The Fantasy Baseball Hit Parade is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Each week, we'll assess Fantasy-relevant hitters based on streaks, matchups, injuries and lineup changes and divide them into five categories: "no-brainers," "advisable starts," "shaky starts," "strictly AL/NL-only" and "don't bother."
These designations are designed to rate each player's Fantasy value for the current week only and have no bearing on his value for the season as a whole.
Any player dealing with injury will have the injury listed in parentheses after his name. His condition will most definitely influence his category designation for the week.
Any players not appearing on these lists are presumed to be below "don't bother" status and are obvious sits in Fantasy.
The information has been updated through Saturday, May 19.
Ryan Doumit has been one of the hottest catcher-eligible players in Fantasy over the last couple weeks, but unfortunately, he left Wednesday's game with a strained calf -- an injury severe enough that the Twins initially planned to put him on the DL. For now, they've decided to delay that move, hoping that Doumit shows improvement within a few days, but knowing how slow calf injuries are to heal, he could ultimately still wind up on the DL. He didn't return to the lineup over the weekend, so you should plan to sit him in Fantasy.
|1.||Andy Dirks, OF, Tigers||36|
|2.||Josh Reddick, OF, Athletics||35|
|3.||Allen Craig, 1B, Cardinals||22|
|4.||Raul Ibanez, OF, Yankees||22|
|5.||A.J. Ellis, C, Dodgers||20|
|6.||Carlos Ruiz, C, Phillies||16|
|7.||Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers||16|
|8.||Mark Ellis, 2B, Dodgers||13|
|9.||Daniel Nava, OF, Red Sox||12|
|10.||Ryan Doumit, C, Twins||11|
Worth a second look: Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
Lucroy isn't a big name at the catcher position, but right now, he's too hot to ignore, batting .397 (23 for 58) with a .978 OPS over his last 16 games. Of course, one little hot streak isn't enough to make him a viable mixed-league option, but when you consider the Brewers are facing four lefties this week, against whom he has a career .311 batting average and .875 OPS, you have to think he has more good times ahead. If you've been scavenging for a catcher all season, Lucroy should at least meet your need in the short term.
Approach with caution: Russell Martin, Yankees
It's just not getting any better for Martin, who entered the season as one of the top 12 catchers in Fantasy but is now batting just .170 on the season after a recent 3-for-32 (.094) stretch. The Yankees may have favorable matchups this week against the Royals and Athletics rotations, but chances are, outside of two-catcher leagues, you can still do better than Martin.
No-brainers: Carlos Santana, Brian McCann, Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Yadier Molina, Buster Posey
Advisable starts: Miguel Montero, Alex Avila, Jesus Montero, Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Lucroy, A.J. Pierzynski, A.J. Ellis, J.P. Arencibia
Shaky starts: Ryan Doumit (calf), Russell Martin, John Buck, Wilin Rosario, Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Strictly AL/NL-only: Kurt Suzuki, Nick Hundley, Devin Mesoraco, Rod Barajas, Yorvit Torrealba, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Flores, Ramon Hernandez (hand)
Don't bother: Josh Donaldson, Yan Gomes, John Jaso, Kelly Shoppach, Jason Castro, Tyler Flowers, Chris Snyder, George Kottaras, Hector Sanchez, Jose Molina (head), Welington Castillo (knee), Geovany Soto (knee), Chris Iannetta (wrist), Josh Thole (concussion), Miguel Olivo (groin), Salvador Perez (knee), Victor Martinez (knee)
With Adam Lind's batting average still south of the Mendoza line now six weeks into the season, the Blue Jays finally decided enough was enough Thursday, demoting him to Triple-A Las Vegas. General manager Alex Anthopoulos initially hoped the longtime starter would be able to return after the minimum 10 days, but reports of the Blue Jays placing Lind on outright waivers would seem to contradict that idea. He's looking plenty droppable in mixed leagues. Edwin Encarnacion will fill in at first base in Lind's absence, with the Blue Jays opting for a revolving door at DH. If Rajai Davis is part of that revolving door, his steals potential could make him a nifty pickup in Rotisserie leagues.
Worth a second look: Mark Trumbo, Angels
Suddenly, all that talk of Trumbo losing at-bats with Albert Pujols and Kendrys Morales on board this year seems kind of silly. He has started 17 of the team's last 18 games, displacing Peter Bourjos in the outfield rotation -- and for good reason. While Bourjos has struggled to hit .200, Trumbo is batting .414 (24 for 58) with three home runs and a 1.176 OPS over his last 16 games. With low-end hurlers like Tommy Milone, Graham Godfrey, Blake Beavan and Hector Noesi on tap for this week, the hot hitting should continue for Trumbo, making him practically a must-start in mixed leagues.
Approach with caution: Carlos Pena, Rays
Since his hot start, when seemingly everyone was buying into the idea that his return to Tampa Bay had rejuvenated him, Pena has hit a wall, batting .151 (16 for 106) over his last 30 games. That's a long time to be ice cold, but unfortunately for the career .238 hitter, it's par for the course. Pena will have another power surge at this point, but with Ricky Romero, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett among the pitchers on tap for the Rays, this week doesn't seem like the time.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Paul Konerko, Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana, Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn
Advisable starts: Mark Teixeira (illness), Michael Young, Buster Posey, Mike Napoli, Joe Mauer, Freddie Freeman, Bryan LaHair, Michael Cuddyer, Adam LaRoche, Mark Trumbo
Shaky starts: Eric Hosmer, Carlos Pena, Kendrys Morales, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Justin Morneau, Todd Helton, Chris Davis, Ike Davis, Carlos Lee, Yonder Alonso, Matt Carpenter
Strictly AL/NL-only: Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Smoak, James Loney, Brandon Belt, Mitch Moreland, Garrett Jones, Mike Carp, John Mayberry
Don't bother: Tyler Colvin, Ty Wigginton, Aubrey Huff, Travis Ishikawa, Casey Kotchman, Casey McGehee, Jesus Guzman, Kila Ka'aihue, Daric Barton, Brett Pill, Mark Reynolds (oblique), Juan Rivera (hamstring), Laynce Nix (calf), Allen Craig (hamstring), Lance Berkman (knee), Michael Morse (back), Ryan Howard (Achilles), Adam Lind, Anthony Rizzo
The Padres have cut ties with veteran second baseman Orlando Hudson, instead opting to look toward the future. For now, that future is Alexi Amarista, who was one of two players acquired in the Ernesto Frieri deal. Amarista isn't considered a high-upside player, but he has some steals potential, making him worth a flier in NL-only Rotisserie leagues. The Giants have opted to go with a rookie at second base themselves, calling up Charlie Culberson on Sunday. Since then, the 23-year-old has gotten the majority of the starts over Emmanuel Burriss, generating some interests in NL-only leagues. Ultimately, though, his modest pop won't be enough to make him an impact player in Fantasy.
Worth a second look: Daniel Murphy, Mets
Granted, Murphy hasn't seen a spike in power even with the fences coming in at Citi Field, but right now, he's hitting so well that he's a favorable mixed-league start anyway. He's batting .390 (23 for 59) over his last 15 games, and he's unlikely to slow down with three games against the Pirates pitching staff and four games against the Padres staff (away from PETCO Park, mind you) on tap.
Approach with caution: Rickie Weeks, Brewers
Maybe the red-hot Jonathan Lucroy will benefit from the Brewers' lefty-loaded schedule this week, but considering three of the six pitchers on tap are ace-caliber (Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Ian Kennedy), the rest of the lineup might suffer. Weeks is already caught in a downward spiral, striking out at an unprecedented rate and collecting just six hits in his last 17 games for a .095 (6 for 63) batting average. Now that he's also dealing with a hand injury, sitting him is an easy call in mixed leagues.
No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Dan Uggla
Advisable starts: Brandon Phillips, Howard Kendrick, Mike Aviles, Kelly Johnson, Jason Kipnis, Omar Infante, Daniel Murphy
Shaky starts: Dustin Ackley, Rickie Weeks, Jose Altuve, Aaron Hill, Jemile Weeks, Neil Walker, Ryan Roberts, Marco Scutaro, Danny Espinosa
Strictly AL/NL-only: Darwin Barney, Gordon Beckham, Sean Rodriguez, Jamey Carroll, Robert Andino, Elliot Johnson, Ryan Raburn, Freddy Galvis
Don't bother: Chris Getz, Alexi Amarista, Alexi Casilla, Jeff Keppinger (foot), Johnny Giavotella, Stephen Lombardozzi, Tyler Greene, Maicer Izturis, Joaquin Arias, Mark Ellis (leg), Chris Nelson (wrist), Brandon Inge (groin), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Yuniesky Betancourt (ankle), Chase Utley (knee), Brian Roberts (concussion), Freddy Sanchez (shoulder)
After losing starts to Cody Ransom over the last few weeks (a move that some Fantasy owners probably wished would become permanent), Ryan Roberts has seemingly regained the trust of manager Kirk Gibson, starting eight of the last 10 games at third base. He's not so hot that you can pencil him in for another near 20-20 season, but the consistent at-bats are enough to make him an adequate fill-in at the injury-depleted third base position. Todd Frazier, who's replacing the injured Scott Rolen (shoulder) in Cincinnati, showed off his power stroke with a two-homer game Wednesday. His poor plate discipline may prevent him from being anything more than a stopgap option in Fantasy, but for now, he's worth monitoring in deeper leagues.
Worth a second look: Chase Headley, Padres
Headley hasn't offered much over the last few weeks, but the Padres only recently finished a 19-game stretch in which they played 16 home games. Considering he's a career .231 hitter at PETCO Park, you can understand why his numbers suffered. The Padres are on the road this week, however, and are one of a handful of teams playing a full seven games. Considering Headley is a career .301 hitter away from PETCO Park, now seems like a good time to reactivate him in mixed leagues.
Approach with caution: Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox
As well as Middlebrooks has played during his time in the majors, all signs point to him going back to the minors when Kevin Youkilis (back) comes off the DL. And because Youkilis began a minor-league rehab assignment Wednesday, you can bet his return is just around the corner. You might only get a game or two from Middlebrooks this week, so as much as you've come to rely on him over the last couple weeks, go ahead and make a change.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Michael Young, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Edwin Encarnacion
Advisable starts: Ryan Zimmerman, David Freese, Brett Lawrie, Aramis Ramirez, Martin Prado, Chase Headley, Mike Aviles, Mark Trumbo
Shaky starts: Kevin Youkilis (back), Jed Lowrie, Daniel Murphy, Pedro Alvarez, Mike Moustakas, Kyle Seager, Chris Davis, Chipper Jones (calf), Chris Johnson, Ryan Roberts, Matt Carpenter
Strictly AL/NL-only: Will Middlebrooks, Placido Polanco (ankle), Ian Stewart, Jack Hannahan (back), Robert Andino, Wilson Betemit, Sean Rodriguez, Cody Ransom, Alberto Callaspo, Ty Wigginton, Todd Frazier
Don't bother: Jordan Pacheco, Jeff Keppinger (foot), Joaquin Arias, Josh Donaldson, Alex Liddi, Brent Morel (back), Chone Figgins, Stephen Lombardozzi, Juan Francisco, Casey McGehee, Maicer Izturis, Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Chris Nelson (wrist), Juan Uribe (wrist), Brandon Inge (groin), Scott Rolen (shoulder), Evan Longoria (hamstring), Pablo Sandoval (hand), Mark Reynolds (oblique), Lonnie Chisenhall, Nolan Arenado, Danny Valencia, Eduardo Nunez
|2.||White Sox||MIN3, CLE3|
Evan Longoria's injury has allowed Elliot Johnson to find some at-bats at shortstop, and he's made the most of them so far, showing enough speed, extra-base pop and on-base ability that you have to wonder if he might bump Sean Rodriguez out of the lineup when Longoria returns. He fizzled out after an early hot streak last year, so you wouldn't want to bet the farm on him, but if you need middle infield help, his stock is on the rise. Everth Cabrera's stock may be on the rise in the near future. He's the new starting shortstop in San Diego with Jason Bartlett (knee) on the DL, and he has big-time steals potential. He showed it with 25 steals over half a season as a rookie in 2009. If he can hit -- which is a big if -- he'll be a factor even in mixed leagues. Go ahead and take a flier on him if you're short on steals.
Worth a second look: Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
As a whole, the Tigers lineup has shown some signs of life lately, so the hope is the hot hitting will spread to Peralta. If nothing else, his recent increase in walks (eight in his last seven games) shows he's seeing the ball better. The matchups certainly work in his favor this week, with the Tigers facing low-end hurlers like Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister, Justin Masterson, Jason Marquis and P.J. Walters. It's a complete shot in the dark given Peralta's lack of production so far, but at the weak shortstop position, some Fantasy owners are just that desperate.
Approach with caution: Ian Desmond, Nationals
Unlike Peralta, Desmond has actually been playing a little over his head lately, batting .294 (25 for 85) with four homers, three steals and an .844 OPS in May. He's still the same free-swinger who compiled a .656 OPS in 584 at-bats last year, though, so you shouldn't read too much into the hot streak if you're looking for a shortstop off the waiver wire. Chances are Desmond's matchups against Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Tim Hudson and Brandon Beachy this week will bring him back down to size.
No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Derek Jeter, Rafael Furcal
Advisable starts: Jimmy Rollins, Mike Aviles, J.J. Hardy
Shaky starts: Jed Lowrie, Alexei Ramirez, Jhonny Peralta, Dee Gordon, Yunel Escobar, Erick Aybar, Zack Cozart, Ian Desmond, Marco Scutaro, Alcides Escobar
Strictly AL/NL-only: Cliff Pennington, Cody Ransom, Jamey Carroll, Robert Andino, Tyler Pastornicky, Sean Rodriguez, Brian Dozier, Elliot Johnson, Freddy Galvis, Everth Cabrera
Don't bother: Alexi Casilla, Joaquin Arias, Willie Bloomquist, Tyler Greene, Clint Barmes, Brandon Crawford, Brendan Ryan, Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Jason Bartlett (knee), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Stephen Drew (ankle), Yuniesky Betancourt (ankle), Eduardo Nunez
The Giants made a change in right field all right, but Aubrey Huff, fresh off the DL, wasn't the one to replace the struggling Nate Schierholtz. Instead, journeyman Andres Blanco has been getting regular at-bats and carving out a niche for himself as the team's leadoff hitter. He has zero pop but legitimate on-base ability, and if he continues to hit like he has so far, his steals could make him a factor even in mixed leagues. His shaky track record makes him hardly a sure thing, but he has some sleeper appeal. Daniel Nava has a similar history and is off to an equally good start in Boston, bumping Marlon Byrd out of the lineup for now. He doesn't have a standout tool, though, which is why his time in the lineup might be short-lived. You can leave him for AL-only leagues.
Worth a second look: Mike Trout, Angels and Andy Dirks, Tigers
Trout is striking out about as often as you'd expect for a 20-year-old, but his minor-league numbers have translated otherwise. In fact, if anything, his power has been even better than expected at this stage of his career. With a .400 (20 for 50) batting average, three homers and three steals over his last 13 games, he's worth activating in mixed leagues, especially for a seven-game week against the Athletics and Mariners rotations. As for Dirks, he's been so hot over the last two weeks, batting .400 (22 for 55) with three homers and a 1.113 OPS in 14 games, that the Tigers have taken to playing him every day. He's still at his best against righties, though, and the Tigers face six of the most miserable in the league this week at Cleveland and at Minnesota. With that favorable forecast, Dirks is without question mixed-league material.
Approach with caution: Bryce Harper, Nationals and Carlos Lee, Astros
Harper's home runs in back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday may renew the hype on him in mixed leagues, but keep in mind he went only 1 for 4 in both contests. He's still batting just .190 (11 for 58) over his last 15 games, enduring the kind of rough patch you'd expect for a 19-year-old. It might ultimately be short-lived, but with the Phillies and Braves pitching staffs on tap for the Nationals, you can probably do better than Harper in mixed leagues this week. The way Lee's power numbers have continued to evaporate this season -- he currently has a .779 OPS despite a .294 batting average -- you can probably do better than him most weeks. But chances are not even the singles will be coming his way this week, with Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Chris Capuano on tap.
No-brainers: Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Andrew McCutchen, Matt Holliday, Justin Upton, Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, Andre Ethier, Giancarlo Stanton, Jason Heyward, Adam Jones, Carlos Beltran, Jay Bruce, Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera
Advisable starts: Hunter Pence, Alex Gordon, Corey Hart, Nick Markakis, Howard Kendrick, Shin-Soo Choo, Martin Prado, Nick Swisher, Alejandro De Aza, Josh Willingham, Bryan LaHair, Michael Cuddyer, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Andy Dirks, Chris Young
Shaky starts: Austin Jackson (abdominal), Ichiro Suzuki, B.J. Upton, Bryce Harper, Drew Stubbs, Angel Pagan, Lucas Duda, Matt Joyce, J.D. Martinez, Luke Scott, Jeff Francoeur, Carlos Lee, Alex Rios, Brennan Boesch, Jason Kubel, Dexter Fowler, Vernon Wells (thumb), Josh Reddick, Cody Ross (foot), Tony Campana, Cameron Maybin, Jose Tabata, Yonder Alonso, Alfonso Soriano, Dayan Viciedo, Ryan Doumit (calf)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Logan Morrison, Jordan Schafer (ankle), Torii Hunter, Denard Span, Raul Ibanez, Gerardo Parra, Colby Rasmus, Delmon Young, David Murphy, Eric Thames, Michael Brantley, David DeJesus, Brandon Belt, Will Venable, Seth Smith, Mitch Moreland, Michael Saunders, Ryan Sweeney (head), Gregor Blanco, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Juan Pierre, Garrett Jones, Johnny Damon, Andres Torres, John Mayberry, Bobby Abreu, Jarrod Dyson, Daniel Nava, Mike Carp, Coco Crisp (illness)
Don't bother: Tyler Colvin, Xavier Avery, Jonny Gomes, Shelley Duncan, Peter Bourjos, Ty Wigginton, Ryan Ludwick, Nate Schierholtz, Ryan Raburn, Marlon Byrd, Aubrey Huff, Alex Presley, Willie Bloomquist, Chone Figgins, Nyjer Morgan, Chris Heisey, Rajai Davis, Jesus Guzman, Brian Bogusevic, Brett Pill, Allen Craig (hamstring), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Lance Berkman (knee), Matt Kemp (hamstring), Desmond Jennings (knee), Yoenis Cespedes (hand), Brett Gardner (elbow), Jon Jay (shoulder), Carlos Quentin (knee), Carlos Gomez (hamstring), Juan Rivera (hamstring), Nolan Reimold (neck), Jason Bay (ribs), Laynce Nix (calf), Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder), Lorenzo Cain (groin), Michael Morse (back), Carl Crawford (elbow), Grady Sizemore (back), Travis Snider, Brett Jackson, Domonic Brown, Wil Myers
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