mark Reynolds: .139 (11 for 79), 3 HRs, .544 OPS, 26 Ks in 24 games
David Wright: .186 (11 for 59), 1 HR, 4 SBs, .595 OPS, 17 Ks in 16 games
Pedro Alvarez: .171 (7 for 41), two extra-base hits, .480 OPS, 15 Ks in 13 games
Juan Uribe: .063 (2 for 32), .205 OPS, 9 Ks in nine games

Worth a second look
Maicer Izturis (68 percent started): Izturis still doesn't have a position to call his own, but the Angels have found a creative way to get him in the lineup with Vernon Wells sidelined by a groin injury, starting him at second base and moving Howard Kendrick to left field. Even when they don't go that route, Izturis figures to remain in the lineup by spelling either Alberto Callaspo or Mark Trumbo. His numbers aren't out of this world, but given the shortage of options at third base, he should probably be starting for someone in your league.
Scott Rolen (15 percent): Rolen, who had been out since April 20 with a strained left shoulder, returned to the lineup Friday, sending Edgar Renteria back to the bench. Normally, a 36-year-old in the twilight of his career isn't the kind of player you'd activate fresh off the DL, but Fantasy owners are so desperate for third basemen that Rolen might be one of the better options off the waiver wire. He was making consistent contact and driving in a decent number of runs before getting hurt, which is more than you can say for most of the alternatives.

Approach with caution
Juan Uribe (30 percent started): Uribe has his moments of Fantasy usefulness -- he did hit 24 homers last year, after all -- but he has been down more often than not this season and is in one of his worst funks right now. You can probably do better in mixed leagues, even at a weak position like third base.
Chase Headley (27 percent): Headley hasn't hit especially well this year either, and the five games at home to end the week won't help his chances. Neither will his matchups against pitchers like Daniel Hudson, Yovani Gallardo, Michael Pineda and Felix Hernandez. The Padres rested him because of a minor ankle injury Sunday, but even if Headley was completely healthy, he'd be an inadvisable option in Fantasy.

Injury concerns
David Wright has been dealing with a sore back since April 19 that manager Terry Collins thinks is affecting him at the plate. He sat out Thursday's game but returned with a homer Friday, so you wouldn't want to sit him in Fantasy. He's not necessarily out of the woods yet, though ... Kevin Youkilis continues to battle a hip injury that has flared up a few times this season. He left Saturday's game with tightness in the hip, but according to manager Terry Francona, the move was more precautionary than anything else. Youkilis is probably safe to start this week, and if he's in the lineup Sunday night, it's a no-brainer ... Chipper Jones was a late scratch Sunday with soreness in his right knee (as opposed to his surgically repaired left knee). He isn't expected to miss more than a day or two, so you should probably keep him active at a position with so few alternatives ... Mark Teahen is expected to land on the DL at some point this week with an oblique injury, which would mean more at-bats for rookie Brent Morel. Morel hasn't been productive enough for mixed-league use, though.

Shortstop

The biggest news at shortstop is for a player who might not even contribute this week. Rafael Furcal began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday. He'll bat strictly left-handed as he works his way back from a broken left thumb, but he should be able to bat right-handed within a matter of days. The Dodgers want him to get 25-30 at-bats before returning, so he could potentially return in time for the series at the White Sox to end the week, possibly in a DH role. You probably wouldn't want to roll the dice on him yet, but considering he's one of the few shortstop-eligible players with high-end upside, you should pick him up and stash him. Of course, J.J. Hardy has been making headlines as well, returning from an oblique injury with four hits and a homer Tuesday. Coming off two down years, he's a long shot for a bounce-back season, but he no doubt has some sleeper appeal.

Must-Start Options: Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Derek Jeter, Starlin Castro, Elvis Andrus

Heating up
Erick Aybar: .345 (19 for 55), 1 HR, 6 SBs during 12-game hit streak
Jhonny Peralta: .441 (15 for 34), 4 HRs, 1.382 OPS during 10-game hit streak
Asdrubal Cabrera: .417 (10 for 24), 1 HR, 1 SB, 1.212 OPS in six games
Starlin Castro: .600 (12 for 20), 6 RBI, 1 K in five games

Cooling off
Stephen Drew: .171 (6 for 35), .504 OPS in 10 games
Yuniesky Betancourt: .097 (3 for 31), 1 HR in 10 games
Mike Fontenot: 0 for 15, 5 Ks in four games

Worth a second look
Jhonny Peralta (59 percent started): Peralta's free-swinging ways typically make him just a low-end option in mixed leagues, but when he gets going, he has enough power to make a significant impact. He's going now, and sure enough, he's providing enough homers to make a difference. With favorable matchups against the back end of the Blue Jays rotation and the front end of the mediocre Pirates rotation, he should be able to keep the good times rolling.
Ian Desmond (47 percent): After stealing just 17 bases all of last season, Desmond has become much more aggressive on the base paths this season, swiping 13 bags already. He also has three multi-hit games in his last six, which when combined with his favorable matchups against the Pirates, Mets and Orioles pitching staffs, is plenty of reason to get him active at the weak shortstop position. He was out of the lineup Sunday with a strained quadriceps, but he was reportedly available for the game and should be good to go Monday.

Approach with caution
Erick Aybar (51 percent started): After several mostly disappointing seasons in the majors, Aybar is finally hitting and running the way he did in the minors, which no doubt makes him a sleeper at the weak shortstop position. But he could get a dose of reality this week against Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Derek Lowe. So pick him up and stash him, sure, but you may not want to activate him just yet.
Ryan Theriot (29 percent): Theriot returned from a strained oblique Saturday after missing only two games with the injury. That injury typically ends up much worse than it initially appears, so a setback wouldn't be the least bit surprising. Even if Theriot is able to play without incident, he's probably overvalued in Fantasy right now. He has modest steals potential at best and is batting just .143 (4 for 28) over his last eight games.

Injury concerns
Trevor Plouffe returned to the lineup Friday after missing three games with a strained left hamstring. He has hit well since taking over starting shortstop duties on May 6 and was a decent power hitter in the minors. His upside is still in question, but he's worth a flier in deeper leagues.

Outfield

The Rays have some tough decisions to make as they close out the week with three games in an NL park. Any of Johnny Damon, Sam Fuld and Matt Joyce could sit a game or two, so approach them with caution this week. The Athletics' situation is a little more certain as they head to San Francisco to end the week. Manager Bob Geren has already said Hideki Matsui won't play in NL parks. Andres Torres, who had been out with a strained Achilles' most of the season, returned to the lineup Tuesday, occupying his usual leadoff spot. He offers enough pop and speed to factor in mixed leagues, but the jury is still out on whether or not his breakout 2010 season was a fluke. No need to rush him back into your lineup, especially with the Giants' tough matchups this week. Torres' return means Aaron Rowand goes back to the bench, which should only matter to NL-only owners. Those same owners do have one new option, though, in Laynce Nix, who has started nine of the last 10 games in left field over Michael Morse. He has some pop, but his past opportunities to start have never lasted long. The Mariners finally parted ways with Milton Bradley on Monday, opening the door for rookies Carlos Peguero and Mike Wilson to platoon in left field. Both showed some pop in the minors, but neither has significant enough upside for mixed-league use.

Must-Start Options: Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Shin-Soo Choo, Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton, Andre Ethier, Lance Berkman, Ichiro Suzuki, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Quentin, Ben Zobrist, Curtis Granderson, Drew Stubbs, Jayson Werth, Martin Prado

Heating up
Jason Kubel: .356 (31 for 87), 4 HRs, 1 SB, .989 OPS in 24 games
Jacoby Ellsbury: .378 (34 for 90), 10 2Bs, 9 SBs, .893 OPS in 20 games
Matt Joyce: .451 (23 for 51), 5 HRs, 1 SB, 1.315 OPS in 15 games
Martin Prado: .408 (20 for 49), 4 HRs, 14 RBI, 1.147 OPS in 11 games
Curtis Granderson: .344 (11 for 32), 4 HRs, 2 SBs, 1.214 OPS in eight games
Austin Jackson: .361 (13 for 36), 2 HRs, 2 SBs, 1.006 OPS during eight-game hit streak
Drew Stubbs: .367 (11 for 30), 2 HRs, 3 SBs, 1.090 OPS in seven games
Jose Bautista: .360 (9 for 25), 4 HRs, 1.387 OPS in six games
Cameron Maybin: .714 (10 for 14), 2 HRs, 1.948 OPS in three games

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Cooling off
Jose Tabata: .123 (7 for 57), 2 SBs, .411 OPS in 18 games
Jason Bay: .128 (6 for 47), 1 HR, 2 SBs, 13 Ks in 13 games
Alex Gordon: .167 (7 for 42), 1 HR, 2 SBs, .484 OPS, 11 Ks in 11 games
Justin Upton: .150 (6 for 40), 1 HR, .459 OPS in 10 games
Coco Crisp: .152 (5 for 33), one extra-base hit, 2 SBs in nine games
Lance Berkman: 0 for 15, 5 BBs, 6 Ks in six games
Juan Pierre: .120 (3 for 25) in six games
Jay Bruce: .100 (2 for 20), 1 HR, .467 OPS in five games
Alex Rios: .111 (2 for 18) in five games

Worth a second look
Brett Gardner (65 percent started): After an early-season slump condemned him to a platoon role, Gardner has started 15 of the last 16 games, including two of the last three against lefties. His .408 (20 for 49) batting average and 1.109 OPS over the last 18 games seems to have regained the Yankees' trust, and with favorable matchups this week against the Orioles and Mets pitching staffs, now seems like a good time to get him active again in Fantasy.
Jason Kubel (64 percent): Kubel has shown no signs of slowing down this season and is looking more and more like the player who broke out with a .300 batting average, 28 homers and 103 RBI in 2009. With no lefties on the schedule this week, he's a pretty good bet to keep producing. As hot as he's been lately, you know the offensively challenged Twins won't even think about sitting him when they go without the DH spot at Arizona to end the week.
Brennan Boesch (53 percent): The latest injury to Magglio Ordonez, who is back on the DL with continued weakness in his right ankle, means Boesch and Ryan Raburn should both get more playing time. Boesch is the more likely of the two to stay in the lineup this week with only one left-hander on schedule. The matchups against the Blue Jays and Pirates make him a sleeper even in mixed leagues.
Logan Morrison (49 percent): Morrison was developing into a middle-of-the-order monster before spraining his foot in mid-April, his stellar walk rate combining with his newfound power to give him a 1.061 OPS. He's off the DL now and homered in his first game back. He's the kind of player you'll want to get active right away.
Austin Jackson (45 percent): Granted, Jackson's high strikeout rate makes him a candidate to fall apart at any given moment, but you have to like what he's doing right now. With matchups against pitchers like Kyle Drabek, Jesse Litsch, Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm and Charlie Morton this week, he has a good chance of keeping this hot streak going, and he obviously has the skill set to succeed.

Approach with caution
Alex Gordon (84 percent started): After a hot start to the season briefly earned him must-start status, Gordon has begun to regress to the mean. That doesn't mean his opportunity at a breakout season is over, but with tough matchups against Josh Tomlin, Alexi Ogando, Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia this week, he might not bounce back so quickly. A lot of owners won't have the luxury of sitting him since he's still one of the better outfielders in Fantasy, but if you have viable alternatives on your bench, you shouldn't feel obligated to start him.
Torii Hunter (69 percent): At age 35, Hunter isn't the player he once was, and he's showing it more than ever this season. He has slowed down lately with a .167 (4 for 24) batting average over his last seven games, and with five games against the Athletics and Braves pitching staffs this week, he's likely to get worse before he gets better. Avoid him for now.
Jason Bay (55 percent): Bay got off to a hot start when he first returned from a strained rib cage, but he has been in a downward spiral since then. He has a history of streakiness and still has a lot to prove after last season's disappointment, so you can't assume he's going to bounce back anytime soon.
Corey Hart (51 percent): Not only has Hart struggled at the plate since returning from an oblique strain that cost him all of spring training and the first four weeks of the regular season, but he also hasn't been playing every day, starting just 11 of 16 games. The Brewers for some reason want to keep Mark Kotsay in the mix, which gives you extra incentive to bench Hart until he comes around.
Jose Tabata (39 percent): Entering this season, Tabata said he wanted to hit more homers, but he has apparently been trying a little too hard lately. Manager Clint Hurdle said the second-year outfielder's swing has gotten "big," which would explain his recent struggles, and the Pirates have talked about potentially sitting him a few days. Clearly, he has some work to do to get back on track, so you should avoid him for now.

Injury concerns
Shane Victorino strained his hamstring Saturday and was out of the lineup Sunday. He could return as soon as Wednesday, which would give him a chance to contribute five of the seven games this week, but a setback is highly possible with an injury of that nature. Victorino is a hard player to sit in Fantasy, but if you have a viable alternative, now might be the time to go that route instead ... Jason Heyward, who hasn't started a game since Tuesday, was able to play the outfield both Saturday and Sunday and is aiming to return to the lineup Tuesday. Considering the amount of time he's already missed, that timetable seems reasonable, though it does ruin Eric Hinske's sleeper appeal for this week. Heyward wasn't hitting well enough before the injury that you should absolutely get him active now, but he's looking like a pretty safe start ... Colby Rasmus has been dealing with soreness below his right rib cage all week, sitting out Sunday's game, and will be examined by a doctor on Monday. Because the Cardinals don't have an actual diagnosis yet, he's looking pretty risky for this week. You could take bigger gambles, of course, but in standard mixed leagues, Rasmus isn't a sure enough performer for you to role the dice on him now ... Grady Sizemore hasn't played since jamming his knee -- not the surgically repaired one -- Tuesday. An MRI revealed no structural damage, but the Indians will obviously take it easy with a player who missed a total of 185 games over the last two seasons. He had just begun to get back on track before the injury, but he probably comes with too much risk for most Fantasy owners this week ... Nelson Cruz, who is out with a strained quadriceps, will begin a rehab assignment Monday and could potentially return during the weekend series at Philadelphia. Of course, that's better news for his Fantasy owners next week than this week ... Delmon Young returned from an oblique injury Friday. He had been out since April 18. He was hitting .228 before the injury, though, so he'll need to prove both healthy and productive for you to activate him in mixed leagues. With his return, the platoon of Rene Tosoni and Ben Revere in left comes to an end, but no big loss there.

Best 5 Hitting Schedules for Week 7
Team 5/16 5/17 5/18 5/19 5/20 5/21 5/22
Nationals PIT PIT @NYM @NYM @BAL @BAL @BAL
vs. Maholm vs. Morton vs. Gee vs. Dickey vs. Arrieta vs. Tillman vs. Britton
Morton, Britton and Arrieta have had their moments, but come on. None of these pitchers scare anybody.
Indians @KC @KC @CHW @CHW CIN CIN CIN
vs. Davies vs. Mazzaro vs. Peavy vs. Humber vs. Wood vs. Bailey vs. Volquez
Reds pitching staff could give Indians some trouble, but again, mostly back-of-the-rotation types here.
Tigers TOR TOR @BOS @BOS @PIT @PIT @PIT
vs. Drabek vs. Litsch vs. Buchholz vs. Beckett vs. Correia vs. Maholm vs. Morton
Tigers face one sure challenge in Beckett, maybe two in Buchholz. Still more easy matchups here than not.
Yankees @TB @TB @BAL @BAL NYM NYM NYM
vs. Price vs. Shields vs. Guthrie vs. Bergesen vs. Capuano vs. Pelfrey vs. Niese
Bumpy beginning for Yankees against two frontline pitchers, but then smooth sailing the rest of the way.
Braves HOU HOU @ARI @ARI @LAA @LAA @LAA
vs. Myers vs. W. Rodriguez vs. Saunders vs. Collmenter vs. Santana vs. Pineiro vs. Chatwood
A little tougher here, but with Myers struggling, Rodriguez, Santana and Pineiro are only real challenges.
Worst 5 Hitting Schedules for Week 7
Team 5/16 5/17 5/18 5/19 5/20 5/21 5/22
Giants @COL @COL @LAD @LAD OAK OAK OAK
vs. Mortensen vs. Jimenez vs. Kershaw vs. Billingsley vs. Cahill vs. Anderson vs. Gonzalez
With Jimenez one of the "easier" matchups on schedule, Giants to spend most of week walking back to dugout.
Rockies SF SF @PHI @PHI @MIL @MIL @MIL
vs. Lincecum vs. Sanchez vs. Hamels vs. Blanton vs. Greinke vs. Marcum vs. Wolf
All those top-of-the-rotation types are bad enough. Five games on road could make it a long week for Rockies.
Angels @OAK @OAK @SEA @SEA ATL ATL ATL
vs. Anderson vs. Gonzalez vs. Vargas vs. Fister vs. Hudson vs. Hanson vs. Lowe
Two-game series in Seattle gives Angels brief respite between two of the deepest rotations in baseball.
Padres @ARI @ARI MIL MIL SEA SEA SEA
vs. Galarraga vs. Hudson vs. Gallardo vs. Narveson vs. Bedard vs. Pineda vs. Hernandez
Sure, the Padres have tough matchups and five games at home, but wouldn't you be benching them regardless?
Royals CLE CLE TEX TEX STL STL STL
vs. Tomlin vs. Carrasco vs. Ogando vs. Holland vs. Carpenter vs. Westbrook vs. Garcia
This ranking depends on continued success of overachievers Tomlin and Ogando. Cardinals tough either way.

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.

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