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, June 30.
When Alex Avila missed Monday's game because of knee soreness, manager Jim Leyland called it a "red flag." You might remember knee soreness is what limited the young catcher to an .073 (3 for 41) batting average during the playoffs last year, so if it's back -- or perhaps never went away -- his productivity may suffer. Of course, he returned to the lineup Tuesday and will apparently play through the patellar tendinitis as long as he can tolerate the pain, but just because he's tolerating it doesn't mean he's not compensating in some way. His five hits in four games since returning may indicate the injury is much ado about nothing, but you'll want to keep an eye on him over the weekend just in case.
The Padres recalled prospect Yasmani Grandal from Triple-A Tucson over the weekend -- and not just for one at-bat this time. He has replaced Nick Hundley as the starting catcher in San Diego, making his presence known with two home runs Saturday. Of course, homering twice at Coors Field is far different from doing it at PETCO Park. Though Grandal is a high-upside player, he might be in for a Yonder Alonso-like correction when the Padres return home. In two-catcher leagues, he's worth an immediate pickup, but otherwise, you should give him a week to prove his worth.
Worth a second look: Ryan Doumit, Twins
Doumit's playing time isn't always assured, but you can pretty much trust him to stay in the lineup against righties. And you can pretty much trust him to be at his best against them, compiling a .288 batting average and .821 OPS on the season. With seven on tap this week, which includes three games at Texas, he's looking like a worthy mixed-league option, especially since he's batting .338 (22 for 65) over his last 17 games.
Approach with caution: Wilin Rosario, Rockies
Unlike most Rockies hitters, Rosario is actually better on the road (.301 batting average, .922 OPS) than at home (.206 batting average, .714 OPS), so you'd think the seven road games would make the rookie a favorable start this week. Of course, sample size is probably a factor there for a player who opened the season as a reserve. The bottom line is he's a .246 hitter overall, which means he's a long shot to produce when the matchups aren't in his favor. And with Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann on tap, that's clearly the case this week.
No-brainers: Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, Carlos Ruiz, Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Miguel Montero
Advisable starts: Brian McCann, Jesus Montero, Mike Napoli, A.J. Pierzynski, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Doumit
Shaky starts: Salvador Perez, Carlos Santana (back), Wilin Rosario, Alex Avila, A.J. Ellis, J.P Arencibia, Geovany Soto, Russell Martin, Yasmani Grandal
Strictly AL/NL-only: John Buck, Rod Barajas, Derek Norris, Kurt Suzuki, Miguel Olivo, Martin Maldonado, Jesus Flores, Josh Thole, Devin Mesoraco, Michael McKenry
Don't bother: John Jaso, Steve Clevenger, Ryan Hanigan, Yorvit Torrealba, Kelly Shoppach, Jason Castro, Chris Snyder, George Kottaras, Ramon Hernandez (hand), Jonathan Lucroy (hand), Chris Iannetta (wrist), Victor Martinez (knee)
In a move that seemed inevitable once they moved bumped Bryan LaHair to the outfield, the Cubs promoted top prospect Anthony Rizzo to the majors on Tuesday and, according to manager Dale Sveum, will play him every day. His numbers at Triple-A Iowa -- a .342 batting average, 23 homers and a 1.101 OPS in 257 at-bats -- were insane, which is part of the reason why expectations might be running a little high. The potential for him to emerge as an impact bat makes him worth owning in all leagues, but you might want to let him prove himself before activating him. His arrival didn't go so well in San Diego last year, remember.
|1.||Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs||25|
|2.||Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox||22|
|3.||Cody Ross, OF, Red Sox||17|
|4.||Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays||11|
|5.||Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants||11|
|6.||Salvador Perez, C, Royals||11|
|7.||Chris Nelson, 3B, Rockies||9|
|8.||Jason Kubel, OF, Diamondbacks||8|
|9.||Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks||7|
|10.||Ike Davis, 1B, Mets||7|
After a brief exile to Triple-A Las Vegas, Adam Lind is back in the majors but appears to be sitting against left-handed pitchers, which all but ruins his mixed-league appeal. Fellow blasts from the past James Loney and Gaby Sanchez have also been playing less than every day, but given how poorly they've hit this season, most Fantasy owners had probably given up on them already.
Worth a second look: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
Goldschmidt is batting .358 (43 for 120) with nine home runs and a 1.160 OPS in his last 34 games, making him the No. 7 first baseman in Fantasy during that stretch, yet for some reason, mixed-league owners are still on the fence about him. His matchups this week should make your decision easier. Not only is he home, where he's hit seven of his 11 home runs, but he's facing three lefties, against whom he's batting .386 with a 1.236 OPS. And the righties he's facing -- Andrew Cashner, Jason Marquis, Nate Eovaldi and Chad Billingsley -- aren't exactly back-breakers.
Approach with caution: Adam Dunn, White Sox
Sitting a player who's on pace for 50-plus homers is hardly an easy call, but as has happened more than once during the all-or-nothing slugger's career, Dunn has gone cold, batting .130 (6 for 46) over his last 13 games. Normally, you'd just live with it, knowing he's capable of breaking through with five homers any given week, but considering four of the six pitchers on tap for the White Sox this week are left-handers, against whom he's hitting .165 with a .711 OPS, you should feel pretty confident this won't be one of those weeks. If you have alternatives, turn to them now.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Paul Konerko, Mark Teixeira, Mark Trumbo, Edwin Encarnacion
Advisable starts: Joey Votto (knee), Adrian Gonzalez, Billy Butler, Allen Craig, Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Eric Hosmer, Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman, Justin Morneau, Corey Hart, Ike Davis
Shaky starts: Adam Dunn, Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Santana (back), Michael Young, Mike Napoli, Kevin Youkilis, Chris Davis, Kendrys Morales, Lucas Duda, Brandon Belt, Carlos Lee, Carlos Pena, Anthony Rizzo, Mark Reynolds, Daniel Murphy, Bryan LaHair
Strictly AL/NL-only: Logan Morrison, Chris Carter, Yonder Alonso, Justin Smoak, Adam Lind, Tyler Colvin, Todd Helton, James Loney, Gaby Sanchez, John Mayberry, Ty Wigginton, Jordan Pacheco, Wilson Betemit, Matt Carpenter, Tyler Moore, Juan Rivera, Casey McGehee, Garrett Jones, Casey Kotchman, Brandon Moss
Don't bother: Travis Ishikawa, Taylor Green, Chris Parmelee, Mitch Moreland (hamstring), Mike Carp (shoulder), Lance Berkman (knee), Ryan Howard (Achilles), Matt Adams
After missing most of the first three months with tendinitis in his left knee, Chase Utley returned to the lineup Wednesday and homered in his first at-bat. Clearly, he still has something to offer offensively despite the steady decline in batting average and OPS over the last four years. You shouldn't treat him like the elite player he used to be, but he's back to being a viable starter in mixed leagues.
Chris Nelson hasn't quite entered the mixed-league discussion, but if he continues to hit like he has over his last 15 games, batting .351 (20 for 57) with three home runs, he'll begin getting some looks as a stopgap. If nothing else, he's worth owning in NL-only leagues. You know he'll play, anyway, with Troy Tulowitzki (groin) on the DL.
Worth a second look: Omar Infante, Marlins
For a player known for making consistent contact, Infante sure has delivered inconsistent results this year, taking the Fantasy world by storm with a 41-for-122 (.336) stretch to begin the season before falling off the map with a 21-for-99 (.212) stretch. Apparently, the tides have turned for him yet again. He's batting .342 (13 for 38) over his last 10 games and has the kind of matchups -- Marco Estrada, Randy Wolf, Michael Fiers, Jake Westbrook and Joe Kelly -- that would have you believe he'll keep it going. Time to get him active again in mixed leagues.
Approach with caution: Dustin Ackley, Mariners
After a string of 10 straight home games, the Mariners at least get to play their final three games of the first half on the road this week. Of course, those three are in Oakland, which is another tough place to hit. Even worse for Ackley are the three left-handers on tap. He's batting only .231 with a .610 OPS against lefties. Considering he's been slumping anyway, batting .129 (4 for 31) over his last 10 games, that should be all the incentive you need to sit him.
No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Jason Kipnis, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia, Dan Uggla, Brandon Phillips
Advisable starts: Mike Aviles, Omar Infante, Aaron Hill, Jose Altuve
Shaky starts: Michael Young, Chase Utley, Kelly Johnson, Marco Scutaro, Kyle Seager, Danny Espinosa, Dustin Ackley, Jemile Weeks, Rickie Weeks, Howard Kendrick, Daniel Murphy, Neil Walker, Gordon Beckham, Everth Cabrera
Strictly AL/NL-only: Chris Nelson, Brian Roberts, Ryan Roberts, Darwin Barney, Brandon Inge, Jamey Carroll, Ryan Theriot, Alexi Amarista, Elliot Johnson, Elian Herrera, Ruben Tejada, Sean Rodriguez, Yuniesky Betancourt
Don't bother: Jerry Hairston, Ryan Raburn, Stephen Lombardozzi, Taylor Green, Tyler Greene, Alexi Casilla, Logan Forsythe, Jose Lopez, Jeff Keppinger, Maicer Izturis, Skip Schumaker, Chris Getz (leg), Mark Ellis (leg), Freddy Sanchez (shoulder)
Ryan Zimmerman, who has been playing with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder for much of the season, has looked like a different player since getting a cortisone shot on June 24, batting .344 (11 for 32) with two home runs. Of course, four games at Coors Field likely had something to do with that. Six games at home this week will be a truer test of the shot's impact. He still has huge upside, of course, but he's not quite back to being an automatic start in mixed leagues.
Worth a second look: Mike Moustakas, Royals
With four homers in his last 14 games, Moustakas continues to have a quietly productive season for the Royals and should be able to take advantage of soft matchups like Brett Cecil, Carlos Villanueva, Henderson Alvarez and Drew Smyly this week. The three lefties on tap make him less than an automatic start in mixed leagues, but overall, he's not getting the credit he deserves in Fantasy. He's on pace for a 28-homer season, for crying out loud.
Approach with caution: Michael Young, Rangers
For the first time in seven weeks, Young broke the 15-point mark in Head-to-Head leagues last week, but he's still batting just .222 (14 for 63) over his last 17 games. With three home runs and a .663 OPS on the year, his power has completely evaporated at age 35, so when he's not collecting hits two or three at a time, he's not making much of a dent in Fantasy. Considering he's one of only eight third basemen playing six games rather than seven this week, you can probably do better in mixed leagues.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, Hanley Ramirez
Advisable starts: Aramis Ramirez, Martin Prado, Brett Lawrie, Alex Rodriguez, David Freese, Mike Moustakas, Mike Aviles, Jed Lowrie, Ryan Zimmerman, Will Middlebrooks, Pablo Sandoval
Shaky starts: Michael Young, Trevor Plouffe, Kyle Seager, Chase Headley, Chris Davis, Mark Reynolds, Kevin Youkilis, Daniel Murphy, Pedro Alvarez
Strictly AL/NL-only: Brandon Inge, Chipper Jones, Chris Nelson, Ryan Roberts, Chris Johnson (lat), Placido Polanco, Todd Frazier, Wilson Betemit, Jordan Pacheco, Ty Wigginton, Sean Rodriguez, Jamey Carroll, Elian Herrera, Matt Carpenter, Casey McGehee, Cody Ransom, Jack Hannahan
Don't bother: Jeff Keppinger, Scott Rolen, Logan Forsythe, Jerry Hairston, Juan Uribe, Taylor Green, Stephen Lombardozzi, Alberto Callaspo, Jose Lopez, Maicer Izturis, Evan Longoria (hamstring), Lonnie Chisenhall (forearm), Ian Stewart (wrist), Brent Morel (back), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Nolan Arenado, Danny Valencia, Eduardo Nunez
Stephen Drew's season debut Wednesday wasn't quite as dramatic as Chase Utley's, but it was notable nonetheless. He's capable of performing like a top-10 Fantasy shortstop when completely healthy. And the best news is he was in the lineup the very next day, so manager Kirk Gibson seems to have abandoned the plan of sitting him two out of every three games. Rust is the expectation for Drew as he continues to work his way back from ankle surgery last July, but if you have a need at shortstop, you should probably put in your claim for him now.
Worth a second look: Erick Aybar, Angels
Aybar got off to such a miserable start that his overall numbers are still in the tank, but he's been coming around lately, batting .387 (24 for 62) over his last 17 games. His steals are still down, which is why he's probably not a long-term option for mixed-league owners, but during a week when the Angles are facing low-end hurlers like Zach McAllister, Derek Lowe, Dana Eveland and Brian Matusz, he should deliver some cheap production off the waiver wire.
Approach with caution: J.J. Hardy, Orioles
Hardy, on the other hand, has come crashing down after a hot start, batting .111 (6 for 54) over his last 13 games. This level of streakiness isn't entirely new to him. It was an issue back in his Brewers days, which should at least give you some assurance he'll eventually get back on track, but this week, with Felix Hernandez, C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver and Dan Haren on the schedule, probably isn't the time.
No-brainers: Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro, Elvis Andrus, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jimmy Rollins, Rafael Furcal
Advisable starts: Derek Jeter, Mike Aviles, Jed Lowrie, Trevor Plouffe, Ian Desmond, Erick Aybar, Alcides Escobar
Shaky starts: J.J. Hardy, Zack Cozart, Marco Scutaro, Jhonny Peralta, Dee Gordon, Alexei Ramirez, Yunel Escobar, Everth Cabrera, Andrelton Simmons
Strictly AL/NL-only: Stephen Drew, Cliff Pennington, Jamey Carroll, Ryan Theriot, Ruben Tejada, Cody Ransom, Sean Rodriguez, Elliot Johnson, Brian Dozier, Yuniesky Betancourt
Don't bother: Willie Bloomquist, Tyler Greene, Alexi Casilla, Clint Barmes, Brandon Crawford, Brendan Ryan, Troy Tulowitzki (groin), Jason Bartlett (knee), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Eduardo Nunez
Slowly but surely, Nationals manager Davey Johnson is coming around to Tyler Moore's power potential, starting the rookie in five of the team's last six games. Judging by his minor-league numbers, Moore has a chance to be this year's Mark Trumbo if he gets his fair share of at-bats. With Stephen Lombardozzi losing his grip on the left field job, little stands in Moore's way of claiming the role.
Leonys Martin was called up just to give the Rangers a little extra outfield depth when Josh Hamilton was hospitalized with an intestinal virus a couple weeks ago, but instead of going back down when Hamilton returned, he has gotten to play even more, starting five of the last seven games. Martin is the Rangers' center fielder of the future and has enough across-the-board potential that he's worth adding in AL-only leagues even if his current role is still something of a mystery.
Worth a second look: Allen Craig, Cardinals and Jason Kubel, Diamondbacks
By now, you'd think Craig would be an automatic start in Fantasy, but the percentages say otherwise. Apparently, a .313 batting average and .983 OPS in an everyday role aren't enough to convince people. His matchups this week are enough to convince anybody, though. He faces the Rockies' joke of a pitching staff for four games before moving on to the ice-cold Ricky Nolasco and Carlos Zambrano. Kubel's numbers have been nearly as good lately. He's batting .326 (28 for 86) with seven homers and a 1.021 OPS over his last 21 games. Of course, he's pretty much always been that way at home, batting .349 with a 1.099 OPS on the season. The Diamondbacks are home for all seven of their games this week, so you might as well stick with the hot hand in Fantasy.
Approach with caution: Michael Cuddyer, Rockies and Michael Brantley, Indians
Cuddyer isn't exactly setting the world on fire with his .257 batting average and .799 OPS this season, but his starting percentage of 89 would lead you to believe otherwise. Maybe when he's at home, as was the case in Fantasy Week 13 (June 25-July 1), he's an automatic start in Fantasy, but on the road, where he's batting .223 with a .698 OPS, you can do better in mixed leagues. Chances are those splits will get even worse this week with pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann on tap. Brantley had a nice little run there for a while, ranking 22nd among outfielders from May 10 to June 9, but he has since cooled off with a .257 (19 for 74) batting average over his last 19 games. Because he's not a big source of home runs or stolen bases, he has to be red hot to make a legitimate impact in Fantasy, and that's not happening this week against the Angels and Rays pitching staffs.
No-brainers: Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Matt Holliday, Michael Bourn, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Beltran, Adam Jones, Hunter Pence, Mike Trout, Justin Upton, Mark Trumbo, Melky Cabrera, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Andrew McCutchen (wrist), Shane Victorino, Josh Willingham, Shin-Soo Choo, Adrian Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, Austin Jackson, Alex Gordon, Martin Prado, Desmond Jennings, Nelson Cruz, Bryce Harper, Josh Reddick, Allen Craig, Alejandro De Aza, Alex Rios, Colby Rasmus, Jason Kubel, Michael Morse, Adam Dunn, Nick Swisher, Corey Hart
Shaky starts: Michael Cuddyer, B.J. Upton, Angel Pagan, Dexter Fowler, Yoenis Cespedes, Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Quentin, Lucas Duda, Trevor Plouffe, Drew Stubbs, Chris Young, Alfonso Soriano, Chris Davis, Brandon Belt, Howard Kendrick, Carlos Lee, Coco Crisp, Dayan Viciedo, Norichika Aoki, Cody Ross, Gregor Blanco, Torii Hunter, J.D. Martinez, Bryan LaHair, Ben Revere, Rajai Davis, Andre Ethier (oblique)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Michael Brantley, Michael Saunders (illness), Denard Span, Seth Smith, Brennan Boesch, Logan Morrison, Brandon Moss, Yonder Alonso, David Murphy, Cameron Maybin, Jon Jay, Daniel Nava, Luke Scott, Jeff Francoeur, Raul Ibanez, Jordan Schafer, Delmon Young, Ryan Doumit, Tyler Colvin, David DeJesus, Alex Presley, Will Venable, Jose Tabata, Elian Herrera, Quintin Berry, Jarrod Dyson, Gerardo Parra, Tony Campana, Wilson Betemit, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ryan Ludwick, John Mayberry, Juan Pierre, Tyler Moore, Bobby Abreu, Garrett Jones, Ty Wigginton, Leonys Martin, Alexi Amarista, Johnny Damon, Lorenzo Cain (groin)
Don't bother: Matt Carpenter, Chris Heisey, Ryan Kalish, Jerry Hairston, Skip Schumaker, Andres Torres, Stephen Lombardozzi, Juan Rivera, Peter Bourjos, Carlos Gomez, Willie Bloomquist, Nyjer Morgan, Nick Markakis (hand), Franklin Gutierrez (head), Matt Joyce (back), Mitch Moreland (hamstring), Ryan Sweeney (foot), Justin Maxwell (ankle), Jason Bay (concussion), Mike Carp (shoulder), Andy Dirks (Achilles), Matt Kemp (hamstring), Lance Berkman (knee), Emilio Bonifacio (hand), Vernon Wells (thumb), Nolan Reimold (neck), Brett Gardner (elbow), Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder), Jayson Werth (wrist), Carl Crawford (elbow), Grady Sizemore (back), Travis Snider, Eric Thames, Brett Jackson, Domonic Brown, Wil Myers
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